How To Make The Most Of Your Office Space

June 23, 2015

Commercial space comes at a premium these days and like many businesses, yours may be making do with a working environment that’s a little on the cramped side. The good news is, as long as you’re savvy, you can make even the smallest offices work as a base for your business. This brief guide will talk you through the basics of getting the most from bijou work areas.
Use space saving storage solutions
One top tip is to take advantage of space saving storage solutions. For example, be sure to invest in plenty of full-height cabinets and shelves. These furnishings allow you to utilise vertical space that may otherwise be wasted. Bear in mind that if your storage systems stretch up a long way, you’ll also need to be able to access equipment like step ladders so that you can safely reach the upper shelves.
You might also benefit from taking advantage of under desk storage pedestals. These handy solutions can be tucked neatly out of the way and they give you extra room to house your documents and other resources.
Consider hot desking
If the nature of your day to day tasks allows for it, you might also benefit from providing your employees with flexible working options. For example, perhaps some of your personnel could work non-standard hours, or maybe they could complete their tasks from home on certain days. This will mean you don’t have to have one desk for each of your staff members. Instead, you can use a hot desking system whereby people simply use any free workstation that’s available when they enter your office.
Cutting down the number of desks you need in this way can help to ensure that you and your colleagues don’t feel cramped when you’re in the office.
Use screens for added flexibility
Another tip is to make imaginative use of office screens. These partitions come in a range of sizes, colours and styles, and you can utilise them in a number of different ways. For example, versions with foam cushioning can come in handy if you want to cut noise levels in your workspace. By cordoning off certain departments or separating individual personnel, you can help to keep the volume in your workspace under control.
You can also use these screens to provide you with added flexibility in terms of your office design. Because they are so easy to move around, you can take advantage of the screens to create temporary meeting areas, interview spaces and other zones.
As you can see, with some careful planning, it’s possible to make even the smallest offices work for your company. As long as you use your imagination and invest in appropriate furniture, you shouldn’t struggle to make the most of every square inch of your premises. Meanwhile, if you do run into problems, you can always enlist the assistance of expert designers to come up with some novel space saving suggestions on your behalf. Although this may require some investment upfront, it could save you money and hassle in the long run.

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How To Give A Successful Presentation

June 15, 2015

If the thought of getting up in front of a group of your colleagues or customers to give a presentation fills you with dread, you can rest assured you’re not alone. According to a poll commissioned by Ripley’s ‘Believe It or Not!’ London, people dread standing up and addressing an audience even more than they do their own deaths. The only things that topped public speaking in the fear stakes were losing family members and being buried alive.
Don’t panic if a presentation looms large on your horizon though. By following these simple tips, you should be able to ensure your talk is a success.
Make sure you’re fully equipped
First and foremost, make sure you have all the equipment you’ll need to deliver your presentation. No matter how well prepared you are, you risk looking amateur if you lack the necessary gear. Depending on the style of talk you’re giving, you might need a lectern with space for a laptop, a flip board, a whiteboard or various other pieces of kit.
Take some time to familiarise yourself with these tools ahead of the big day too. The last thing you’ll want is to lose your train of thought because you’re struggling to operate your equipment.
Do plenty of preparation
Plenty of preparation is a must when you’re gearing up for these events as well. Plan your talk with your audience firmly in mind, and make sure you’re familiar with all the relevant details so that you won’t get caught out by a lack of knowledge when you’re giving your presentation. Practice giving your speech to your family or friends too, or simply run through it in front of the mirror if no one’s around. This will help to ensure you don’t stumble over your words when you’re giving the talk for real and it will enable you to hone your timing.
The sooner you start prepping your presentation, the better it’s likely to be. After all, if you’ve run through the material several times before doing your talk, you’ll stand a good chance of coming across as natural and confident. In contrast, if you try to wing it, there’s a big danger that you’ll dry up.
Engage your audience
When it’s actually time to step up in front of people and start speaking, take a few deep breaths and try to relax as much as possible. The calmer you are, the clearer and more persuasive your presentation will be. Make sure you engage with your audience too by being conversational in tone and making eye contact with people as often as possible. Also, try to be dynamic and show a little emotion. For example, depending on the type of talk you’re giving, it might be useful to include a joke or two. This will help to ensure you hold the attention of your audience and make a positive impression.
There’s no getting around the fact that presentations can be nerve racking, but by following advice like this, you should be able to give top quality talks that impress your colleagues or customers.

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5 Ways Every Office Workers Can Improve Their Posture

June 12, 2015

Poor posture can be triggered by numerous activities in the office, from sitting incorrectly to the way you hold your phone. Over time, this can lead to all sorts of health ailments, including backache, muscle pain and joint stiffness. Luckily, there are plenty of ways office workers can improve their posture and stave off these problems – and here are some of the most effective.
1) Sitting correctly
We all know that sedentary work environments are bad news for our posture and can cause a range of aches and pains from the neck down to the lower back. One way to prevent this is by sitting correctly. While sitting in an office chair, your back should be supported, your thighs at right angles to your body and your feet firmly on the floor. Try to distribute your body weight evenly by avoiding unbalanced postures such as crossing your legs, leaning to the side, tilting your head or hunching forward. Investing in ergonomically designed office chairs that are adjustable by tilt and height can also help to encourage good posture.
2) Keep moving
When you spend the majority of the day sitting down, your muscles can begin to tire over time. This can make slouching far more tempting. To help maintain good posture, it’s important to move around frequently. Try to shift your sitting position every so often to help to alleviate pressure to the neck and back muscles. Experts recommend taking a break from your desk every 30 minutes to prevent you from becoming stiff. These doesn’t necessarily have to be long breaks; they could involve making a coffee or going for a brief walk.
3) Use posture-enhancing aids
To help ease the strain on your spine when sitting, it’s worth taking advantage of supportive aids. For example, footrests can be used to help you position your feet at a comfortable level. Ergonomic back supports can also be fixed to office chairs to minimise pressure on the lower back.
Cradling your phone between your head and shoulder can also cause posture problems and strain your neck muscles. If you use your phone a lot at work, try swapping your handset for a headset to prevent this problem.
4) Change your computer screen position
Make sure that your computer screen is directly in front of you and at eye level. It should also be at about an arm’s length away. This can help you to avoid leaning forward or straining your neck.
5) Arrange your desk correctly
The setup of your desk can also have an impact on posture. Make sure that your keyboard is in directly front of you when typing, with a gap of about four to six inches at the front of the desk to rest your wrists. Your mouse should also be as close to you as possible to avoid awkward bending.
It’s also a good idea to position frequently-used items on your desk as close to you as possible to avoid repeatedly stretching or leaning forward to reach things.

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How to give your office a spring makeover

June 10, 2015

There’s no escaping the fact that most of us spend a huge amount of our waking life in the workplace. No matter how much someone enjoys their job, being confined to one space for so much of one’s time can lead to mental fatigue, unless that space looks and feels as inviting and as comfortable as possible. However, even the most exciting state-of-the-art office space will eventually feel tired and even oppressive unless companies take the time to give these spaces a makeover from time to time.
With the warmer weather on its way, spring is the perfect time to clear out those cobwebs and reinvent the workplace. Clearing out the clutter and rearranging your office space will give workers a much needed mental boost and will help to ensure that their perception of your business is one that is extremely positive.
Starting off
Knowing where to start with a spring makeover can be a difficult. With so many options and, in some cases, so much that could do with being altered, it’s not always easy to see where you can make best use of your time and resources. A thorough spring clean will be invaluable to start with, allowing you to create a huge amount of extra space. Once your space is clean, tidy and focussed, you will find it far easier to see what changes should be made.
At this point, creating a floor plan of your space will help no end. Buying an array of new and fun additions for your office may well help brighten up both the space and your workforce, but unless you are focussed on a specific end goal, you may find that the finished result is not as effective as you had envisaged.
The right space
While planning your new spring makeover, be sure that you decide which type of workspace is right for you. Although open-plan working areas are the most common choice for modern workspaces, they are not the best choice for every single company. So be sure not to follow the herd and instead base each and every decision you make on your business’s own specific needs.
With this in mind, when giving your workplace a makeover, you might want to take the time to address specific issues that have arisen in the past. If staff members have complained of distractions, or you have noticed that dwindling morale has been an problem, this could be the perfect time to make changes to combat such problems. Offering games (who doesn’t want to play air hockey on their break?) and relaxed seating areas (bean bag meeting anyone?) could give your employees the little lift they need during a long day.
Don’t forget comfort
An office makeover is not just about aesthetics. While the right colours, artwork and ornamentation can and should be chosen accordingly when you transform your workspace, simply ensuring your employees are comfortable and indeed sitting in a way that will keep them healthy will have a huge impact on productivity and morale. Aesthetics will of course remain important when choosing furniture, but if you want the best from your staff, it’s important to give them the best too, offering furniture that will give them both a physical and mental boost.
With the right planning, a little bit of thought about the potential problems your staff might face and a thorough sort out before you choose your furniture, it should be easy to find the right solutions for your business and your own unique workforce.

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What Type Of Office Design Is Right For My Business?

June 8, 2015

Getting your office design right is essential if your firm is to fulfil its potential. The look and feel of your workspace can have a major impact on the productivity and morale of your employees, and it can affect your company’s image. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to designing offices. Every organisation has its individual needs and preferences, and it’s important to make sure that your premises perfectly reflect the requirements of your business.
To help ensure you get your design spot on, it helps to ask yourself the following questions when you’re planning your work environment.
One open space or separate areas?
One thing you’ll need to decide on is whether you want to create one open space or you’d like separate areas within your office. A rising number of businesses are knocking down walls and cubicles to create open plan workspaces, and top officials and managers now often sit alongside other employees rather than in their own personal offices. This approach can help to encourage a culture of openness and transparency, and it can also foster team spirit.
Of course, this approach doesn’t suit all enterprises. As an alternative, you may prefer to have certain parts of your office cordoned off for your high-ranking personnel. Meanwhile, as a hybrid solution, you could use glass instead of solid walls for any personal offices, giving managers more privacy but still creating a working environment with an open plan feel.
Designated desks or freedom to move around?
Another question you must ask is whether you’d like your personnel to have their own designated desks or you’d prefer them to have the freedom to move around and work from different parts of your premises. There are benefits to both approaches. By creating different zones within your workspace, such as breakout areas where workers can have impromptu meetings and discussions and quiet spaces where people can concentrate on their work, you can ensure your personnel can always find an environment that suits the tasks they are completing.
On the other hand, if your personnel have their own desks, they can create a personalised area and they can keep any documents or stationery that they may need in one place.
Conventional or quirky?
When it comes to the overall style of your workspace, you have to decide whether to go for a conventional look or to opt for something more contemporary and quirky. The route you take will depend on the image you want to convey both to your workers and to your customers. If you want to come across as traditional, leather seating, square-edged desks and other such design features will work best. Alternatively, for a more modern take on office design, rounded-edged furnishings and colourful seating will work better.
It’s only once you’ve decided exactly what it is you want your office to achieve that you should start the process of designing this space. Whatever route you take, make sure that your overall design scheme is cohesive and that it perfectly reflects your brand and business ethos.

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Simple Ways To Increase Morale At Work

June 3, 2015

As a boss, you might be looking for ways to raise morale among your employees. After all, by boosting people’s spirits, you not only make their working lives better, you also stand to reap a range of business benefits. When workers are happy, they tend to be more productive. It’s also easier to recruit and retain the best personnel if your staff members are contented. With this in mind, here are some simple ways to increase morale in your office.
Improve your seating
One top tip is to improve your seating. People can spend many long hours at their desks these days and if their chairs aren’t top-quality, their comfort and even their health can suffer. Workers can develop everything from sore backs to stiff necks and problems with their legs and arms if they don’t have access to suitable seats.
When you’re on the hunt for new chairs, it’s best to opt for adjustable versions that can be adapted to suit the specific needs of your employees. Seats should also offer impressive levels of back support and sufficient cushioning.
Keep noise levels under control
It’s important to keep noise levels under control as well. One major worker gripe, especially among people who are based in open plan offices, is the volume levels they have to put up with on a daily basis. As well as preventing people from concentrating on their tasks, excessive noise can cause stress levels to soar and it can lead to disagreements between colleagues.
One way to limit volume levels is to install desk and floor screens around your office. For maximum sound absorbency, make sure you select versions with foam cushioning. Whether you use them to partition individual workers or to separate departments, these screens can bring the noise in your work environment down.
Encourage people to take their allocated breaks
Especially if they feel under pressure to complete their tasks, workers can be tempted to skip their breaks. By foregoing quick tea breaks during the day and hurriedly eating their lunches at their desks, workers often fail to get the rest they need. This is bad news for their stress levels, eyesight and morale.
To encourage your employees to take their breaks, try to make sure they have manageable workloads. You might also want to create appealing rest areas where personnel can meet to eat, socialise and even play games. A rising number of companies are switching onto the benefits of including recreational areas in their offices, with tech giants like Google and Facebook leading the charge.
Show you care
Last but not least on this list, it is important to show you care about your employees. Simple things, like providing fruit bowls, water dispensers and free teas and coffees, can do wonders to raise morale. Make an effort with your office décor too. Adding some plants and attractive artwork to your workspace can elevate staff satisfaction levels.
By following tips like these, you should succeed in increasing the morale among your personnel.

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Simple Ways To Boost Worker Health

May 12, 2015

Promoting a healthy culture at work can reap numerous benefits for both your employees and your business. By making health a priority in the workplace and ensuring that your staff are on top form, you stand to reduce absenteeism, increase performance levels and improve retention – all of which are good news for your bottom line. In fact, more and more companies are now cottoning on to the fact that a healthy workforce equates to a successful business and are making efforts to invest in their staff members’ wellbeing. If you’re keen to find out more about how you can boost worker health, here are some top tips.
The importance of the right workstation
For people who spend a large chunk of their days sat at their desks, uncomfortable chairs and poorly designed desks can increase the risk of a number of health problems, including muscle aches and pains and poor circulation. To keep your employees in tiptop condition, it’s crucial that you provide them with high quality, ergonomically designed workstations. Desktop monitors must also be at the right height and free from glare to prevent eyestrain and headaches.
Encourage staff to exercise
Keeping your employees fighting fit doesn’t necessarily mean you have to splash out on a state of the art onsite fitness facility. On the contrary, there are plenty of simple but effective ways in which you can encourage your personnel to engage in physical activity. For example, why not create a cycle to work scheme, organise a charity run or host a group walk at lunchtime? By incorporating such activities into your office environment, you can make a healthy lifestyle more convenient for your staff. Not only can this lead to a healthier workforce, it can also remind your personnel that you are committed to promoting their wellbeing, which can give morale a helpful boost too.
Curb unhealthy eating habits
Sure, we’re all guilty of treating ourselves to a sugary snack or a fatty meal when we need a little pick-me-up during a gruelling shift, but these unhealthy eating habits can take their toll on our health. To help encourage your staff to swap junk food for more nutritious, wholesome options, make sure the canteen menu and vending machines offer a variety of healthy alternatives. You can even provide fruit bowls to help keep hunger pangs at bay.
Manage stress levels
Of course, as well as physical wellbeing, it’s important to support workers’ mental health. Excessive levels of stress and anxiety can make your staff more vulnerable to fatigue and mental burnout, as well as putting them at an increased risk of high blood pressure and heart problems. By providing your personnel with breakout areas where they can get away from stressful work demands and have some downtime, you can help to reduce their stress levels and improve their overall working day.
More generally, managers and employers should keep an eye out for symptoms of stress and ensure that they don’t overload workers with unrealistic demands and deadlines.

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Can Your Office Set-Up Help Control Stress Levels?

May 8, 2015

While some work-related stress is normal, excessive amounts can hinder productivity and have a detrimental impact on employees’ physical and mental health. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways in which you can keep stress levels under control at work. We all know that impending deadlines and hefty workloads can cause increased anxiety and added strain, but what is less well known is that office set up can also have an impact on workers’ moods. If you want to find out more about how workplace design can affect stress levels, this simple guide should help.
Break-out areas
Providing break-out areas where employees can forget about the demands of their job can help to alleviate work pressures. If people feel like they have nowhere to relax during the day, they are more likely to become vulnerable to stress and suffer a burnout. To combat this, offices should incorporate recreational spaces where workers can socialise and spend some time away from their desks. While this may seem counter-productive, stepping away from work to briefly relax and remove yourself from stressful situations can help to ease tension, which can in turn help boost productivity and enhance mental sharpness.
The importance of layout
When trying to stave off stress, it’s important to think about the layout of workspaces. Confined workstations and enclosed cubicles can leave staff feeling depressed and demotivated, whereas open workspaces can help to nurture a more friendly, sociable atmosphere. Breaking down physical barriers between workers can encourage collaboration and make people feel as though their workload is shared.
However, it’s important to bear in mind that employees will have different preferences in how they like to work, and catering to their individual needs can help to keep everyone happy. For example, if some of your staff require a quiet environment, office screens can provide them with the privacy they need.
As a general rule of thumb, offices that are well-ventilated, spacious and have plenty of natural light can help to increase employee morale and keep workplace woes at bay.
Comfortable office furniture
Uncomfortable, poorly designed chairs and desks can also add to feelings of stress in the workplace. If you want workers to be happy and healthy, it’s important to invest in well-crafted, ergonomically designed furniture. Not only can comfortable chairs and appropriately sized desks improve your staff members’ overall mood, it can also lead to improved work performances and reduce absenteeism – which is good news for your business’s bottom line.
Clear the clutter
A study conducted by the National Association of Professional Organisers showed that the average worker wastes approximately 4.3 hours a week searching for papers, which can cause increased levels of frustration and stress. A cluttered desk that is piled high with paperwork and swamped in office supplies can lead to feelings of mental overload and prevent personnel from staying on top of their tasks. Filing cabinets, cupboards and other storage solutions can promote greater efficiency and help people to feel more in control of their work.

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Simple Ways To Keep Your Office Organised

May 5, 2015

If your desk is piled high with paperwork, you trip over a mass of cables on the way to the coffee machine and you spend more time searching for your supplies than doing work, it’s high time you got organised. Bringing order to your office can sometimes seem like a mammoth task, but it doesn’t have to be. There are simple ways you can get your workspace into shape – and here’s a few tips to get you started.
Invest in storage solutions
Investing in storage is one of the easiest and most effective ways to organise a chaotic office. Filing cabinets, bookcases and under desk pedestals are ideal for keeping your files, folders and important documents organised while freeing up valuable desk space. To maximise your efforts, it’s a good idea to create an easy-to-use system for filing and archiving. This could be alphabetical, colour coded or numerical – whichever way suits you best. You may also want to designate separate sections for work in progress and completed projects to help you stay on top of your tasks.
If you think that your office is stifling productivity and could do with a sprucing-up, take a look around our site and browse our selection of office storage.
Once you’ve invested in effective storage, try to avoid getting carried away and cramming your shelves, bookcases and filers full of junk. First, it’s important to purge your office of anything that you don’t need. Look around you – are there any items that haven’t been used in god-knows-how-long and are collecting dust in the corner? If so, chances are you don’t need them.
If your desk is buried under post-its, papers and other equipment, let’s face it, you’re probably not getting much work done. To cut down on distractions and give your productivity a boost, go through every item on your desk and give it a proper home. Use desktop organisers, trays and containers to help keep clutter at bay and put labels on shelves, drawers and any other type of storage to remind you and your colleagues where things go. And don’t just stop at your workstation either – empty drawers, clean out cupboards and sort through your computer’s filing system too.
Prioritise your supplies
To take your organisation to new levels, try prioritising your supplies. Keep items that you use the most within easy reach, while rarely-used provisions can be stored away to keep your space neat and tidy. To save yourself from wasting time hunting down the things you need, keep frequently-used folders and books on a nearby shelf and reserve top drawers for pens, notepads and other important equipment.
To help you keep on top of your workload, try hanging a memo board above your desk and attach your assignments, meeting notes and other responsibilities to remind you of important dates and deadlines.
By following simple tips like these, you’ll be surprised at how much of a difference a well-ordered space can make to your working day.

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Boardrooms: the design basics

March 13, 2015

Your boardroom is a place where contracts can be won or lost, deals struck and vital decisions made. This means it’s vital that the space looks and feels the part. If you’re determined to create the perfect boardroom, take a look at these basic design principles.
Pick the perfect table
The focal point of your boardroom will be your table, so this piece of furniture must exude style and sophistication. It must also be a suitable size and meet your firm’s practical needs. Ideally, it will be in perfect proportion to the room, and it will comfortably fit enough people around it.
Depending on your requirements, you might want to opt for one single table. To create an intimate setting, circular versions can be ideal. Meanwhile, if you will need to accommodate large groups, a more sizeable rectangular design could be better. For a flexible solution, you can buy modular units that interlock with each other to enable you to create a range of different shapes.
Whatever type of table you choose, make sure it has a finish that complements your decor.
Invest in luxurious seating
If you want people to be able to concentrate while they’re in your boardroom, and if you want to impress your visitors, comfy and attractive seating is a must. You can take your pick from a range of chairs, including everything from traditional leather versions to modern looking seats featuring mesh.
The important thing is that the chairs you choose look the part and offer plenty of support to help people get through potentially long meetings and presentations without starting to feel fidgety.
Integrate your tech
Think carefully about the technology you want to integrate into this space too. You might need everything from video conferencing solutions to white boards. You will also require plenty of power points so that your colleagues and visitors can plug in their laptops and other devices if necessary. Meanwhile, you will benefit from setting up a good audio system that enables people to hear one another clearly. Ceiling or boundary microphones can come in handy for this purpose.
Think about how your lighting will interact with your technology too. You should be able to eliminate glare on screens and create the perfect viewing conditions at the touch of a button.
Pay attention to detail
In addition, make sure you pay careful attention to detail when you’re designing this part of your office. The decor should reflect your company’s brand and be visually appealing. As a general rule, less is more in the world of boardroom interior design. After all, you don’t want too many distractions. However, the addition of a few well placed plants can help to bring the areas to life, and some branded signage can work well too.
It’s also important to make sure all your wiring is tucked neatly away, and you should keep this area clean and tidy at all times.
By following simple tips like these, you should be able to dress your boardroom to impress.

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