First Impressions – what does your reception say about your business?

March 6, 2017

Have you ever thought about what first impression your business is giving? Research shows that we form a first impression in just 0.1 second. This isn’t a lot of time to ensure the first opinion is a good one. So, take a look at your reception furniture what does it say about your business – what would your opinion be if you were entering the premises for the first time?

 

It’s not just the place people judge but those greeting them too. What are they wearing, how do they sound? All of these are valid questions that impact people’s opinions.

 

After that first interaction our opinion rarely changes, so let’s make it a good one. Get thinking about the furniture, people, and welcome guests receive. If you get these right you are on track for a positive reputation.

 

Don’t believe us? Put it to the test watch our latest video and see what you can deduce from these snappy images.

 

 

We’d love to hear your feedback and you can join the conversation by visiting us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

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How to create an organised classroom in 3 simple steps

March 2, 2017

Regardless of whether you’re in your first teaching job or you’ve been doing it for years, it can be tricky to get the hang of creating and maintaining a perfectly organised classroom. Letting your study space fall into disarray can be chaotic and unsettling not just for you, but your pupils too, so it pays to think carefully about how you can keep your room neat, tidy and clutter-free. For some handy hints and tips, keep reading.

1. Use effective storage solutions


You can’t expect to maintain an organised classroom if you’re not readily equipped with effective storage options. It’s vital that everything in your space has a place to stay when not in use, and it’s just as important that you know exactly where to find the things you need. The good news is, there are a plethora of different storage solutions that you could incorporate into your classroom depending on what it is that you need to stow away. For example, bookcases and cupboards are ideal for storing textbooks, while trays and drawer units are perfect for keeping stationery supplies. At Furniture at Work, we offer a range of high quality education furniture in a variety of shapes and sizes, so you shouldn’t struggle to find storage that fits your space and satisfies your precise needs.

2. Create an effective filing system

As a teacher, you’ll appreciate that there is much more to your role than giving lessons and marking homework. It’s likely that you’re expected to complete stacks of paperwork on a daily basis. While you no doubt try your best, it can be tricky to keep on top of the administrative side of your job, and it’s easy to let your space become cluttered and untidy. So, to make sure you’re staying on track at all times, you might find it useful to create your own filing system. From class schedules and lesson plans, to useful resources and materials, to pupil registers and reports, this is a great way to maintain order in your study space.

How you set up your system is up to you. You could go all out and dedicate an entire filing cabinet to staying on top of things, or you could arrange your essential documentation in plastic boxes or trays. You might even want to create sub-folders or colour code your work by category to make sure you’re ultra organised at all times.

 

3. Rethink your furniture layout

 

If the layout of your classroom furniture is all wrong, it’s likely the whole room will suffer. Failing to think about the arrangement of your furnishings can make the space look and feel chaotic, and you may struggle to make the most of the room you have. In turn, this can have a negative impact on your teaching and on your students too. So, if you’re keen for your lessons to flow smoothly, it pays to organise your furniture in an effective manner.

 

The size and shape of your classroom may influence how you arrange your desks or tables. Whether you choose to organise these furnishings in rows, clusters or in a circular shape, the configuration you use should enable you and your pupils to move around the room with ease, and it should also complement your teaching style.

 

As long as you’re fully prepared, creating and maintaining organisation and order in the classroom isn’t as difficult as you might think.

 

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3 workplace resolutions for 2017

February 14, 2017

Is your office décor uninspiring and drab? Are you not getting enough exercise during the working day? Do you find yourself constantly searching for missing documents? Whatever your problems in the office, the new year is the perfect time to make some changes. With this in mind, here are three useful workplace resolutions that could benefit you in 2017 and beyond.

 

  1. Move around more

Sitting is now being likened to smoking by some experts in terms of the the level of risk it poses to public health. Changes in technology and working habits mean that many of us now lead far more sedentary lives that our predecessors did in previous generations. Worryingly, research has linked excessive sitting with a range of serious health problems, including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and certain cancers. Predictably, it also raises people’s risk of obesity. Sitting down for prolonged periods of time is thought to slow down the body’s metabolism, which impacts its ability to regulate blood pressure and sugar and break down fat. A study conducted by a team from Harvard Medical School and the Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital suggested that inactivity causes nine per cent of premature deaths around the world.

So, given the clear dangers associated with too much sitting, what can you do protect your health in the office? One simple thing could be to invest in Sit Stand desks. These innovative furnishings give you the option of standing while you work. It’s also a good idea to get into the habit of regularly taking breaks from your desk to move around the office. Why not go for a walk or hit the gym on your lunch break too? These simple but effective tactics could help to stave off a range of medical problems.

 

  1. Clear the clutter

Sick of searching for lost paperwork? Perhaps it’s time to invest in additional office storage. Having plenty of filers and cupboards to house everything from documents to books and stationery supplies will help you to keep your workspace organised. If you’re a little short on square footage, you could invest in space-saving solutions like under-desk pedestals and full-height cabinets.

As well as making sure you’re properly kitted out, it’s worth putting in place an effective filing system, and if you haven’t already done so, try to get into the habit of filing your documents as you go or at the end of each day. This will help ensure your workspace doesn’t gradually slide into disarray.

 

  1. Get serious about style

An attractive office not only looks professional and impressive when guests visit, it’s also inspiring for you and your colleagues to use. Having the perfect colour scheme and stylish design touches can be a big morale booster and it might even help you to work more effectively. So, if you’re bored of the way your workplace looks or it’s beginning to look a little tatty, why not make some improvements? Simply repainting the walls, hanging some new artwork and introducing more greenery should give your office a new lease of life.

 

Resolving to make improvements like these could help to make 2017 one of your most productive and enjoyable yet – and the benefits should last long into the future.

 

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Organised Mess – How Your Zodiac Organises You

February 1, 2017

From your love life to how successful you become, some things in life are written in the stars. But did you know that the stars are also to blame for how messy or organised you are?
 
Yes, you read that right! If you’re someone who tries hard to be organised but just can’t bring yourself to sort your wardrobe into colours or arrange your filing cabinet into alphabetical order then you’ll be relieved to know that it isn’t actually your fault because it’s all down to what star sign you are.
 
Allow the latest infographic from Furniture At Work to explain…


Filing Cabinets from Furniture at Work

Share your #OrganisedMess results on Twitter @Furniture_Work (via Furniture at Work).

 

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Why Your Office Needs A Personal Stamp

January 17, 2017

Could your office be improved with some personal design touches? To help you get your head around how customisation in the workplace can benefit your business, keep reading.

It’ll impress your visitors

It’s no secret that when it comes to office decor, first impressions count. Worn carpet, scuffed walls and broken light bulbs are a big no-no, so in order to have a positive impact on those who visit your premises, it pays to make the effort to freshen up your workspace. However, while a simple lick of paint can help brighten up the place, you could take your decorating to the next level and get personal. Incorporating your company’s image throughout the space will show your clients that you mean business and they’ll be more inclined to take you and your firm seriously.

The good news is, there are a number of ways you can boost your brand. For example, old-fashioned and worn furnishings are not only unpleasant for your workers to use, but they could also leave your visitors feeling less than impressed. High-quality furnishings are extremely important in areas such as meeting spaces, boardrooms and anywhere else that you might hold a conversation with a guest, so if your current furniture choices are beginning to look tatty, it might be time for an upgrade. For desks, chairs and storage solutions that can help portray your firm’s identity, you can browse the Furniture at Work™ website. Regardless of whether your brand is modern and contemporary or classic and traditional, you shouldn’t struggle to find exactly what you need.

 

Aside from kitting your office out with befitting furniture, you could also invest in branded accessories. From mousemats and pens, to coasters and cushions, there are a variety of extras you could strategically place around your workspace to help you make a great impression.

 

It’s good for your employees

 

While you can personalise your office in line with your brand, you could give your workers the chance to customise their own spaces. In 2014, a study was published online by Georgia State University professor Kris Byron and University of Michigan professor Greg Laurence. As part of their study, both researchers approached the idea that personalisation in the office is often used as a territorial marker to help employees express who they are. It’s a given that if you were to personalise your workstation, you’d choose knick-knacks that are a true reflection of you as an individual, but how exactly can this benefit your employees?

An interviewee from the study who was an event planner explained that the thank-you notes displayed on her pin board were there to reassure others of her reliability and competency – two traits that are essential in her role. Some participants admitted that they choose to customise their space to help emphasise their characters and highlight their position within the organisation. For instance, while an employee in a management role might proudly display a hard-earned certificate, a member of the design department may choose to strategically exhibit their best doodles and drawings to showcase their talents.


Aside from confirming individuality, personalisation can also help build relationships between your employees. While all of your workers are unique and different, allowing them to be creative like this is a great way to get them to realise their shared interests, and in turn, create a friendly and harmonious atmosphere in the office.

Adding a personal stamp to your office design doesn’t need to be difficult, and you should find that making a few simple changes can have a positive effect on both your customers and your employees.

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Why the Traditional Office Still Matters in Today’s Virtual World

December 12, 2016

There’s no denying the fact that we live in an increasingly digital, virtual world, and this is having a huge impact on the way in which many of us work. According to an analysis of government figures by the Trades Union Congress, more than four million people in the UK regularly worked from home last year. This represented an upsurge of nearly a million compared with 2005.
 
Being able to plug in and complete tasks remotely is allowing a rising number of us to shun the twice-daily commute and, in theory at least, achieve a better work-life balance. So, given the trend towards greater home working, what role does the traditional office now play? Is this familiar fixture of working life soon to be a thing of the past or will it continue to serve an essential purpose even as technology continues to advance?
 
Here, we take a look at a few of the reasons why the office as we know it still matters to workers and employers alike – and examine how these areas can be given a 21st century update to ensure they remain relevant and useful now and in years to come.
 
Fulfilling a social need
 
Especially to those in busy, crowded offices, the prospect of being able to work from home undisturbed by noisy colleagues can seem inviting. However, while some people do thrive in this relative isolation, others quickly find being away from their co-workers to be a lonely experience. This fact is reflected in the growing number of shared workspaces that have been set up around the world. In fact, according to a prediction by DeskMag, more than 10,000 new co-working spaces will be opened around the world this year alone.
 
These offices allow freelancers and entrepreneurs to come together in a shared environment. As well as providing people with desk space, they give users a chance to break their solitude and enjoy a more sociable working experience. Some might just want to have the occasional conversation around the water cooler, while others use these places to network, give and seek advice and share ideas.
 
The popularity of co-working spaces in towns and cities across the globe suggests that for those who prefer to be in the company of others, there will always be a place for shared offices.
 
Enabling better communication
 
It’s true that emails, phone calls, video-conferencing chats and cloud-based shared documents and systems mean it’s now easier than ever for remote workers to communicate with their colleagues. However, sometimes there’s no substitute for face-to-face discussions – and offices provide by far the most convenient setting for these interactions. From formal meetings to impromptu chats, these traditional working environments enable colleagues to exchange ideas in person.
 
By facilitating the easy flow of information in this way, offices can spur creativity, reduce the risk of misunderstandings between individuals and departments and generally help to ensure that processes run smoothly. All of this is beneficial for personnel and employers alike.
 
Creating a sense of team spirit
 
Being together in a building with their colleagues can also help to increase the sense of team spirit that people experience within a company. After all, co-workers tend to feel closer and more connected if they see and speak to each other on a regular basis. Also, when people are together in offices, they can get involved in a range of activities that enhance this feeling of camaraderie and belonging. From fancy dress fundraising days to bake sales, there are a range of things colleagues can do in offices that simply wouldn’t happen if everyone worked from home. Even seemingly insignificant gestures, like people bringing in cakes to share out when it’s their birthdays, can help to foster a sense of shared purpose and collectivism.
As well helping to increase job satisfaction, strong team spirit can encourage people to pull together and work more effectively, which is of course good news for companies’ bottom lines.
 
Creating a flexible workspace for the 21st century
 
For the reasons listed above, and potentially for many more besides, offices remain essential for lots of workers and organisations. However, that’s not to say that these environments aren’t changing dramatically in line with technological and social trends. So, if you’re keen to create a workspace that’s befitting of the 21st century, it’s important to be savvy when it comes to design.
 
For example, if you want to provide your personnel with flexible working options – so that those who want to work remotely from time to time can do so – why not introduce a hot desking policy to ensure you’re making the most efficient use of space? Also, you may want to join the rising number of employers that are switching onto the benefits of creating different zones with their offices. From breakout areas with comfy, informal furnishings that provide the perfect setting for discussions between colleagues to quiet spaces where people can concentrate on their tasks without being disturbed, you could include a number of different sections in your workspace.
 
You might also want to inject some fun into your office by incorporating a games area or quirky design elements like a staff art wall where employees can display photos or drawings. People are increasingly put off by stuffy, formal offices and many now expect a more light-hearted space to work in. By creating an engaging, entertaining and vibrant office, you may be able to increase morale and boost creativity among your staff members.
 
Of course, it’s still essential to get the basics right when you’re planning your work area. For instance, comfy and supportive seating is a must, along with spacious desks and plenty of storage. Getting these fundamental elements of your environment right will help to keep your employees healthy and happy.
 
As long as offices continue to reflect the needs and preferences of employees, it seems likely that these spaces will remain a staple of our working lives for the foreseeable future – even in the face of increasing digitalisation.
 
 

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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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