Why Your Office is Killing You

November 8, 2016

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

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What’s So Special About Your Office Chair?

October 31, 2016

We’re going to break it to you – just about everything.

 

We’ve helped you stay fit in the office but the reality is, if you’ve got a bad chair, the Eagle Pose can only do so much. So we gathered our knowledge and wits about us and dived into the important topic of – you guessed it – office chairs!

 

Your office chair is integral to your everyday work life and, as our infographic shows, you all have some pretty strong opinions about them. We asked 750 seasoned office workers about their thoughts, feelings and experiences with their office chairs and found out some amazing stuff.

 

Check out the facts we found in the infographic below, along with our top tips for getting the best out of your most essential piece of equipment. Chairs are more important than computers, right? We think so!

 

Got some seating insights you want to share? Some tips for office comfort? Or maybe want some advice on a new set of (chair) wheels? Get to Twitter and join the conversation using #BestOfficeFurniture and tagging us @Furniture_Work.

 

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Share your #BestOfficeFurniture tips on Twitter @Furniture_Work (via Furniture at Work).

 

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

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

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

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5 Office Design Trends Actually Worth Following

September 26, 2016

There’s no denying that workplace design is currently in the midst of an overhaul. Today, cramped cubicles and private offices are increasingly becoming a thing of the past, with more and more companies making efforts to create more stimulating, smart spaces designed to improve worker engagement, boost morale and increase productivity. However, with new trends appearing and disappearing all the time, it can be difficult to know which design direction to go down. Luckily, we’re here to help. So, if you’re planning a renovation and looking for ways to improve your work environment, here are five office design trends that are actually worth following.  

 

  1. Designated breakout areas

 

One of the growing trends over the past few years is incorporating designated breakout areas. While some people believe that having casual spaces where employees can get away from their desks slows down performance, a rising number of bosses are switching onto the idea that many of the best business ideas are born during downtime. In other words, when staff have the chance to get a change of scenery to de-stress and relax, it can actually stimulate creativity and enhance productivity – not to mention make the working day far more enjoyable. Whether it’s a casual business lounge, a games room or a simple seating area away from the main workspace, providing a spot where employees can escape the daily grind, re-charge and socialise with co-workers can work wonders for morale. It can also help employees to relieve stress and increase concentration levels, which can in turn increase productivity.

 

  1. Flexible layouts  

 

Many offices are now beginning to shun permanent layouts in favour of more flexible design solutions. After all, the way in which we work is constantly changing, and forward-thinking companies are beginning to recognise the importance of having room to grow and expand. This calls for a more dynamic, future-proof workspace. One way to do this is to use adaptable office furniture. For example, modular furniture is now becoming an increasingly popular choice for many offices as it has been specially designed to promote flexibility. The main advantage of modular chairs and tables is the fact that they can be arranged into a number of different configurations to suit specific layouts and fluctuating requirements. Collapsible and portable furniture is also being used more to create temporary meeting spaces, canteen areas or breakout spaces as and when they are needed. When they are no longer being used, the furniture is designed to neatly fold away so it can be easily stored without taking up too much space.

 

  1. Less is more

 

In recent years, minimalism has become a bit of buzzword in office design circles – and it’s unlikely to disappear anytime soon. Workplaces are now becoming more clean, simple and streamlined, with the aim of creating more efficient spaces. Companies are opting for sleek, ergonomically designed office furniture to minimise obstructions and create a seamless working environment. For example, many modern workstations and conference tables are now designed with technology in mind and include cable management systems that neatly conceal the wires within the table. Another way to streamline your surroundings is to use space-saving storage solutions. Under desk pedestals, for instance, can transform an unused area into a productive one and help you to make the most of the room available without intruding too much on the floor space. Not only can clearing the clutter help to make your workplace more practical and organised, but it also projects a sleek, professional image that is good for business.

 

  1. Bringing nature indoors

 

Another developing office design trend is bringing the outdoors in. Sterile, synthetic workplaces are becoming a thing of the past, while more rustic, environment-inspired designs are here to stay. When you consider that most office employees spend the majority of their working week indoors, bringing elements of nature inside is important to promote wellbeing. Whether it’s using more natural materials, adding some greenery or providing desks with outside views, introducing environmental aspects into your office design can be incredibly refreshing. As well as creating a more pleasant environment to work in, it can demonstrate your company’s green credentials and it may help to stimulate creativity and boost focus. For example, one study suggested that exposing employees to natural elements increased efficiency by 12 per cent due to improved concentration and productivity. You don’t necessarily have to install a giant living wall either. Simple changes, like using bulbs that replicate natural light rather than bright, strip lights or adding a few potted plants around your workspace, can make a big difference.

 

  1. Multi-purpose spaces

 

Technology giants like Google and Facebook are known for designing highly collaborative, multi-purpose workspaces. Rather than having designated work areas, conferences rooms and private offices, design experts are now beginning to see a shift towards open plan spaces which can be used for a variety of tasks in a bid to encourage interaction, collaboration, innovation and creativity. For example, rather than the traditional desk setup or designated conference rooms, many companies are are now opting for large, oval shaped work tables and benches that can accommodate multiple people and can be used for a variety of activities, such as group projects and meetings. Office canteens have also taken on multi-functional purposes and are now being used not only as a space to eat lunch, but also as somewhere for co-workers to socialise and relax. These shared workspaces help to foster a sense of community and aid the development of ideas through increased communication and collaboration.  

These are just some examples of popular office design trends you can expect to see more of in the near future. With the chance to create a more productive, motivated workforce, increase productivity and improve your bottom line, these design ideas are definitely worth considering when revamping your workspace. For more ideas on how to create the perfect, on-trend office space, why not browse our collection of quality furniture here at Furniture At Work™? You’re bound to find something to suit your needs.

 

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6 Steps To Planning A Stress-Free Office Re-design

September 22, 2016

Designing the perfect office space is not always an easy task. With so many issues to think about – from layout, to lighting, to décor – it can be difficult to know where to start. However, not getting it right can prove to be a costly mistake. A poorly designed space can lead to increased feelings of stress, reduced productivity and low morale, all of which can have a damaging effect on your bottom line. Whether it’s desks that are too cramped, a lack of privacy or headache-inducing lighting, there all sorts of things that can go wrong when re-designing your workplace. Luckily, there are simple steps you can take to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible. Whether your current office needs a revamp or you’re thinking about re-locating, here are six steps to planning a stress-free office re-design.

 

  1. Carefully consider your layout

 

Perhaps the most important part of planning an office space is the layout. The way you choose to arrange your workspace can have a significant impact on your company culture and the way your workers behave on a day to day basis, so it pays off to give it some careful consideration. Open plan layouts have become a popular choice in recent decades as they can help to encourage teamwork and collaboration. However, shared workspaces can also be loud and distracting, and have a negative impact on worker productivity and performance. To keep your staff focused and engaged with their jobs, private workspaces are also needed. If you’re struggling to find the right layout for your office, you may want to consider seeking help from professional interior designers who specialise in workplaces. They will be able to help you make the most of the space available and create a layout that is suited to your specific needs and preferred working style.

 

  1. Make sure you factor in space for storage

 

Another crucial design element that many companies fail to consider is storage. An office that is cluttered and disorganised can mean that staff waste valuable time trying to locate the things they need. Studies have shown that employees can lose over an hour every day searching for lost items if they have a messy workspace, which can also lead to increased frustration. To ensure that your work environment remains clean and uncluttered, your office re-design should include plenty of space for an array of storage solutions. As a minimum, most offices need desk storage, a filing area and a range of cupboards and shelves for everyday office supplies. If you’re short on square footage, it’s worth checking out the range of space-saving storage available, such as under-desk pedestals, corner bookcases, L-shaped desks, slimline filing cabinets and high level shelving systems.

 

  1. Incorporate flexibility into your design

 

When re-designing your office, it’s also important to take your growing needs into account. Failing to plan for the foreseeable future can mean that you end up with a space that does not fit your requirements, which could result in you having to go to the hassle of rethinking your design or even relocating a few years down the line. Particularly if your company often sees a lot of changes, such as high staff turnover or frequent layout alterations, future-proofing your office is crucial. One way to ensure you don’t outgrow your office is to allow for flexibility. For example, having adaptable workspaces can help to create a more dynamic space. Modular furniture is a great option for companies that want to incorporate flexibility into their office design, as these chairs and tables have been specially designed to be arranged into various configurations to suit your exact layout and can be adapted to suit your changing requirements.

 

  1. Don’t overlook the importance of lighting

 

Another important issue that is often overlooked when designing a workplace is lighting. It is well known that natural light is best for working in as it can boost productivity and reduce feelings of stress, fatigue and depression. With that in mind, it’s important to try and make the most of as much natural light as possible and ensure that desks are positioned near or in view of a window. Workstations need to be well lit and computer screens should be free from glare. As a general rule, try to avoid using fluorescent strip lights as they can cause headaches and eyestrain, and instead opt for more natural, ambient lighting.

 

  1. Allow employees to personalise their space

 

The way you choose to decorate your office space is also important. Get it right and you stand to boost morale and have a far happier, more engaged workforce. To ensure that your employees are content with their surroundings, it’s worth asking for their input and allowing them to add personal touches to their workstations. This will help them to feel more at home and relaxed, which can work wonders for productivity and creativity. Having branded décor can also help to improve company culture and spark interest and inspiration in employees and clients.

 

  1. Invest in high-quality furniture

 

And finally, no design would be complete without the right office furniture. Chairs and desks should be ergonomic and high-quality – not only to provide maximum comfort, but also to ensure that they will stand the test of time. Buying high-quality furniture now may cost you initially, but it will be worth it in the long run. Of course, you’ll also need to make sure that your furniture is the right size for your space. Look at the floor plan and establish how you want your furniture to be laid out. For example, do you want bench desks that accommodate multiple people? Or would you rather have departments grouped on tables around the room? If you think that you might be re-locating in the near future, or you’re thinking of downsizing or employing more staff, buying adaptable furniture could also be a good idea.

By following useful tips like these, you shouldn’t struggle to take the stress out of your office re-design.

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Polished & professional or scruffy & substandard: what does your reception say about you?

September 20, 2016

As the entrance to your office, your reception area is hugely important. As clients, customers and employees enter your premises, they will start to form an opinion of your business based on what they initially see. The way you design and organise this space can speak volumes about your professionalism, company culture and attitude towards work. As such, it pays off to give some careful consideration to this area and think about what kind of signals you could be sending. Want to find out whether you’re polished and professional or scruffy and substandard? Read on to learn more about what your reception says about you.

 

Professionalism

 

When it comes to your corporate image, first impressions matter. A reception area that looks unkempt and rundown is bound to reflect negatively on your business. Poor quality furniture, parcels left on the floor and a reception desk piled high in paperwork suggests that you are disorganised and unprofessional, which can be incredibly off putting for prospective clients and employees. To project a sleek, polished appearance, you’ll need to make sure your entrance area is clutter-free and well organised at all times. Invest in plenty of storage solutions and ensure that your fittings and furnishings are of a high standard.

 

Welcoming atmosphere

 

To make your guests feel at ease when they visit your business, it’s important to make your reception area as welcoming as possible. A room that is well designed, has a comfortable seating area, plenty of space, the right lighting and inviting décor can help to give an overall positive image of your business and show others that you care about your visitors’ needs. Small touches, like plants, wall art and complimentary refreshments, can also go a long way towards generating a favourable impression.

 

Create a success story

 

It’s also important to consider how well your front of house shows off your success. As a room that receives a high amount of traffic every day, your reception is the perfect place to showcase your achievements as a company. Whether it’s framed certificates, a display cabinet of your best selling products or company literature, personalising this space with your success story can help to instil trust in others and demonstrate what you are able to accomplish.

 

Your corporate identity

 

Have you ever thought about how well your office expresses your corporate identity? If your entrance is bland and has no personality, you could be missing the mark. Having a branded reception that reflects your company culture can boost your chances of winning business and attracting prospective employees. Everything within the area needs to communicate who you are and what you do. Whether you want to be seen as fun and innovative or sophisticated and authoritative, make a statement about your company’s values and vision with a branded colour scheme and décor that reflects your firm’s ethos.

 

By putting some thought into the way in which you design your reception, you should be able to create a stylish, welcoming space that boosts your brand and leaves a long lasting impression.
 
 

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4 Signals You Might Not Know Your Office Is Sending

September 15, 2016

Chances are, you probably haven’t given much thought to how your office is perceived by others. However, overlooking the importance of the physical workplace can prove to be a costly mistake. While you might not even be aware of it, the way you choose to design your workspace can have a significant impact on how potential clients, customers and employees view your business as a whole. As soon as they enter your office, they will be forming snap judgements about your company culture, work ethic, achievements and ambitions. With that in mind, it’s important to be aware of the different messages you might be giving off. Here are four signals you might not know your office is sending.

 

  1. You are unprofessional

 

An office that indicates you are unprofessional is a sure fire way to lose out on valuable business opportunities and custom. If your workspace is cluttered, disorganised or in a state of general disarray, chances are that others will think this unprofessionalism seeps into other areas of your business. An unkempt workplace shows that you are careless, which could lead to the assumption that you have the same attitude in the way that you approach your work.

 

OK, so you may have more pressing day-to-day matters to deal with than keeping on top of your cleaning duties, but if you want to demonstrate to your customers, clients and workforce that you take pride in what you do, you’ll need to give your office a sophisticated, polished look. If your workers’ desks are piled high in paperwork, there are stacks of folders on the floor and the bins are overflowing, it’s time for a spruce up. Have a clear out and get rid of anything that is worn out, broken or simply not needed. It’s also a good idea to invest in a range of office storage solutions to help keep everything in order and prevent the mess from building up.

 

  1. You don’t care about your staff

 

Uncomfortable and substandard furniture, a lack of a space to socialise and cramped workstations are all tell tale signs that you don’t really care about your staff. If you are not committed to your personnel’s needs and wellbeing, not only do you run the risk of low morale, reduced job satisfaction and increased turnover, but it can also be a real turnoff for potential employees and other people who are visiting the premises.

 

Luckily, this problem can easily be fixed. Start by investing in high-quality, ergonomically designed desks and chairs for your staff and make sure that their surroundings are pleasant and comfortable. If possible, you should also provide a break-out area or canteen where your workers can chat to their colleagues and have some downtime away from stressful work demands. Taking the time to make sure that your staff members are happy and healthy can work wonders for morale and your company’s image. After all, the happier your employees, the more likely they are to go that extra mile for your business – which can boost client relations and customer service.

 

  1. You are uninviting

 

No seating area in the reception room? Closed door policy? Bland and generic décor? Not making the effort to ensure that your office is welcoming can cause all sorts of problems that are bad for business. Not only can an uninviting and impersonalised workspace be off putting for visitors and give them a bad experience of your company, it can also make your employees feel disconnected from their jobs.

 

As a general rule of thumb, having open plan layouts is more welcoming that private offices. As well as encouraging teamwork and open communication among staff members, collaborative workspaces also show those who visit your office that you have a friendly, team oriented company culture. It’s also important to make sure your décor scheme is as warm and welcoming as possible. Even small details, like hanging artwork on the walls, adding plants in the reception area or having refreshments on hand, can make the space feel far more homely and give an overall positive image of your organisation. Don’t forget to provide plenty of visitor seating options in reception rooms, conference areas and meeting spaces too.

 

  1. You are unsuccessful

 

When it comes to your business’ image, first impressions matter. When people walk into your office, the first thing they are likely to notice is the fittings and furnishings. Low quality furniture, scruffy décor and broken equipment are all signs that you’re struggling to keep your head above water, which can be damaging for your reputation. If you want to instil trust in clients and customers and leave a favourable impression, you need to project an image of success.

 

To do this, make sure that your office looks presentable and professional at all times. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend a fortune on an entire refurbishment or splash out on state of the art facilities. A few office furniture updates and a fresh lick of paint should be enough to give your workplace a more polished look. If you are strapped for cash, focus on key areas that other people will see, such as the reception area and boardroom. While investing in cosmetic updates may not be at the top of your priority list, bear in mind that it could lead to better business opportunities and increased revenue in the future.

 

When it comes to office design, it’s important to view your workspace as an extension of your overall company brand and corporate image. Get it wrong, and you could be in serious trouble. However, by taking simple steps to avoid the common pitfalls outlined above, and by giving your workspace some careful consideration, you should be able to increase employee morale, enhance your business’ image and bolster your bottom line.

 

If you want to ensure that your office is sending out the right signals and reflecting your business in a positive light, why not take a look around our website and browse our collection of quality office furnishings today?
 
 

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Avoid risk of early death with Office Yoga

Following on from the success of our office yoga infographic, and the unfortunate news that office workers need to exercise for an hour a day to avoid risk of an early death; we’ve teamed up with a Manchester-based yoga teacher and two office workers to put together a manageable and effective yoga-based workout.

The report, published by UK medical journal Lancet, showed that sedentary desk work is now as big a risk to public health as smoking. The numbers speak for themselves, with smoking contributing to more than 5 million deaths a year, and ‘inactivity’ now hitting similar highs.

Many of us do spend a lot of our day chained to a desk, which is why top quality, ergonomic office chairs and work desks are of utmost importance – now more than ever. Over half of men and women currently fail to meet the UK health guidance of 30 minutes of physical activity a day, and we want to change this!

Our latest campaign video features Manchester Yoga School’s Samantha Shaw, who puts our office workers through their paces in this specially designed, #OfficeYoga routine, varying from beginners to advanced, meaning everyone can get involved, no matter what your level of expertise.

Watch the video in full below, and head over to Twitter to join the conversation using #OfficeYoga and tag us @Furniture_Work, we would love to hear from you!

 

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What The Experts Are Saying About Office Design

September 14, 2016

When it comes to office design, it pays off to get it right. A well designed environment can boost worker engagement, improve efficiency and enhance productivity – all of which are good news for your bottom line. However, with so many different ideas about what makes an effective workspace, it can be difficult to know where to start. If you’re struggling to figure out what’s what in the world of office design, here’s what the experts are saying.

 

Breakout areas are a must

 

According to many professional office designers, breakout areas are now a crucial consideration when planning a workspace. When staff are forced to do long stints of work without having the chance to take a break and relax, it can have an adverse effect on their mood and productivity. So if you want your workers to thrive in their roles, you should consider providing a space where they can get away from their desks and recharge their batteries from time to time. Whether it’s a business lounge or a canteen space, providing your staff with a change of scenery can help to foster a more positive company culture, stimulate creativity and give morale a boost.

 

Create a bright, spacious environment

 

To help keep your employees happy and productive, it’s essential to pay attention to space and light. Considering that most office workers spend the majority of their day indoors, a cramped, dingy space is guaranteed to have a detrimental effect on motivation and, in turn, the standard of work. As well as making it easier to perform tasks, studies show that natural light can improve mood and boost energy levels. With that in mind, it’s wise to make the most of the light on offer by positioning employee’s desks as close to windows as possible. It can also help to create an open workspace by eliminating partitions and making sure that employees have spacious workstations.

 

Invest in plenty of storage

 

All office design specialists understand the importance of designing a workspace that is organised and efficient. Unfortunately, many companies fail to take storage into account when designing the layout of their environments. Not only can a disorganised space slow down employees’ performance and impede efficiency, it can also lead to increased stress and anxiety. To avoid these problems, make sure you think carefully about where your equipment and supplies will go. Invest in filing systems, shelves, bookcases and other storage units to ensure that your space doesn’t descend into chaos.

 

Always opt for quality furniture

 

Another blunder interior designers often see occurs when cash-strapped companies opt for low-quality fittings and furnishings, which can prove to be a costly mistake. Remember, having comfortable, ergonomically designed tables and chairs is an investment in your staff members’ health and wellbeing. High-quality furniture will also stand the test of time, meaning that you won’t have to splash out on another refurbishment in a few years.  

 

By bearing expert tips like these in mind, you should be able to create a more productive, efficient office space.  

 
 

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Posted by Furniture@Work

 

Understanding How Office Design Affects Morale

September 12, 2016

If your workers are lacking motivation and productivity has decreased, it could be that your office design is to blame. Did you know that the physical environment of the workplace can have a significant impact on your staff members’ happiness and overall job satisfaction? When bearing in mind that many workers spend more of their waking hours at work than they do at home, it’s important to make sure that they feel as comfortable and content as possible. The good news is that there are plenty of simple changes and updates you can make to your office to put a smile back on your workers’ faces and create a more positive company culture. If you want to find out more about how office design affects morale, this simple guide should provide you with some useful information.

 

Space

 

Space plays an important role in employee mood. Workers who don’t have enough room to perform their tasks efficiently can easily become frustrated and stressed. Working in a cramped space can make people feel claustrophobic and hemmed in, which can soon begin to have a negative impact on their mental wellbeing. Not only is this bad news for performance and engagement, but it can also lead to low job satisfaction and increased absenteeism.

 

To ensure that your workforce have enough space to work comfortably, remember to keep space in mind when designing your office. Desks should have plenty of work surface and storage capacity so that employees can carry out their tasks in an organised and clutter-free environment. If your office is lacking square footage, take advantage of natural light and avoid using partitions to help create the illusion of additional space. Space-saving furniture solutions such as corner desks and under-desk pedestals can also help you to create a more practical and efficient workspace.

 

Layout

 

When it comes to keeping your workers happy and motivated, you’ll also need to think carefully about the layout of your office. Open plan workspaces can be a great way to encourage collaboration, promote a sense of camaraderie among co-workers and improve worker relationships. However, the noise levels and constant distractions that come with shared workspaces can be stressful and frustrating and make it difficult for employees to focus on individual tasks. Meanwhile, private offices and cubicles can be useful for promoting concentration, but they can also hinder integration, communication and team bonding.

 

If you want your personnel to feel engaged and function to the best of their ability, you’ll need to give them a choice in how they work. To do this, it’s a good idea to provide a combination of both open and private spaces. Using office screens and room partitions is a quick and easy way to create private work zones in open plan spaces, allowing employees to have the option of their own personal space while still being able to interact with others when they want. By giving your staff this added flexibility and the freedom to choose how and where they work, you stand to improve morale and raise job satisfaction.

 

Lighting

 

The importance of lighting is often overlooked in workplace design, which can prove to be a costly mistake. As well as making it easier to work, a well lit room can help towards creating a more positive atmosphere. It’s well known that exposure to natural light can improve mood and enhance productivity. Poor lighting, on the other hand, can lead to increased stress levels, fatigue, headaches and even depression.

 

With that in mind, it’s essential to try and utilise as much sunlight as possible. Ideally, workers’ desks should be positioned next to windows or in view of a window. When it comes to artificial light, opt for bulbs that replicate natural light rather than using fluorescent lights. To prevent headaches and eyestrain, you should also make sure there is no glare on computer screens caused by exterior or interior light.

 

Storage

 

Another crucial element of a well designed office is storage. A workspace that is cluttered and disorganised can be extremely frustrating and reduce overall efficiency. Not only can it make employees take less pride in their work, but it can also suggest that you don’t care about providing them with a pleasant working environment, which can have a damaging effect on morale.

 

If you want to keep your workers’ spirits high and maintain a clean and tidy office space, invest in plenty of storage solutions. This could include shelving systems, under desk drawers, coat rails and filing systems. However, it is also worth making sure that your workers keep their own personal workspaces organised at all times and ensuring that everything has been put away in its proper place at the end of each day.

 

Décor

 

The way you choose to decorate your workplace can also have a significant impact on morale. Let’s face it, there is nothing more demotivating and uninspiring than working in a dull, bland office space. For employees to feel engaged with their roles and produce a high standard of work, their surroundings need to be personalised, stimulating and pleasing to the eye.

 

There have been plenty of studies to show that different shades can influence mood and energy levels – which is worth bearing in mind when you come to choose your colour scheme. Calming hues like blues and greens are thought to stimulate creativity and productivity, while bright colours can bolster energy and alertness. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to overhaul your entire décor scheme. Start by looking for opportunities to inject subtle hints of colour into the space, such as with wall art, furniture or even plants. It is also a good idea to let employees have some say over the way their office looks. Allowing them to add personal touches to their workspace can help to instil a sense of pride and make them feel more connected to the company.
These are just a few examples of the ways in which you can use the office environment to improve worker mood and morale. For more ideas on how to create an inspiring workspace, why not take a look around our site and browse our selection of high-quality office furniture today?
 

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