Money-saving tips for office start-ups

February 2, 2015

Starting up a new business can be tough, and one of the first hurdles you may face as a budding entrepreneur is the potentially daunting task of setting up an office. If you’re not careful, costs can quickly spiral and you might find yourself in financial strife. The good news is, there are some simple ways to save money when you’re establishing a workspace.

 

Be savvy when selecting your office

 

First and foremost, you’ll need to select a suitable office. When money’s hard to come by, it’s vital that you keep your overheads to a minimum, and this means finding a space that’s affordable. You might have to forgo offices in the most trendy and desirable parts of town, at least to begin with, and instead focus on postcodes where you can get better value for money. Also, don’t be tempted to sign a contract for a space that’s too sizeable for your needs. We’d all like large working environments, but unfortunately they don’t make sense from a financial point of view.

 

Get a great deal on your furniture  

 

No office is complete without good quality seating, desks and storage products. However, there is no need to spend a fortune on these items of furniture. By purchasing the provisions from us, you can rest assured you’re getting a great deal. As well featuring attractive price tags, our items are designed and finished to the highest standards, helping to ensure they will stand the test of time.

 

Shop around for supplies and services

 

Of course, you can’t rest at bagging a bargain on your office furniture. You’ll need a host of other supplies and services as well, and it’s crucial that you seek the best possible deals in each case. From your stationery to your web services, there is cash to be spared if you’re prepared to shop around. Even seemingly small financial savings can mount up over time, so it’s well worth making the effort.

 

Take advantage of cost-effective technology

 

It’s vital that you’re savvy when you’re selecting your technology too. There is now a dizzying array of devices to choose from, including desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. However, don’t let your enthusiasm for gleaming gadgets get the better of you. You should assess the business case for each product before you spend any money on them.

 

You might also benefit from arranging cloud computing solutions for your company. These services can be accessed on a pay-as-you-use basis and they remove the need for major capital expenditure on IT systems.

 

Consider hiring interns

 

The jobs market remains competitive for candidates, which is good news for companies. As well as making it easier to hire skilled personnel, this means there are many students and recent graduates out there who are looking to offer their services for free. In return for providing them with useful industry experience and contacts, you can benefit from the hard work of these enterprising jobseekers.

 

These are just some of the ways in which you stand to save your company cash when you’re setting up a new office.

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How To Improve Concentration Levels In Your Office

January 20, 2015

We’ve all been there. You’re desperately trying to focus on a task, but despite your best efforts, your mind keeps wandering. If you’re sitting at a desk for long periods of time, remaining productive can often prove to be a challenge. Couple that with an open plan office and your concentration levels are bound to dwindle from time to time. If a noisy colleague is preventing you from getting the job done, or you find yourself constantly daydreaming about what you’re having for lunch, here’s a few simple ways to help keep daily distractions under control:
 
Office screens
 
No matter what size the office, having your own space is essential if you are to remain focused throughout the day. Office screens offer an easy and effective way to section-off an open plan room and provide workers with the privacy they need to focus on their tasks. From room dividers that can be used to group departments together, to individual desk screens that can shut out distractions and reduce noise levels, there are a host of office screens and partitions available. And, because they are only a temporary solution, the screens can easily be taken down or moved around to suit your changing needs.
 
Declutter your workspace
 
Your personal environment can have a huge impact on your ability to concentrate. Having a neat, tidy desk can help you to feel more organised and relaxed while working, which can in turn boost your attentiveness. The easiest way to de-clutter is to assess your workstation and determine what you really need. Make sure that all your equipment and office supplies have a proper home and throw away any unnecessary paperwork. Investing in shelves or desk tidies is a great way to help you organise your working day and encourage you to stay on task.
 
Take regular breaks
 
As well as your environment, mindset can also play an important role when it comes to attention span. Taking regular breaks throughout the day is essential if you want to bounce back from stressful work demands. Whether you’re going for a walk, doing gentle exercises at your desk or taking a quick coffee break with a colleague, giving yourself time to regroup every now and then can work wonders for your concentration levels. Be careful though – don’t let a rest from work turn into procrastination – try to keep your breaks short and frequent.
 
Increase your comfort levels
 
Improving your physical environment can also help to boost productivity. If your desk is too high, or your chair is too low, it can cause your mind to stray from work and instead focus on your discomfort. Make sure that your chair, desk and computer screen are in a position that allows you to work comfortably – you’ll be surprised at how much longer you are able to concentrate for.

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How to improve your posture at work

September 1, 2014

Sitting in front of a computer all day can lead to all manner of different health problems, from eye strain through to a lack of fitness. We have evolved over thousands of years to spend our days engaging in strenuous physical activities, yet over the past few decades technology and our evolving social structure have lead us to a point where we now spend the majority of our time inactive.

 

With new studies showing that spending too much time sitting down can be as detrimental to our health as smoking, it may well be time for businesses to think harder about how they structure their workspace and indeed their workforce’s time to keep them as healthy as possible.

 

One of the most detrimental aspects of office work to human health is the fact that so many of us will adopt the wrong posture when sitting down, slouching into our chairs or hunching ourselves over our keyboards. Bad posture can reduce energy levels, cut off circulation and cause many different muscular issues, from stiff necks through to bad backs. However, by sourcing the right ergonomic furniture solutions and spending a little time focussing on posture, individuals could find they are a great deal more energised, have higher morale and are far less likely to be plagued by muscular niggles.

 

Posture tips

 

If you don’t want sitting at your desk to become a literal pain in the neck, you will first need to source the right furniture and ensure that your chair is positioned in the right way. At Furniture at Work™, we stock a range of adjustable posture chairs that help align the body, allowing you to get into the right position without effort. If you prefer to go for more traditional work chairs, then choose options that are extremely flexible. The desk chairs you use should allow you to easily change the height of the chair, the seat position and the angle of the backrest.

 

If you are too far back, or too far forward, your body position will be off and your muscles will be forced to overcompensate. Your ears should stay in line with your shoulders, resting directly above them. If you have to crane your neck closer to the screen to see what you are doing, consider enlarging the content so you can sit further back. Likewise, if the screen seems blindingly bright and leaves you wanting to lean away from it, reduce the contrast to make it more comfortable for you to remain sitting up straight.

 

Keep your feet flat on the ground, and ensure you are not crossing your legs. While it may feel more comfortable to splay your legs out in front of you, always try to keep them flat on the floor and uncrossed. It is also important to keep your shoulder blades back so that you do not slump your shoulders. Try looking down – If your chest is not out in front of you, there is a chance you are not sitting correctly.

 

If you struggle to make the necessary changes to your posture by yourself, try using a lumbar support to do the hard work for you. You may also want to consider looking up some desk exercises on the internet that will help you prepare your body for the rigours of stillness.

 

Keep moving

 
No matter how much time and energy you put into adopting the right body position, sitting at a desk all day can still cause your body problems, both in the short-term and the long. Try to incorporate as many breaks as possible into your daily routine. This doesn’t mean that you have to stop working, but merely that you should schedule in some time to move around. To do this, you may want to take all your calls while moving around inside or outside of the office, or you may just want to take a break every hour to make yourself a drink. Either way, it is not just your body that will benefit from the break – your morale and concentration levels are both likely to be boosted too.

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Tips for keeping your office organised

August 27, 2014

Keeping your office tidy may seem straightforward but, as anyone who has ever had deadlines to meet will attest, it is not always that easy. Many businesses spend hours every few weeks sorting out the clutter they seem to have inexplicably accrued only to find that within a day or two the workspace is back in a state of chaos.

It doesn’t have to be this way though. By subtly changing processes and ensuring you have the right storage solutions within your office, you could keep your workplace organised and tidy at all times, and your personnel as efficient as possible as a result.

 

De-clutter

 

The first thing to do when you want to create an organised workspace is to rationalise the items you have within the office. This will involve sorting clutter on both macro and micro scales. Utilising floor space efficiently is vital. Freeing up large sections of the room to use more effectively will be a huge part of keeping a space organised. However, if you don’t focus on the small things as well, the mess within your space will quickly get out of control.

 

This means that as well as organising your room to accommodate your workforce in a more suitable manner, it is also important to minimise the clutter found on each individual workstation. Be thorough and ruthless when streamlining the items within your office and remember there will be little room for sentiment.

 

Once you know exactly what you wish to keep and what will be winging its way to the skip, you need to find a home for each item you choose to hang on to. It is important to find storage solutions that suit the shape, size and style of your room, but it is also necessary to ensure that these storage units are right for the specific items you wish to store. Not utilising shelves to their full potential wastes a great deal of space within a workspace and often leaves staff unable to easily locate the things they need, when they need them. Finding taller storage units and utilising more vertical space within your office may alone significantly improve your organisation.

 

New processes

 

Forcing your staff to clear their desks at the end of each day may not be a great way to boost morale. Instead you should ensure they have the tools to take the initiative themselves. This will almost certainly allow you to get the same results without the need for nagging. The most organised workplaces will have processes in place that prompt workers to spend a few minutes at the end of each day tidying up and rebooting the office space.

 

The most important part of keeping an office organised and tidy will be the implementation of an effective organisation plan. If your offices are laid out correctly and every item in your space has its own designated spot in which to live, it will be easier to ensure that employees put things back where they belong once they have finished using them.

 

The more ordered and tidy your workspace is, the safer, more efficient and less distracted your workforce will be. You may therefore want to set times to review the state of your office. By checking how organised your premises is on a weekly basis, you should find that you are able to stop disorder in its tracks.

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‘Furniture city’ planned in Pakistan

July 28, 2014

Like many industries, furniture manufacturing is a global market, with finished products and components coming from all areas of the world. If recent developments are anything to go by, a much larger percentage of those products could be coming from Pakistan in the near future.

 

Home and office furnishings have been extensively manufactured in the Pakistani city of Faisalabad for a long time, but this has been mainly for the local and regional market. Lack of regulation and inconsistent products have thus far impeded its attempts to reach a global market. But there are plans to turn this around, with the Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development and Management Company currently developing a ‘furniture city’ within Faisalabad’s industrial heartland.

 

Bringing Pakistani products up to international standards

 

The furniture city will see the transformation of the city’s production skills and resources into a cogent effort to produce and export products to an international standard. The project will see the creation of wood seasoning plants for imported wood, training centres and furniture showrooms where international clients can examine finished products and place orders.

 

Depending on the effectiveness of the city and others like it, such developments overseas may have significant impacts on the UK industry. For manufacturers it may result in further competition from countries where labour and material costs are lower. But for UK retailers on the other hand, it may have a positive effect, providing a wider choice of finished products.

 

Trade body growing

 

Closer to home, the Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA) has attracted many new members over the past year. According to trade magazine Furniture Production, 18 new members have joined over the past year, including 14 full members, an associate number and number of international members.

 

The non-profit organisation was created more than half a century ago and exists to provide support for all aspects of the industry. FIRA’s association director Phil Reynolds commented that, “we are delighted to welcome so many new members to the association… we have found that companies are actively seeking out the type of support and expertise that we offer.”

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The simple approach to setting up an office

July 23, 2014

Setting up an office can seem like a daunting task. After all, there is a lot to think about and the stakes are high. However, as long as you’re methodical in your approach, you will achieve your aims. This basic guide should help to make the task simple and stress-free.

 

Set a budget

 

Firstly, set a budget. It’s easy for costs to spiral when you’re buying items for your office, so it’s important to know your limits from the outset.

Before you start buying items, draw up a list of the products you’ll need along with their prices. This way, you can see if your budget will cover everything. If it doesn’t, you may need to prioritise certain items over others.

 

Decide on layout

 

The furniture you need for your working space will depend on the layout you go for. When deciding on the design of your office, it can help to draw up simple to-scale illustrations showing where your desks and seating will go.

 

Invest in the essentials

 

Once you’ve set your layout, you can start choosing furniture to populate the area. Essential items include good quality desks and chairs. Bear in mind that your personnel may spend a long time at their workstations, so it’s really important that they are comfortable.

Plentiful storage is another office must-have. You’ll need enough shelving, cabinets and so on to help keep your working space tidy and organised.

Here at Furniture At Work™ we offer an impressive selection of desks, chairs and storage items and should have exactly what you’re after.

 

Choose your technology

 

No modern office is complete without the right technology. You’ll need to think carefully about the equipment your firm needs to function properly. For example, you’ll have to decide on the computers that would best suit your workers and select the most appropriate printer and scanner. You’ll also need to choose phone and internet systems.

 

Get the best lighting

 

An often overlooked detail in office is lighting. Of course, all working environments have lights, but the quality of these products is not always high. Bear in mind that the way in which your office is illuminated can have a huge impact on its overall look and feel.

It’s important that your employees have enough light, but ideally this shouldn’t be too harsh. If possible, you should give your workers some control over the level of light they have. This can be done with the help of desk lamps.

 

Now for some extras

 

Once you’ve decided on the essentials, it’s time to pay attention to those little extras that could really boost the appeal of your office. For example, if your budget will stretch to it, why not invest in a water cooler and hot drinks machine?

Also, some artwork for the walls can add colour and personality to your office, and plants make a great addition too.

When your new office is finally complete, you can encourage your personnel to add their own personal touches to their workstations too.

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Preparing for business presentations

July 21, 2014

Having great ideas in the world of business is nothing if you can’t persuade others of their merits. This is why it’s so important to be able to deliver presentations confidently and effectively.

If you’re affected by nerves when you stand up to address a group, rest assured you’re not alone. The good news is, there are ways to improve your presentations. Next time you’re gearing up for such an occasion, it’s worth bearing these top tips in mind.

 

Invest in the right equipment

Firstly, it’s important to make sure you have access to all the equipment you need. Here at Furniture At Work™ we offer a host of products that could be just what you’re looking for, including notice boards, display boards, lecterns and more. Simply take a look around our website to check out the various options.

 

If you don’t have all the items you need to give presentations and you end up having to improvise, you risk looking amateur. Also, knowing that you’re lacking the right gear could increase your nerves and mean you’re not as effective in delivering the information.

 

Getting suitable items may require you to spend a bit of money. However, this should prove to be a savvy investment. After all, you will be able to use the products time after time and they could make a big difference to your presentations.

 

Know your stuff

There is nothing more terrifying than standing in front of a group of people and having to pretend you know what you’re talking about when in fact you don’t. Before any presentation, it’s crucial that you get to grips with all of the information you intend to share. Being well versed in the details should give your confidence a lift.

 

Bear in mind that you might be asked questions during or after your presentation and it’s worth anticipating these and preparing possible responses beforehand. This will help ensure your talk comes across as slick and polished.

 

Prepare your materials

If you plan to turn to specific pages in books or leaflets during your talk, or you’re presenting something on a laptop, make sure you prepare your materials effectively. If you find you’re struggling to locate the right information during your talk, your confidence will take a real knock and you’re unlikely to make a good impression.

 

Practice makes perfect

It can also help to do one or more practice run before your presentation. You could do this at home in front of your family or friends, or in the office with your colleagues. By reading through your talk, you can identify any issues with timings or content.

 

You’ll also ensure that when it comes time to give the presentation for real, you’re more familiar with the details. This will mean you don’t have to refer to your notes as much and you should find it easier to make eye contact with the people you are addressing. Engaging with your audience like this can make a huge difference to the way in which they respond.

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How to reduce noise levels in your office

July 18, 2014

Total silence in workplaces can be stifling, but there is a fine line between encouraging a reassuring level of background noise in your office and allowing sound levels to rise too high. Excessive noise can prevent employees from concentrating and it can also lead to increased tension.

If you think your working environment is too loud, you might benefit from following these simple yet effective noise reduction tips.

 

Create soft surfaces

Hard surfaces can look great and they’re big news in modern, minimalist interior design. For example, many carpets have been ripped out in favour of wood, laminate or even concrete flooring. However, hard surfaces like these don’t absorb sound well.

If you want to dim the noise levels in your working space, it’s worth turning to softer surfaces such as carpet and acoustic ceiling tiles.

 

Use screens

Like most offices, yours may be predominantly open plan in layout. By introducing desk and floor screens into the space, you can cut noise. Fabric-covered partitions are great at soaking up sound.

They can prove especially useful if the various departments within your firm create different noise levels. For example, you might want to separate your sales department from your accounts team.

The great thing about these items is they are lightweight and easy to assemble, meaning you can rearrange them whenever you need to.

Here at Furniture At Work™ we stock a variety of office screens. You can take your pick from a selection of different sizes, styles and colours, meaning you shouldn’t struggle to find exactly what you’re after.

 

Go green

Another top tip is to introduce more greenery into your office. Plants help to absorb noise and they also add some cheer to working spaces. If you want to take this to the next level, you could invest in green walls for your office. These creations make a real style statement and they are great as a means of soaking up sound.

 

Some careful planning

Some planning in terms of where you situate your staff is also important. If possible, you should avoid placing personnel near to loud equipment or by throughways. Especially if you’re limited in terms of the space available to you, this can take some careful calculations. However, it’s well worth making the effort.

 

Speak to your workers

If you adopt these measures and still find that volume levels are unacceptably high, it’s time to talk to your employees. It’s important that they play their part in combating excessive noise too. By lowering their voices and walking over to colleagues to chat rather than simply shouting across the room, they can help to control sound levels.

 

Boosting your bottom line

Tackling volume problems in your office does take a little effort and potentially money. However, this should prove to be a savvy investment. After all, it could may productivity among your staff members, which is great news for your bottom line.

It could also help to ensure that you and your employees benefit from a pleasant working environment.

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Keep Your Employees Fit, Healthy and Happy This Summer

July 8, 2014

Sitting down for prolonged periods of time is now thought to be detrimental to our health. As such, businesses that want to keep their employees happy and healthy should look at ways of getting them moving as much as possible.

 

Furthermore, if individuals are cramped up inside all day, they may feel far from productive, especially in the summer months during which they may find themselves constantly dreaming of heading outside to enjoy the sun.

The good news is that, once the warmer months arrive, there will be plenty of ways to alter your business processes to ensure that your entire workforce remains as happy, healthy and fit as possible.

 

Conduct meetings outside

Sourcing furniture that will allow you to hold meetings outside on sunny days will give individuals the opportunity to soak in a few rays whilst they work. Not only will this improve morale, but it will also help to focus the mind by giving your staff the chance for a change of scenery. The fresh air and the short walking commute will also be very beneficial for both health and mood too. As well as our excellent range of work furniture, we have an array of different solutions that could be utilised to great effect outside your office space.

 

Switch up your work furniture

Older office furniture is likely to be far from ergonomic. As such, not only might it be extremely uncomfortable for staff, causing frequent distractions, but the same poorly designed furniture may also eventually cause acute or chronic health problems amongst staff. By searching our site for quality, modern office furniture solutions, you will find that your employees can adjust their chair or desk heights to make better use of space and natural light, and that the right solutions will allow them to work in the position that will keep them most healthy.

 

Keep them moving

Outdoor meetings will be a great way of getting creative juices flowing and boosting morale, and adding some movement in may help even more. Whilst outdoor furniture could work wonders for your business, brainstorming sessions physically may also help. Not only will movement keep them fit and healthy physically, but it will also ensure that their minds remain sharp and don’t become numb through boredom or repetition.

 

Maximise natural light

Natural sunlight will help boost mood, reduce eye strain and even increase vitamin take-up by the body. As such, try not to rely too much on artificial light fixtures and instead see how you can increase the amount of sunlight entering your offices. Whether you opt for larger or extra windows or choose to install numerous skylights or light tunnels into your premises, both concentration and physical health should be improved.

 

Let them loose

If employees need to make numerous  calls, why not let them do so on mobile handsets? This way, they can enjoy the grounds of your premises, get some well deserved sunshine and keep fit all at the same time, and all without this impacting in any way on productivity – except perhaps for the better.

 

Incorporate exercise tools within the workplace

Having fun games and machines that could get workers active on their lunch breaks might help them to enjoy their downtime more and simultaneously keep their minds active. As such, by simply adding a few fun additions into your workplace, you could quickly improve job satisfaction and efficiency in one fell swoop.

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Looking after your new office furniture

Investing in new office furniture can make a huge difference to how your business is perceived as well as to the morale of those working for you. By improving how comfortable and attractive your office space is, you should be able to improve your reputation at the same time as reducing the chances of health problems being experienced by your staff. You may also find that sourcing the right types of furniture allows you to make far better use of the space available to you, and simultaneously ensures that employees can be a great deal more productive, whether working alone or collaborating with others.

 

Here at Furniture at Work, we have an array of furnishing solutions to help you maximise your productivity as well as the aesthetics of your workplace. However, to get the best value for money and to ensure that your business stays appealing for as long as possible to both employees and visitors, it will be important to care for your furniture in the most appropriate way.

 

Maintenance

Whilst new chairs and desks will help improve the look and productivity of your office, don’t overlook the importance of regular maintenance. From tightening screws and bolts to applying appropriate finishes to desks, not only might certain maintenance steps help you to keep your furniture functional, but certain steps may also actually help improve aesthetics too. It will also be worth inspecting furniture for damage every six months or so to ensure that small issues don’t turn into big ones over time. Don’t always assume your staff will tell you when there is a problem – many will stay silent so as not to kick up a fuss and may see their health or efficiency suffer as a result.

 

Care

Ensure every employee treats furniture with respect. Don’t be afraid of putting up information or training individuals in how to best look after your office furniture. Putting too much weight or pressure on weaker parts of chairs or desks could easily lead to furniture being damaged, whilst simply having desks or chairs in the wrong position could mean that they become an accident waiting to happen.

 

Cleaning

Dusting should take place on a daily basis, using a dry cloth, whilst a damp cloth should be used to clean desks on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Avoid using chemicals on wooden desks, as these can damage the finish or leave streaks on the surface.

When in doubt about the best products to use on an item of furniture, always check with the manufacturer before diving in. In fact, it is always worth talking to suppliers about how best to clean furniture before you buy them, not only to ensure that you know the best cleaning solution from the start, but also to ensure that you are buying the right furniture for your own needs.

Always read the care instructions that come with any piece of furniture, keeping them on file to consult should you need to at a later date.

 

Limitations

Not all desks, storage solutions and office chairs will be created equally. Consider the particular needs of your workforce and the tools, stock or assets your furniture may need to accommodate to ensure that you are not overloading your furniture and in turn, greatly reducing its lifespan as well as how safe it happens to be.

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