Sustainable Office Design

The 6 basic elements of a sustainable office

Regardless of the size of your office, there are six fundamental elements to achieving a more sustainable office:

1: Energy

2: Light

3: Ventilation

4: Water

5: Furniture

6: Materials

Whether you have fully embraced sustainability as the only way forward or are at least aware that by creating a greener working environment you will be saving on energy costs, striving towards a more sustainable office will help both your employees well being and your company’s finances.

For the majority of businesses, getting an entirely new building designed and built for your offices is out of the questions, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t embrace an eco-friendlier position for your current working environment.

We have taken the six most basic elements of sustainable design to give you some starting points for making your office more environmentally friendly.

6 Ways To Increase Sustainability In Your Office Design

Energy: You are unlikely to have escaped the Government's marketing campaign to get all households to use smart meters. We feel these are a little misleading as it is not the installation of the meter alone that saves you money; by reading the data on the smart meters you are able to see what uses most power and when, with the idea that you then change your power use habits to save energy. In much the same way, we can analyse where we are using most of our energy in our workplace, but of course we are more likely to have restrictions based upon the normal working day. We can however, still educate our employees to turn off lights, or their computers at the end of the day, or close doors to keep the heat in. British Gas has an article on how to reduce the use of energy in the workplace that you may find of interest.

Light: We have written several articles over the years about the importance of getting natural light into the workplace. Not only does this save on your energy bills, as above, it has also demonstrated in a variety of scientific studies to improve the productivity of employees. Where possible your office lighting should be from natural sources as a lack of natural daylight can impact on our ability to think clearly, but if you do need to give your work force artificial light then ideally give them personal control over the strength of that light and energy efficient light systems such as LED lighting and occupancy sensors.

Ventilation: If you have ever been crammed into an inner room for a meeting where there was little of no air circulating, you’ll be familiar with the negative effect this has upon all involved. It goes without saying that we need air, and a badly ventilated environment will curtail productivity and directly affect concentration levels.  Adding plants can help to purify the air and if you have the ability, adding living walls or a green roof will further reduce air conditioning and heating costs.

Water: A dripping tap is not only a noise distraction we could all do without whilst concentrating at work, it is also costly: a rate of ten drips per minute wastes three litres of water per day, 90 litres per month and 347 gallons of water per year. In addition to fixing any leaks you may have, installing water-saving devices such as low-flow sensor taps, and low-flush toilets will help your company save on its water usage – and costs.

Furniture: It isn’t often on the top of the list from clients when they ask us to source new office furniture for it to be sustainable, but there are options for greener office furniture. Longevity plays a part in this, the better quality your office chairs the longer they will last and the longer the time before they need replacing. There are office furniture options that incorporate non-toxic, recycled or recyclable materials that are easily maintained and repaired, durable, adaptable, and timeless, ensuring once you have bought them, they will last you.

Materials: Tying in with choosing the right types of furniture, is the choice you make for all other materials in your work place. From paints to work surfaces, partitions to flooring, there are more eco-friendly options out there. A quick look around your average office will amass a long list of toxic chemicals including those found in office equipment such as copiers and printers, cleaning equipment, paints, plastics, foam, and fabrics. Needless to say, if we can eliminate as many of these toxins as possible, we will be benefiting all employees as well as contributing to a greener environment for all.

All business owners have a duty of care to their employees that includes making their work spaces as safe as possible – and we all have a responsibility for preserving our environment for the next generation. Making your office more sustainable is just one tiny step on the road to achieve this globally.


Get Fit In Your Office Chair

This Monday marks the start of the working New Year for all those who hadn’t yet returned to work. New Year comes packaged with New You resolutions, be that a better diet, new job, or getting fitter and leaner.

Last February we gave you 10 examples of “deskercise” – exercises that you could carry out whilst sat at your desk, or in close proximity to your work station. So it was of interest to us when we came across the NOONCHI, the office chair attachment that may help you to achieve at least one of your 2019 goals.

The makers of this “exercise” chair attachment claim that it provides you with a complete workout system – you can stretch and exercise whilst sat at your desk.  The base structure is lightweight enough to be easily attached, detached or height adjusted on to your office chair and can also be placed under your feet for leg exercises right at your desk.

No matter how brilliant your IT and telephone systems are, there will always be times when you are sat at your desk waiting for the latest update to complete, or in the telephone queue to some large establishment. By attaching this device to your office chair you can utilise these moments of non-productivity to get moving. It’s been scientifically proven that regular exercise can reduce stress levels, so doing a mini-workout whilst waiting for your call to be answered may even leave you less likely to get annoyed when you finally do get hold of someone…

From what we can ascertain, this particular model has yet to go into full production, especially in the UK, but if you have tried such a system, we’d love to know how you got on with it.

Office Design Trends 2018 – A Review

Not including this blog post, we have published almost 50 updates on office design, office furniture and commercial property in 2018 covering all aspects of design, employee well-being, office furniture and office fixtures. So, with 2018 drawing to a close we thought we'd take a look back and see which posts were the most popular with our audience.

Office Design Trends 2018 - A Review

The word "popular" is always going to be open to subjectivity, but in order to quantify this we reviewed our top three social media sites and looked at the analytics for the blog posts we shared over the past year. Breaking this down into three social media platforms and analysing the posts that performed the best, and therefore those we have chosen to call the most popular, these are as follows:

20sixltd LinkedIn:

Our top performing posts on LinkedIn covered types of office partitions, office furniture, and office design trends, with the most popular post being the article we wrote on 5 ways in which to create a healthier workspace:

Healthy Workspace?

20sixltd Facebook:

We all know that your audience on Facebook is not the same as that on LinkedIn, and therefore we were expecting to see a different result here. But we were wrong. The same blog post, how to create a healthier workspace, outperformed all of the others by a considerable margin. But the others in the top five were different to LinkedIn's top four posts and included one of our favourites, it being a bit of fun, on tree house offices:

Tree House Offices

20sixltd Twitter:

Our Twitter page took a little more sifting through as we have shared more articles here than on any other social platform. Interestingly, none of the top five posts here matched either the LinkedIn nor the Facebook top fives, but covered office design trends, the use of glass in office design and options for greener offices. Our top performing post on Twitter referenced the use of art in the office as a means of increasing workers productivity:

Can Art Boost Productivity?

But The Winner Is:

There were a handful of blog posts that stood out across all of our social media as well as our Google analytics account - and these were the four updates that had nothing to do with office design, furniture, fixtures or other aspects of commercial property. 20sixltd were incredibly proud to have been sponsors of two amazing veterans who rowed across the Pacific ocean raising funds for charity. And these guys were the most popular updates if we add up all platforms.

Congratulations Cockleshell Endeavour

We're taking a well-earned break now but will back in the New Year to keep you posted on all you need to know about the world of work and commercial design.







Office Design Ideas For 2019

As the year draws to an end and offices and commercial buildings across the land are decked out in garish Christmas decorations, we can start to think about how our work spaces are going to look come the new year when once again stripped bare of the coloured tinsel and flashing lights. Taking down the festive adornments can sometimes show just how tired your working environment is looking and highlight the need for a fresh design for your office in 2019.

5 Office Design Ideas For 2019

Colour: The near universal use of “colours” such as Magnolia in commercial property has everything to do with budget – being the cheapest option to buy and therefore touch up, it can also be paired with pretty much any other colour. But giving your work space a more personal colour can brighten the environment and bring the company branding into the office in more cohesive pattern.

Kitchen: Often cited as the heart of the home and the most popular place for people to gather at a party, the office kitchen is often overlooked. We’ve probably all come across those “kitchens” that are little more than a dark cupboard where you’re too scared to use the cups as you’re unsure of the hygiene. But this is a great space to spend some of your budget on as it should be an area where all employees, no matter what department, can come and meet up and exchange thoughts, ideas and conversations.

Furniture: Ergonomic office furniture is not a fad – it should be a pre-requisite for any working environment. From the options of sit-stand desks to office chairs that support your posterior and protect your posture, getting the correct furniture will help the health and wellbeing of your staff.

Flooring: There are a myriad of options for office flooring, and you need to take into consideration the function as much as the form, but replacing old, threadbare carpets or peeling lino can bring a whole new feel to your work space. From carpet tiles through to wooden floors, we often overlook what’s right underneath our feet.

Lighting: Arguably the most important area of your overall design plan, getting your office lighting right has been scientifically proven to improve your work force’s productivity. One of the key tenets here is to ensure that there is as much natural daylight as possible without having sunshine cause overheating or disabling computer screens due to the reflective glare.

20sixltd have extensive hands-on experience of helping a wide range of market sectors to achieve a workable office design that supports their staff and reflects their brand. If you are looking to update, revamp or completely redesign your office space in 2019 please get in touch to see how we can help you to achieve your desired working environment.