The traditional office landscape is changing. Gone are the days of closed cubicles, quiet workspaces and water-cooler talk. Now, it’s not uncommon to see napping pods, office dogs and funky breakout rooms with an array of fun and exciting activities.
One of the biggest changes that has quickly grown in popularity is the rise of the remote working space. By eliminating some distractions that are common in an office environment and reducing commute time, remote working can have significant benefits for many employees, which explains why half of the UK’s workforce is set to be remote working by 2020.
However, there are also some issues that arise when employees work remotely that can have a real negative effect on businesses. In fact, many big businesses including Yahoo and IBM, are scaling back or completely eliminating their telecommuting programs.
We’ve taken a look at the most pressing issues that remote working can create for businesses, and provide some alternative options that might work better for you and your staff.
Communication issues can arise
Thanks to increased technological advances, we can communicate with people half-way across the world in a matter of seconds. You might think that thanks to these advances, communication won’t be an issue, even if your employees work remotely. For example, Ben Davies, head of marketing at remote working space Ziferblat, said:
“When working remotely, communication can be a challenge, but this is where strong management and company culture step in.
“Managers can often find that without office distractions employees can be more effective when they work remotely and will communicate with each other in a more intentional way.”
However, the opposite proves to be true in some cases. According to a survey from Buffer, 21% of people who work remotely believe that collaboration suffers when they’re removed from the office and find it makes communication with other employees more difficult. Worse still, 52% of people who work remotely feel like their colleagues based in the office don’t treat them equally.
On top of this, flexible hours can lead to scheduling issues and make spontaneous communications problematic – if someone needs an answer to a question quickly about a certain project, resentment may build if they have to wait hours for an answer.
When the bulk of your communication happens via email, it’s very easy for communications to get twisted or misconstrued. Small misunderstanding can grow to bigger issues that snowball into bad blood between employees – especially the ones feeling left out.
It can impact creativity
All good business leaders know the importance of collaboration when it comes to creativity. Although there are services out there that have been created to aid collaboration, nothing really beats the output from a fun, face-to-face ideas meeting.
One of the most important aspects of innovation is trusting your team to respect your input and help you develop your ideas in a constructive and helpful manner. Professor and author, John Bessant claims that businesses need to “create an atmosphere where creativity is welcomed, by making people feel like they can deliver an idea, and that it’s safe to share their own and link up with others.”.
This can be difficult in remote working spaces. They can lead to a more disjointed team, which may mean people are apprehensive about voicing their concerns or take offence to well-meaning criticism.
Even just a face-to-face quick chat about a problem with colleagues can help employees come up with a creative and innovative way to solve it – something that’s missing from remote working spaces.
Loneliness and isolation
Often, the biggest problem facing remote workers is the isolation. People who choose to work from home may go the whole day with no face-to-face contact – there will be no co-workers around for a quick chat, no kind words of comfort when a project goes wrong and no one to share a lunch with. This can have a real damaging effect on employees mental and physical health.
Long hours spent working from home can lead to staff feeling very isolated and lonely. A recent report by the Campaign to End Loneliness predicts that social isolations costs U.K. employers £2.5 billion per year in absenteeism, productivity losses, employee caregiving obligations, and turnover.
Dr. Dhruv Khuller, a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital also states that the effects of loneliness on our health are only slightly less strong than smoking or obesity. If done wrong, remote working can have a negative impact not just on our mental health, but our physical health too
Accountability and visibility
Accountability and visibility are concerns for both employers and employees. If staff work remotely, a manager may find it difficult to know if their employees are doing exactly what’s being asked of them. Yes, you can give your staff deadlines, but a project rushed the night before won’t be as good as one that’s worked on over the week. Many managers find it difficult to balance the need for transparency and “checking in” without overwhelming staff.
On the other end of the scale, when working remotely, some staff members may feel like they need to over-work and do more hours than their office-counterparts just to be visible. They may also feel ignored and overlooked simply because they are less likely to talk to senior managers day-to-day. They will also have fewer opportunities to gain insight into the “bigger picture” which could lead to dissatisfaction, and ultimately, staff turnover.
So what’s the answer?
Remote working doesn’t come without its hiccups, and often the negatives can outweigh the positives. However, depending on your industry and the type of staff you have, there are some ways to balance the good with the bad.
- Create a strong company culture for all staff members – encouraging staff members to meet (if face-to-face is not possible, via Skype) regularly with fun team building events will help them form more of a unit, making communication easier and helping relationships develop.
- Make staff feel valued – Ensure remote working staff still have regular one-to-ones and receive feedback on their work.
- Modernise your office – Updating your office with modern workspaces, relaxing breakout areas and private working spaces will minimise the number of employees who choose to work remotely.
- Consider a mix – Allowing your employees a certain amount of time a month to work remotely is a great way to balance the scales – your employees will feel valued thanks to the perks available to them.
Nick Pollitt from DBI Furniture said:
“Remote working can work well for some employees in some industries. However, it’s not ideal for everyone. A great compromise is to make sure staff feel completely comfortable at work by updating your office and offering perks such as fruit, drinks and bonding activities.
“Alternatively, offering part-time remoting working can offer staff and managers the best of both worlds – visibility and accountability coupled with freedom and autonomy. It’s up to businesses leaders to decide what will work best for their workforce – the may find that offering remote working rejuvenate their workforce, or it may do the opposite.”
Over thousands of years, human beings have evolved to run long distances, hunt and forage for food and spend the majority of our time outside. What we’re not designed for is sitting hunched over a desk for hours on end.
And yet that’s exactly what’s happening in our increasingly office-based culture, with 78% of office workers saying they spend too long sat down. That’s why bad posture in the workplace is such a common (and growing) problem.
Why is good posture so important?
Your mum was right: your posture is important. Good posture means that your bones, muscles, joints and ligaments are properly aligned, leading to them being used more efficiently.
Good posture can also help prevent several health problems, including:
- Increased risk of backaches
- Poor digestion
- Increased chances of cardiovascular issues
- Varicose veins
- Changes in your spinal curvature
What causes bad posture?
There are a number of different sitting and standing habits we pick up that lead to bad posture, especially when spending long hours sitting in front of a computer screen at work.
Things you may be doing that lead to bad posture include:
- Slouching in your chair
- Hunching your back
- Rounding your shoulders
- Poking your chin out when sat at a desk
- Cradling your phone between your ear and neck
These positions can sometimes feel more comfortable than actually sitting correctly, but they’re a habit that needs to be broken to avoid health problems down the line.
The type of lifestyles we live can also contribute to the way we hold ourselves. Prolonged periods of inactivity, a lack of exercise and poor ergonomic workstations can all lead to problems with your posture.
Luckily, there are some easy ways in which you can help break these habits and stay standing tall.
How to win the fight against bad posture
It’s never too late to make an effort to start improving your posture. Take these measures now to look forward to a future of better health.
Understand your posture
To improve your posture, you need to know how you currently hold yourself.
Take a look at your posture in the mirror. See where your hands rest and feel where you hold tension (for most people, this is usually in the shoulders).
If your palms face your thighs with your thumbs pointing ahead, your posture is good. If your palms face backwards, you’re probably slouching. To correct this, pull your head back and your shoulders down and back.
Make an effort to sit properly
We often develop bad posture through how we sit. If you sit too far forward on your chair, you put additional pressure on your pubic bone, and if you sit too far back, the pressure mounts on your tailbone.
Find the right balance by keeping your feet flat on the floor, your back straight and centring your weight. You should also think about supporting your lower back to prevent aches and pains if you spend long periods of time sitting.
Try correcting exercises
There are certain exercises you can do to help counteract the damage of bad posture. The best exercises strengthen your core, extend and flex your muscles and encourage better balance. They include:
- Shoulder stretches
Make sure you’re fully supported with the correct furniture
In office environments, there is a natural tendency to lean forward towards your computer, slouch at your desk or keep your legs crossed for long periods, which can lead to increased tension and muscle strain throughout your body. One of the best ways to combat this is to ensure that you are provided with comfortable, ergonomic furniture that supports good posture.
Height adjustable desks are great for encouraging good posture, as you can decide between sitting or standing whilst doing your work, giving muscle groups a rest during the day.
The right kind of chair is also very important. You need to ensure that you’re comfortable and supported and that your chair is ergonomically designed to avoid any health issues.
For more information about health and wellbeing in the office, take a look at the best ways to encourage your staff to start exercising, or take a look at the six seating sins office workers usually fall victim to.
Clerkenwell is home to more creative businesses and architects per square mile than anywhere else on the planet, making it truly one of the most important design hubs in the world. To celebrate this rich and diverse community, Clerkenwell Design Week has created a showcase of leading UK and international brands and companies presented in a series of showroom events, exhibitions and special installations that take place across the area.
Celebrating its 9th year in May 2018 (22-24) the award-winning* CDW has firmly established itself as the UK’s leading independent design festival and annually attracts the international design community to this small area of London for three days of exciting events. In 2017, the design community flocked to Clerkenwell with 34,128 attendees and over 300 exhibiting brands.
*Winner of Best UK Tradeshow at the AEO Awards 2016.
No 1 UK event on the Dezeen Hot List 2016
Diamond Interiors attended the event on its first day – Nick Pollitt, Kevin Gordon and Maggie Sudol jumped on the train and arrived at Euston at 9am and headed for Clerkenwell to do a whistle-stop tour of the key showrooms. They visited Senator and Allermuir stunning new showrooms in Charterhouse Square as well as calling in at Hitch Mylius, Gresham, Sven Christiansen, Quadrifoglio, Orangebox, Boss Design, naughtone, Spacestor, Frovi and Orn International throughout the day.
All in all it was a very productive day and has given them some ideas for the business going forward. Here are a few of the best images from the day.
As it turns out, sitting at a desk all day is, well, not that good for us.
Research shows that a lack of physical activity through your day-to-day — known as a “sedentary lifestyle” — is bad news for your health in more ways than one. Sitting for too long each day doesn’t just affect your waistline: it also affects your mood, your memory, and even your sleep.
The problem is that this sedentary lifestyle is only getting more common as office workers pull longer and longer hours to catch up with the demands of a world accelerated by technology.
Even finishing the day with a gym session might not be enough to counteract the detrimental effects of sitting down for 9.5 hours a day, which include:
- Increasing risk of diabetes
- Increase risk of heart disease
- A loss of muscle and bone strength
Luckily for you, we have a few tricks up our sleeves. With our tips, you can inject some more exercise into your every day, without missing out on getting your work done.
We’ll start from the top and move all the way down, so in 10 easy steps, you’ll get a full body workout in a matter of minutes – without even leaving your desk!
10 desk exercises you can do right now
- Neck strengthening
If you’re holding your neck still for long periods of time, chances are it’ll start feeling pretty stiff. To help strengthen your neck, place your palms on your forehead and gently push your head forward, pushing back with your hands. Do this for a few seconds, stop, and repeat. Sure, it looks a little strange, but it feels really good.
- Head rolling
Loosen up your neck and increase blood flow to that big old brain of yours with a head roll. Tuck your chin into your chest, then slowly rotate your head around your shoulders until you’re back to the starting point. Then, go back the other way. If you put headphones on, it’ll just look like you’re really into the music.
- Shrug your shoulders
Don’t know the answer to something you’ve been asked? Take the opportunity for a few shoulders shrugs. Lift your shoulders to your ears and hold for a few seconds before dropping to help strengthen the muscles in your back which improves posture, reducing back pain. Don’t do this too often, though; otherwise, people may think you really don’t have an opinion.
- Make your shoulder blades touch
If you sit at your desk with your arms out in front of you, it’s likely that the sensation of your shoulder blades touching is pretty alien. Nevertheless, it’s important to do this to help open up your chest and relax the muscles across your upper back. If you yawn while you do it, no one will bat an eyelid.
- Press your hands together
Work on those pectorals and triceps with this easy exercise. Press your palms together in front of your chest and press them against one another. Hold for a few seconds. You should feel some tension in your arms, shoulders and chest.
- Pull your hands apart
Starting in the same position as in exercise number 5, turn one hand the other way around so one thumb points to the ceiling and one to the floor. Hook your hands together by your fingers and pull for a few seconds. This helps strengthen your biceps without having to get the dumbbells out.
- Tense your abs
It probably won’t give you a washboard stomach, but tensing your abs every now and again can help improve your core strength. That means your posture is better supported: goodbye, back pain! You can take this up a gear by gripping the edge of your desk and swivelling in your chair left and right with your feet off the ground.
- Pinch your glutes
You might be sat on them all day, but that doesn’t mean that your buttocks are getting all the exercise they need. Tense and hold your glutes for 5-10 seconds, release, and repeat. You can sync it up to whatever music you’re listening to at the time to keep up a steady rhythm.
- Compress those thighs
Without regular pressure put on them, your thighs can quickly weaken. Give them a quick booster by pushing your knees together. Hold them for a few seconds and release. If you have slim thighs, put a book between your legs and press against that instead. You should feel the benefit in your groin and around your hips.
- Raise your legs
One of the great things about a desk is that you can give your legs some exercise without anyone noticing. Put your feet together and slowly raise your legs until they’re at a 90-degree angle to your body. Hold for a few seconds, then slowly lower them again. Do this a few times until you can feel the burn in your calves.
Doing a little exercise at your desk a few times a day is an easy way to look after your body while you’re at work. Remember to pair it with regular, more active exercise after work to keep your heart healthy, your blood flowing, and your brain supplied with the oxygen it needs to do a fantastic job.
Still feeling some stiffness in your neck or back? Check out our range of chairs designed to improve comfort and productivity.
Anyone that’s ever had a job interview knows about the importance of body language; that even the tiniest changes to your posture and facial expression matter.
But maybe that interview was months or even years ago. How often do you think about your body language when you’re sat at your desk? You might find it easier to work when you’re reclining in your seat, but others may simply see someone who isn’t engaged in their work trying to catch forty winks.
The truth is that even beyond the interview, your body language still speaks volumes about you – and people take notice.
It’s time to take back control.
6 common ways people sit
Experts at DBI Furniture Solutions identified some of the most common ways that people sit at their desks and offer some small tweaks you can make to improve how others perceive you in the office.
Position 1: Homo erectus
- Straight back
- Both feet firmly on the floor
- Chin up
Communicates: Confidence, self-righteousness
This seating stance is ideal for good posture and projecting confidence, so if this is your default seating position, you’re among the lucky few.
Though sitting this way primes you to feel professional and composed, it can also project an air of superiority to others, who might feel like you’re unapproachable as a result.
Try: relaxing your posture every now and again; allow yourself to lean back in your chair when you’re thinking. That way, you’ll communicate to others that you’re non-judgemental and available for discussion. You’ll also increase blood flow around your body to reduce fatigue and boost your productivity.
Position 2: The screen sniffer
- Leaning far forward
- Chest directly over keyboard
- Elbows tucked into the side
Communicates: Fastidiousness, unavailability
Those adopting the screen-sniffer pose are often sticklers for detail. While this attention to the small print is certainly desirable in many administrative or accounting positions, this forward-leaning pose can indicate you’re too focused on your work to talk (either that or you’re seriously visually impaired).
Plus, it’s really bad for you: for every inch of forwarding head posture, you increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 10 pounds. Nobody wants to be a hunchback.
Try: installing a monitor arm. Monitor arms allow you to move your screen further forward, preventing you from leaning over your desk to read your emails.
Position 3: The recliner
- Leaning far back
- Heels on the floor
- Shoulders hunched forward
Communicates: An easygoing nature, laziness
Slouching back in your chair and keeping at arm’s length from your keyboard shows you as relaxed, which can make you approachable. Unfortunately, this is also the pose that was made famous by Homer Simpson, so it’s become synonymous with laziness, which puts you in the firing line when there are grumblings about productivity.
Avoid the recliner pose to keep your reputation as a hard worker intact and help you engage more with the task at hand.
Try: moving your monitor further away using a monitor arm so that the screen is difficult to read from where you normally find yourself reclining. You can also increase the height of your chair to make stretching out your legs less comfortable to dissuade yourself from doing so.
Position 4: The criss-cross
- One leg crossed over the other
- Elbows out in front of torso
- Arched back
Crossing our legs comes pretty naturally, but doing so too often can communicate that you’re insecure because you’re making yourself seem smaller.
Not only can this make others more cautious when they speak to you, but it can make them doubt your confidence in the decisions you make. Come on, Carol, we know you mean business.
Try: raising your chair or lowering your desk. Giving yourself less leg room restricts your ability to put one leg over the other; instead, you’ll plant both feet on the ground.
Position 5: The chin prop
- Sat slumped to one side
- Chin or cheek rested on fist
- Head propped up by elbow
Nothing says “I love my job” more than needing to physically prop up your head at your desk.
Adopting the chin prop tells people that you’re dissatisfied, and forces your body into the kind of slumped position that can leave you feeling sapped of energy and muttering that you’re bored.
Try: reordering your desk so that your monitor is positioned directly ahead of you, or bring your keyboard forward so there’s less room for you to prop your elbow.
Position 6: The chaise longue
- Legs splayed to the side
- Torso arched
- One arm on desk for support
Research suggests that splaying one’s legs out to the side is an unconscious sign of flirtatiousness, so try to avoid this pose wherever you can.
Not only can it miscommunicate your intentions, but it looks unprofessional, too, so you may find your co-workers take you less seriously if you sit like this on a regular basis.
Try: swapping your chair for one with armrests to stop you from unconsciously propping yourself back into the chaise longue pose.
The more you know
Understanding how your posture can affect you and those around you, the easier it is to start implementing changes to counter them. Small tweaks to your posture can transform how you’re perceived by your colleagues, helping set you up for success.
Looking for some comfortable chairs for your office? Take a look at DBI – the furniture solutions expert.
Few things help to stimulate your mind like a fresh environment.
So, if your office still has those tired beige walls and threadbare floor tiles, it’s probably time to bring a splash of colour into the room that reflects the passion you have for your business.
The best way to do that? You need to rejuvenate your office space.
Why it’s important to update your space
Your office space can directly affect how your employees think and feel when they’re at work. It’s why some of the world’s biggest companies have invested into transforming their office environments: Google is famous for producing offices with all sorts of quirky features, from rock-climbing walls to sleeping pods; Lego has an indoor slide and AirBnB’s offices are designed to look like homes from around the world.
Investing into these spaces has helped employees of these companies generate bigger and brighter ideas than the competition, all the while raising their happiness and boosting retention.
Now, we’re not saying you need to throw in a ball pit and an indoor fort, but if you see the value in updating your office space, you can start with a few simple changes. By changing up your environment, you’ll help to reinforce your company vision and equip your employees with the mental stimuli they need to go from good to great.
It can be difficult to encourage teamwork when staff in different departments aren’t in regular contact with one another. Help connect your employees by bridging those gaps physically with dynamic spaces.
Dynamic spaces can be defined as environments that are constantly changing to suit the needs of those using it.
A few elements you can easily add to your office to make it more dynamic include:
- Moveable furniture – Portable chairs and desks make hot-desking so easy that staff won’t have an excuse not to spend some time sitting with a different crowd.
- Meeting pods – Adding small meeting pods to your office help staff have shorter, more informal catch-ups on a regular basis, and leave other rooms free for meetings with clients or senior management.
- Adjustable-height desks – Employees can keep energised by standing at their desks when they feel the need to stretch their legs.
Biophilic design seeks to reconnect employees with the natural world to help them feel happier and more energised throughout the day. Decorating your office with bright colours and plenty of natural lighting encourages creativity by stimulating colour receptors in the brain.Unleash your staff’s best ideas by incorporating a few of the following elements into your office:
- Plant stands – Plant stands bring flora indoors without taking up heaps of space. Keeping the room full of oxygen by using plants is a natural way to keep you and your staff alert and productive.
- Keep the blinds open – Natural lighting keeps body-clocks ticking how they should, so employees don’t get sleepy during the day. Try keeping the blinds open whenever you can.
- Daylight lamps – When sunlight is sparse, try “daylight” lamps instead. These unique bulbs radiate light with a UV ratio similar to that of the sun to help counter the familiar fatigue of dark winter mornings.
Infusing your office with some homestyle comforts is a practical way of helping your staff get a moment of downtime in their day. It gives them a place to calm their mind, think over their problems and find solutions to them, without frustration getting in the way.
You can make your office feel more homey with a few easy changes:
- Office sofas – Having a few sofas around the office gives people somewhere they can sit to read an important document, or just to catch up with someone in another team over a coffee.
- Games – The ultimate crossover between “work” and “play” is to add a few fun activities in the office that employees can interact with on their breaks. Playing games allows employees to get their heads out of work while keeping their minds engaged and improving their ability to solve problems quickly.
- Desk decorations – Encourage your staff to make the space theirs by bringing in decorations for their desks. These could be family photos, movie posters, or quirky figurines; anything that helps unleash their personality is great for helping them feel more at home.
Rejuvenating your office this year is more than just a vanity project: it’s an essential way to re-engage your staff and redefine your business culture.
And if you have clients visiting your office, it’s a great way for your ethos, visions and values to shine through: let them see that you’re a progressive, forward-thinking company.
Got any more tips on how to revamp your office this year? Share them in the comments below.
Millennials have had more than their fair share of bad press lately. Dubbed the ‘go nowhere’ generation, they’re often associated with a lazy, risk-averse attitude.
But are they just misunderstood?
With inspirational millennial entrepreneurs making headlines and many businesses investing in a millennial workforce, it would seem so.
In fact, millennials could actually be one of your business’s biggest assets.
Reason 1: They crave responsibility and thrive when empowered
One of the most common criticisms aimed at millennials is that they’re self-entitled – possibly down to their parents’ openness to involve them in family decisions as children. Giving them a sense of responsibility from a young age, this kind of parenting has led many young people to feel they should also be able to have similar input in the workplace.
However, this trait can actually be of significant benefit to employers if they approach it in the right way. Give a millennial employee ownership of a particular area (no matter how small), and they’ll feel infinitely more valued, and that their work is having a real impact on the wider business.
Joshua Hebert, CEO of Magellan Jets, says:
“Give [millennials] a boring task without a reason, and they’ll give you boring results. Give them a share in the idea you’re putting into play, however, and they are more likely to turn in work you never imagined.”
Boosting morale and motivation, businesses adopting a team structure that focuses on empowering younger employees are likely to see a happier, more dynamic workforce. This kind of environment also breeds skilled workers, with further benefits down the line when these employees are able to step up to higher positions without hesitation thanks to their experience.
Reason 2: They’re open to change
Thanks to their parents encouraging them to speak up, millennials are conditioned to openly question processes in a business if they think they can be improved.
Rather than starting work and blindly following the rules because “that’s how things have always been done”, millennial workers are open to change and likely to challenge things when older workers would perhaps be more reserved.
“Generation Y aren’t more demanding – but they are different. They’ve been brought up in a team environment and encouraged to speak up when things aren’t right. And this, as any good business coach will tell you, is simply best practice.
With millennials, it’s definitely not all about money. An open working culture that respects individual views and opinions is essential.”
While some business owners may see this as a lack of respect for authority, that is simply not the case. Keen to make their mark and not afraid to challenge the status quo, millennials can help shape a business for the better, bringing in inventive ways of thinking that can streamline processes and increase efficiency.
Reason 3: They’re on a constant mission to better themselves (and your company)
Another frequently discussed millennial attribute is their desire to develop and progress.
While some people may see this as a negative thing (and the reason for a higher turnover of millennial staff), it can also be seen as highly positive. Who wouldn’t want a workforce that’s driven to improve and expand their skillset?
95% of millennials said they are motivated to work harder when they understand the importance of a particular task within the context of a company’s big picture goals. One way to harness this is to actively help and encourage them to learn everything they can about the operation at hand.
Through learning new things, millennials can quickly become experts in their field, becoming serious assets to any business in the process.
Reason 4: They’re digital natives
Raised by computers and smartphones, millennials are the first generation born in today’s tech-centric world. An essential part of their daily lives, 53% of millennials say they’d rather lose their sense of smell than access to their devices.
With advancements in technology changing businesses all over the globe, the digital-savvy nature of millennials means they’re immune to change. Able to adapt almost effortlessly, the younger workforce requires next to no training when it comes to adopting new processes.
Not only does this save businesses a lot of time, it means you have a workforce that is instantly familiar with the latest tools (e.g. social media) and knows how to use them to produce results.
Reason 5: Their productivity is through the roof (in the right environment)
Even if the lazy stereotypes are true under normal conditions, there’s a relatively simple solution to unlocking the incredible potential of the younger generation in the workplace.
Forward-thinking businesses are coming to the realisation that, when it comes to millennials and productivity, creating the right environment is a key factor. Gemma Spinks, Director at Neo PR, says:
“At Neo PR we love hiring young, vibrant, hard-working millennials, but we appreciate that they do like to work in a slightly different way. We have tailored our office to keep our employees motivated, engaged, active and enjoying themselves.”
Ben Garry, a 20-year-old SEO Executive, is a big fan of vibrant work spaces. Speaking about his time at Impression agency in Nottingham, he says:
“For me, working in this kind of environment has really helped me to integrate with the wider team. It makes collaborative working much easier; not only do we have plenty of spaces for meetings, but the more informal chats over a table tennis game or a beer on a Friday evening can lead to new ideas and more creative strategies.”
Whether you believe the stereotypes or not, investing in millennials is the future for every business. If you want to make your business more millennial friendly, our range of stylish office furniture can help you create the perfect environment for maximum productivity.
There’s a personality clash in your office right now. And it’s affecting your staff retention, productivity and employee morale.
It’s not that inevitable blow up between Jeff from Sales and Katie from Production that you witness every couple of weeks. It’s something much more deep-rooted yet harder to pinpoint.
But we’re going to show you how you can address it, and why it’s vital you do so now.
Why catering for both introverts and extroverts matters
No one is a pure introvert or a pure extrovert. Yet every workplace has representatives of these personality types.
There are fundamental differences between the two that affect how they interact with their colleagues. And also how they feel about the workspaces they are asked to function in.
We recently surveyed 850 people in the UK. We asked: “Do you think your employers are making the effort to cater for your work performance and are encouraging the growth of skills on your terms?”
Most employees (59.6%) did not feel that enough effort was being made.
Commenting on these findings Nick Pollitt, Managing Director of DBI Furniture highlighted:
“Studies suggest introverts make up one-third to one-half of the population. Yet most open-plan workplaces are designed and set up exclusively with extroverts in mind. Providing workspaces that meet everyone’s needs will help you retain staff and develop their performance.”
How to make your office space work for introverts
Let’s think of an open-plan office. In theory it fosters creativity, spontaneous collaboration, and transparency among employees.
Now let’s think of an introvert:
- Introverts dislike noise, interruptions and big group settings.
- They prefer time to think before speaking.
- They build relationships and trust one-on-one.
- They need space to reflect and focus.
- They prefer individual projects.
You don’t have to be a psychologist to see that an open-plan office is actually designed to close out this sort out of person.
In practice, different personality types thrive in different work environments. So, what would be better suited?
- A breakout room or a huddle room, where just two or three people can get together and concentrate on getting a project wrapped up or kickstarted?
- A dedicated area full of hot desks that is a silent zone for those who need quiet to concentrate?
- Or an ‘intimate corner’ with comfy bean bags or a sofa – and a welcoming coffee machine – where one-to-ones can be held?
And, of course, you need to think about how you act, as well as how you design your office.
Jeff Bezos of Amazon begins every meeting in total silence. Attendees must quietly read a six-page memo about the meeting for 20 minutes. The logic here is that writing a detailed ‘narrative’ helps structure the meeting, reading it ensures the introverts have time to think, and the quiet time calms things down to encourage participation.
How to make your office space work for extroverts
Let’s just remind ourselves of what extroverts like:
- Extroverts gravitate toward groups.
- They tend to think out loud.
- They are energized by personal interactions, social gatherings and shared ideas.
Extroverts thrive on social situations, so you should aim to include common areas in your workspace and opportunities to collaborate in your office design.
- There are plenty of ways to encourage sharing through smart tech. For example, set up video conferencing areas. This allows those who need to see and hear others to formulate ideas and work effectively with staff or partners in another location.
- Use adjustable height desks with monitor arms that allow for screen sharing and allow the extrovert freedom to roam and ‘spark’ with others.
- Instead of an employee break room with tiny cafe tables, why not try one large community table? It’s an ideal setup for extroverts to meet new people across departments each week, and offers introverts the chance to engage in social chitchat but disconnect without guilt after the break.
Just as Jeff Bezos has instituted a quiet time at meetings, it can also be useful to consider that to develop extroverts’ ideas more effectively you may need to interrogate them.
The ideas tend to be top of the head and may hide hidden gems beneath what seems unfeasible, or may hold unseen flaws that need teasing out. Tactics such as a brainstorm followed by a period of reflection from what has emerged can help this.
The perfect workplace
The perfect workplace is where everyone can feel at home.
The open-plan office may be the norm but it certainly doesn’t feel ‘normal’ to many employees. If you’re looking for inspiration to create breakout rooms, offer different desk designs or create quiet booths within your office, you’ll find hundreds of ideas in our online showroom.
And if you’re feeling extroverted, click on Chat now and we’ll be happy to talk through your needs.
Come 23 June, businesses across the UK have the chance to welcome a dog into their office. No, this isn’t some radical new hiring experiment. 23 June marks Bring Your Dog to Work Day, which celebrates canine wellbeing and aims to improve how dogs are treated around the world.
Founded by HOWND, a provider of ethical dog-grooming products, Bring Your Dog to Work Day looks to shake up UK offices with some exciting new recruits.
How will a new starter affect the workplace chemistry? Will they gel immediately or take a little time to integrate?
What do the public think?
We recently conducted a survey that took the question to the UK public. We asked what kinds of traits an employee desires most from their colleagues, and this is what they said…
Clearly, honesty is high on our agenda, with 36.7% voting. We all want a co-worker who’d own up to making a mistake rather than burying the evidence (remind you of anyone?)
Honesty was closely followed by hard-working colleagues, with 27.3% of the vote. Think you know a pooch who will go back and forth to fetch that stick? Invite them into your office for a day! Persistence is an invaluable trait and will no doubt inspire your employees.
Loyalty, arguably the defining trait of our canine friends, saw a 16.8% upvote. In the workplace loyalty goes a long way and can mean the difference between retaining your employees in the long run and losing them to your competitors.
Who should you employ?
Inviting a new employee into your ranks can be touch-and-go. Will your new recruit cower in the corner or bark orders from the word go? It’s hard to tell.
Personalities in the workplace is something DBI Furniture Solutions have dealt with recently – you can read our previous post here.
Yes, recruitment can be a long and difficult road. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a few job profiles for you to look at. The following candidates have all been vetted and are ready for an immediate start in the job…
Cultivating a positive workplace environment is not something achieved by a select few – everyone brings something of their own to the table. Forgive the cliché, but the modern office space is such a hive of activity that it is almost impossible for it to be led by a single presence. Everyone pitches in.
And, if your business is to reap the sweet benefits of growth, increased revenue and industry recognition then the employer must embrace this. Personalities are what make a successful business tick – for better or worse.
So, in the spirit of diversity, DBI Furniture Solutions has been in touch with a few industry leaders to find out whether it is not just sophisticated seating and stand-up desks, but personalities that create a productive office environment.
1. Don’t worry, be happy
Positivity! Every office has that shining beacon of positivity, and some are lucky enough to have more than one. Again, this is something more employers should recognise. Happiness at work equals productivity; a brand new survey from employee services provider Personal Group proves that happy workers are 12% more productive.
Happiness at work can be influenced by a number of factors, from pay to how the office itself is designed.
Commenting is Lee Biggins, Founder and Managing Director of recruitment experts CV Library. Having helped countless professionals into their jobs, Lee is more than familiar with office personalities and what best influences a workplace:
“Our research found that there are certain personality traits that UK professionals would most like to see in their colleagues. At the top of the list was positivity, with 48.1% of workers rating this as the trait that they would like to see in their colleagues. This was followed by honesty (42.1%), approachability (41.5%) and a sense of humour (38.3%).
“What all of these traits have in common is a theme of openness and support. Clearly, UK workers want to find themselves in a workplace where people are able to express their opinions withou
t fear of unjust negativity.”
From Lee’s experience, positivity is almost an ‘umbrella’ trait which envelops related aspects:
“Being positive in the workplace can only help breed success across the workforce. Alongside this, being honest and approachable means that co-workers are happy and confident to approach you with new ideas as well as any concerns they may have.
“Finally, a sense of humour is highly desirable; while we of course all need to knuckle down and work hard, being able to have a laugh with your colleagues is just as important to help maintain morale within the workplace.”
2. Creativity is unique
Our minds work differently, and we often approach problems from different angles – this is all to do with creativity. Creative minds are best put to use in collaboration with others, as ideas bounce off one another and become industry-leading campaigns (or are retired to the wastepaper bin, as some are).
Because, while success might be reflected in profit margins and ROIs, they only exist because of brave, bold ideas. Good ideation processes will always uncover the creative minds of your workplace, so employers should be taking the time to engender a positive, creative environment in order for talent to flourish.
Speaking here is David Ingram, Managing Director of digital marketing agency Bring Digital. According to David, a well-executed brainstorm session encourages an open playing field where all suggestions are welcome to the table:
“We’ve created a brainstorm process that works brilliantly for all personality types; with a transparent platform through which people can come forward with ideas, and contribute to others.
“Creativity in the office translates into so many different areas. It can mean looking at a problem from a unique perspective, or taking an idea in the opposite direction. I can’t think of a business, especially in digital, that wouldn’t benefit from such a trait.”
3. We all appreciate punctuality
Being on time is an understated, often-overlooked aspect which gets far less credit than deserved. It goes for anything – coming into work on time, delivering tasks and respecting deadlines.
If your business is reliant on timing, then this can be even more important. Working in digital, for example, may require you to provide reactive comment on industry developments or events in the media.
It’s not only important within the team, it’s great for meeting clients and ensuring that you make a good impression at job interviews.
4. Let’s not forget about integrity
Integrity relates to so much within the workplace; have you ever taken credit for someone else’s work? Maybe you’ve witnessed something untoward but have neglected to tell anyone.
Honesty and trust are central to integrity, and its ethical foundations within work must not be underestimated. It is also closely aligned to passion – how much you know about your industry depends on the amount of work you have put in and your genuine interest in the business.
Commenting is Marcus Franck, Founder of startup business Franck Energy:
“For me, the most desirable trait of a co-worker is integrity. When we’re looking for new team members at Franck Energy, we look for people that are genuinely passionate about environmental issues and understand the context in which we work.
“I don’t mind if a co-worker isn’t completely clued-up on a certain topic, but genuine honesty and curiosity goes a long way.”
5. Passion pays
Having a passion for what you do is crucial, not only for personal fulfillment (everyone wants to enjoy what they do) but career advancement, too. Whatever industry you are in, a love of the business will stand you in good stead for success.
Maybe you are a design-head, and live for creating websites. Have you always had a way with words? Copywriting should be right (or, write?) up your street. Either way, passion is a list-topping priority for most recruiters and is most certainly something fellow colleagues will want to see.
To get more information, we spoke with Craig Hall, Operations Director at digital marketing agency Glass Digital. According to Craig, passion is a powerful personality trait to possess:
“Digital marketing is a young industry, so it can be difficult to hire experienced staff. That’s why we place huge emphasis on the right personality traits when hiring. The most important thing is passion and focus, as a lack of enthusiasm often translates into poor productivity.
This is not just passion for the business, either. Passion for self-improvement, pro-active goal setting and practicing your craft is a brilliant byproduct of passionate employees.
“We also look out for people who are fast learners, because best practice is constantly changing in our industry. For the same reason, staff must be able to identify their own weaknesses and have the desire to develop their own knowledge and skills.”
These traits run through most businesses, and should be valued for their contributions to the wider organisation. Happiness goes hand-in-hand with productivity, and success. The products at DBI Furniture Solutions are all geared toward the same goal. See our varied range of office furniture for more great office ideas.