Cost effective office design

There are many ways to look to improve your office design without necessarily having to spend a fortune. Removing unnecessary partitions and opening up the space always helps as this can improve natural light, air flow and circulation, and usually helps to make your office look bigger. If your internal partitions are not structural this is relatively easy and inexpensive to do, and can totally transform your space. Often existing furniture can be re-used and it is possible to re-cover chairs and screens to give a new appearance at a reduced cost. It is even possible to replace just the tops of desks giving a new work surface, without needing to replace the whole desk, and as well as saving money, this saves wastage – helping to reduce your carbon footprint.

If you would like our advice as to how to improve your office design without spending a fortune; give us a call for some bright ideas.

Ergonomics and using the correct office chair

The human body was not designed to be seated for eight-plus hours a day, so it is not surprising that so many people have back problems at some time in their lives. There are so many different furniture manufacturers that offer office chairs that range in price from £20 to over £1000, so how do you know what is best for you and your staff? An ideal office chair should be flexible; it should have height adjustability to accommodate taller and shorter staff, an adjustable back rest giving gentle support whilst not pushing too hard against the spine, and ideally have an adjustable base (to allow tilting). Most basic chairs have adjustable height and back support, but few have the base tilt mechanism, however this function allows the pelvis to roll forward, and in the case of a free-float tilt mechanism, actually keeps the pelvis in subtle constant movement, which in turn keeps the spine moving. This helps to prevent the typical office chair slump and prevent the spine from locking up, leading to healthier backs and healthier staff.

If you would like ergonomics and furniture advice, give our staff a call and we can discuss how to keep your staff healthy at work.

Further uses for CAD plans

At the start of each project we carry out we survey your existing space and furniture to produce an accurate CAD plan. Whilst this is essential for accurate space planning, it can also be used for many other purposes. The way a CAD plan works is by having a series of layers of information that can be switched on and off at any time, and this means that you can have a single file with a wealth of information stored upon it. For example, there are a number of companies that we maintain the building and furniture CAD plans for, and amongst these we have information such as team names and areas of office space occupied. This allows us to show exactly which team is located where, how much space they take up, and the square meterage per person for that department. On another layer we then have the actual staff names and telephone extensions; particularly useful for HR purposes and also to give to new starters to help them get to know their colleagues, where they sit and what they do. On a further layer we even have IT information showing whether the desk has a desktop PC or a laptop, if there is a printer, if it is networked etc.

As you can see there is a lot more to a CAD plan than just the furniture layout, and if you would like us to produce and maintain plans of your office, drop us a line!

Reducing your accommodation expenses

With the current uncertain financial situation many companies are looking to tighten their financial belts and reduce wasted money. One of the most expensive office assets is the actual accommodation cost, and through sensible space planning it is often possible to reduce the amount of space you actually need. We recently completed a series of projects for a local government organisation that actually allowed them to accommodate all their existing staff and furniture in a smaller overall area allowing them to actually sell off some of their office sites. This relatively inexpensive exercise freed up millions of pounds worth of property and also reduced property maintenance and running costs. We now maintain sets of plans of all their office accommodation and we are able to help them plan for the future with maximum density space plans and space analysis reports.

If you would like to discuss how we can ensure that you are not wasting money on unnecessary office accommodation, give us a call.

Space planning on a budget

As well as working for large companies, we have also carried out many projects for smaller companies and charities that need their space to be improved, but often don’t have much of a budget. However there is often still a lot that can be done, and we specialise in showing companies on limited budgets how to re-use their existing furniture in a more cost effective way, often allowing for additional desking, or breakout areas that can really benefit the staff. Through rearranging your desking and storage it is often possible to free up additional space, but also it is often possible to do simple things such as removing or changing desk high pedestals for under desk ones giving each desk a smaller footprint. This then gives you options for alternative layouts and through clever space planning you can free up all of that wasted space. We can also show the effects of removing partitions and give you maximum density space plans so that you know what the capacity of your office space is. Through providing a series of options starting with minimum disruption and cost through to maximum efficiency (although at a higher outlay) we can give you all the choices you need to make the most of your workplace.

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.