Small benefits that have a large impact for staff

There are a number of relatively small benefits that staff perceive as being a real bonus in their jobs. Through using these little extras staff are happier, often more productive and more likely to satisfied in their job roles. Some examples of this are free tea and coffee facilities for staff; this discourages staff from needing to store foodstuffs in their personal storage pedestals, is relatively inexpensive and can actually keep staff on site (rather than going off site for a coffee). Combining this with an attractive breakout area, particularly if it is a modern e-café style coffee area, gives a real bonus for your staff. The area can be used for informal meetings, it encourages communication and “chance encounters”, which can also increase information sharing and gives staff somewhere to go for lunch that means that they can still be near to their desks. Many offices are now going one stage further and including free fruit in these areas, another relatively inexpensive benefit that can also help to encourage healthier staff.

A bright vibrant breakout area can totally lift an office space, so if you would like to discuss how we can transform your office and staff perception of it, give us a call.

Reducing your carbon footprint at your workplace

These days we are becoming increasingly aware of how our actions directly affect our planet, and people are beginning to see that if everyone makes small changes, together this can have a large impact. There are many ways that we can reduce our carbon footprint in our home lives, such as not leaving electrical goods on standby, recycling and turning down heating, but there are also many ways that we can do the same for our work lives. After all we spend more of our waking lives at work than we do at home, so if we want to really make a difference this is where we also need to make changes.

There are many simple things that can be done such as cutting down on paper usage; we try to do everything we can electronically now, and so we produce plans that can be read on screen, quotes and invoices are sent as PDFs, and even our fax machine is a software fax. This has reduced the amount of paper we use significantly. There are other, less obvious ways of reducing your business and employees carbon footprint, such as encouraging car sharing, allowing some degree of home working (to reduce travel), and providing facilities to allow staff to commute by bicycle (storage and shower facilities).

We can give advice as to how to become a more environmentally aware office through office design; give us a call to discuss how we can help you.

Home working and its effects on your business

Home working is increasingly becoming a more standard part of office life. Simpler communications, webcams, video mobile phones and mobile email have changed where and how people work, allowing for greater flexibility. However many staff who do sometimes work from home do so on the end of a bed, or dining table, and this can lead to postural problems. In an increasingly litigious society it is important to ensure that when your staff are working from home they are doing so in a way that is not going to effect their health, your productivity and possibly even leave you being sued for lack of health and safety guidance. We are able to design home working environments for your staff based upon the actual room that they are working in to ensure that you are protected and your staff work ergonomically and safely whilst out of your office. We can even recommend a Commercial Osteopath that can carry out workplace assessments to ensure that your staff know how to maintain correct posture at their desks.

Call us for more information regarding home-worker design and our ergonomics services.

Corporate Office Design

These days the boundaries between home life and work life are becoming increasingly blurred; whereas a few years ago most office based jobs were a strict 9 to 5 – sitting at the same desk each day scenario, things have started to change significantly. Many employers now allow for a more flexible approach including time based at home, working from different office locations or simply working at different desks for different tasks. Where we were once tied to our desks to carry out our job role we are now more able to carry out our work via laptops and communicate via networks and mobile telephony and this has lead to changes in the way offices can be designed. Through using several different areas for different tasks you are able to make the most efficient use of your office space, and we can show you how including hot-desks, touchdown areas, breakout space as well as dedicated desking can improve both your office layout and staff perception of their workplace.

Give us a call to discuss how we can modernise your office, allowing for a more flexible approach to corporate office design.

Office furniture and the cost factor

When shopping around for office furniture on a budget, the more detailed information you have, the easier it will be deciding how to design your office and how much furniture you really need.

Don’t purely focus on cost when buying your office furniture, although naturally that is an important factor. Keep in mind comfort and convenience in mind too. For example, make sure any workstation you are buying has enough leg room space for the people who will be sitting there and working the whole day and any office chairs are easy on the back.

You may wish to re-use some of your existing office furniture. There has been a remarkable increase in the number of refurbished office furniture options but few office design companies will actively look to re-use existing office furniture. Space Planning UK is one company that is happy to re-use your old furniture and incorporate it into your office design.

In fact, if you look to combine some of your old office furniture with the new, it can look just as good as an entirely new design with a few key pieces of new office furniture.

New versus existing office furniture: What suits you better?

Small business owners and companies are always looking for cutting down on cost. Buying new office furniture can be extremely expensive. That is why business owners and companies prefer to re-use their old office furniture to save money while furnishing their offices.

If you are working within a strict budget, re-using your office furniture is often the preferred solution. After proper research and exploring the various market options and resources, it is possible to combine new with old office furniture that will not only look good but will also be received well by employees and customers.

Re-using some of your old office furniture can save money – as much as 50 per cent over the cost of buying all new office furniture. Of course, you need to do thorough research and ideally use a specialist office space design company who is willing to work with you on this, such as Space Planning UK.

Make sure that your old office furniture has minimal wear and tear and has not been used for too long a period. Once some finishing touches are given, most people cannot tell the difference between the old and new office furniture.

When you buy new office furniture, the resale value can depreciate to 25 per cent or less of the original purchase price over the number of years. On the other hand, if money is not a major concern, it makes sense to buy new and customised office furniture as you and your employees need.

Take extra care when picking paint or wallpaper colours in your office

Colours can be a very powerful aspect of a truly vibrant office space. Bright colours can inspire employees; subtle shades can calm one down, or just make one feel at ease. A proper selection of colours can help motivate your employees to get down to business! Take extra care when picking paint or wallpaper colours in your office.

Different hues resonate and spread different vibes. For example, a bright red might remind you of hearts/love, lipstick, even stop signs. Red is an intense colour; maybe not exactly what you are looking for in an office. However, a deep cherry-maroon shade could make your employees feel empowered. Also, a rosy pink shade could well liven up your office and impart it a feminine flair, encouraging lighthearted environment.

Elements of office ambience and design to influence employees

As part of a natural human tendency, employees invariably relate and react to non-living objects at the office place in symbolic terms and connotations. Take a typical office chair as an example. It has a very important symbolic significance. It conveys the office hierarchy; it acts as a motivator, a status symbol, and a sign of how its occupant is valued.
Similarly, various aspects and elements of the office environment and design tend to influence the employees in different ways. Even colours can influence morale, attitude and outlook towards work. Imbalanced colours in the office can have a negative psychological effect on employees.
Desk and conference table shapes and styles also play a key role in our perceptions. There are three psychologies of a typical office table – round tables, square or rectangle tables and low or no tables.
• Square or rectangle desks and tables: Where the people sit on opposite sides, the ambience seems formal and confrontational.
• Round tables are more practical and comfortable, offering a sense of collaboration.
• The third psychology of office design is very informal. Sofa, club chairs and a low magazine table, or no table at all, provides a warm and relaxed atmosphere.
You may have thought that psychology plays little or no part in office design, but companies who specialise in this area understand the impact of office space planning.

Strike a balance between your current and projected office furniture needs

Companies and small scale business owners are always looking for ways to save money. If you are looking for cost-saving and effective office furniture ideas, here are a few:

1. Create a plan – Do not rush out and buy the workstation, desk or chair that you see on sale at the local office supply dealer or store. Instead, do some analysis and spend some time for devising an effective office furniture plan.
2. Evaluate your furniture needs – Make it a point to evaluate and exactly work out your current and projected office furniture requirements. Try to strike a balance between the two. Keep in mind how much space you have for the office furniture along with plans for hiring additional employees.
3. Get employee feedback – It is your employees who will be using office furniture the most, so seeking their feedback is a must apart from taking into account expert opinion.
4. Check various office furniture options and resources – check various office furniture options and resources available. Employ a specialist in the area as it can save you money in the long run by using space more effectively

Points to consider while buying storage units and office chairs

Here are some practical ideas when looking to buy storage units and office chairs:
• Shelving (or storage units) is something that you will require if your workplace has a constant flow of documents and information in paper or paperless format (magazines, books, files, discs, CDs, etc). You need to consider the amount of space available to fit in your documents.
• When you buy a used storage unit, desk or any furniture, check whether the moving parts are properly functional. Check if the drawers smoothly open and shut. See if the keyboard racks move properly.
• If there is a lock, ensure that it is functional. See to it that you are given keys to it!
• Take into account your budget. Pine wood is always cheaper than other alternative woods.
• When buying chairs for your employees, it is critical to understand that they will be using the chairs for many hours a day, hence they should be as comfortable, supportive and relaxing as possible.
• Sitting in adjustable and flexible height chairs – with arm supports and a high-back- your employees will feel comfortable, and can keep a healthy posture. This will result in increased productivity.
deally, you should use a company such as Space Planning UK to ensure you get the optimum space from your office. When doing their office design, Space Planning UK will also re-use your old or existing furniture.