How to give your office a spring makeover

June 10, 2015

There’s no escaping the fact that most of us spend a huge amount of our waking life in the workplace. No matter how much someone enjoys their job, being confined to one space for so much of one’s time can lead to mental fatigue, unless that space looks and feels as inviting and as comfortable as possible. However, even the most exciting state-of-the-art office space will eventually feel tired and even oppressive unless companies take the time to give these spaces a makeover from time to time.
 
With the warmer weather on its way, spring is the perfect time to clear out those cobwebs and reinvent the workplace. Clearing out the clutter and rearranging your office space will give workers a much needed mental boost and will help to ensure that their perception of your business is one that is extremely positive.
 
Starting off
 
Knowing where to start with a spring makeover can be a difficult. With so many options and, in some cases, so much that could do with being altered, it’s not always easy to see where you can make best use of your time and resources. A thorough spring clean will be invaluable to start with, allowing you to create a huge amount of extra space. Once your space is clean, tidy and focussed, you will find it far easier to see what changes should be made.
 
At this point, creating a floor plan of your space will help no end. Buying an array of new and fun additions for your office may well help brighten up both the space and your workforce, but unless you are focussed on a specific end goal, you may find that the finished result is not as effective as you had envisaged.
 
The right space
 
While planning your new spring makeover, be sure that you decide which type of workspace is right for you. Although open-plan working areas are the most common choice for modern workspaces, they are not the best choice for every single company. So be sure not to follow the herd and instead base each and every decision you make on your business’s own specific needs.
 
With this in mind, when giving your workplace a makeover, you might want to take the time to address specific issues that have arisen in the past. If staff members have complained of distractions, or you have noticed that dwindling morale has been an problem, this could be the perfect time to make changes to combat such problems. Offering games (who doesn’t want to play air hockey on their break?) and relaxed seating areas (bean bag meeting anyone?) could give your employees the little lift they need during a long day.
 
Don’t forget comfort
 
An office makeover is not just about aesthetics. While the right colours, artwork and ornamentation can and should be chosen accordingly when you transform your workspace, simply ensuring your employees are comfortable and indeed sitting in a way that will keep them healthy will have a huge impact on productivity and morale. Aesthetics will of course remain important when choosing furniture, but if you want the best from your staff, it’s important to give them the best too, offering furniture that will give them both a physical and mental boost.
With the right planning, a little bit of thought about the potential problems your staff might face and a thorough sort out before you choose your furniture, it should be easy to find the right solutions for your business and your own unique workforce.
 
 

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What Type Of Office Design Is Right For My Business?

June 8, 2015

Getting your office design right is essential if your firm is to fulfil its potential. The look and feel of your workspace can have a major impact on the productivity and morale of your employees, and it can affect your company’s image. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to designing offices. Every organisation has its individual needs and preferences, and it’s important to make sure that your premises perfectly reflect the requirements of your business.
 
To help ensure you get your design spot on, it helps to ask yourself the following questions when you’re planning your work environment.
 
One open space or separate areas?
 
One thing you’ll need to decide on is whether you want to create one open space or you’d like separate areas within your office. A rising number of businesses are knocking down walls and cubicles to create open plan workspaces, and top officials and managers now often sit alongside other employees rather than in their own personal offices. This approach can help to encourage a culture of openness and transparency, and it can also foster team spirit.
 
Of course, this approach doesn’t suit all enterprises. As an alternative, you may prefer to have certain parts of your office cordoned off for your high-ranking personnel. Meanwhile, as a hybrid solution, you could use glass instead of solid walls for any personal offices, giving managers more privacy but still creating a working environment with an open plan feel.
 
Designated desks or freedom to move around?
 
Another question you must ask is whether you’d like your personnel to have their own designated desks or you’d prefer them to have the freedom to move around and work from different parts of your premises. There are benefits to both approaches. By creating different zones within your workspace, such as breakout areas where workers can have impromptu meetings and discussions and quiet spaces where people can concentrate on their work, you can ensure your personnel can always find an environment that suits the tasks they are completing.
 
On the other hand, if your personnel have their own desks, they can create a personalised area and they can keep any documents or stationery that they may need in one place.
 
Conventional or quirky?
 
When it comes to the overall style of your workspace, you have to decide whether to go for a conventional look or to opt for something more contemporary and quirky. The route you take will depend on the image you want to convey both to your workers and to your customers. If you want to come across as traditional, leather seating, square-edged desks and other such design features will work best. Alternatively, for a more modern take on office design, rounded-edged furnishings and colourful seating will work better.
 
It’s only once you’ve decided exactly what it is you want your office to achieve that you should start the process of designing this space. Whatever route you take, make sure that your overall design scheme is cohesive and that it perfectly reflects your brand and business ethos.
 
 

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Simple Ways To Increase Morale At Work

June 3, 2015

As a boss, you might be looking for ways to raise morale among your employees. After all, by boosting people’s spirits, you not only make their working lives better, you also stand to reap a range of business benefits. When workers are happy, they tend to be more productive. It’s also easier to recruit and retain the best personnel if your staff members are contented. With this in mind, here are some simple ways to increase morale in your office.
 
Improve your seating
 
One top tip is to improve your seating. People can spend many long hours at their desks these days and if their chairs aren’t top-quality, their comfort and even their health can suffer. Workers can develop everything from sore backs to stiff necks and problems with their legs and arms if they don’t have access to suitable seats.
 
When you’re on the hunt for new chairs, it’s best to opt for adjustable versions that can be adapted to suit the specific needs of your employees. Seats should also offer impressive levels of back support and sufficient cushioning.
 
Keep noise levels under control
 
It’s important to keep noise levels under control as well. One major worker gripe, especially among people who are based in open plan offices, is the volume levels they have to put up with on a daily basis. As well as preventing people from concentrating on their tasks, excessive noise can cause stress levels to soar and it can lead to disagreements between colleagues.
 
One way to limit volume levels is to install desk and floor screens around your office. For maximum sound absorbency, make sure you select versions with foam cushioning. Whether you use them to partition individual workers or to separate departments, these screens can bring the noise in your work environment down.
 
Encourage people to take their allocated breaks
 
Especially if they feel under pressure to complete their tasks, workers can be tempted to skip their breaks. By foregoing quick tea breaks during the day and hurriedly eating their lunches at their desks, workers often fail to get the rest they need. This is bad news for their stress levels, eyesight and morale.
 
To encourage your employees to take their breaks, try to make sure they have manageable workloads. You might also want to create appealing rest areas where personnel can meet to eat, socialise and even play games. A rising number of companies are switching onto the benefits of including recreational areas in their offices, with tech giants like Google and Facebook leading the charge.
 
Show you care
 
Last but not least on this list, it is important to show you care about your employees. Simple things, like providing fruit bowls, water dispensers and free teas and coffees, can do wonders to raise morale. Make an effort with your office décor too. Adding some plants and attractive artwork to your workspace can elevate staff satisfaction levels.
 
By following tips like these, you should succeed in increasing the morale among your personnel.
 
 

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Simple Ways To Boost Worker Health

May 12, 2015

Promoting a healthy culture at work can reap numerous benefits for both your employees and your business. By making health a priority in the workplace and ensuring that your staff are on top form, you stand to reduce absenteeism, increase performance levels and improve retention – all of which are good news for your bottom line. In fact, more and more companies are now cottoning on to the fact that a healthy workforce equates to a successful business and are making efforts to invest in their staff members’ wellbeing. If you’re keen to find out more about how you can boost worker health, here are some top tips.
 
The importance of the right workstation
 
For people who spend a large chunk of their days sat at their desks, uncomfortable chairs and poorly designed desks can increase the risk of a number of health problems, including muscle aches and pains and poor circulation. To keep your employees in tiptop condition, it’s crucial that you provide them with high quality, ergonomically designed workstations. Desktop monitors must also be at the right height and free from glare to prevent eyestrain and headaches.
 
Encourage staff to exercise
 
Keeping your employees fighting fit doesn’t necessarily mean you have to splash out on a state of the art onsite fitness facility. On the contrary, there are plenty of simple but effective ways in which you can encourage your personnel to engage in physical activity. For example, why not create a cycle to work scheme, organise a charity run or host a group walk at lunchtime? By incorporating such activities into your office environment, you can make a healthy lifestyle more convenient for your staff. Not only can this lead to a healthier workforce, it can also remind your personnel that you are committed to promoting their wellbeing, which can give morale a helpful boost too.
 
Curb unhealthy eating habits
 
Sure, we’re all guilty of treating ourselves to a sugary snack or a fatty meal when we need a little pick-me-up during a gruelling shift, but these unhealthy eating habits can take their toll on our health. To help encourage your staff to swap junk food for more nutritious, wholesome options, make sure the canteen menu and vending machines offer a variety of healthy alternatives. You can even provide fruit bowls to help keep hunger pangs at bay.
 
Manage stress levels
 
Of course, as well as physical wellbeing, it’s important to support workers’ mental health. Excessive levels of stress and anxiety can make your staff more vulnerable to fatigue and mental burnout, as well as putting them at an increased risk of high blood pressure and heart problems. By providing your personnel with breakout areas where they can get away from stressful work demands and have some downtime, you can help to reduce their stress levels and improve their overall working day.
 
More generally, managers and employers should keep an eye out for symptoms of stress and ensure that they don’t overload workers with unrealistic demands and deadlines.
 
 

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Can Your Office Set-Up Help Control Stress Levels?

May 8, 2015

While some work-related stress is normal, excessive amounts can hinder productivity and have a detrimental impact on employees’ physical and mental health. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways in which you can keep stress levels under control at work. We all know that impending deadlines and hefty workloads can cause increased anxiety and added strain, but what is less well known is that office set up can also have an impact on workers’ moods. If you want to find out more about how workplace design can affect stress levels, this simple guide should help.
 
Break-out areas
 
Providing break-out areas where employees can forget about the demands of their job can help to alleviate work pressures. If people feel like they have nowhere to relax during the day, they are more likely to become vulnerable to stress and suffer a burnout. To combat this, offices should incorporate recreational spaces where workers can socialise and spend some time away from their desks. While this may seem counter-productive, stepping away from work to briefly relax and remove yourself from stressful situations can help to ease tension, which can in turn help boost productivity and enhance mental sharpness.
 
The importance of layout
 
When trying to stave off stress, it’s important to think about the layout of workspaces. Confined workstations and enclosed cubicles can leave staff feeling depressed and demotivated, whereas open workspaces can help to nurture a more friendly, sociable atmosphere. Breaking down physical barriers between workers can encourage collaboration and make people feel as though their workload is shared.
 
However, it’s important to bear in mind that employees will have different preferences in how they like to work, and catering to their individual needs can help to keep everyone happy. For example, if some of your staff require a quiet environment, office screens can provide them with the privacy they need.
 
As a general rule of thumb, offices that are well-ventilated, spacious and have plenty of natural light can help to increase employee morale and keep workplace woes at bay.
 
Comfortable office furniture
 
Uncomfortable, poorly designed chairs and desks can also add to feelings of stress in the workplace. If you want workers to be happy and healthy, it’s important to invest in well-crafted, ergonomically designed furniture. Not only can comfortable chairs and appropriately sized desks improve your staff members’ overall mood, it can also lead to improved work performances and reduce absenteeism – which is good news for your business’s bottom line.
 
Clear the clutter
 
A study conducted by the National Association of Professional Organisers showed that the average worker wastes approximately 4.3 hours a week searching for papers, which can cause increased levels of frustration and stress. A cluttered desk that is piled high with paperwork and swamped in office supplies can lead to feelings of mental overload and prevent personnel from staying on top of their tasks. Filing cabinets, cupboards and other storage solutions can promote greater efficiency and help people to feel more in control of their work.
 
 

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Simple Ways To Keep Your Office Organised

May 5, 2015

If your desk is piled high with paperwork, you trip over a mass of cables on the way to the coffee machine and you spend more time searching for your supplies than doing work, it’s high time you got organised. Bringing order to your office can sometimes seem like a mammoth task, but it doesn’t have to be. There are simple ways you can get your workspace into shape – and here’s a few tips to get you started.
 
Invest in storage solutions
 
Investing in storage is one of the easiest and most effective ways to organise a chaotic office. Filing cabinets, bookcases and under desk pedestals are ideal for keeping your files, folders and important documents organised while freeing up valuable desk space. To maximise your efforts, it’s a good idea to create an easy-to-use system for filing and archiving. This could be alphabetical, colour coded or numerical – whichever way suits you best. You may also want to designate separate sections for work in progress and completed projects to help you stay on top of your tasks.
 
If you think that your office is stifling productivity and could do with a sprucing-up, take a look around our site and browse our selection of office storage.
 
Declutter
 
Once you’ve invested in effective storage, try to avoid getting carried away and cramming your shelves, bookcases and filers full of junk. First, it’s important to purge your office of anything that you don’t need. Look around you – are there any items that haven’t been used in god-knows-how-long and are collecting dust in the corner? If so, chances are you don’t need them.
 
If your desk is buried under post-its, papers and other equipment, let’s face it, you’re probably not getting much work done. To cut down on distractions and give your productivity a boost, go through every item on your desk and give it a proper home. Use desktop organisers, trays and containers to help keep clutter at bay and put labels on shelves, drawers and any other type of storage to remind you and your colleagues where things go. And don’t just stop at your workstation either – empty drawers, clean out cupboards and sort through your computer’s filing system too.
 
Prioritise your supplies
 
To take your organisation to new levels, try prioritising your supplies. Keep items that you use the most within easy reach, while rarely-used provisions can be stored away to keep your space neat and tidy. To save yourself from wasting time hunting down the things you need, keep frequently-used folders and books on a nearby shelf and reserve top drawers for pens, notepads and other important equipment.
 
To help you keep on top of your workload, try hanging a memo board above your desk and attach your assignments, meeting notes and other responsibilities to remind you of important dates and deadlines.
 
By following simple tips like these, you’ll be surprised at how much of a difference a well-ordered space can make to your working day.
 

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Creating an office to suit the needs of today’s worker

March 20, 2015

Technology has changed the way we work. Up until a few short years ago, people were tied to their desks, relying on PCs and landline phones to complete their tasks and communicate with the outside world. Now, people are much freer in terms of where they do their work, and this has had a huge impact on the way in which offices are designed. Also, employees’ expectations have evolved. Individuals are no longer prepared to put up with dull, dreary working areas. Instead, they want dynamic, appealing offices.

 

Given the huge developments that have taken place in the world of workplace design over recent years, you might feel unsure about how to create the perfect base for your business. However, help is at hand. This brief guide talks you through the basics of modern office design.

 

Focus on flexibility

 

Instead of populating most, if not all, of your working environment with conventional workstations comprising standard desks and chairs, it’s worth considering incorporating different zones within your office. For example, a rising number of organisations are adding designated breakout areas to their workspaces where employees can go to have informal meetings and discussions with their colleagues.

We offer a selection of products that can be ideal in these zones, including our Harmonica breakout seating and Cubist modular seating. If you’re worried about noise carrying across to the rest of your office, you can use floor screens to cordon it off. For added volume control, we offer versions with 40mm foam cushioning.

 

Introduce fun elements

 

Many people are spending longer than ever at work. To help break up the monotony of the daily grind, many companies are introducing fun elements to their offices to boost staff morale. Tech firms like Google are leading the charge. The web giant has included a range of innovative features in its workspaces around the globe, including games rooms and even slides.

 

OK, so slides might be taking things a step too far in your office, but a small games area could be a savvy investment. There is some sound logic behind the addition of these recreational spaces. After all, when personnel have the opportunity to really unwind and relax during their breaks, they tend to be more productive once they get back to their desks. Games areas can also help colleagues to bond, and they can help companies to recruit and retain the best personnel.

 

Never compromise on quality

 

The days when firms could get away with providing their staff members with shoddy workstations have gone. Now, people expect their employers to protect their wellbeing, and good quality chairs and desks play an important role in this. Substandard furnishings can be uncomfortable to use, and over time, they can even cause injury. According to figures provided by the Health and Safety Executive, there were a total of over 500,000 reported cases of musculoskeletal disorders in the UK in 2013-14, and many of these may have be caused or compounded by poor quality furniture.

 

With this in mind, it’s well worth investing in quality products like the chairs and desks included in our impressive range.

As long as you get these office design basics right, you should be able to create the perfect environment for your workers.

 
 

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Workstation health and safety: what you need to know

March 16, 2015

If you work in an office environment, you may be unaware of the impact that a poorly arranged workstation can have on your health. From postural problems, to eyestrain, headaches and fatigue, there are numerous health problems that can arise from an unhealthy desk layout. The good news is that many of these problems can be avoided. By arranging your workstation to allow for maximum comfort, you can prevent these troubles and benefit from a more healthy and productive working environment.

Desk and chairs

First and foremost, it’s important to have the right chairs and desk. An ergonomically designed chair that has an adjustable back, height and tilt can help you to avoid back pain. To prevent postural problems from developing, adjust your chair so that your lower back is properly supported. Chairs with high backs and contoured lower back areas are particularly effective at providing all-important support and comfort. As a general rule of thumb, your knees should be level with your hips, your elbows at a right angle and your feet flat on the floor. Try to avoid crossing your legs, as this can cause your posture to become twisted.

Monitors

Computer screens that are too high or too low can cause you to strain your neck. To stop you from having to raise and lower your head, position your screen so that it is directly in front of you and the top of the monitor is at eye level. It’s also important to make sure that your computer is at a comfortable distance – roughly an arm’s length away.

To avoid headaches and eyestrain, your screen needs to be as glare-free as possible. To stop reflection from inside lighting and sunlight, you may need to use blinds or reposition your desk.

Mouse and keyboards

Just like your computer screen, your keyboard should be directly in front of you when you are typing. Try to leave around six inches at the front of the desk to rest your hands and wrists after long periods of typing. To maintain the right posture, keep your elbows at your side while using the keyboard. For added comfort, you may want to use a padded wrist rest. Your mouse should also be as close to you as possible so that you can keep your wrist straight.

Workstation arrangement

If you work in an office environment, your workstation is where you will spend a large chunk of your day, so it’s important to get the layout spot on. To avoid repeatedly twisting and stretching, make sure that frequently-used objects, such as your telephone and stationery, are within easy reach. Meanwhile, your desk must be spacious with adequate room to allow for easy movement.

If you think your workstation is having an adverse impact on your health, take a look around our site to see our ergonomically designed furniture.

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Boardrooms: the design basics

March 13, 2015

Your boardroom is a place where contracts can be won or lost, deals struck and vital decisions made. This means it’s vital that the space looks and feels the part. If you’re determined to create the perfect boardroom, take a look at these basic design principles.
 
Pick the perfect table
 
The focal point of your boardroom will be your table, so this piece of furniture must exude style and sophistication. It must also be a suitable size and meet your firm’s practical needs. Ideally, it will be in perfect proportion to the room, and it will comfortably fit enough people around it.
 
Depending on your requirements, you might want to opt for one single table. To create an intimate setting, circular versions can be ideal. Meanwhile, if you will need to accommodate large groups, a more sizeable rectangular design could be better. For a flexible solution, you can buy modular units that interlock with each other to enable you to create a range of different shapes.
 
Whatever type of table you choose, make sure it has a finish that complements your decor.
 
Invest in luxurious seating
 
If you want people to be able to concentrate while they’re in your boardroom, and if you want to impress your visitors, comfy and attractive seating is a must. You can take your pick from a range of chairs, including everything from traditional leather versions to modern looking seats featuring mesh.
 
The important thing is that the chairs you choose look the part and offer plenty of support to help people get through potentially long meetings and presentations without starting to feel fidgety.
 
Integrate your tech
 
Think carefully about the technology you want to integrate into this space too. You might need everything from video conferencing solutions to white boards. You will also require plenty of power points so that your colleagues and visitors can plug in their laptops and other devices if necessary. Meanwhile, you will benefit from setting up a good audio system that enables people to hear one another clearly. Ceiling or boundary microphones can come in handy for this purpose.
 
Think about how your lighting will interact with your technology too. You should be able to eliminate glare on screens and create the perfect viewing conditions at the touch of a button.
 
Pay attention to detail
 
In addition, make sure you pay careful attention to detail when you’re designing this part of your office. The decor should reflect your company’s brand and be visually appealing. As a general rule, less is more in the world of boardroom interior design. After all, you don’t want too many distractions. However, the addition of a few well placed plants can help to bring the areas to life, and some branded signage can work well too.
 
It’s also important to make sure all your wiring is tucked neatly away, and you should keep this area clean and tidy at all times.
 
By following simple tips like these, you should be able to dress your boardroom to impress.

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Why effective display and presentation equipment are a must for modern firms

March 12, 2015

Rising to the top in the modern business world isn’t simply a matter of having great ideas. It’s also about presenting these ideas in a convincing manner. No doubt some of the very best initiatives ever conceived of by would-be entrepreneurs have not come to fruition simply because the masterminds behind them didn’t have the persuasive force needed to get others on board. If you want to win contacts, entice investors and generally make your company a success you need to convince people that your products or services are worth backing.
 
This is why effective display and presentation equipment is so important. Without these resources, you could struggle to win others round to your cause and your efforts may prove to be in vain.
 
Take your pick
 
The good news is, there’s no shortage of superb display products to take advantage of now. You can take your pick from a host of items, including flipcharts, projection screens, whiteboards, folding displays, lecterns and much more.
 
We offer a variety of these products at great value prices, meaning you needn’t spend a fortune to get what you’re after. Whether you’re looking for resources to help you attract attention at exhibitions, equipment to enable you to give slick presentations in your boardroom or anything else, we can help.
 
To ensure you make the right purchasing decisions, it’s important to think carefully about the purpose you want these products to serve, as well as the environments that you will use them in.
 
The business case
 
OK, so you will have to part with a little cash to get your hands on these items, but this should prove to be a savvy investment. Having the right equipment will help ensure that your firm looks professional, which will in turn instill confidence in potential customers, investors and any other third parties that you deal with. In contrast, if you make do with tatty, old or inappropriate display aids, you risk alienating your audience.
 
Also, being able to use high-quality screens, boards, lecterns and more will help you to present your ideas in a slick, polished way. Most people feel nervous when they give pitches and talks, but when they have the advantage of being able to use the best possible equipment, they tend to be more self-assured. This can make a big difference to the quality of their performances.
 
It’s often said that only a bad workman blames his tools. However, the fact is, without the right display equipment at your disposal, you’ll find it very difficult to create a positive impression when you’re trying to convey your ideas – no matter how good they are.
 
To sum up, spending a little money on suitable display and presentation products could give your bottom line a major boost over the long-term. If you’re interested in stocking up on resources like these, you can peruse our website to see what’s available. You shouldn’t struggle to find what you’re after and, if you need any help, our friendly and professional team are on standby to answer your questions.

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