Office design and the environment

Well, here it is the first in a series of regular “news, views and updates” weblogs from our main office in sunny Brighton. This week I thought I’d start by talking about office design and the environment.

These days office furniture has become very inexpensive, which has lead to a “use once and throw away” culture in many modern offices. The appeal of a brand spanking new office is easy to see, and so the environmental side effects tend to get pushed aside, hidden beneath the glossy catalogues and visions of that perfect new office. However, there is much that can be done to improve both the looks and the layout of your office space without having to hack down trees (replace all the furniture). As we are a space planning company (not a furniture sales company) we often work with existing furniture, drawing it up on to CAD plans and then re-using it, but in a more effective manner. This simple re-cycling of existing desks and storage keeps your costs down (not just new furniture costs and delivery & installation charges, but also the costs of disposing of old furniture) and it is obviously beneficial to the environment.

Old workstations can be brought bang up to date simply by replacing the existing worktops (most of which tend to be one of three standard sizes anyway) and by introducing additional screens, or even re-upholstering existing ones, the workstation is instantly lifted. The same can be achieved with chairs and soft seating, and there is a growing list of products that are almost completely recyclable when no longer needed. As we have carried out many projects for small companies and companies with limited budgets (such as local government), we often produce minimal expenditure plans that aim to accommodate the staff needs, but involve less unnecessary change. However if there is a budget for new furniture we can recommend several companies so that you can get the best prices, or even companies that deal with second hand furniture (more recycling!).

There was much talk of the “paper-less office” a few years back as companies started to use email rather than traditional letters, yet in reality this still seems some way off. We often recommend much more efficient storage systems, such as the rolling stack, which can effectively fit in double the amount of storage in to your office space, and this can have a knock on effect freeing up space elsewhere. We’ve carried out several projects that have enabled the users to reduce the amount of office space that they use to such an extent that they have been able to sub-let a floor, or a part of their office out to another company. Though not immediately obvious, this has a knock on effect as the same amount of staff are using less space and so less heating and lighting, and in air conditioned buildings (particularly over the last few months) this can be a huge saving in energy and money!

So if your office is in need of an overhaul, or you have new starters joining, but nowhere to accommodate them, don’t just reach for the furniture catalogue and replace all the desks, try some large scale recycling, or contact us to find out how we can make your office space more efficient.

Jonathan Hall
Contact Us on 0845 166 8381