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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5 Office Design Trends All Managers Should Know About

April 20, 2016

Over the last few decades, workplace design has taken numerous different twists and turns. From the cramped cubicle-dominated spaces of the 1980s to today’s open plan work environments, the idea of what makes a good office is forever shifting and evolving. However, what remains constant is the fact that the physical workplace plays a key role in attracting and retaining top talent and enhancing worker performance. If you are looking to give your workplace a makeover, here are five office design trends you’ll want to know about.


  1. Alternative work zones


Today, more and more companies are realising that when it comes to working styles, one size does not fit all. In the modern office, we are seeing far fewer fixed workspaces and far more flexible settings that enable employees to choose how and where they work. The open plan office is still largely considered to be an effective way to encourage collaboration and camaraderie among colleagues, but it is also important to think about what happens when workers need private spaces to focus on an individual task. The solution? Provide various work zones where employees can carry out a range of different activities, including both collaborative spaces for group work and private spots away from distractions. This can help to make the working day far less repetitive and give employees a sense of autonomy, which in turn can enhance morale, boost productivity and improve companies’ bottom lines.


  1. Hot desking


Chances are, you have probably heard the term ‘hot desking’ or ‘free desking’ before. Hot desking is where office workers don’t have their own personal desk and instead choose any available workstation – and it’s a trend that many forward-thinking firms are adopting in a bid to increase social engagement and improve collaboration in the workplace. By having non-assigned seating plans and promoting movement around the office, staff members are encouraged to stray from the comfort of their departments and cliques and build relationships with other people they may not have otherwise associated with. This helps to break down the barriers of hierarchy that can stifle communication, bring more of a relaxed atmosphere to the office and foster a wider sense of community. It can also be great for aiding knowledge sharing as it increases the chance of colleagues having spontaneous discussions and impromptu brainstorming sessions, which can help to stimulate creativity and innovation. In fact, studies have shown that some of the best business ideas are born out of chance encounters between colleagues in informal settings.


  1. Break out areas


Another increasingly popular office design trend is the inclusion of break out areas and entertainment rooms. Following the examples set by cutting-edge tech companies like Google and Facebook, an increasing number of businesses are creating more informal workplaces that blur the boundary between work and play. Whether it’s a games room or a relaxed lounge area, providing designated spaces where workers can go to recharge their batteries and socialise with colleagues can strengthen relationships and make the working day far more enjoyable. While you may be worried that encouraging recreational activities during working hours will lead to procrastination and distract people from their tasks, it could in fact have the opposite effect. It’s now well known that downtime can be just as important as work in terms of productivity, as it can help to improve job satisfaction, inspire creativity and actually increase worker performance in the long run. After all, when you consider that your employees spend long hours in the office, it’s easy to see why they need to be able to take regular breaks and wind down.


  1. Flexible layouts


With the ever evolving business landscape, the benefit of having a flexible layout is becoming an increasingly appealing option for managers and business owners. Many companies are now doing away with the permanent office layout in favour of more flexible designs that can adapt and flex with their changing needs. Modular, portable and reconfigurable furniture can be mixed and matched, stacked, folded away and moved around to create a variety of multi-purpose spaces as and when they are needed. Rather than having a traditional boardroom, many offices are now using modular tables and office partitions to create pop-up meeting areas, allowing employees to modify their workspaces according to how much collaboration is needed. These space-saving, adaptable furniture designs can be especially useful for small, start-up companies that are growing at a rapid pace and need flexibility in their office layout. For the environmentally conscious, it also means less waste as you won’t have to get rid of permanent fittings and fixtures if you ever need to move location.


  1. Branding


If you want to reinforce a sense of community and increase loyalty and engagement among your employees, you might need to hop on the branding bandwagon. Forget company logos in the reception room and branded stationery in the boardroom – today, a company’s image needs to be embodied in every aspect of office design in order to be truly effective. Branded workplaces are all about creating a memorable experience for clients and an inspiring environment for employees. It is a way of telling the story behind your business and communicating your values, aspirations and personality to anyone who walks through the door. Everything within the building should represent a clear image of who you are as a company and be instantly recognisable, from the colours of your walls to your choice of office furniture. Not only can a branded interior be used as part of your marketing strategy to promote your business, but it can also give your workers a greater sense of purpose and make them feel more connected to their jobs.


So, if you’re a manager looking to revamp your office space, why not try some of the design trends listed above and see how much of a difference they can make? For more ideas on how to create a comfortable, inspiring and efficient workplace, take a look around our website and browse our selection of products.

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Elevenses in the Office

March 30, 2016

Following the success of our Healthy Desk Lunch eBook, we have decided to bring you a second installment… Welcome to the Elevenses in the Office Recipe eBook. This time, we’ve complied a curation of quick, easy and delicious recipes for those mid-morning snacks that beckon us all come 11am on a working day.


We believe your break times during the working week should be all about you. This book features a selection of healthy and wholesome snacks alongside some real ‘sweet treats’ as per true office tradition. After all, you work hard so you deserve it!


All recipes are certified to be eaten in the office during a well-earnt break, but they can also be enjoyed any time, any place. Some make the perfect breakfast alternative or afternoon pick-me-up too. Thank you to all the lovely bloggers for sharing their unique recipes.


Download the eBook for free below & let us know your favourite recipes on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #OfficeElevenses – we would love to hear from you!

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5 sure signs your office design is letting you down

March 18, 2016

In today’s working world, overlooking the importance of office design can prove to be a costly mistake. Shrewd bosses understand that there is a direct link between poor workplace design and increased employee stress, lowered productivity and poor business performance. From a lack of privacy, to poor communication, to messy workstations, there are all sorts of indicators that point towards an ineffective, unproductive work environment. If you want to avoid these common pitfalls, here are five sure signs your office design is letting you down.


  1. Your productivity levels are too low


Deadlines are being missed, work production has slowed down and your staff are taking twice as long to complete a simple task. Sound familiar? A decrease in productivity can be bad news for your bottom line, and it could be that your office design is to blame. After all, if the environment around them does not support your employees’ needs, the quality of their work is bound to suffer. One possible reason for a decline in performance could be a poorly thought out open plan office design. While these shared work spaces can be great for collaboration, they can also be a hindrance when employees need to concentrate. Placing staff members who need to work in a quiet environment in the same room as those who use their phones all day is a recipe for disaster. One way to combat this problem is to provide private areas where workers can retreat from noisy distractions and focus on individual tasks. A simple and cost effective way to do this is to use office screens to create secluded areas in open plan rooms.


  1. There’s not enough interaction or collaboration


While there’s no doubt that some degree of privacy is needed in the workplace, that’s not to say open plan environments can’t work. When planned well, an open plan office can strengthen colleague relationships and boost employee engagement. Individual offices, cubicles and fixed seating plans, on the other hand, can cut off the flow of communication between workers and lead to a lack of cooperation. If your personnel aren’t working together effectively and there is a need for more interaction, it may be that you could benefit from incorporating more collaborative spaces within your office. Providing communal areas where colleagues can get together, have impromptu meetings and share ideas and knowledge can help to foster camaraderie, inspire creativity and promote a healthy work environment. You may also want to think about having a flexible seating plan to encourage employees to mingle with people from other departments and improve communication across the company.


  1. The number of sick days has increased


If your workers are taking lots of sick days and complaining about their health, you may want to turn your attention to your furniture. Bear in mind that your staff can spend up to eight hours a day, or potentially even longer, sitting at their desks, so it’s important to make sure they are as comfortable as possible. An unsuitable chair and incorrectly set up workstation can cause a great deal of stress and frustration and lead to physical ailments such as bad posture, backache, headaches and repetitive strain injury. To avoid these issues and make sure that your workforce is happy and healthy, it pays to invest in high-quality, ergonomic furniture that supports healthy posture and allows staff members to work more efficiently. Showing your workforce that you have made your best efforts to improve their health and safety can not only help to reduce absenteeism and staff turnover, but it can also bolster morale and enhance performance.


  1. There’s constant clutter


If desks are piled high with files and paper and your employees spend more time searching for the things they need than actually getting work done, it’s time to rethink your office design. A disorganised and messy workspace can be highly distracting and slow you down both physically and mentally. If the clutter in your office is getting out of hand, you should consider investing in additional filing cabinets, shelves, desk organisers and other storage solutions to keep your workspace clean and tidy. Make sure everything has a proper home and get rid of anything that isn’t essential. Establishing zones for different activities such as printing, filing and working can also help to keep congestion and clutter to a minimum. You may also want to consider reconfiguring your layout to make better use of the space available and schedule time for a clear out every week or so to keep your office organised all year round.


  1.  Your workers are stressed


Office designs that deny workers the chance to get away from their workstations can lead to increased stress and tension, which in turn can have a negative impact on productivity and worker engagement. With that in mind, if your employees seem mentally worn out, under too much pressure or generally down in the dumps, it might be time to inject some fun into the workplace. To keep spirits high and stave off the negative effects of sedentary working environments, it’s important to give your staff the chance to get out of their seats and to take a break from their daily schedule. Whether it’s a relaxing break out area, a games room or a canteen, a change of scenery can work wonders for morale and allow workers to bounce back from stressful work demands. Providing recreational spaces where colleagues can relax and socialise with each other is crucial when it comes to improving bonds and lowering stress levels.


As you can see, a poorly planned workplace can be extremely detrimental to the happiness of your employees and the success of your business. However, by looking out for the tell tale signs of shoddy workspace design, you should be able to create a much more efficient and pleasant place to work.


At Furniture At Work™, we understand the importance of a well thought out office. If you think your workplace is in need of a revamp, why not browse our selection of practical and stylish office furniture today?

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Posted by Furniture@Work


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