10 Organisational Secrets Your Colleagues Aren’t Telling You

November 2, 2015

No matter how many times you rearrange your paperwork and de-clutter your desk, you can’t quite seem to get organised. Meanwhile, your co-workers always manage to stay on top of tasks and are far more productive than you. While you spend most of your day shuffling things around trying to find what you need, they’re getting things done. Sound familiar? So what exactly can you learn from your super-organised workmates? Here are 10 organisational secrets your colleagues aren’t telling you.
1. Give everything a home
Ever heard the saying ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’? Well, you can be certain that your more organised peers have. There have been numerous studies that suggest that a cluttered, untidy desk can cause added stress and have a negative impact on your performance at work. If you are guilty of having a messy workstation, now is the time to take action. By having a designated area for all of your office supplies and equipment, you’ll be able to create an efficient, functional space and boost your productivity. Before you leave the office, do a quick tidy up and make sure everything on your desk is in its rightful home so you can start the following day with a clear mind.
2. Make a to-do list
It’s a simple trick, but it can be extremely effective. Making a to-do list at the beginning of each day can help you to manage your time more effectively and it can be especially useful during busy periods or when you are working to a strict deadline. Of course, the more important the task, the higher up on your list it should go. Not only will having a checklist help you to stay on top of your workload, but you will also get the added satisfaction when you get to cross something off.
3. Get rid of what you don’t need
Do you really need that handout from a meeting you had last month? If it’s not important, put it in its appropriate place or throw it away. Take the time to go through your equipment, supplies and knick-knacks and purge your desk of anything that you don’t need. As a general rule of thumb, if you haven’t used it in the last month, chances are you’re not going to need it anytime soon. When you are done, you should only be left with the important, everyday items.
4. Label your things
OK, so it’s not the most exciting job in the world, but labeling your equipment can make your working day run more smoothly. Adding labels to shelves, files and storage containers can help you to function more efficiently and reduce wasted time spent searching for the things you need. Plus, as well as reminding you of where things go, it will also help others who need to locate items on your workspace.
5. Keep frequently-used items close at hand
Are you always misplacing your stapler? Do you spend at least 10 minutes before a meeting searching for your notepad rather than preparing? By keeping all of your frequently-used items within easy reach in one place, such as a top drawer, you’ll be able to quickly find the things you use the most and minimise any potential distraction. Anything that you rarely use but still need to keep can be stored away in filing cabinets or cupboards.
6. Revise your filing system
If you want to be on the same level as your organised workmates, consider revising your filing system. Have a section dedicated to documents that have just arrived, work that is in progress and completed files that need to be archived. This way you can prioritise your most important tasks and keep on top of what still needs to be done. Also, try to deal with files as and when you receive them to prevent your filing system from becoming overcrowded.
7. Organise your emails
Ever wondered why your colleague’s inbox is clear while you’ve got hundreds of emails mounting up by the minute? To avoid email congestion, get into the habit of streamlining your inbox. Have an ‘urgent’ folder for important emails and a ‘pending’ folder for those you need to come back to and delete any messages you don’t need when you receive them. This will help you to keep track of your work.
8. Stop multitasking
To be successful in the workplace, more often than not it’s about quality rather quantity. Multi-tasking and trying to do too many things at once doesn’t always save you time and can actually hinder productivity. Not only will the quality of your work suffer, but you also run the risk of losing track of what you are meant to be doing. Take a more systematic approach and stick to one task at at a time to help you maintain focus.
9. Free yourself from distractions
We all know how tempting it can be to peek at your latest notification on Twitter, read through your texts during an arduous meeting or update your status about how fantastic your lunch was, but these small interruptions can eat up precious time. If you want to make the most out of your working day, keep your phone on silent and free yourself from all distractions that impede your concentration.
10. Create a routine that suits your working style
Last but not least, try to plan your day around how you work best. For example, if you find that your motivation begins to flag after midday, try to do your most important work in the morning. As a general rule of thumb, save smaller tasks for when your energy levels are at their lowest and leave the more challenging jobs for when you are at your most alert. Having this routine will help you to remain engaged throughout the day.
Being organised at work is an ongoing process, but by taking our suggestions on board, you can look forward to a more productive, enjoyable and successful work life.

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Three Tricks To Maximise Productivity At Work

September 28, 2015

“Never mistake motion for action.” These were the wise words of author and journalist Ernest Hemingway and, while they may have been penned many moons ago, the sentiment remains just as pertinent now as it did when it was first expressed.
Bosses the world over know that even the most frenetic and seemingly hardworking offices can be found wanting when it comes to output. The good news is, there are effective ways to bolster workplace productivity and simply rethinking your office furniture could play a major role in this. With this in mind, here are three tricks that should help you to make your operations more efficient.
Drive noise levels down with special office screens
If there’s one thing that really gets on office workers’ nerves, it’s excessive noise. Open plan work areas may represent an effective use of space, but they have a tendency to get too loud. In fact, one study of more than 1,000 UK office workers conducted by Avanta Serviced Office Group found that 82 per cent were regularly distracted by noise. Nearly a third had even been driven out of these areas to work from other locations, including their homes and local libraries. If your personnel are unable to focus because of volume levels, their productivity is bound to suffer.
To stop sound levels getting out of control, try introducing office screens into your workspace. You can use these accessories to cordon off different departments, to create special quiet zones or to provide individual worker booths. For the best results, make sure you select screens with foam cushioning for added sound absorbency.
Stay organised with the right storage solutions
We might now use more digital information than ever before, but it seems that our love affair with paper is far from over. According to figures produced by GreenPrint, in London alone, office workers get through around three and a quarter million tonnes of paper per year. Under this volume of material, offices can quickly become swamped. If your office is lacking the right storage solutions, your workers may end up wasting time searching for files and papers. As well as slowing them down, this could cause their stress levels to soar.
To ensure your office always stays neat and tidy, it’s a good idea to invest in plenty of storage. From cabinets and drawers to under-desk pedestals, there’s no shortage of solutions on offer. Make sure you have effective and well labelled filing systems in place too.
Create informal meeting spaces to boost communication
Effective communication is the lifeblood of any organisation and while emails and phone calls can play a big part in keeping information flowing, there’s no substitute for face to face discussions. However, official meeting rooms can quickly get booked up, and often people feel intimidated by the prospect of reserving them. So that your staff members have a place where they can go at short notice to have discussions with their colleagues, you might benefit from incorporating an informal breakout area in your workspace. Simply putting some seating in a designated zone and making it available for impromptu meetings could work wonders to enhance communication between your personnel. Ultimately, this could be good news for your firm’s productivity.
Simple tricks like these can help you to make that as well as motion, there is plenty of action taking place in your office.

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How To Decorate Your Office Desk

September 25, 2015

We’ve all felt it – that sinking feeling as you take a seat at your workstation on Monday morning, the whole week stretching out in front of you. There are ways to banish these all too familiar Monday blues though. The following five desk decorating tips could help ensure you start the week with a smile instead of a frown.
1) Choose the perfect desktop picture
Firstly, think about your computer. You might spend countless hours staring at your PC when you’re in work, so now’s the time to ditch that boring screen saver and select the perfect desktop picture to replace it with. Go for something bright and cheery, and for sheer escapism, why not opt for a beautiful scene, like a tropical beach or a dramatic landscape?
2) Create a personalised desk calendar
You might not have enough space on your desk to include all your favourite photos in frames, but one simple way to showcase a selection of your best snaps on your workstation is to create a personalised desk calendar. You should easily be able to squeeze one of these compact creations onto your desk, and you can fill it with a variety of your most prized photos, from portraits of family, friends and pets to your most cherished holiday pictures.
3) Get some greenery
Think about putting a plant on your desk too. According to psychologist Dr Chris Knight from Exeter University, greenery can help to raise worker morale. Also, research conducted by the expert, along with academics from four other universities in the UK, Australia and the Netherlands, suggested that the presence of plants in offices can even raise productivity by 15 per cent. So, as well as feeling happier, you might find you perform better with a bit of greenery in your environment. For a low-maintenance option, consider going for an Air Plant, also known as a Tillandsia. They don’t even need soil to grow, just moderate levels of light and a good soaking of water every week.
4) Brighten things up with a full-spectrum bulb
To give your workstation a more homely, inviting look, think about adding a desk lamp. And if you’re stuck in a particularly dark corner of your office, check out the full-spectrum bulbs available. These lights give off a greater proportion of blue wavelengths, simulating sunlight, and they are known to boost alertness and energy levels throughout the day.
5) Treat yourself to a toy, or two
Lastly, bring out your inner child with a desk toy – or two. You can take your pick from everything from the classic Newton’s cradle to puzzles, miniature water fountains, zen gardens, stress balls and more. OK, so it’s not a good idea to go overboard when buying these accessories, but a couple of fun toys can make a welcome addition to any workstation.
Shaking the Monday blues may be difficult, but by decorating your desk with extras like these, you should be able to start the week with a smile on your face.

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Where The Magic Happens Infographic

September 21, 2015

It may be the nucleus of your working life, but how much thought do you give to the relationship you have with your desk? Find out what UK workers and some famous names think about their desks in our latest infographic.

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Five Hacks To Prevent The Dreaded Office Bod

September 2, 2015

Are you at risk of the dreaded office bod? Modern workspaces may not seem to pose much of a risk to health, but in fact these environments can be storing up trouble for our weight and overall wellbeing. Sitting down too much is not just bad for your figure, it can also raise your risk of a range of serious medical complaints. Research has linked a sedentary lifestyle to an increased danger of diabetes, cardiovascular problems and premature death. Don’t go handing your notice in just yet though. There are ways to stop your desk job taking its toll on your body, and here are five of the best.
1) Schedule time away from your workstation
Even if you’re under pressure to meet deadlines, it’s important to make time to get away from your workstation. Something as simple as standing up to get a drink or to visit the printer can help to get your muscles working. Ideally, you should do this at least a couple of times an hour. Be creative when you’re planning breaks from your desk too. Perhaps you could take a work call while on a short walk or you could spend a little time working in a breakout area to get a change of scenery and stretch your legs.
2) Encourage your co-workers to get active
Another top tip is to encourage your co-workers to get active. From arranging lunchtime walks with colleagues to setting up staff sports teams, there are a range of activities you can do with your fellow employees. By getting together to exercise, you can increase your motivation and make staying fit more fun.
3) Consider cycling to work
If you drive to work or take a bus, why not ditch four wheels in favour of two and start cycling to the office instead? This is a great way to build exercise into your daily routine, and as an added bonus, it could save you cash. Cycling is a low-impact exercise, so it’s kind on your joints, and it’s an effective way to burn energy too. Did you know that someone who weighs 80kg burns more than 650 calories in an hour’s cycle ride?
4) Say no to fattening snacks
It might not be easy, but if you want to stay in shape you’ll need to say no to those inviting vending machine snacks and tasty but naughty takeaway lunches. Getting through your day at work might feel like running a fast food gauntlet, but you can reduce temptation by eating a healthy and nutritious breakfast and bringing packed lunches from home. This way, you won’t need to rely on convenience foods that are full of sugar or fat.
5) Try a fitness tracker
Another fitness tip is to invest in a tracker that measures the number of steps you take. The average person takes between 3,000 and 4,000 paces each day, but if you’re looking to boost your fitness, you should aim for significantly more than this. You can increase your number of steps in simple ways. For example, try walking up the office stairs rather than using the lift, and take more roundabout routes to get to places.
By following health hacks like these, you should find it easier to stay in shape and keep the office bod at bay.

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How To Make It Out Of A Client Meeting Alive

August 27, 2015

Client meetings might send your stress levels soaring. Perhaps the mere mention of these events is enough to raise your heart rate and give you sweaty palms. Don’t panic though, help is at hand. The following five tips should help ensure you make it out of these meetings alive – and hopefully with a better outlook for your business.
1) Make sure your office sends the right signals
If these meetings are taking place in your office, you’ll need to make sure this space looks the part. At the most basic level, this means kitting your workplace out with comfortable and stylish furniture. For example, you’ll need to ensure your reception area is dressed to impress, and your boardroom should be fitted with an attractive meeting table and plenty of seating. Also, before your visitors arrive, take a little time to ensure that your premises are clean and tidy.
2) Do plenty of prep
Make sure you’re fully prepared before your guests set foot through your doors too. For new clients, this means doing in-depth research to ensure you know exactly who they are and how they function. Ask yourself what they may want from you and what you have to offer them. For existing clients, you’ll need to recap on their accounts and make sure you’re aware of any issues they might raise.
3) Be ready with time to spare
Being late for a client meeting is a sure-fire way to get off to a bad start. Even if you have a perfectly legitimate reason for failing to turn up on time, this won’t cast you in a good light. So that you’re not caught out by delays on the roads or by previous meetings that run over, schedule some spare time before these gatherings. This will also give you a chance to go over your notes and get prepared.
4) Follow an agenda
You should do your best to make your clients feel relaxed and at ease during these sessions, but don’t devote too much time to small talk. If you’re not careful, you can end up spending hours in discussions without actually reaping any business benefits. For this reason, it’s a good idea to stick to an agenda, and ideally you should email this to people before the meeting takes place.
5) Take notes
At the start of the meeting, ask your client if it’s OK if you take notes. This will show that you’re paying attention to what they’re saying and it could give them greater confidence in your ability to deliver. Don’t bury your head in a computer though; it’s important to engage with your client and to be attentive when they speak. If you have more than one representative from your firm in the meeting, designate someone as the note taker. This will free up others to engage more fully with your client.
There’s no getting around the fact that these meetings can be tricky, especially if you’re dealing with individuals who have very high expectations. However, as long as you plan the events carefully, you should be able to make the most of them.

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Office Yoga Infographic

July 31, 2015

Want to improve your physical health and reduce your stress levels while you work? Then take a look at our office yoga infographic, which guides you through some simple yoga poses you can do without leaving your desk.

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3 Signs Your Desk Is Affecting Your Productivity

July 22, 2015

Your desk might feel like the focus of your life. After all, it could be where you spend most of your working days and have some of your best ideas. But unless you plan and organise your desk carefully, this office staple could end up hindering rather than helping you. Here are three sure signs that your desk is affecting your productivity, along with some suggestions to help you to whip this piece of furniture into shape.
1) You just can’t seem to stay focussed
The odd family photo or stress ball could help to give your desk some character, but if you continually find yourself nudging your Newton’s cradle, rotating your Rubik’s cube and generally passing the time with toys, the chances are your desk is too full of distractions. It can be hard enough to concentrate on demanding work tasks without these office extras competing for your attention.
2) You seem to spend your days searching
If you seem to spend your days searching through piles of paperwork and digging around in drawers, your desk is almost certainly too disorganised. In an untidy workspace, locating documents and other items can be a major challenge, and this could make your days much more difficult than they need to be. It’s impossible to work effectively and efficiently if you’re forever trying to find things, and this can also send your stress levels soaring.
3) There just isn’t enough space
Another dead giveaway that your work area is in need of a rethink is a lack of space. Trying to function properly when your desk resembles a giant, stationery-themed Jenga set is all but impossible. If you’re frightened to move in case you send staplers, books and files flying, it’s either time to jettison some junk or buy a bigger desk.
How to deal with your desk problems
Whether your desk is too distracting, messy or simply full, now could be the time to make some changes. One top tip if you want to be more productive at your workstation is to get rid of any unnecessary objects you have lying around. This could include anything from toys to surplus stationery. Also, bear in mind that a desk tidy could help you to keep the things you do need in order.
Consider setting a weekly appointment to clear your work surface too, and get into the habit of filing paperwork straight away rather than letting it sit out gathering dust. Extra storage units, like under-desk pedestals, bookcases and filing cabinets, can make it easier to keep your paperwork organised and out of sight.
Ideally, the only things you should have on your desk itself are the items and equipment you need immediately, like your computer, phone, pens and paper. By paring down the possessions you keep on this surface, you can create an organised space that’s pleasant to work in. You might even boost your productivity, so it’s well worth giving changes like these a go. You may be surprised by how much of a difference they make to your daily life.

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Are You Sitting Comfortably? 4 Ways Your Office Chair Is Damaging Your Health

July 20, 2015

If you work in an office, chances are you spend most of your time sat in front of a computer. If this is the case, you’re probably familiar with some of the aches and pains associated with sedentary work. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can prevent these health problems and increase your comfort levels at the same time. Let’s take a look at four of the most common problems associated with office chairs, and simple ways to avoid them.
1. Back ache
Sitting in a chair for an excessive amount of time, particularly with poor posture, can cause pain to develop in the back area. It can also exacerbate existing back problems. This is because remaining in a static posture for too long places stress on the spinal discs, as well as the shoulders, legs and arms.
When used properly, an ergonomic chair that is adjustable by height and tilt can help to enhance back support. To improve comfort and reduce pressure on the spine, adjust your chair to suit your physical proportions and ensure that your lower back is properly supported. If your chair alone does not give you enough support, you may also want to use an additional back support aid.
2. Poor posture
For people who are seated for the majority of the day, the natural inclination is to slouch. Unsupported postures such as slouching, hunching or leaning can overstretch the spinal muscles, place strain on the spinal discs and cause stiffness in the neck. Over time, this can damage the spinal structures and cause chronic back problems.
For good postural health, make sure you sit back in your chair and use the back support to keep your head and neck upright. Also, adjust your seat so that the desk is elbow height and your knees are slightly lower than your hips. Try to avoid sitting at the front or to the side of the chair, as this can cause awkward positions and put pressure on your spine.
3. Shoulder and neck pain
While they may seem insignificant, armrests can play an important role in helping you to maintain a supported posture. Armrests that are too high can force you to raise your shoulders, while those that are too low can cause leaning – both of which can result in shoulder and neck pain. If your armrests are not providing you with the right support, try removing them or stop using them altogether. However, most ergonomic office chairs have adjustable arms, so this problem should be easily fixed.
4. Poor circulation
Circulatory problems are also commonly associated with office chairs. This is because sitting for a long time causes the blood vessels to compress, which can result in swelling in the lower legs and ankles and sometimes even cause varicose veins to develop.
To counteract this, alter your sitting position frequently and make sure your feet are flat on the ground (or use a footrest). Try not to cross your legs either, as this can reduce blood flow and impair circulation.
It’s also important to take regular breaks. Whether you’re performing gentle stretches at your desk, making a coffee or taking a lunchtime stroll, try to keep active throughout the day. It’s generally recommended that you should get up and move every 20 minutes or so to encourage good circulation.

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Is Your Office Furniture Stifling Worker Productivity?

June 29, 2015

If you think that chairs and desks are simply functional items of furniture, you may be missing a trick. Investing in well-crafted, ergonomically designed furniture can have numerous benefits, not only in terms of employee morale, but also when it comes to boosting productivity. If you feel that your staff are flagging but can’t figure out why, it may be time to reconsider your office furnishings.
The importance of a comfy chair
Do your workers spend more time complaining about backache than they do working? If so, it may be time to invest in new chairs. For people who spend most of their day sitting down, poorly designed seats can be highly distracting and cause concentration levels to quickly plummet. It can also put them at risk of a number of health problems, such as muscle pain, joint stiffness and poor circulation. While bad posture may not seem like a particularly pressing issue, if not addressed, it can cause absenteeism rates to increase. Indeed, backache is the main cause of long-term illness in the UK and resulted in more than 15 million lost working days in 2013.
To prevent these issues and help staff stay motivated, chairs need to be adjustable by height and tilt and must provide proper support for the back and thighs. By making simple changes like these, you’ll be surprised at how much of a difference it can make to both productivity and morale.
The dos and don’ts of workstation setup
Workstations also play an important role in determining how comfortable and healthy your employees are. Cramped, uncomfortable desks can leave staff feeling depressed and unmotivated, making it harder for them to complete their work. For maximum productivity, desks need to be appropriately sized so that employees have enough space to move around freely without feeling swamped under paper work. Under-desk drawers can be particularly useful when trying to combat clutter.
Partitioning is another important consideration. Workspaces that are too open between colleagues can be overly distracting, whereas too much division can stifle collaboration.
Layout matters
The way in which your furniture is positioned can also have an affect on mood and performance. Knowing how employees prefer to work is crucial if you want to prevent productivity from dwindling during the day. For example, open plan office environments with rows of desks can work wonders for colleague collaboration, but they can also be noisy and disruptive.
Investing in office furniture that can be easily repositioned into different configurations is the easiest way to accommodate for workers’ changing needs. Office screens can also be used to create private areas and can easily be taken down when open space is needed.
As your employees spend the majority of their day in the office, it’s important to make sure that every piece of furniture makes the working day a little more comfortable. If you think that your office furnishings could do with a makeover, you can browse our selection of ergonomic furniture here at Furniture At Work™.

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