Lower the Noise Levels in Your Office in 5 Simple Steps

December 8, 2016

When it comes to perfecting the sound levels in your office, you might struggle to strike a balance between stifling silence and too much noise. While a murmur of background chatter is normal in most workplaces, it can be tricky to know how to keep this to a level that’s acceptable for everyone involved.
 
Aside from being a common annoyance among workers, a noisy office setting can seriously affect productivity and concentration levels and increase stress and tension, leading to an overall sense of unhappiness and a significant dip in employee morale. In fact, a study carried out by the University of Sydney in 2013 found that a lack of sound privacy was the biggest frustration for employees.
 
So, if you sense that some of your workforce might be struggling, or you’re just keen to create a harmonious working environment that everyone can enjoy, keep reading. In this blog, we look at five ways you can lower the noise levels in your office.
 
1. Rearrange your office layout
 
Firstly, it pays to look at your office layout. Altering the way in which your space is arranged could help you keep your sound levels under control. For example, workstations that are placed close together in clusters can help compartmentalise noise. This can be especially effective if you then sit those who are in the same team together as this will prevent employees from shouting across the room to speak to each other. Instead, they can simply chat among themselves without causing much of a disruption to the rest of the office.
Aside from moving furniture around, you could rearrange some of your equipment too. Gadgets such as printers, photocopiers and fax machines are known for being noisy, especially if they’re being used constantly throughout the day. To prevent these pieces of technology from causing too much of a disturbance, why not place them in a far-off corner of the office? Better yet, you could put them in a separate room.
 
2. Make use of plants
 
Believe it or not, plants have been proven to be highly effective in reducing noise levels, especially in open plan office setups. A plant’s stem, leaves and branches all play a part in helping to absorb sound, particularly in hard-surfaced areas, such as rooms with wooden floors or concrete walls. Their flexible qualities also mean they can deflect and refract sound. The more greenery you strategically position around the office, the greater the impact will be. Bear in mind that large, leafy plants are your best bet when it comes to muffling as much noise as possible. Aside from helping you control noise levels in your workspace, plants are thought to improve air quality, not to mention they’re extremely aesthetically pleasing too.
 
3. Create a quiet space
 
Whether it’s being interrupted by others asking questions or just the general chatter in the room, in the hustle and bustle of a busy work environment, some of your employees will no doubt struggle to concentrate on the task at hand. So, for when the office is just too distracting, you could provide your workers with a quiet retreat.
 
If your workspace is big enough, you could dedicate an entire room to this. However, if you’re lacking in square footage, you could simply use a corner of your existing office. Using screen partitions, you can create a quiet, peaceful area for your employees to use, blocking out the noise of the rest of the office. At Furniture at Work™, we offer an impressive range of office screens that can be used in a variety of different ways, including curved and folding models. What’s more, this style of partition can easily be moved around, meaning you won’t have the commitment of a permanent segregating wall fixture.
 
4. Allow your employees to use headphones
 
Giving your employees permission to use headphones is a great idea, especially if some of your workers struggle to concentrate as a result of a noisy office. Allowing your staff to zone out with their favourite tunes will also help to keep chatter to a minimum, giving those not wearing headphones a chance to get on with their work with less distraction. To really keep the sound out, you could go for high quality noise cancelling models.
 
5. Kit out your space with soundproofing materials
 
You could pull out all the stops and kit out your office with soundproofing materials. There may be a number of areas in your space that you can alter to make sure they are absorbing as much noise as possible. For example, soundproof walls can significantly reduce sound transmission from one room to another, while noise reducing ceiling panels can help muffle loud footfall from above. As for your flooring, carpet is ideal, however vinyl flooring has its own sound absorption qualities too.
 
You could even go as far as to install acoustic box inserts into your plug sockets to eliminate sound transfer through walls, or fill any holes and edges in wall structures with an acoustic sealant to stop noise leaking out. Although there’s no denying that this is a costly and time consuming task, insulating your office with specially designed materials could be particularly useful if you’re finding it difficult to get your sound levels just right.
 
The truth is, it’s near impossible to create a completely silent office – and you shouldn’t want to either. Especially in open plan offices, a small amount of noise is healthy, and it could actually benefit your employees. A low hubbub of soft background chatter can be comforting for workers, making them feel more at ease and less self-conscious while they get on with their day. So while you might want to keep your sound levels under control, it’s OK to allow a little noise filter through the office. Finding the perfect balance of noise in your office is key, and by putting these tips into practice, you should be able to create a harmonious environment for you and your colleagues to enjoy every day.
 

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3 Signs That Your Office is Totally Boring

November 25, 2016

Most people have worked in a boring environment at one time or another. Whether it’s Linda in Marketing constantly droning on about what she’s planning for tea or the grey cubicle wall that greets you every time you lift your head, boredom at work can be enough to make a fresh faced 18-year-old daydream about retirement.
 
Here we set 3 boring-office alarm bells ringing. Do you recognise any of them?
 
There are no colours
 
We’re not saying you can’t have a stylish and stimulating monochrome office. But if your office is a drab hotchpotch of black, white, grey and brown, you might not be getting the most out of it. Colour is thought to influence us in myriad ways. For example, it can affect how we perceive our surroundings; it can stimulate or relax us; it can lift or lower our moods.
 
Take advantage of this power by using colour in a way that might make workers feel inspired and uplifted. We’re not saying you have to create a full-on Google office experience but you could always create a feature wall using a bold colour, style up your space with some vivid artwork or simply vary the shades of your office furniture.
 
Nothing ever changes
 
Monotony does not make the heart grow fonder. On the contrary, it can make the simple act of coming into work every day a thing of dread. There are plenty of actions you can take to make your work more enjoyable and productive. You can start by changing the scenery.
 
You could mix things up by operating a hot-desking system, allowing employees to work where they are required rather than sitting at the same desk day after day.
 
You could also create a more flexible space using furniture. Need an impromptu get-together but all the meeting rooms are booked? Set up your own private space with a few office screens. Plonk some bean bags down and you’ve got yourself a meeting room with a difference. Nice day? If you’ve got space, head outside to finalise project plans or brainstorm ideas with your colleagues.
 
A degree of change and flexibility can go a long way when it comes to keeping workers engaged and invigorated.
 
There’s no room to be yourself
 
Whatever the corporate culture, people need outlets to express their personalities in order to stay well balanced and happy at work. In a relaxed environment, this might take the form of a casual dress policy or having ‘casual Fridays’. In a more formal workspace, it could simply mean allowing workers to use their own personal mug.
 
Giving teams their own whiteboards can also turn up some interesting results. Whether they choose to use it for inspirational messages, doodled team portraits or to implement an all-important brew round system, what’s important is that they have a blank canvas to express themselves with.
 
Stuck for ideas on how to improve self-expression in the workplace? Tap into your most precious resource – your employees. Asking for their ideas could help to keep them interested and you may find that their proposals could change your workplace for the better.
 
 

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The Most Important Piece of Furniture in Your Office

November 23, 2016

When you spend hours in the office every day it’s pretty important that you enjoy your surroundings. It may just look like an office chair but you’d be surprised just how much the humble office furniture can impact on your day.

 

The evolution of the office chair is pretty remarkable and traces a history of social change from workhouses to today’s executive suites. From the height of your desk to the colour of the walls, everything plays a part in your mental well being and a happy workforce means a more productive one…right?

 

Our eBook is a celebration of the most complex and important piece of furniture you use. We have gathered fantastic insights from hundreds of seasoned office workers and facts you didn’t know you needed to know about your working environment.

 

You can download the eBook below and get chatting to us about it on Twitter using #BestOfficeFurniture and tagging @Furniture_Work.

 

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4 Essential Features of a 21st Century Boardroom

November 22, 2016

From job interviews, to client pitches, to employee discussions, your boardroom is where a lot of important events take place, so it’s crucial that it’s kept looking its best. If your meeting space is beginning to look a little old-fashioned, it’s time to do something about it. In this blog, we take a look at four of the essential features of a 21st century boardroom and what you can do to bring this area of your office up-to-date.
 
1. Fresh furnishings
 
No boardroom is complete without the appropriate furniture, but if your table and chairs are starting to look outdated, it might be time to find replacements. Upgrading your furniture can help change the look and feel of the area in an instant. From mesh-backed chairs to trapezoidal-shaped tables, there are a plethora of cool and contemporary designs for you to choose from. For a truly modern vibe, why not go for seating models covered with coloured fabric?
 
If your firm is a traditional, family-run business, you might be wary of introducing 21st century inspired furnishings into your space. However, there are a number of stylish yet classic pieces you could go for. For example, at Furniture at Work™, we stock a selection of traditional-looking boardroom tables, such as our Grafton and Canning designs, which could be the perfect fit in this type of setting.
 
2. State-of-the-art technology
 
Technology is vital in any boardroom, but if you’re keen to take your set-up to the next level, it pays to invest in the latest gadgets and gizmos. If your current arrangement consists of nothing more than a laptop and a whiteboard, it’s time for a serious upgrade.
 
There are a whole host of innovative and useful pieces of tech that could help bring your space up to date. For example, you could hook up a video conferencing system to connect with your clients on a face-to-face level, or you could install an interactive whiteboard to get the most out of your meetings. Stepping up your tech game in the boardroom will not only make life easier for you and your colleagues, but you’re bound to impress clients with your state-of-the-art electronic choices.
 
3. Improved lighting levels
 
There’s nothing inspiring about a poorly lit meeting space, so if you’re guilty of ignoring the lighting levels in your boardroom, you might want to think about making improvements. A lack of light can be enough to leave your clients feeling less than impressed, and it may also be causing your employees to lose concentration during meetings. By making a few small changes, you could help pull your personnel out of the dark and into the present.
 
Simply swapping your overhead fixtures for more up-to-date models is the best place to start. To get this spot on, you might find it useful to go for illuminations that can be easily adjusted so you can alter the lighting levels to suit the situation, whether you’re conducting a PowerPoint presentation or holding a quickfire brainstorming session. Make sure you fully utilise your windows too as natural light can help keep attention levels up.
 
4. Personalisation perfection
 
When it comes to 21st century office design, it’s all about personalisation. You can’t expect to leave a lasting impression if your work spaces aren’t decorated in a way that’s befitting of your brand – and your boardroom is no exception. So, if your current meeting set-up is looking a little plain, you might want to think about giving it a customised makeover.
 
For example, you could have your company’s name and logo embossed on your boardroom door or you could fix framed posters to the walls that show off your business’ mission statement and vision. You could even position awards and certificates you have achieved in a display cabinet, or simply paint the walls in your company’s colours. To really show off your image, you could strategically place branded accessories, such as pens and mug coasters, on the boardroom table.
 
 

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4 Ways To Bring Your Office In Line With Your Brand

November 21, 2016

Although it’s necessary to make sure your office space provides your employees with a safe and comfortable place to work, it’s essential that it represents your brand too. The truth is, how you present your company can have a huge impact on your reputation, and unless you bring your office in line with your identity, you’ll struggle to impress not just your personnel, but your customers and potential clients too.
 

The good news is, creating an office that complements your company’s ethos isn’t as difficult as you might think. For some tips and tricks on how to brand your space effectively, keep reading.

 

1. Perfect your office layout

First and foremost, perfecting your office layout is an absolute must. How your workplace is arranged can reveal a lot about your business, therefore it’s important that you give this some careful thought to make sure your brand is being displayed in the right way. Aside from your employees, you may have clients visiting your premises on a regular basis, so your office layout is a good place to start if you’re keen to make a lasting impression and come across in a certain light.
 

For example, you could adopt an open-plan design in your office space. This layout is ideal if you want your company to come across as friendly and forthcoming. The distinct lack of walls and partitions gives your employees the opportunity to communicate freely with one another, creating a sociable buzz and in turn, giving your organisation a warm, positive vibe which will be especially noticeable to those visiting your workplace.
 

To achieve this layout, you could start by positioning banks of workstations in a large, open space for your employees, ensuring each individual has their own comfortable area to work from. However, if your office is lacking space, you might want to consider making some major construction changes with the help of a professional planning company.

 
2. Choose befitting furniture

No office is complete without the right furniture, but it’s the style of the pieces you go for that can really help carry your brand. To make sure your furnishings truly reflect your company’s identity, it’s important to take your time when you’re picking them out.
 

Before you even start shopping for furniture, it helps to have a clear vision of what your business is all about. If the details are a little hazy, it’s likely you’ll find it difficult to get a grasp of the look and feel you want to achieve. So, to make sure you get your choices spot on, you might want to spend some time thinking about the styles of furniture that could help cement your brand.
 

For example, if your company is an up and coming tech company, you might be keen to come across as innovative and forward-thinking. So why not go for for ultra modern furnishings to help you achieve this vibe? At Furniture at Work™, we offer a range of super stylish and contemporary pieces that would look the part in this type of setting, such as our Curran mesh-back office chairs and sleek Tully II desks. On the other hand, your business might be more traditional. For instance, if you own a family-run firm that’s been in business for many years, it’s likely you’ll feel inclined to maintain a more formal style. In this case, you could go for furnishings with a solid, wooden look, such as the products available in our Canning range.
 

It’s also important to think about the storage solutions you’ll need. While it’s crucial that these furnishings are practical, why not make them befitting of your brand too? For a professional feel, you could go for metal-look filing cabinets, or if you’re keen to keep your space super stylish, you could choose slick, colourful cupboards. We stock a range of different storage pieces that could be the ideal fit for your office.

 
3. Stick to a clever colour palette

How you choose to decorate your office can speak volumes about your business and your brand. The shades and hues you go for can make or break your space, so it pays to be clever when it comes to selecting your colour palette.
 

If you’re struggling to settle on a colour scheme, simply take a look at your company’s logo. This should give you all the inspiration you need to get started. You can take the shades included in your emblem and keep these in mind when you’re choosing everything from the paint for your walls to the colour of your carpet.
 

Aside from looking to your logo for help, you could take a more psychological approach when it comes to picking your palette. Did you know that some colours can have a specific effect on the mind? For example, it’s thought that shades of blue are associated with intelligence, efficiency and trust, while yellow hues are often linked to strength, creativity and optimism. Black usually equates to power and mystery, while purple is perfect for evoking thoughts of ambition and wealth. So, if you’re keen for others to think a certain way about your brand, why not be savvy with your decor colour choice?

 
4. Think outside the box

Your business is unique, so your space should demonstrate this too. No other organisation is the same as yours, but have you ever thought about what makes you different? To really put your stamp on your office and show off your brand, it helps to think outside the box.
 

For instance, if you’re running an eco-friendly business, make it known. Up your green credentials by positioning pots of flourishing plants and vases of fragrant flowers around your space. If you’re proud of your company’s charity efforts, why not display information on the walls why not hang up photos of team charity runs and bake sales on your walls? Your brand is one of a kind, so your office design should reflect just how individual you are and communicate what sets you apart from everyone else.

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Why You Should Take That Mug Off Your Desk Now!

November 17, 2016

If you can’t make it through a day at the office without your daily intake of tea or coffee, listen up. Did you know your favourite work mug could be making you ill? To find out the dirty truth about your cup, and why you might want to move it to the kitchen sink immediately, keep reading.
 
A breeding ground for bacteria
 
Whether you believe it or not, it’s likely there are a whole host of germs living in your mug. According to research carried out by Charles Gerba, professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona, a dirty cup is a breeding ground for bacteria. Gerba’s findings show that up to 90 per cent of the germs in a mug can live for up to three days – even if all that’s left is nothing more than a mere stain at the bottom. While this alone is alarmingly unhygienic, Gerber also discovered that 20 per cent of these germs contain faecal matter. So although you may not consider your unwashed cup to be a huge cause for concern, leaving it to sit on your desk containing the remnants of your last caffeine fix could be a mistake. It may be harbouring more nasty surprises than you think. Bacteria and viruses can be responsible for a plethora of illnesses, including the common cold, coughs and stomach bugs, so to keep your health in check, it’s important that you do what you can to keep your whole workstation, including your favourite cup, as clean as possible.
 
Keeping germs at bay
 
To make sure your mug isn’t posing a risk to your health, cleaning it after every use is a must. However, simply giving it a wash in the kitchen sink might not be enough. While you may think a quick rinse is doing the job, reusing the office sponge or scrubbing brush is a big no-no. It’s likely the cleaning tool you’re using is already covered in bacteria, so by wiping your mug with what’s available in the kitchen, you could actually be transferring even more germs.
 
To ensure your cup is completely germ-free, you might want to reconsider your cleaning technique. Ideally, you should take your mug home with you every day after work so you can wash it thoroughly with your own brush or sponge and hot, soapy water, or better yet, put it in the dishwasher on a high temperature cycle. Although this will require more effort on your part, you can rest assured that your mug isn’t crawling with unwanted bacteria, leaving you to enjoy your morning coffee or afternoon tea break without jeopardising your health.
It’s also vital that you keep your workstation clean. From your mouse, to your telephone handset, to the desk surface, you should frequently wipe it down with anti-bacterial wipes, and if you can, you should avoid eating at your workstation too. To keep germs to minimum, it also helps to keep your desk tidy and organised, so you might find it useful to invest in accessories such as a filing tray or under-desk pedestal.
 
Maintaining a clean, healthy work environment doesn’t have to be difficult. For help finding suitable furniture and storage solutions for your office, you can contact our knowledgeable team members by phone or email.
 
 

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A Guide To Introducing Greenery Into Your Workspace

November 14, 2016

When it comes to home decor, it’s pretty much the norm to fill our rooms with flourishing flowers and pretty foliage – so why not do the same at the office? From petite, potted succulents to large, leafy indoor trees, there are a whole host of ways you can incorporate greenery into your work areas. If you’re keen to introduce plants into your space, keep reading. Here are a few benefits of bringing the outdoors in.
 
Boost productivity
 
Having plants in the office is said to help boost productivity among workers. It’s thought that greenery can increase satisfaction and improve focus, and it’s also believed that the presence of plants can make employees more physically and emotionally involved in their work. Plants can help create a calm, comfortable atmosphere, which is generally the type of environment in which staff members feel they can concentrate best. Researching the connection between plants and productivity in the workplace, Marlon Nieuwenhuis from the School of Psychology from the University of Cardiff points out that an investment in “landscaping the office can pay off through an increase in office workers’ quality of life and productivity”.
 
Improve air quality
 
Indoor plants are also thought to improve air quality. Decorating your office space with some greenery can help clean the air. Plants have the ability to filter out harmful compounds, meaning you and your colleagues can benefit from a fresher, purer atmosphere while you work, and over time, this can lead to better lung capacity and improved overall physical health. So, by dotting some plants around your office, you could stand to create a much healthier and pleasant environment to work in.
 
Reduce stress
 
It’s widely believed that the presence of plants in the workplace can help reduce stress among employees. In a study carried out in 2010 by Dr Margaret Burchett, a plant scientist from the University of Technology Sydney, it was revealed that the introduction of plants can lower stress levels by up to 50 per cent, as well as significantly relieve feelings of anxiety, depression and fatigue. From her findings, Burchett claims that “just one plant can make the difference”. So, whether you position a miniature cactus on your office desk or place a potted plant nearby, you could soon be feeling much happier and relaxed while you work.
 
Add colour and texture
 
There’s no denying that plants are aesthetically pleasing, so by introducing a few flowers or a shrub into your office, you’re guaranteed to improve the look and feel of the overall space. Plants can add a splash of colour and texture to just about any area, and they’re ideal if you’re keen to give the room some extra personality. Simply placing some flourishing, leafy potted plants throughout your office could give it a much needed lift, and in turn, help you transform a sterile workspace into a more vibrant and interesting place to be.
 
Whether you decide to just decorate your office desk or you choose to fill every area with foliage, introducing greenery into your workspace could be exactly what your company needs.
 
 

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How to Create A Truly Flexible Office

November 10, 2016

When it comes to running the perfect office, it pays to be flexible. Regardless of whether your office is large and spacious or you’re struggling for square footage, creating a space that’s truly versatile for you and your employees isn’t as difficult as you might think. The good news is, there are a number of techniques you can use to transform your office into a truly adaptable place to work. In this blog, we take a look at a few ways in which you can put together a multi-purpose yet thoroughly enjoyable working environment.

Invest in fold-up chairs and tables

For an office that’s versatile, fold-up chairs and tables could be ideal. Due to their folding design, these types of furnishings can collapse quickly and easily when you don’t need to use them, and their slimline design means you can store them away neatly in cupboards. Fold-up furniture pieces can be perfect for a whole host of situations, such as impromptu meetings or unplanned discussions with colleagues, or if you just simply need some extra seating and additional surface space.

Like regular pieces of furniture, you can purchase fold-up furnishings that perfectly complement your office decor. We supply a wide range of fold-up chairs and tables in a variety of colours. We also stock designs in different shapes and sizes, including lightweight, modular and height adjustable models.

Introduce screens and partitions

Especially in an open-plan office, you may find it difficult to strike the perfect balance when it comes to keeping your employees happy. In this type of layout, it’s likely that you’ll have a lot of people doing very different jobs, meaning that distractions, such as noise levels, can often become a problem. In turn, this could leave some of your workers feeling less than impressed and frustrated, creating tension and unhappiness. In an open-plan design, it can be hard to cater to everyone’s needs, so if you’re keen to put together a more versatile environment, you could introduce screens and partitions. These dividers can be placed just about anywhere you like, helping you create privacy when and where it’s needed. Screens and partitions offer much greater flexibility than a permanent wall would, and they can be assembled as quickly as they can be taken down, giving you the chance to easily set up a temporary secluded area of the office when you need it. Whether you need to set up a private space for a quick meeting or a group of employees need somewhere to concentrate while they work on an important project, screens and partitions can prove extremely useful. They’re also ideal if certain members of staff talk on the phone frequently. From tall floor screens to short desk partitions, we offer a whole host of dividers in different shapes, heights and sizes, meaning you’ll be able to find the perfect partition for your office space.

Let your workers use laptops and tablets

In a typical office environment, employees are expected to sit at workstations for the majority of the day. So, in order to create a workspace that’s more flexible, you could give your staff the opportunity to work from a laptop or tablet instead. Allowing your personnel to work away from their usual desk setup on a portable device could help boost their motivation and increase their productivity levels, which is great news for you and your business. A simple change of scenery could have a hugely positive impact on their mood and work performance.

So that your staff members are able to work away from their desks, you could create a comfortable, relaxed space where they could retreat too. For example, if you have a separate room available, you could turn this into a breakout area full of plush seating solutions, such as comfy sofas and fun bean bag chairs. This area could also double up as a room your employees can use on their lunch breaks or for casual discussions and meetings. If you’re shore of square footage, you could simply designate a corner of your office for this purpose. On dry, warm days, you could even encourage your personnel to take their work outside. Instead of being cooped up in the office, your employees could venture outdoors to enjoy the fresh air while using their devices to get on with their tasks.

Allow your employees to work from home

Although it’s likely you’ll need to have certain members of staff present in the office every day, there might be some employees that you can allow to work from home. It’s understandable that you may be reluctant to give your workers this ‘luxury’ at first, but there are actually a variety of advantages your firm can gain by being flexible in this way. For example, some of your employees may get more work done in the comfort of their own home compared to when they’re in the office itself, which is a bonus for your firm’s bottom line. Also, it’s likely your staff will feel happier working remotely as they may have a better chance of achieving a work-life balance that suits them, and they’ll be faced with less distraction meaning they can focus better on their work. Allowing employees to work from home means you can cut back on your overheads too. With fewer people in the office, you should find that some of your overheads are much less.

Even if you have some employees working from home, you can communicate with them easily and effectively. For example, it’s simple to keep in touch throughout the day via email, telephone, instant messenger applications and video conferencing systems such as Skype.


If you’re keen to create a harmonious and pleasant work environment, flexibility is key. To suss out how we can help you put together a truly versatile office space, feel free to contact our friendly team by email or telephone. We have the knowledge and expertise to help you create the ideal office space that meets all of your needs and requirements.
 
 

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Why Your Office is Killing You

November 8, 2016

Although you might think of it as an overly dramatic declaration, your office job could actually be killing you. You wellbeing is paramount, and the chances are you probably don’t even realise just how your 9 til 5 is affecting your health. To find out more, keep reading.
 
Too much sitting down
It can’t always be helped in an office setting, but sitting down for long periods of time can be detrimental to your health. Even if you think you’re perched comfortably at your workstation, sitting down and remaining inactive can have a huge impact on your wellbeing. It’s now known that excessive sitting can increase the risk of a number of conditions, including obesity and type 2 diabetes, as well as cancer and even early death. It’s also thought to slow down the metabolism, which in turn can affect the body’s ability to control its blood sugar and blood pressure levels and the breakdown of body fat. While you may be required to sit down as part of your job, remaining seated for too long could be doing your health more harm than good.
 
Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to look after your health at work. Whether you take a walk to the kitchen to make a cup of tea or you go for a leisurely stroll at lunch, you should take regular breaks away from your computer. If you need to ask a colleague a question, you could go over to their desk to speak to them rather than send an email or call them. To help you remember to keep your body moving, you could set yourself a reminder to get up every so often to stretch your legs.
 
For the times you have to be seated, it’s important to have a comfortable, supportive chair to keep your spine and back health in check. Ideally, your seat should be fully adjustable in terms of seat height and tilt so that you can alter it to suit you. Your office chair should be stable and secure, and for extra comfort, you could go for a design with armrests. At Furniture at Work™, we stock a wide range of high-quality office chairs with a whole host of features for you choose from, such as models with contoured lower back areas, weight tension controls and multi-adjustable lumbar functions.
 
Dirty desks
Even if you reckon your desk is as clean as it can possibly be, you might want to think again. The truth is, your work surface is likely to be a breeding ground for all sorts of nasty surprises. In fact, it’s thought that the average desk harbours 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. From the surface itself, to your phone headset, to your keyboard and mouse, the harsh reality is that your workspace is probably crawling with germs. Not only is this a disgusting thought in itself, but it also means you’re at a much greater risk of contracting an illness, such a cough, cold, stomach bug or even the flu.
 
To keep bacteria at bay, it’s important that you maintain a clean and tidy work environment. For example, you should regularly wipe down your desk, as well as all of your equipment. Ideally, you should use an antibacterial wipe to make sure you’re not leaving any germs behind. Also, try to avoid eating food at your desk and aim to keep clutter to a minimum.
 
Slip and trip hazards
Did you know that slips and trips are the most common cause of major injury in workplaces in the UK? Although you might be sat at your desk for the majority of the day, it’s when you’re moving around the office that you’re at risk of seriously hurting yourself. From unruly electrical cables to poorly placed furnishings, your office is probably a lot more dangerous that you realise.
 
The good news is, there are a few simple yet effective steps you can follow to protect you and your colleagues from injury. Firstly, you should make sure that any trailing wires are neatly stowed away. You could use plastic cable ties to bunch the wires together, or better yet, you could invest in a desk with a cable port feature or an inbuilt wire management system. While computer cables and telephone wires are unavoidable in this type of environment, keeping them out of the way will significantly reduce the risk of you or someone else from taking an unexpected fall.
 
You should also ensure that all walkways are kept clear of obstacles at all times. If you spot an obstruction, either move it to a safer spot elsewhere or alert a manager to the situation. It’s crucial that any spillages are wiped up immediately too, and make sure that all surfaces are clean and dry to avoid a sudden slip.
 
Unhealthy food choices
It’s no secret how important it is to make healthy food choices. But, when you’re at work, it can be easy to let your diet slip. Especially in an office setting, it can be tempting to fill up on unhealthy snacks throughout the day. Whether it’s a biscuit with your cup of tea or you gorge on junk food at lunchtime, the food you eat can have a huge effect on your health and wellbeing. Not only will it have an impact on your waistline, but it’s likely you’ll have less energy and find it hard to concentrate. Also, you’ll be at a much higher risk of developing a serious or even life-threatening illness, such as diabetes or heart disease, so it’s important to watch what you’re eating when you’re on the clock.
 
There are a number of things you can do to keep your diet on track while you’re at work. For example, it helps to start the day by whipping up a healthy, nutritious breakfast before you even get to the office. This should curb your hunger until lunchtime, meaning you’re not tempted to give in to a mid-morning snack. However, if you get peckish before noon, there’s no harm in munching on something healthy, such as a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts. As for lunch, why not take your own tasty treats to work? Swapping junk food for a freshly made salad or wrap is a much healthier choice to make.

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How to Prevent the Spread of Flu in Your Office This Winter

October 31, 2016

Is your office an incubator for seasonal flu? Do you feel like it’s only a matter of time before you or one of your team members falls ill with a virus this winter? Is morale low because workers have to take on their sick colleagues’ duties? Is money being lost to absenteeism? Well, it doesn’t have to be this way. Here we take a look at some common sense tips for preventing bugs from spreading in the workplace and, as result, keeping sick days to a minimum and productivity high.
 

Promote good hand hygiene
 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes handwashing as a ‘do-it-yourself’ vaccine against illness. You may think that everyone understands the importance of cleaning their hands but apparently some of us are just not doing it, or not doing it right anyway. One study found that faecal bacteria can be found on 26% of hands in the UK and 11% of British hands are considered grossly contaminated.
 
Promote good hand hygiene habits by putting up posters in toilets and kitchen areas to remind staff of the importance of washing their hands and provide guidance on handwashing technique. These resources can be downloaded from the NHS website. You may also want to circulate emails around the organisation promoting good hygiene habits, especially during the winter.
 
Be sure that hot water and soap is available in all toilets and kitchens. You should also consider installing cleaning stations at entrance ways and providing hand gel and surface cleaning wipes on desks.
 
Set up and clean your office properly
 
It’s important to avoid close contact with people who are ill so, to be on the safe side, it’s a good idea for desks to be spaced as far apart as feasible. Floor screens and partitions are also useful ways of preventing germs from spreading through a busy office.
 
You should also ensure that all workers have waste bins beside their desks to dispose of tissues and other infected paraphernalia and arrange for bins to be emptied at the end of each day.
 
It may surprise you to know that the flu virus can survive for up to 24 hours on surfaces so it’s vital that office desks, keyboards, phones and door handles are cleaned thoroughly every day, especially during a flu outbreak.
 
Offer the flu vaccine
 
The flu jab is best way to prevent the flu and is most effective when given to healthy adults. To prevent working days from being lost to this highly contagious virus, consider using a corporate flu vaccine service. All you need to do is register your business with the service, decide how many vouchers you want, purchase them and issue them to your employees to redeem at no cost to them. Generally, the more vouchers you buy, the less they cost. Considering how much it could cost your organisation if it were affected by an outbreak of flu, this simple preventative measure is a highly cost-effective solution.
 
Encourage good general health  
 
To fight off flu, the immune system needs to be in good working order. To protect it, you need to eat and sleep well, exercise regularly and keep stress levels to a minimum. There are many steps you can take to promote a positive health culture in your office. For example, to promote better nutrition, you could provide free healthy snacks on site and replace unhealthy options in vending machines and canteens with healthier alternatives. To encourage your staff to get moving, you could sign your business up to a cycle to work scheme, enabling employees to get a bike tax-free, or offer corporate gym membership. You could also set up an after-work sports team.
 
If you are an employer, you also have a responsibility to assess and take action to control risks from work-related stress. For example, as part of your duties, you should encourage staff to speak up when their workload is too heavy, ensure that everyone in the business knows how to identify the signs of stress and provide adequate performance reviews. You could also promote flexible working so that employees can choose to work hours that suit them or work from home when appropriate.
 
Know the signs
 
Finally, it is vital that everyone in your workforce can identify the signs of flu. Unlike a cold, flu comes on suddenly, often involves fever and aching muscles and makes you feel too sick to get on with your daily activities. People suffering with flu are most infectious on the day their symptoms begin and up seven days after that. If you think you are developing symptoms of flu, it’s best to leave the office.
 
Many workers feel under pressure to go to work even when their temperature is soaring, their limbs are aching and they’re coughing non-stop. Doing this isn’t helpful for anyone. It’s much better to stay at home until you are over the flu than to risk infecting others and potentially causing disruption to the whole organisation. If you think someone is exhibiting signs of flu, encourage them to go home. If necessary, make it possible for them to access emails and work files while they are off.
 
Lead by example
 
As a manager or business owner, you should act as a model for your staff to emulate. So if you want to encourage staff to act responsibly when it comes to sickness, you should also act responsibly yourself by staying away from the office when you are ill. You should also practise good hygiene by ensuring that your office desk and workspace is clean and using cleaning stations before entering and exiting the office.
 
Of course, it’s not always possible to prevent your office from being affected by flu, but with a few simple preventative measures, you can limit how much your individual workers and organisation suffers.
 

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Posted by Furniture@Work

 

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