5 Easy Ways to Combat Annoying Distractions in the Workspace

August 1, 2016

Hands up anyone who’s ever had to deal with annoying distractions at work. One thing’s for sure, if you’ve had to put up with these frustrations, you’re not alone. Whether it’s loud conversations, buzzing phones or co-workers eating their lunches at their desks, there are all sorts of annoying interruptions that come with office life. Not only can these common bugbears rub employees up the wrong way, but they can also lead to low worker morale, poor performance and reduced productivity – all of which can damage a company’s bottom line. Luckily, there are plenty of simple yet effective ways to minimise these disturbances and restore peace to the office. To give you some useful ideas, here are five easy ways to combat annoying distractions in the workspace.

 

  1. Use office screens

 

Open plan office spaces have become increasingly popular over recent decades, offering companies the chance to bolster collaboration and promote a sense of camaraderie among employees. However, while there are many benefits to these types of workspaces, they also come with their downsides. With increased noise levels and constant distractions, an open work environment can cause staff members to feel frustrated and stressed, which can have a negative effect on productivity. Without any privacy or quiet time, many people struggle to focus on their tasks and, consequently, the standard of their work slips.

 

Luckily, this issue can be easily resolved with office screens. These portable room dividers are made from special sound-absorbing materials and can be used to break up open plan office spaces to reduce distractions and lower noise levels. They can be utilised to create separate work zones that can be used for meetings or individual tasks that require focused attention. You can also get smaller desk screens, which can be used to divide shared workstations and provide more privacy for employees.

 

  1. Invest in plenty of storage

 

Another irritating distraction in the workspace is mess. Being surrounding by stacks of paperwork, files and folders and other office knickknacks can make it almost impossible for employees to give their full attention to their tasks. While some people are just messier than others, one simple solution that can prevent a cluttered environment is to provide more storage. Without a proper place to keep their office supplies, people often end up dumping things on desks and other surfaces and, before you know it, your workplace has descended into mayhem.

 

If you want your staff to perform to the best of their ability, streamline their surroundings by providing a variety of storage solutions, including filing systems, under-desk drawers, shelves and bookcases. Make sure that all office equipment and tools have a clear home so that people will avoid putting them in places they don’t belong. It is also worth having shredders, bins and recycling containers to keep unnecessary paperwork off desktops. Before leaving the office at the end of the day, ask employees to have a quick clear up and make sure everything has been stored away in a suitable place to prevent the clutter from building up.

 

  1. Provide an eating area

 

It’s well known that one of the most infuriating workplace distractions is people eating their lunch at their desks. Whether it’s smelly food, noisy eaters or people not clearing away their leftovers, it’s easy to see how these lunchtime habits can throw people off balance and prevent them from focusing on their job.

 

A straightforward way to avoid this problem is to provide a separate area for people to eat. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a designated dining area – even a simple canteen table and chair setup away from the main workspace can encourage staff to move away from their desks when they are eating lunch. This way, staff can eat and socialise with colleagues without getting sideways glances from people who are trying to work.

 

  1. Put a ban on personal items

 

Let’s face it, we’ve all been guilty of texting, answering a personal phone call or checking our social media notifications while at work, right? While glancing at a phone every once in awhile is harmless, when done incessantly it can be a real distraction – not only for the person doing it, but also for those around them.

 

To keep your personnel focused on the task at hand and minimise technology interruptions, it can help to provide places where workers can store their personal items and keep them out of sight, such as a drawer under the desk or a locker. You may also want to consider having a policy where no personal phones are allowed during working hours to remove the temptation to use them.

 

  1. Plan the layout carefully

 

The layout of an office can also be a distraction. Whether it’s the constant noise from printers, traffic from outside or lift doors opening and closing, a poorly planned office design can mean that employees struggle to focus.

 

If you want your staff to remain productive, it pays off to carefully plan the layout of your office to minimise possible disturbances. Ideally, you should try to avoid positioning workstations next to high traffic spots, such as by the printing area, eating spaces, entrances or walkways and instead opt for quieter settings. If you have the space, it’s a good idea to have designated zones for different activities. For example, having a separate place for printing and scanning and an area for filing can help to reduce the chance of interferences. While this might mean you have to go to the effort of reshuffling a few desks and some equipment, the benefits will make this well worth your while in the long run.  

 

In every office there are bound to be some irritating distractions that simply can’t be avoided. However, by following simple suggestions like these, you should be able to boost concentration levels, enhance efficiency and make your workplace a far more pleasant place to be. For more ideas on how to create an efficient, productive workspace, why not browse our range of high quality office furniture today?

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Your Guide To Using Colour In The Workplace

July 28, 2016

Chances are, you probably haven’t given much thought to the colours used in your workplace. However, research has shown that the shades you choose for your office could be more important than you may initially think. In fact, studies suggest that the colours we are surrounded by on a daily basis can have a significant effect on our mood and productivity levels. It’s also important to note that different hues can be used to reinforce a company’s brand. To help you make the most of your décor, here is your essential guide to using colour in the workplace.

 

Reinforce your brand

 

Colour is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reinforce your image and company culture. For example, if you want to convey a sense of creativity and high energy, you may want incorporate vibrant, fun shades like yellows and oranges into your décor scheme. If you want to be seen as a leader in the industry, dark hues like navy and purples can help to project an air of professionalism, power and authority. You may also choose to use your logo or website colours when decorating your workspace to promote your marketing message even more. Not only can using brand colours make your business more memorable to clients and customers, it can also help to stimulate your workforce and make them feel more connected to the company.

 

Improve productivity

 

Let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than working in a bland, dull office space for eight hours a day. Not only are white walls and beige furniture unpleasing to the eye, but this kind of environment can also be demotivating, leading to low morale and poor performance. If you want to inspire your staff members and encourage them to work to their best ability, consider decorating your office with bright, mood-lifting hues. It’s thought that blues and greens can be particularly effective when it comes to enhancing productivity, concentration and creativity, and these colours can also induce calm feelings and lower anxiety, which can be especially useful in stressful or fast-paced workplaces.

 

Achieve the perfect balance

 

While you’ll no doubt want your office space to be stimulating and cheery, take care to use bright and striking hues in moderation. Too many bold shades can increase levels of stress and even cause eyestrain and headaches, while dark colours can make your office look smaller and more oppressive. To achieve the perfect balance, interior designers usually recommend that offices incorporate a neutral colour for the main background hue and then use more prominent shades to add visual interest. For example, they can be included in the form of an accent wall or pieces of office furniture. As a general rule of thumb, you should try to keep the main work area and reception room fairly light – but if you do want to draw attention to a particular spot, eye-catching choices are ideal.

By bearing tips like these in mind next time you come to decorate, you should be able to harness the power of colour in your workplace, boost your brand and create a happier, more efficient workforce.

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6 Essential Features To Look For In An Operator Chair

July 25, 2016

When it comes to choosing seating solutions for your office, getting it right is crucial. After all, a lot of office workers now spend the majority of their days sitting at their desks, and a poorly designed, uncomfortable seat can lead to increased stress levels, reduced productivity and a variety of health problems. To help you make the perfect choice and keep your workers happy and healthy, here are six essential features to look for in an operator chair.

 

  1. Adjustable height

 

A high-quality, ergonomic office chair should be height adjustable to suit the user’s individual proportions and ensure maximum comfort. The seat should feature a lever which allows the user to adjust the chair so that they are sitting with their feet flat on the floor, their thighs horizontal and their elbows level with their desktop. A correctly adjusted chair can help to prevent muscle aches and pains and promote healthy posture.

 

  1. Sufficient back support

 

Sitting for long periods of time without enough back support can put pressure on the muscles that support the spine, which can lead to chronic backache. To maintain good spine health, operator chairs need to have a cushioned backrest that supports the natural curve of the spine, especially in the lumbar region. Maintaining a static position is also bad news for back health, so make sure the chair has an adjustable back tilt function that allows users to adopt different seating postures throughout the day to stop them from getting sore and stiff.

 

  1. A comfy seat

 

The seat should be adjustable or provide enough room so that the user can sit back in the chair without putting pressure on the back of the legs. The seat should also be contoured at the front (also known as a waterfall front chair) to prevent blood flow from being restricted in the legs.

 

  1. Suitable materials

 

The material of the seat should have enough padding so that the chair is comfortable to sit on for long periods of time. The material also needs to be firm enough to provide adequate support for the legs, hips and back, but soft enough so that it cushions pressure points. It is also a good idea to choose breathable fabric to prevent heat from building up.

 

  1. Swivel function

 

Operator chairs are designed to allow the user to perform a variety of tasks and should feature an easy to use swivel function. This allows office workers to carry out their work efficiently with minimal effort and without causing muscular strain from awkward bending and twisting.  

 

  1. Adjustable armrests

 

If workers are going to be sitting for extended time periods, adjustable armrests are also a must-have to support their arms as they work. Armrests should be adjustable by height to suit the user’s proportions and their prefered working style.

 

While there is no one particular chair that is best for all office work, these are some useful features that you might want to look out for when you’re making a purchase.

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How To Take The Stress Out Of An Office Relocation

July 1, 2016

There’s no getting around the fact that moving offices can be a hectic and challenging time. Whether your current space is no longer big enough to meet your needs, you want to downsize or you’re simply looking for a change of scene, shifting to a new workplace can give rise to all sorts of complications. However, with a little bit of thoughtful planning and preparation, you can ensure that the transition runs as smoothly as possible. To help take the stress out of an office relocation, here are some key points to consider.

 

Choose the right place

 

Your first priority is choosing the perfect place for your new office. To do this, you’ll need to have a long-term plan and consider what kind of things you will require from your space. Not only will you have to thoroughly assess your current requirements, but you also need to think about your future business plans and growth trajectory to ensure you won’t outgrow your workplace. For example, is it likely that you will be expanding your team in the future? Will you need meeting spaces and boardrooms as well as a main work area? Is the premises flexible enough to accommodate for your changing requirements? Asking yourself these kinds of questions will give you a clearer idea of what kind of office space you need. It’s also important to think carefully about the location of your new office and assess how easy it will be for your employees and clients to get to. By taking these factors into account now, you won’t have to worry about them further down the line.

 

Decide on the best time to move

 

Once you’ve got your new office space lined up, it’s time to start thinking about the best time to move. Try to give yourself an estimated timeline to ensure that the transition stays on track and that you don’t leave anything to the last minute. Ideally, you should allow several weeks to fully complete the move, although this will depend on the size of your business. It’s also wise to try and plan your moving date to coincide with a time that will have as little impact on your business as possible. For example, you may decide that the best time to do it is after working hours or during the weekend to minimise disruptions and downtime. This could mean that your staff will be able to pack up their personal items at the end of the day and return to work as normal the next morning.  

 

Have a plan in place

 

When moving offices, it pays off to have a plan. One way to increase the likelihood that your move will be a success is to have a schedule that outlines every step of the process and prioritises events in order of importance. You may even decide to assign a project manager to oversee the entire transition and ensure everything is done within your budget and allotted time frame. To make sure nothing is left out or forgotten about, it is also worth having a checklist or inventory of everything that needs to be moved, including office furniture, IT equipment and general office supplies. To ensure all your furnishings and accessories will fit into your new premises, try to get accurate measurements of the size and floorplan of your new workplace and have a rough idea of where everything is going to be located. Not only will this help you to get the most out of the space, but it will also make the moving day run a lot more smoothly and save you from having the stress of reshuffling and rearranging when you get there.

 

Enlist professional help

 

Sometimes, certain things are best left to the professionals. Hiring a moving team can help ensure that the process is more streamlined, safe and cost effective, allowing you and your staff to focus on the daily operations of your business. Start by finding an experienced moving team that specialises in office relocations and can assist you through every step of the process, from packing and transporting to assembling your furnishings and equipment. As well as moving teams, you may also want to consider hiring an IT specialist to supervise the changeover of IT equipment, including broadband and telephone lines, and to ensure that systems are up and running as soon as possible. Enlisting the help of a commercial real estate agent can also be useful if you want to assess your new lease’s terms and conditions.

 

Don’t forget about hidden costs

 

With the stress and chaos of relocating, it can be easy to forget about the smaller details when you’re managing your budget. However, this can prove to be a costly mistake. When deciding on a spending limit for your office transition, it’s always worth setting aside some extra cash for unexpected costs. For example, you may need to account for potential employee downtime, and it is likely that you will have more expensive overheads if you are moving to a larger building. Another potential cost that you may have overlooked is renovation work that might need to be completed in your new location, including updating the office furniture and décor. To help you plan your moving budget accurately, consider speaking to a professional accountant or financial advisor.

 

Tie up any loose ends

 

Finally, you’ll need to tie up any loose ends before you make the move. For example, you should check whether you need to pay any outstanding bills from your current premises. You also need to contact all of your suppliers, including internet, phone and utility companies, and inform them of your impending move – ideally giving them as much notice as possible. Don’t forget to leave a forwarding address for mail too.

 

Moving to a new office can be a daunting and stressful experience for everyone involved. However, with some careful planning and forward-thinking, you can eliminate much of the anxiety and many of the complications often associated with these transitions.
 

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Preparing Your Office For An Important Business Pitch

June 29, 2016

Whether you’re trying to get funding from investors or win the custom of a potential client, when it comes to pitches, the stakes are high. After all, the impression you make can be the difference between taking your ideas to the next level and missing out on valuable opportunities. Your office plays a crucial role in how other people view your company, and if you want to bolster your efforts and increase the chances of your presentation being a success, a little preparation can go a long way. So, if you’ve got an important business pitch coming up, here are a few suggestions you may want to bear in mind.

 

Have the right equipment on hand

 

Once you have decided what the main points of your presentation are, you’ll need to think carefully about how you are going to get your ideas across. If the meeting is taking place in your boardroom or conference room, it’s vital to make sure you have all the right equipment set up in advance. For example, you may choose to use visual aids such as PowerPoint and flipcharts to display facts and figures in an easy to understand way and to reinforce your key points. Or perhaps you want to deliver your pitch via a short video, in which case you will need to have appropriate video technology on hand. It’s also a good idea to test all of your equipment just before you are due to deliver your presentation to ensure that it is working properly and to avoid any embarrassing technical faults. Providing a handout for the audience with a short summary of your ideas can also help to enhance your message, and you may want to provide people with pens and paper so they can jot down notes if they need to.

 

Spruce up your office

 

When meeting with potential client and investors, first impressions are essential. The way your workplace is presented can speak volumes about your company’s culture, aspirations and work ethic. A messy, poorly kept office is bound to reflect badly on your business and may signal to others that you are unorganised and negligent in your working methods. An organised and tidy office, on the other hand, will exude an air of success and professionalism and instil confidence in your guests. Before your clients are due to arrive, give your office a thorough clean and make sure everything is in order, paying particular attention to the areas they are likely to see and spend time in, such as reception rooms and boardrooms. Ask your staff to de-clutter their workspaces and remove any confidential or unprofessional paperwork from their desks. You may even want to give your walls a fresh lick of paint if the décor is looking scruffy or outdated, and replace any broken or substandard office furniture. At the very least, you should provide a variety of comfortable seating options and a suitable meeting table.

 

Show off your success

It’s not just the pitch itself that can sway a prospective client’s or investor’s opinion of your business. Giving an important presentation at your office also provides you with the perfect opportunity to show off your success and promote your brand. After all, the aim of the pitch is to sell a product or idea that your business has to offer, so it only makes sense that your surroundings should reinforce this. For example, having a branded interior can help to make your firm more memorable and create the image of an established business. You may also want to display any awards or certificates you have achieved and have a range of portfolio samples on hand to demonstrate previous work and projects you are proud of. Not only will this help to engage your guests, it can also serve to gain their trust by showing them what you are capable of achieving.

 

Let your employees know

 

It is also wise to let your employees know when you are due to deliver a pitch. Let’s face it, the last thing you want is someone interrupting you half way through the meeting to tell you you’ve got a phone call waiting. Try to give your employees and colleagues advanced warning so they know when you will be busy – and remind them again shortly before the meeting. You should also make everyone aware of the time you have booked the boardroom or conference room for to avoid any disruptions. Another important thing to bear in mind is that your clients could have chance encounters with any employee who works for your company, so make sure that everyone is clear about how they should greet guests and conduct themselves more generally. Encourage your workforce to dress appropriately and act in a professional manner when clients and investors are on site, as this will help to give an overall positive view of your business. You may also want to let your staff know the names of the clients and give them some background information.

 

Stock up on refreshments

 

Sometimes, it’s the small details that can make all the difference. If you want to leave a favourable impression and make your guests feel welcome in your office, don’t forget to stock up on refreshments. Provide a selection of hot and cold drinks and an assortment of snacks to keep your guests refreshed and help them maintain concentration. By providing refreshments, you will also show potential clients and investors that you care about their needs and have great attention to detail. Bear in mind that you may want to assign a member of staff to offer beverages so you can concentrate on delivering your pitch.

 

By giving yourself plenty of time to prepare your office and notify your workers, you should be able to leave a favourable impression and increase the chances of your presentation being a triumph. For inspiration on how to impress clients and deliver a winning business pitch at your workplace, why not browse our collection of high-quality office furniture and presentation equipment today?
 

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8 Office Design Hacks That Could Help Your Workers Concentrate

June 27, 2016

Did you know that the physical environment of the office can have a significant impact on how well people work? If they’re functioning in poorly designed open plan workspaces, it can be hard for employees to focus, and stay focused. Whether it’s constant phone calls, colleague conversations or noisy printers, everyday office hubbub can have a negative effect on productivity and performance. The good news is, there are plenty of ways to create a workplace that promotes focus, minimises distractions and boosts your bottom line. Here are eight office design hacks that could help your staff concentrate.

 

  1. Have dedicated quiet zones

 

While open plan offices can be great for improving workforce collaboration and fostering team spirit, they can also be a source of frustration and stress. Being exposed to constant visual distractions and noise can make it difficult for staff members to focus on their tasks, often resulting in increased irritability and poor quality work. To get the most out of your personnel, it’s useful to provide a choice of collaborative and private workspaces. Having dedicated ‘quiet zones’ away from main working areas gives employees the chance to have some peace and quiet to knuckle down to individual projects without any interruptions.

 

  1. Relocate your printing area

 

There’s nothing more distracting than having the continual noise of printers and scanners when you are trying to concentrate on your work. If you want to avoid rubbing your employees up the wrong way, it’s a good idea to keep your printers and other noisy pieces of equipment separate from the main workspace. If your office is lacking square footage, consider putting equipment in corridors, lobbies or any other space that isn’t used for work.

 

  1. Use office screens

 

Another easy and effective way to reduce distractions in the office and bolster worker performance is to use office screens and room partitions. Made from special sound-absorbing materials, these boards are ideal for open workspaces and can be used to lower noise levels and break up the main work area to create secluded spaces for meetings, brainstorming sessions and private work areas. As well as floor partitions, you may want to consider investing in desktop screens that can be used to divide desks, give workers more privacy and reduce colleague disruptions.

 

  1. Have breakout areas

 

A simple change of scenery can work wonders for morale and motivation. Having a breakout area, canteen or business lounge gives employees the chance to switch up their everyday routine, de-stress and socialise with colleagues. Allowing staff to briefly get away from their desks allows them to recharge their batteries, which can in turn help them to remain more focused when they return to their work. While it can be attempting to assume that downtime is bad news for productivity, it’s now widely accepted that breaks can actually increase performance in the long run. In contrast, encouraging people to do lengthy stints of work without breaks can be highly de-motivating.

 

  1. Choose the right lighting

 

Lighting can affect the way in which we work too, but unfortunately, this is an area of office design that often gets overlooked. Lighting that is too bright or too dim can cause headaches, eyestrain, fatigue and irritability. To ensure your staff feel energised and ready to tackle challenging work demands, it’s vital to make sure your office is well lit. Try to utilise as much sunlight as possible, and provide a balance of overhead lights and task lamps for workers’ desks. As a general rule of thumb, avoid very bright incandescents and instead opt for bulbs that replicate natural light.

 

  1. Upgrade your furniture

 

If your personnel are constantly shifting and adjusting in their seat, chances are they’re not getting much work done. Having high-quality, adjustable seats and correctly set up workstations is crucial if you want your staff to remain engaged with their tasks. After all, most office workers spend the majority of their days sitting at a desks, and if they’re uncomfortable, it’s unlikely that they will be functioning to the best of their ability. To ensure that workstations are ergonomically set up, there are a few checks you can do. For example, employees’ feet should rest flat on the floor when they’re in their office chairs, their backs should be well supported and their computer screen should be positioned at eye level and about an arm’s length away. Providing footstools, lumbar support cushions and computer risers to raise screens can all help to improve comfort levels.

 

  1. Invest in suitable storage solutions

 

A cluttered, messy office environment can be highly distracting and impede focus. To streamline your surroundings, invest in plenty of storage solutions to keep your workspace clean and organised. As a minimum, you’ll most likely need a selection of bookcases, shelves, cupboards and filing systems, and it’s important to make sure your workers’ desks are kept clutter-free by providing paper trays, stationery containers and under-desk drawers. Don’t forget coat hooks, bins and recycling containers either. At the end of each day, have your employees do a quick tidy up and make sure everything has been returned to its proper home before they leave.

 

  1. Choose the right colour scheme

 

Research has shown that colours can have an effect on our mood and mental function. With that in mind, picking the right colour scheme for your office could potentially help to boost morale and improve worker engagement. Calming hues, such as greens and blues, are often considered to be a good choice for workplaces rather than dark or very bright shades. Think beyond the walls too. Why not get creative and use furniture, posters and other decorative items to add a splash of colour to your office?

 

By bearing in mind office design hacks like these, you should be able to keep your workforce motivated, help them to stay on task and increase concentration. If you want to find out more about how you can create a comfortable and inspiring office space for your staff, why not browse our range of high-quality and affordable products today?
 

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Could A Breakout Area Or Games Room Really Raise Worker Productivity?

June 24, 2016

Fortunately, sterile, drab office spaces are gradually becoming a thing of the past. Over recent years, an increasing number of companies have started incorporating fun and inspiring recreational spaces into their office designs – and there’s a good reason for this. It is now widely understood that letting personnel relax and enjoy some downtime during the working day can promote wellbeing, inspire creativity and increase productivity. If you’ve overlooked the latest trend of having a breakout area or games room in the workplace, you could be missing a trick – and here’s why.

 

Creating a home from home

 

Today, many employees spend long hours in the office. This can lead to an unhealthy work/life balance and cause unhappiness and low job satisfaction – and there’s no doubt that the feeling of being chained to a desk all day long only adds to the problem. To get the most out of your staff and maintain high morale, providing a comfortable and stimulating workplace is crucial. By including casual ‘chill-out’ areas where employees can unwind as they would in their own homes, you can help to break down the barrier between work and leisure time and enable your employees to feel more at ease in their surroundings. In turn, this can stave off those dreaded Monday morning blues and help to make personnel feel more contented in their roles.

 

Lowering stress levels

 

It’s well known that spending long periods of time doing repetitive tasks is bad news for our mental wellbeing. Without enough breaks during long stints of work, it’s easy to become frustrated and irritable, which can lead to increased stress levels and potentially even raise absenteeism. Studies have shown that having regular breaks at work can prevent people from feeling mentally burned out and it can improve their happiness. With that in mind, employees need to have the chance to detach themselves from their responsibilities and escape the pressures of their everyday schedules to be able to work to the best of their ability. One way you can encourage this is to have dedicated areas away from staff members’ workstations where they can blow off steam. In turn, this can drive down job-related stress and improve concentration levels – both of which can enhance productivity and performance.

 

Boosting morale

 

Games rooms, entertainment spaces and lounges offer the ideal chance for workers to engage in social interactions and have fun, which is a sure fire way to boost morale. Whether it’s playing a game of table tennis or enjoying a catch up and a coffee with a colleague, a simple change of scenery is sometimes all it takes to improve people’s mood and stimulate motivation. As well as enhancing employee satisfaction, bringing a sense of informality and playfulness into the workplace can also have a positive impact on your bottom line. By promoting a company culture that values worker wellbeing, your staff will be happier and therefore more likely to excel in their roles and go that extra mile for your business. This is why increased worker morale can translate into better customer service, improved client relations and more custom for your business.

 

Preventing procrastination

 

Have you ever found yourself daydreaming about the weekend while at work? One thing’s for sure, you’re not alone. The truth is, it’s almost impossible to maintain concentration for an extended period of time, and so failing to ensure your employees take enough breaks from their work demands can lead to procrastination and boredom. When people have no time to recharge or re-energise, they become easily distracted, make more errors in their work and are less efficient. While some business owners and managers may argue that taking employees away from their tasks is counterproductive, it can in fact have a positive impact. Allowing your personnel time to step away from their duties can actually help to restore the concentration and energy they need to remain engaged. By taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, people are more likely to stay focused on their goals and be able to prioritise workloads better.

 

Stimulating creativity

 

Taking time to relax during the working day can also stimulate creativity and innovation. In fact, some experts claim that the mind is better at problem solving and coming up with innovative ideas when it is in a relaxed state. This would suggest that those ‘eureka’ moments are more likely to happen when people are removed from the stresses and strains of the normal working day. Studies have also shown that some of the most successful business ideas arise from impromptu discussions in informal settings rather than through continued periods of focus. So, if you are looking to inspire imagination and get those creative juices flowing, encouraging your employees to have some downtime could be the answer. 

 

Increasing collaboration

 

Another benefit of having communal areas in the workplace is that it increases collaboration. More and more companies are now following global brands like Google and creating playful and fun work environments to improve employee engagement, increase communication and promote knowledge sharing. However, there’s no need to spend a fortune splashing out on state of the art cinema rooms or extravagant meeting pods to get your employees to mingle. Simple improvements, such as providing a comfortable seating area, can go a long way in terms of strengthening work relationships. Even having a pool table on site can encourage healthy competition and increase the chance of workers socialising with people different departments. Remember, breakout areas can be multi-functional spaces used not only for social purposes and relaxation, but also for more productive team activities like meetings and brainstorming sessions.

 

With so many benefits associated with having recreational areas in the workplace, it’s easy to see why this is becoming such a popular trend in office design. For more ideas on how to create an inspiring and effective workplace and bolster productivity, why not browse our website further and take a look at our full range of products? If you have any questions about our office furniture, you can get in touch with our team by phone or online form.

 

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Your Guide To Balancing Style & Practicality In The Workspace

June 23, 2016

Whether you’re looking to completely revamp your workspace or simply want to make a few modern updates, the designing process will need some careful consideration. To create an office that is productive and efficient, you’ll have to give some thought to how the space is used to ensure the working day runs as smoothly as possible. However, creating a functional environment doesn’t necessarily mean you should compromise on aesthetics. If you want to strike the perfect balance between practicality and style in the workplace, this simple guide should provide you with some useful suggestions.

 

Office furniture

 

The average office worker spends a large chunk of their day sitting at their desk, so it’s important to make sure that your furniture is up to scratch. If you want to get the most out of your employees, chairs and worktables need to be user-friendly. After all, uncomfortable and poor quality furnishings can stifle productivity and increase stress levels – both of which are bad news for your bottom line. To keep your workers happy and healthy, opt for high-quality, ergonomically designed workstations. If you want your furnishings to stand the test of time, make sure you choose hardwearing materials that can endure daily wear and tear and are easy to clean. You also need to think about the layout of your room when arranging your furniture and take into account the flow of traffic, as well as the positioning of windows and doors and power points.

 

However, as well as practical considerations, you’ll no doubt want your furniture to look the part. When a client, visitor or employee walks through your door, your fittings and furnishings are likely to be one of the first things they notice, so it’s vital that they make the right impression. To reinforce your brand and project an air of success, try to opt for furniture designs that are befitting of your company’s image. For example, if you are a young, innovative firm, you may choose colourful chairs and modern table designs to convey a sense of high energy and creativity. A traditional business, on the other hand, may opt for more conventional furnishings to project a professional, formal look.

 

Storage solutions

 

Storage is an important consideration in terms of both practicality and the appearance of a space. Not only can clutter and mess be a distraction and physically slow you down, it can also have a negative impact on the overall look and feel of an office. There’s no reason why you have to opt for dull or plain storage solutions either. In fact, there are plenty of attractive and contemporary filing cabinets, bookcases and desk organisers available – and you don’t have to stop there. Don’t hesitate to get creative with hooks, baskets and open shelving to add personality and visual interest to your workspace while keeping it organised.

 

If you’re short of space and want to streamline your surroundings, another great solution is workstations with built-in storage. Not only can these multi-functional pieces of furniture provide a handy place for your office supplies to remain within easy reach, but they also keep your office free from clutter without sacrificing valuable floor space. Don’t forget to use cable management solutions as well to keep electrical wires and cords out of the way.

 

Décor

 

A workplace that is sterile and bland can have a negative impact on worker morale. If you want to boost employee’s spirits and keep them working to the best of their ability, you need to provide them with stimulating surroundings that are both pleasing to the eye and reflect your company’s personality. However, don’t just think of décor in terms of aesthetics. Research has shown that certain colours can have a significant impact on our mood and alter the way in which we work. For example, bright, vibrant shades can be motivating and boost energy levels, while more muted colours can instill a feeling of calm and reduce stress. As your workers will be spending most of their day in the office, it’s crucial to choose a décor scheme that is inspiring and fits in with the vibe of the overall space.

 

It’s also worth bearing in mind that some decorative items can have practical qualities too. For example, plants can add visual appeal to a workspace, but they can also improve air quality and even enhance concentration levels.

 

Lighting

 

There’s no point creating a stylish space if there’s not enough light to enjoy it. Lighting is one of the most important aspects of an effective interior design scheme and has many uses in the workplace. As well as allowing workers to carry out tasks safely, boosting alertness and reducing fatigue, effective illumination can help to set the mood and ambience of a space.

 

While there is no rule as to which type of lighting is best for an office, a combination of overhead and task lighting is usually considered to be the most effective. Try to avoid fluorescent bulbs and opt for solutions that are less harsh, and make sure you optimise natural light as much as possible. This will help to show your surroundings in a more aesthetically pleasing way while also preventing headaches and eyestrain. It’s also important to ensure that any glare on computer screens is minimised. You may want to add some accent lighting, such as spotlights or picture lights, to highlight key areas and features. Of course, lighting in the workplace is not just about where it is positioned and what type of bulbs you use. When chosen correctly, it can transform the entire look of a room and enhance the overall design scheme.

By bearing handy tips like these in mind, you should be able to create an office space that combines style and substance in equal measure. For more ideas on how you can create the perfect work environment, why not browse our impressive range of high-quality office furniture products and accessories? You shouldn’t struggle to find something to suit your individual needs, taste and budget.
 

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5 Hidden Office Health Risks & How You Can Combat Them

June 22, 2016

While many office employees spend the majority of their days at work, relatively few think about the possible health risks they could be exposed to while they go about their tasks. Although they may not always be obvious, the workplace is full of concealed hazards that can have a detrimental impact on our physical and mental wellbeing. To make sure you and your staff are as safe and healthy as possible, it’s a good idea to try and identify these threats and take steps to avoid them. Here are five hidden office health risks – and suggestions on how you can combat them.
 

  1. Uncomfortable chairs

 

The quality of office furniture is something that is often overlooked by employers and managers – and this can prove to be a costly mistake. After all, when you consider that your personnel could be spending up to eight hours a day sitting down, having comfortable chairs is a must if you want them to work to their best ability. Uncomfortable and poorly designed chairs can cause all sorts of health problems, from backache, to leg pain, to poor circulation. They can also result in frustration, irritability and increased stress levels, all of which can result in higher staff illness rates.

 

If you want to keep your workers happy and healthy, it’s important to invest in ergonomic seating solutions that are designed to prevent aches and pains and promote correct posture. Ideally, office chairs should be adjustable by height and tilt so they can be modified to suit the individual proportions of the user. They should also provide sufficient lumbar support, have generously sized seats and optional armrests. Not only can having the right furniture help to boost your staff members’ health, it can also improve concentration and productivity levels, which is good news for your bottom line.

 

  1. Poorly set up workstations

 

Another common hazard that people fail to spot is poorly set up workstations. Monitors that are too high or too low, keyboards that are positioned at the wrong angle and screen glare are all problems that can take their toll on employees’ health. Over time, these issues can result in eyestrain, muscle tension, headaches and repetitive strain injury in the hands, wrists, shoulders and neck.

 

To prevent these ailments, there are a few quick checks you can perform to make sure workspaces are properly laid out. Computer monitors should be at eye level and about an arm’s length away, while keyboards need to be positioned directly in front of you with your wrists resting on the table as you type. Frequently used equipment and supplies should be within easy reach, and for workers who use the phone a lot, you may also want to consider providing headsets to prevent shoulder and neck pain. The computer screen should also be free from glare caused by interior and exterior light.

 

  1. Clutter

 

Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of letting our workspaces get messy from time to time. However, if you’re not careful and you let the clutter build up, it can present serious trip hazards. When workers have to navigate their way around stacks of folders, paperwork, boxes and other office supplies, it increases the chance of slips and trips happening, especially when objects are left lying around near staircases or in walkways.

 

To reduce the chance of accidents and injuries, take care to keep all corridors and stairs free from clutter and make sure there is a clear pathway for traffic to flow through the office. If your workplace has limited square footage, invest in handy space-saving storage solutions, like under desk-pedestals, slimline filing cabinets and full-height shelving systems. Give everything a proper home, and at the end of every day, make sure workers do a quick tidy up and return all tools and equipment to their proper places.

 

  1. Unsuitable lighting

 

Chances are, you’ve probably not given much thought to the lighting in your office. However, the truth is that light can affect your staff members’ mood and wellbeing, which can have a knock on effect on how well they work. Environments that are too bright, or too dim, can cause physical problems like eyestrain, fatigue and headaches. It is also known that unstable lighting can lead to higher levels of irritability and stress – which can in turn hinder performance and productivity.

 

When it comes to office lighting, there is no single rule as to what solutions are best. However, you should try to utilise as much natural light as possible and place as many desks as you can near or in view of a window. If this is not possible, try to use bulbs that replicate natural light. You should also have a balance of overhead lighting and task lights for workspaces.

 

  1. Poor hygiene

 

Every workplace has episodes of colds and stomach bugs. Sometimes, this can’t be helped, especially if you work in an open plan environment and have air conditioning units that can circulate germs around the room. However, one of the main factors that causes illnesses at work is poor hygiene. Falling to wash your hands, not cleaning cups and kitchen utensils properly and leaving worksurfaces dirty for long periods of time can cause bacteria to quickly spread around the office.

 

To stave off sickness and keep your office germ-free, staff should be encouraged to use hand sanitiser and to wash cups and cutlery thoroughly after they have been used. It’s also a good idea to have disinfectant wipes on hand so employees can clean their desks, keyboards, phones and other equipment on a regular basis. In addition, try to discourage people from eating lunch at their desks to prevent crumbs from getting into keyboards and causing bacteria to grow. Make sure that any leftovers are cleared away promptly too.
 
These are just some examples of the health hazards you may find lurking within your office, but they should give you an idea of the types of things to look out for. By taking measures to increase workplace safety and improve your employees’ health, you should find that you reduce absenteeism, bolster morale and have a far happier, more productive workforce.
 

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Creating A Boardroom That’s Befitting Of Your Business

June 21, 2016

The boardroom is a place where important ideas are debated, interviews conducted and deals won or lost. As well as being one of the most frequently used spaces in your office, it’s where potential clients and employees will begin to form an opinion of your company. With so much importance placed on this part of your workspace, it’s crucial that you get the design just right. It’s not only about creating a stylish and comfortable meeting room, but also one that reflects your company’s brand, culture and personality. To help get you started, here’s how to design a boardroom that’s befitting of your business.

 

Choose an appropriate style

 

The style of your boardroom can say a lot about your firm and in the world of business, first impressions count. Start by thinking about what sort of image you want to portray and use this to get a feel of how you want the room to look. For example, are you a modern, cutting edge company, or are you more of a traditional brand? Everything from your office furniture choices to your décor scheme can play an important role in establishing the overall theme of the space. For example, an ultra-modern tech firm may choose contemporary, quirky tables and chairs and a vibrant interior design scheme to convey a sense of innovation and creativity. If you want to be seen as an authority in your industry, traditionally styled furnishings and sophisticated décor can help to project an air of success and professionalism. Think about whether you want to create a laid-back, relaxed vibe or stick to a more conventional, formal boardroom style.

 

Use branding

 

The boardroom is the perfect place to reinforce your company’s brand and express your goals and values. Not only can a branded room help to give your clients and visitors a clear sense of who you are as an organisation, but it can also help to instill a sense of shared purpose and unity among your workforce, which can in turn boost morale and increase productivity. Whether you are interviewing a prospective employee or delivering an important presentation to a client, your meeting room should be used as an extension of your marketing strategy to promote your brand and show your business in a positive light. As a minimum, try to incorporate your company logo and brand colours into your design scheme to boost its effectiveness.

 

Show off your success

 

If your boardroom isn’t showing off your accomplishments, you’re not putting it to its best possible use. If you want to demonstrate to your clients what gives you a competitive edge, your meeting space needs to exude an air of success at every turn. Whether it’s a trophy cabinet, a framed certificate or a mission statement, make sure you display your achievements, expertise and experience. As well as making you look more attractive to potential clients and employees, this can help to instill pride in your workforce everyday.

 

It’s also important to make sure that your fittings and furnishings are up to scratch. After all, a boardroom that has scruffy, poor quality furniture, drab cor and broken equipment is bound to reflect badly on your business and give the impression that you are unprofessional. The furniture you select is likely to be the first thing that people will notice when they enter the room, so make sure you invest in ergonomic, user-friendly and attractive tables and chairs.

 

Practical considerations

 

As well as aesthetics, you’ll need to take some practical considerations into account when designing your meeting room. Take the layout for instance – this is incredibly important as it can dictate how the room is used and can say a lot about your approach to work. For example, you may choose to do away with the traditional boardroom layout and opt for a circular meeting table to create a more intimate, collaborative space and promote a sense of equality. For a more hierarchical structure, a conventional rectangular or oval shaped table with a clear head of the meeting would be more fitting. Think carefully about how your business operates to help you choose the right arrangement for the space.

 

Of course, you also need a table that is large enough and has more than enough seats for your employees and visitors to be comfortable. Modular furniture can be a practical choice, as it can be arranged into a number of configurations to fit the size of your room and suit your changing needs. If you’re short on square footage, using stackable, fold-away chairs and tables could be a convenient solution. These portable furnishings can be used to add more or less space when required and can be simply folded or stored away when not in use.

 

Add the final touches

 

When designing your meeting room, take care not to forget about the smaller details. To avoid creating a space that is more style than substance, it’s important to be well equipped and have all the necessary amenities in place. If you regularly hold client meetings and conferences, you may want to consider investing in high-quality audio and video conference equipment to communicate with clients. For presentations and training sessions, having a projector screen or whiteboard may also come in useful.

 

Having a range of refreshments, such as water coolers and coffee machines, can also make a nice addition and show your visitors that you have taken their needs into account. Remember to provide plenty of natural and artificial light and add ventilation systems if needed to make the room as welcoming and comfortable as possible.

By taking these tips into account and making sure that you get the style, layout and branding right, you should be able to create the perfect meeting space. Here at Furniture At Work™, we understand how important it is for a business to have a well-designed boardroom. You can browse our site further to see our wide range of stylish and practical office furniture. Alternatively, our team of experts are on hand to provide you with further guidance.
 

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Posted by Furniture@Work

 

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