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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A Guide to Office Happiness

June 17, 2016

If you work in an office, whether you’re in a building with hundreds of other people or alone in the comfort of your own home, you will understand the importance of creating a positive working environment.

 

An office setting is not only made up of physical aspects like the quality of the furniture or the colour of the walls, it can also include factors like the number of perks offered to workers or what’s in place to support employee health and mental wellbeing.

 

Sometimes, these elements can be difficult to get right, especially if you work from home. However, the good news is, there is help at hand. In this eBook, we’ve teamed up with some of our favourite bloggers who have given us their top tips on how to create a happy workplace, whether you’re based at home or in the office.

 

You can download the eBook for FREE below. You can also let us know your top tips on Twitter or Facebook using #WorkplaceEmotions

 

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5 Space Saving Design Ideas To Try In Your Office

June 15, 2016

Do you find it a constant battle to remain efficient at work – and do you seem to spend most of your day navigating around clutter rather than getting tasks done? There is no denying that being productive and organised in a small workplace can be a challenge. However, with a little bit of creative thinking and thoughtful planning, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to create a practical and user-friendly space. To help you make the most of your limited room, here are five space saving design ideas to try in your office.

 

  1. Multi-purpose furnishings

 

One of the easiest and most effective ways to maximise space is to take advantage of multi-purpose furniture. Without the luxury of lots of room, having large, bulky items will only stifle productivity and slow you down. Instead, opt for space efficient furnishings that have a dual purpose. For example, desks with built-in drawers and shelves can be used not just as a workstation, but also to store essential office items like folders, books and stationery. Likewise, extending your workstation with an under desk pedestal or side unit can give you yet more storage and act as a handy extra surface. Saving valuable square footage, these solutions ensure you won’t have to invest in additional filing cabinets and other fittings that will eat into your floor space.

 

  1. Shared work environments

 

In previous years, office designs were characterised by banks of cubicles and separate private offices. Today, open plan settings and shared work environments are far more common and they are associated with a range of benefits, especially in compact workspaces. Rather than having individual offices and workstations, managers and their employees often sit side by side on the same work surface. Not only can this save space, but it can also boost collaboration and improve morale. In fact, research has shown that open plan, small scale environments can increase communication and foster a positive, social environment that promotes job satisfaction and knowledge sharing. It is also not uncommon today for group discussions and brainstorming sessions to be held in open spaces rather than in dedicated meeting rooms, with the aim of encouraging team spirit and reinforcing a sense of unity among colleagues. With that in mind, setting up a communal table in the middle of the room could be just as effective as having a dedicated boardroom when it comes to collaboration, and it takes up very little space.

 

If you want added flexibility, you can use room dividers and office screens. Whether you want to create a private booth for workers to focus on individual tasks, a temporary meeting spot or a casual break out area, these accessories could help.

 

  1. Vertical storage solutions

 

A messy and disorganised office can be a hotbed for stress and have a detrimental impact on your performance and quality of work. To keep a clear mind and stay productive throughout the day, your workspace needs to have plenty of storage solutions. When designing a small work area, it can help to think vertically. In other words, you should consider building up rather than out. Adding shelves and cabinets to unused wall space not only keeps all of your office supplies and equipment within easy reach, but it also turns redundant areas into useful ones. Adding high mounted storage can also make your room feel much taller as it draws the eye upwards. If you really want to exploit the square footage on offer, you may also want to consider using the space below worktops by installing low level shelving – and don’t forget about corners and awkward nooks too. If you are currently using the back of your chair to hang your coat and bag, adding hooks to walls or doors can provide you with some much needed additional storage.

 

  1. Flexible layouts

 

For a small office to be efficient, it needs to be versatile. Flexible office designs are becoming an increasingly appealing option for workplaces that are starved for space. If you don’t have the room for fixed furnishings and permanent fittings, consider using fold-away, portable office chairs and tables instead. This allows for quick and effortless furniture rearrangements and it helps to ensure you can use your workspace for a wide range of activities, including collaborative meetings, breaks and individual desk work. When not in use, the furniture can be simply stacked or stored away to give you more space. Modular chairs and tables are another option, as they can be moved into a number of configurations to suit the exact layout of your office, no matter how awkwardly shaped or cramped it is. These flexible furnishings can be especially useful for start up companies that need their office layout to adapt to their evolving needs.

 

  1. Creating the illusion of space

 

Sometimes, all it takes is some clever decorating tricks to open up a room and make it feel more spacious. For example, choosing neutral, light colours for your floors and walls can make even the smallest of offices feel open and airy by bouncing light around the place. As a general rule of thumb, try to avoid dark furnishings and decor as this can make the room feel closed in and dingy. Meanwhile, leaving a small gap between furnishings can help to give a greater sense of space and depth, and resist the temptation to cram in too many items of furniture as this will make your office appear smaller. Letting lots of natural light enter the room and hanging mirrors on the walls can also help to create the illusion of extra space.

 

You will be surprised by how much of a difference these design suggestions can make to a small office, so why not try some of them out in your own workplace? For more ideas on how to create an efficient and functional work environment, you can browse our site further and take a look at our range of space saving products. Our professional and friendly team members are also on hand to provide you with further information and guidance.
 
 

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5 Design Tips That Will Transform Your Reception

April 28, 2016

As the front of your business, your reception area can be incredibly telling. After all, it is the first room that your clients, customers and employees will see, so it’s important that it leaves a favourable impression and sends out the right message. With that in mind, if your front of house is looking dull and worn out, now might be the time for a revamp. However, with so many design elements to consider – from comfort, to style, to practicality – it can be difficult to know where to start. Luckily, help is at hand. Here are five design tips that will transform your reception.

 

  1. Plan your layout carefully

 

As the entrance and exit of your building, your reception is likely to be one of the most used areas of your office. To make the most of the space on offer, you will need to give the layout some careful consideration. Your reception desk should be the focal point of the room and it must be clearly identified so that it is easy for visitors to find. Ideally, it should also be facing the seating area to allow for easy communication. It is also important to make sure there is enough space between the chairs and that they are positioned away from the door so that your guests are as comfortable as possible when waiting for their appointments. You also need to establish a clear walkway to accommodate for the constant flow of traffic and ensure there is enough space for deliveries.

 

Storage is another issue to consider, as it can help to maximise the square footage available and keep your reception looking neat and organised. To avoid cluttering the room with too much furniture, desks with integrated storage compartments are a great space saving option and can be used to keep office supplies out of sight. If you are struggling to plan your space, you may want to consider using modular reception desks and seating options that can be arranged in a number of configurations to suit the layout of your room.

 

  1. Invest in comfortable seating

 

Another essential design element is the seating area. Whether you’re interviewing potential employees or hosting a meeting with your clients, your choice of seating can have a significant impact on people’s experience of your office. After all, the last thing you want is for your visitors to have to wait around for their appointment without anywhere comfortable to sit. To make your guests feel instantly relaxed, provide a selection of high-quality, ergonomically designed chairs. You may decide to opt for a mixture of cushioned armchairs and plush sofas, and if the room is lacking in square footage, you could opt for space-saving stackable chairs. It is also worth having a few extra visitor chairs on hand for when you have a large number of visitors and need some extra seating.

 

  1. Use branding

 

Your reception area provides the perfect opportunity to showcase your company’s personality. When designing the space, think carefully about the message you want to send out. What is the story behind your business? What are your core values? Use the answers to these questions to guide your design choices. Everything within the space should reflect who you are as a firm and communicate a clear brand image. Even the colours of the walls and the choice of furnishings can be used to reinforce your company culture and set the tone for the rest of your office. For example, if you are a young, creative business, choosing innovative furniture designs and bright colour schemes can help to convey a sense of fun and high energy. Alternatively, if you are a more traditional business, classic wooden desks and leather seats could be more fitting.

 

The reception area is also the perfect place to show off your achievements as a business. Hanging framed certificates or pictures of projects you are proud of can help to give the space some personality while projecting an air of success.

 

  1. Don’t opt for style over substance

 

While you will no doubt want your reception area to look the part, it is important to take practical considerations into account. It is surprising how many companies choose style over substance when it comes to decorating their workspaces, and this can prove to be a costly mistake. After all, when you consider how many people pass through the area every single day, this part of your premises is bound to endure a lot of wear and tear. With that in mind, it is a good idea to opt for hard wearing, easy to clean materials if you want your reception area to stand the test of time. Plastic and leather upholstery are among the most practical options, and you can also get chairs and tables with rubber feet for added floor protection. By buying high-quality fittings and furnishings now, you won’t have to worry about forking out for another refurbishment a few years down the line.

 

  1. Don’t overlook the smaller details

 

When it comes to making your guests and visitors feel welcome, the finer details can make all the difference. For example, providing a selection of relevant industry magazines for your visitors to flick through while they wait can create a good impression and make them feel at ease. Having a drinks cooler, coffee machine and offering complimentary snacks can also be a nice touch and it will keep your guests refreshed. Even small decorative details like artwork, coat racks and a few plants can go a long way towards giving your reception a friendly, welcoming feel. It is also important to make sure the room is well lit and ventilated for maximum comfort.

 

At Furniture At Work™, we understand how important it is to have a well designed reception. While it is not always easy to get the design spot on, by following simple suggestions like these, you stand a much better chance of succeeding. Browse our website further and take a look at the range of stylish and practical reception furniture we offer.

 

 

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Spring Clean Your Office With These Simple Restyling Tips

April 26, 2016

It’s that time of year again. Winter is finally over and the thought of new beginnings compels us to give our homes a clear out. Unfortunately, our workplaces often get overlooked during the spring cleaning season. Many of us spend more of our waking hours at work than we do at home, so why is it that we leave our offices to gather dust and fall into disarray? It is well known that a clean and tidy work environment can enhance productivity, lower stress levels and boost morale – so what are you waiting for? Now could be the perfect time to clear to clutter, jettison the junk and give your workplace a new lease of life. Here are some simple restyling tips to help you spring clean your office.

 

Invest in extra storage

 

If your workspace is scattered with papers, stationery and other supplies, chances are you’re in need of some additional storage. To prevent your office from descending into chaos, invest in shelving systems, under desk pedestals, filing cabinets and bookcases. Not only can having plenty of storage help you to keep your work surfaces orderly, but it can also lessen the amount of distractions and increase your performance. Remember, your workstation should only contain essential items, such as a computer, keyboard, phone, a few pens and a notepad. Anything that is not needed on a daily basis can be stored away in an appropriate place.

 

Use desk tidies

 

Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of letting our work areas get messy and disorganised from time to time. However, an untidy desk can be more damaging than you realise. Not only can a cluttered workspace be demotivating, but it can also lead to increased stress levels and reduced productivity. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to take advantage of the range of desk tidies available to give all of your supplies a home. This way, you’ll know exactly where your most used items are and you’ll spend less time shuffling things around trying to find the supplies you need. Before you leave at the end of the day, do a quick tidy up so you can start the next day with a clear desk.

 

Revamp your filing system

 

Unfortunately, the paperless office is still a long way off. Despite the increasing use of cloud computing and other internet-based storage solutions, most office workers deal with a large number documents and folders on a daily basis. As part of your spring clean, take the time to purge your papers and get rid of anything that isn’t important, and set up a filing system for the things you want to keep. To organise your workload, it’s a good idea to have a system that includes ‘to-do’, ‘in progress’ and ‘finished’ sections. Colour coding and labelling your files is also a great way to make it easier to locate the things you need and to prioritise your work.

 

Make sure there are enough bins and recycling containers

 

If you’re desk is constantly cluttered with notes, empty take-out coffee cups and leftovers from yesterday’s lunch, it may be wise to invest in some more bins. To keep your rubbish where it should be, be ruthless and establish what in your workspace is important and what can be thrown away. Make sure each desk has its own bin, and provide easily accessible recycling bins for communal use. As well as helping to keep clutter under control, this is important for your firm’s green credentials.

 

Establish work zones

 

To make your workspace the well oiled machine it should be, you may want to consider establishing work zones for different activities. For example, as well as having a designated space for your computer, it can be useful to create areas to carry out other tasks, such as printing and filing. This can easily be achieved by using office screens and room dividers. Having specified work zones will help you to use the space you have far more efficiently in the future.

 

Use drawer dividers

 

We’ve all got a drawer we use to keep odds and ends out of our sight. Over time, these storage solutions can become so messy that you aren’t even sure what is in them anymore. To keep all of your rubber bands, paperclips and other knickknacks in order, it can help to use drawer dividers with separate compartments for your equipment. It’s also a good idea to go through your drawers every couple of months and clear out anything that is out of place or is no longer being used.

 

Add a coat rack and hooks

 

Are you currently using the back of your chair as a coat hanger? Do your colleagues have to keep stepping over your bag to get to their desks? Coats, bags, hats and umbrellas can quickly make office spaces feel chaotic if they don’t have an appointed storage space, especially if you’re working in a small area. Keep your outerwear and personal items out of the way by investing in coat racks or hanging hooks on the back of doors.  

 

Give your walls a fresh lick of paint

 

Spring offers the perfect chance to give your office a facelift with a fresh lick of paint. If your walls are looking grubby and scuffed, or you simply want to inject some vibrancy into your workplace, why not overhaul your decor? You’ll be surprised at how much a fresh colour scheme can transform the look and feel of a room and lift everyone’s spirits.

 

There’s no denying that staying tidy and organised at work can be a challenge. However, by giving spring cleaning tips like these a try, you should be able to make a real difference to your office. While it might seem like a lot of work initially, the results will be worth it in the end and you can reap the rewards of a happier, more productive office. For more ideas on how to restyle your office this spring, take a look at the range of office furniture products on our website.

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Top 6 Things Workers Look For In An Office

April 25, 2016

It should come as no surprise that the most successful businesses are the ones who pull out all the stops to make their work-forces happy. To recruit the best talent around and keep their staff members satisfied, companies need to give employees what they want. As well as a decent paycheck, there are plenty of other things that can improve job satisfaction and reduce employee turnover. An inspiring workplace can not only enhance morale, but it can also encourage your employees to excel at their jobs, increase productivity and boost your bottom line. Want to find out how to attract and retain the very best personnel? Here are the top six things workers look for in an office.

 

  1. Comfort

 

It might sound obvious, but it’s surprising how many firms fail to provide their staff with comfortable work areas. Not only can uncomfortable chairs and cramped desks leave workers feeling aggravated and demotivated, but it can also have a negative impact on their health and wellbeing. If you want to get the most out of your employees, you need to provide high-quality, ergonomic office chairs and workstations that have enough space to allow people to work efficiently. You also need to make sure that the office has enough light, is well ventilated and has an effective heating and cooling system. Meeting these objectives will show your workforce that you have made an effort to keep them happy and healthy, which can work wonders for morale and can even enhance performance.

 

  1. Flexibility

 

Employees appreciate having the freedom to choose how and where they work. After all, there’s nothing more demoralising than feeling like you’re chained to a desk for eight hours a day. A simple way to give your workers the autonomy they need is to provide a range of alternative work areas. While open plan seating arrangements are great for promoting teamwork, it’s also important to provide spaces where people can go when they need to concentrate on individual tasks or require more privacy. In fact, it’s well known that the lack of privacy that comes with open plan environments can be one the main reasons why employees feel dissatisfied with their jobs. The solution is to provide a choice of both open and private spaces to accommodate different needs. You may even want to consider allowing your personnel to work from home on occasion. People who feel that they are in control of their working day are far more likely to be content with their jobs.

 

  1. Entertainment

 

With corporate giants like Facebook leading the way with playful, stimulating office spaces, an increasing number of companies are following suit in a bid to improve employee engagement and gain an edge over their competitors. When it comes to keeping your staff happy and enhancing performance levels, offering workers a chance to relax and recharge is crucial. However, that’s not to say you need to install an on-site cinema or a state of the art gym to keep your workforce smiling. Recreational spaces, such as a break out area or games room, are becoming increasingly popular design features in offices, with the aim of giving staff the chance to blow off steam and take a break from from stressful work demands. Mixing work with play can create a more productive, engaged workforce, foster a positive company culture and make your office a more attractive place to work.

 

  1. Stimulating surroundings

 

When you take into account the fact that many workers spend around 40 hours a week at work, the office has become a home from home for lots of people. However, a lack of work/life balance can lead to increased levels of stress and depression, and there’s no doubt that a clinical, drab work environment will only add to this problem. To keep your staff in good spirits, you need to create a stimulating and inspiring place to work. Allowing your employees to personalise their desks, write on notice boards and generally put their stamp on the place can go a long way in terms of making the office feel more welcoming and comfortable. Creating informal, relaxed surroundings with plenty of visual interest can make employees feel more at ease and ensure that coming to work in the morning is that little bit more enjoyable.

 

  1. Open communication

 

Another important factor that workers look for in an office is open communication and a sense of community. Workers thrive in environments where there is a culture of friendliness and everyone is encouraged to talk freely and interact with one another. Having an open door policy can help to foster a sense of camaraderie between colleagues, strengthen worker relationships and create a sense of team spirit. Closed door policies, on the other hand, can feel oppressive, cut off the flow of communication and make employees feel less connected to their jobs. Today, it is far more common to see managers working in the same space as their staff than having private offices. The aim is to break down hierarchies and promote equality.

 

  1. Perks

 

While it may not be directly related to the office environment, offering perks can certainly help improve people’s perception of a company. Even small benefits, like having a day of the week where employees can wear casual clothes, providing free snacks and drinks and having regular company outings can make a huge difference when it comes to keeping job satisfaction levels high. When employees feel that their hard work has been recognised and rewarded, this can make a big difference to how they approach their daily tasks and increase the chance that they will go above and beyond for the business.  

 

The most effective, productive staff members are those who truly love their workplace, so it’s crucial that employers and managers invest in their workforce and listen to their needs. Why not give some of these suggestions a go and see how much of a difference they can make to your office? For more ideas on how you can create a comfortable and stimulating workplace, browse the range of office furniture products on our site.
 
 

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