Category Archives: Green Office

Growing Green

Incorporating environmentally friendly aspects into commercial design is not only beneficial to the environment but it can help to improve the health, well being and productivity of staff. Studies have demonstrated that office workers’ quality of life can be enriched by incorporating plants within the workspace even though they have no formal work-related function.

At an entry level, adding a plant or two on your desk and dotted around the office may help. By adding one plant per square meter employee performance on memory retention and other basic tests has been shown to be substantially improved.

Office design trends have been incorporating plants as de rigueur for some time now, and one really great way to get more greenery into your work space is to add a living wall.

It has been claimed that within the space of 24 hours a living wall can remove up to 87% of toxins in the air in your office. Plants suck up the air we don’t want to breathe and produce the air we do need – oxygen. Green walls can also help with insulating your building both in terms of temperature and for reducing unwanted sound.

Creating an entire wall out of plants adds the biophilic element into your office – you are creating that all important link to nature that is often missing from a traditional, sterile work environment. Growing Green in your office will help your employees feel better and work better as well as helping you address acoustic issues and save money on building insulation. Oh, and they also provide a great conversational starter…

An Office Fit For Spring?

Spring is almost upon us officially, and from the flowers blooming by the roadside and the buds bursting to life on the trees, it feels like it has already arrived. One advantage of this change of season is more hours of daylight, but the sun streaming in through your office windows can also show how neglected your workspace has become.

An Office Fit For Spring?

Whilst the ideal solution may be a total office refit, that's not possible for everybody. So what steps can you take to ensure that your office is fit for spring?

Three Ways To Spruce Up Your Office For Spring

I Need It: There are some items we all need to complete our daily work routines, and those that you need to use regularly should be close by.  As we outlined in our post The Three Zones Of Ergonomic Desk Design, keeping the objects that are classed as your primary necessities close to hand enables you to work more efficiently. On the other hand, items you aren't using on a regular basis may be better placed further away to free up some space.

I Want It: The long held belief that a cluttered desk or office leads to a cluttered mind doesn't hold true for all people. A survey carried out a couple of years ago by Yell Business found that the majority of the UK’s most successful profit making business owners, that's 94% of them, admit to having an ‘extremely cluttered desk’. With profit being the biggest sign of a productive business and work ethic, we can dismiss clutter having a negative impact upon success and profit. That being said, there is always room to keep on top of what’s in front of you so that it’s at least an organised chaos, thus contributing to efficiency and an overall reduction in stress levels.

I'll Change It: In our article last week, Green Office Fit Out, we advocated recycling and re-inventing aspects of your office fit out rather than binning the lot and replacing with new. This isn't always possible, but there are solutions for refurbishing your work space and leaving a minimal carbon footprint. Rather than look at throwing out all the items of office furniture and fittings that look as if they are past their sell-by date, why not check out an experienced commercial property specialist who can advise on getting your offices looking ship shape within a sustainable parameter?

Spring is the ideal time to spruce up your work space and ensure you have the most productive environment that you and your fellow workers are proud to call your offices.

Green Office Fit Out

There is something special about the look of a brand new office - new carpet, new furniture, freshly painted, all looking fantastic and a space you are proud to work in.

Whilst refurbishing a tired looking office has innumerable benefits, each time you fit out your offices you are adding to your carbon footprint.

So can we have the up to date, smart offices we would all like to work in and do so in an environmentally friendly way?

Several companies are setting trends in sustainable office fit outs and they are doing so by using one the simplest green solutions, recycling. For a company such as the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB), when you are looking at opening a new office you really should be practicing what you preach. And so they did; when they fitted out their new offices in London’s Shoreditch, they retained and reused blinds, carpets, kitchen cabinets and network cables, amongst other things.

Another London based company who specialises in recycling also managed to ensure their refurbishment was as green as possible, by reusing or repurposing 86% of their current furniture and existing flooring.

We would expect “those in the trade” to be recycling whatever they can, but does this apply to other commercial designs? Could we all be doing a little bit more than a recycling box in the office kitchen?

Creating a greener workspace is not only down to fit out and design - we need to be able to source eco-friendly fixtures and furnishings when recycling is not an option. This has moved on considerably in the past few years and we are no longer having to compromise on quality when sourcing greener options. Manufacturers have realised their part in this journey and there are some wonderful options out there for office furniture that is more sustainable as well as all the other fixtures and fittings.

The old adage that you can’t have your cake and eat it is being thrown out of the window when it comes to green office fit outs - refurbishing your work space and leaving a minimal carbon footprint is becoming as financially viable as it is ethically responsible.




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.