Category Archives: Commercial Interiors

Smart Office Blinds

You may recall back in May of this year we wrote a blog post on Smart Office Walls - now it's the windows turn to get a smart dressing.

The recent survey of 1,000 GB-based office workers undertaken by YouGov found that 32% would like more access to natural light - indeed, light levels play an integral part in employees well-being, satisfaction with their work place and productivity levels. So it would seem a smart move to introduce smart blinds.

What Are Smart Blinds?

The most basic smart blinds can be motorised, enabling you to click a button for them to open or close. More advanced options will give you the option to set timers for the blinds. Connecting to your Virtual Assistants, such as Google Dot and Amazon's Alexa, we get the advancement of light sensitive activation, whereby your office blinds will sense the light levels and the weather outside and open and close automatically. If you also have smart lighting installed, the two can work alongside each other so that when the blinds open, the lights go off and vice versa.

There are, of course, a couple of downsides to these types of window coverings. Firstly they are beholden to a decent, continuous internet connection. And we could argue that by having the blinds automatically open and close you are missing the opportunity of getting up and walking away from your desk, albeit only briefly.

That being said, we are seeing smarter solutions coming in for commercial properties that will make for energy and financial savings for businesses in the long term, and are looking forward to seeing what new technological developments occur to make all of our working environments better places to be.

“Smart” Office Walls

What Every Office Needs?

As an established office fit out and office furniture supplier, we are acutely aware of how office design can play an important role on employee health and well being. We all know that the sedentary nature of today's office staff is having a detrimental impact upon workers and we are all being encouraged to move more.

The insurance company Vitality has recently announced it is going to reward its customers who do a certain amount of exercise, and these incentives can become more lucrative the more you do. The idea is that as people become more active they can lower their health risk, lower their risk of morbidity and mortality, and decrease their insurance "risk".

A major stumbling block for a lot of workers is the one thing every office needs, but most offices lack - showering facilities.

What Every Office Should Have

Here at 20six when we designed our own offices we made sure that we included an office shower - this gives all of our employees the option of cycling to work, or swapping a sarnie at their desk for "runch".

Brighton has been promoting sustainability for several years, with a huge push for more people to either use public transport of cycle/walk to and from work. But Brighton is also a city that is built upon small businesses - there are one or two large employers in the city but by and large Brighton is made up of smaller offices. You may well get your shower cubicles in the likes of Google and Reebok, but they are sadly lacking in the majority of offices.

A shower and changing facility doesn't take up an enormous amount of space, and so we feel this should be pushed to the forefront of any office planning and design - a small addition that benefits the health of your workforce and the environment at the same time.

Activity Based Working

Trends and “fads” come and go in the world of office design, but the well-being of employees is fundamental to any organisation’s success and therefore so much more than a passing whim. One area that is seeing a rise in commercial design is that of Activity Based Working – but what is it and how do we incorporate it into office fit outs?

What Is Activity Based Working?

Traditional work places gave an employee a specific location from which to work – your desk was your work place and each day this is where you would come and spend the working day. Activity Based Working (ABW) recognises that this style of working doesn’t suit all employees over their lifetime of work.

ABW encourages workers to physically locate themselves where they feel it most suitable for them to work from. The work place is designed and set up to enable opportunities for a variety of workplace activities providing the environment suitable to the task at hand. Setting up your office like this will give you the chance to work in a small, quiet space when you require maximum concentration, or a private meeting, and wide, open spaces where you can come together with other employees and bounce ideas off of one another.

This style of commercial interior design recognises that we have different requirements throughout our working day and that the creation of choice for spaces in which to work will enable employers to gain the maximum from their staff.

Of course, ABW is not for everyone, it must be relevant to your workforce, to who they are and what they do at work. If you would like to know whether Activity Based Working is right for your office, or any other aspect of commercial property set up, please get in touch with us here at 20sixltd.

Tree House Offices

For once we are experiencing a “proper” summer here in England; for weeks on end now, certainly for us based here in the South East, we have woken up to sunshine and warmth. With this glorious weather though come a few challenges, particularly for those of you stuck inside stuffy, stifling offices (if this is you, check out our tips on staying cool in the office).

How lovely would it be to be able to take your laptop outside and sit under the shade of a tree to work? Sound good? How about taking this one step further and working in the tree?

There has been a consistent rise in the interest and popularity of tree houses, significantly since the mid-1990s. Once the preserve of children and their imaginary games, more and more adults are commissioning specialist companies to build them fully functioning tree houses.

On the back of the popularity of biophilic design and the recognition that as human beings we are more productive in the work place when we feel connected to nature, Microsoft has also decided to hang out in the canopy.

Designed by Peter Nelson, Nelson’s Tree Houses, the trees at Microsoft's corporate headquarters in Redmond, Washington, were used to create three tree house work spaces for their employees. “With two covered meeting rooms, a wide deck space, and a lofty crow's nest, these tree houses bring employees into nature for improved focus and creativity.”

Now we are really proud of our 20sixltd HQ here in Sussex, but we have to confess to a teeny tiny bit of office envy for this tree house office. Check out the video below to see why we’d like to be hanging about in the trees, particularly in this weather.