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Workplace

Why your employees need a breakout space

What is an office breakout space?

The modern day workplace is built for agility and efficiency, encouraging the use of various ‘work zones’ that are easy to transition between. This is where the increasingly popular office breakout space makes an appearance. These are casual, comfier work spaces that can be used by staff to escape from the aches and pains of their desk every now and then. Providing a degree of flexibility to the working environment, office breakout areas carry several physical and mental health benefits, which could be just what you need for an added productivity boost. 

If you’re planning an office fit out, read on to find out about the benefits of office breakout areas, and why you need them in your workspace. 

Collaboration station 

Teamwork makes the dream work, and there really is something addictive about a good collaborative idea coming together. Office booths create the perfect opportunity to pull out a good old pen and paper and get stuck into a brainstorming session. By providing a private space for group work, healthy noise levels will be maintained to avoid any eureka moments distracting the rest of the office. 

Home comforts

Findings have shown that happy workers are more productive than those who feel uncomfortable in their working environment, so breakout areas are a great way to bring home comforts into the office. You could take things a step further and kit out private working zones with cosy cushions, throws or beanbags to add further homey touches. Employees are more likely to open up and share innovative ideas when they feel comfortable, so acknowledging staff wellbeing and creating a relaxed environment is guaranteed to better your business. 

Keeping active

Sitting in your office chair all day is actually more dangerous than you may think, dubbed by BetterHealth as “the new smoking”. But, you don’t actually need to hire an office gym coach each week to get your employees’ hearts pumping; instead, encourage them to move between ‘work zones’ as often as possible. Just be sure to ensure that the journey between zones is as swift as possible, to avoid tripping over feet or chair legs in the process. Even though some may only be travelling for a matter of seconds, it’s a much healthier way to break up the working day, without being constantly confined to an office chair. Staying fit with a desk job is easier than you may think, just be sure to encourage plenty of movement wherever possible. 

A change of scenery 

Taking breaks during the long working day is actually a major productivity booster, as supported by research findings. When writer’s block starts to get in the way of creating quality content, the effects of boredom will start to creep in. By stepping away from your desk for a few minutes and heading into a booth for some private work, it allows your brain to reset itself and destress. An inactive mind is less likely to retain information too, so it’s not just your body that will benefit from moving between workspaces. 

Concentration booster

Although we all love a healthy dose of the office buzz, some employees may start to get overwhelmed by the volume levels creeping higher, which could decrease overall productivity. Sound-proofed booths are ideal for these scenarios, allowing staff to take a private breather when needed to regain focus. Some people may struggle to zone out from distractions, so providing them with the quiet space they need to think clearly is sure to improve mental wellbeing. 

If you would like to incorporate an office breakout space into your office and need some installation advice, our fit out experts would love to have a chat. Get in contact today to begin enhancing your workplace! 

Green office

The biophilic office: What it is and how to do it

What is meant by ‘biophilic design’?

Have you ever wondered why people are so fond of decorating their houses with various plants and succulents? Or why, for many people, their garden is their pride and joy? There’s a reason why humans crave the outdoors, and the answer is “biophilia” –  the term used to describe an instinctive urge to be closer to other living things. In a world that’s fallen victim to urbanisation, people often feel disconnected from the natural world, especially when heading into a cold, impersonal office with no windows and artificial lighting.

Opting for a biophilic office design is a brilliant way to bring the outside in to fulfill these innate tendencies, and your staff will feel much better for it. 

What are the benefits?

Designing an office space in a way that embraces the great outdoors carries several benefits, with one particular study revealing that employees were 15% more productive than those who were in a workplace without any greenery. But that’s not all! Further research has shown that office plants are great stress-busters, relieving symptoms of anxiety whilst boosting cognitive performance. Happy workers are hard workers, so placing your staff’s best interests at heart really is key to a successful business. 

As well as improving your staff’s wellbeing, a biophilic office design also shows visitors that your business has a great company culture going on. This is their first impression of your brand and what you have to offer, and they too will feel a sense of calm radiating from the room upon entry. 

With a few simple steps, you too can design a workplace that’s centred around the wonders of nature, whether this be through exploring new office furniture options, by changing up your colour scheme or through increasing the natural light that enters through the windows. 

Natural lighting

It’s predicted that humans spend up to 90% of their life indoors, which naturally has a detrimental impact on both physical and mental health. There are numerous studies that highlight the importance of bringing light into your office space, with evidence demonstrating that darker offices can result in decreased productivity and more staff sickness days. 

To inject some energy into your working environment, increasing the number of windows or positioning desks next to them is the easiest solution. However, if your space is still feeling a little dim, opt for subtle, warm office lighting rather than fluorescent to avoid feeling like a rabbit in headlights.

Greenery 

Ascentis office redesign: Using hanging plant pots to bring greenery into the workplace 

Why does working outside in your garden feel so much more relaxing than being indoors? It’s because you’ve got your leafy green friends to keep you company, of course! When surrounding yourself with flowers and foliage is known to enhance creativity, basing your office design on a countryside getaway could be the way forward. 

Replace tacky desk ornaments with succulents, or you could use a crate planter for elevated potted plant storage. There are plenty of other ways to breathe life into your office; utilise the floor and reminisce back to your last peaceful picnic with astroturf or grass mats, or create the illusion of added space with hanging plant pots. Living walls are also becoming increasingly popular, and it’s a great way to bring much needed colour and vibrancy into your office. 

Take a look at an office fit out we did for Ascentis, who wanted to create a fun, lively space by incorporating features of biophilic design into their working environment.  

Choosing your office colour scheme

Earthy tones are perfect for an office design that’s inspired by natural landscapes, so why not give your walls a fresh lick of paint? This natural palette is thought to evoke feelings of tranquility and calm, and can create the illusion of being closer to the outside world. 

If you prefer minimalistic tones, try fresh shades of green in your workspace through cushions and throws that’ll really add to your office furniture. 

Office furniture 

Speaking of office furniture, biophilic interior design is all about embracing natural shapes and forms (think curved desks and dome chairs), using raw materials such as wood and stone where possible. You could also select fabrics that fit in with the natural colour scheme to add to the full effect. 

Creating a working environment that supports social integration is also a key element of biophilia, as humans have an innate instinct to survive in groups. Place team spirit at heart and be sure to include plenty of shared workspaces and collaborative zones. 

If you’ve been inspired by biophilic design and need help with choosing the office furniture to match, our team of experts are just a call away. 

Workplace

How to keep cool at work

Summer is every British person’s favourite time of year. There’s nothing that is loved more than pulling out a dusty pair of shorts that’s seen the back of the wardrobe for the past 10 months and braving showing some leg. The days are longer and brighter, with the thought of ‘beergarden weather’ giving everyone something to look forward to. 

…Until the real effects of a July heatwave kick in. Cue the complaints. 

Research has shown that temperatures creeping higher can cause both physical and mental stress, including headaches, nausea, as well as lower concentration and productivity. Being a country that doesn’t get to whip the shades out all too often, this can be a big shock to the system. 

So, as the heat goes up, how can you cool your office down? 

Keeping it fresh

Known to reduce irritability and fatigue, the desk fan will be your new best friend during these melting summer months. Gadgets such as this are designed to optimise air circulation, alongside keeping staff feeling fresh and alert, which will be a brilliant addition to your office desk. 

For those that battle pesky seasonal allergies, experts have suggested that keeping windows and blinds closed can reduce the troublesome effects. There are also other advantages; the sun’s heat is reflected and uncomfortable hot air is kept out of the office. If you’re looking for another way to improve your office’s air quality, we recommend keeping doors open where you can, as well as investing in an air purifier. Carrying several benefits, such as reducing the occurrence of health issues caused by indoor pollutants, it’s a great way to keep your office feeling fresh as a daisy. 

Take a breather

If you’re starting to melt away at your desk, pick yourself up and take a step outside to welcome back concentration. It’s not every day that you get to experience the gentle breeze on your face without the inevitable show of raindrops, so switch up your surroundings when you can with an ice cream in hand. 

With the hottest hours falling between 11am and 3pm, consider rejigging your schedule to have your important meetings first thing, leaving time at the end of the day to relax outside with colleagues. 

Stock up on the summer snacks

Looking for more ways to keep cool at work, whilst keeping those energy levels up? Head on back to your old friend, the snacking station, or in this case, the freezer. Ice cream is a common favourite amongst all office employees, so definitely make sure you’re keeping these energy boosters replenished. 

If you really want to push the boat out, become the office favourite by unleashing your inner chef. There are plenty of other healthy, refreshing and easy-to-follow summer snack recipes to experiment with. Perhaps try changing it up with some Mango Lassi, frozen berries or banana pops

Adapt your office wardrobe

Switching out bulky clothing items for natural, breathable fabrics is another hack for staying cool in a hot office. Artificial fabrics, such as polyester, are known to increase sweat due to their heaviness, so to avoid those embarrassing underarm patches, stick to something lighter. 

If you’re a suit-wearer and still want a professional look without succumbing to the heat, opt for jackets made of wool without lining. This unsung hero of the material world is known to be both lightweight, highly absorbent and a fast dryer too. Perfect for the summer sweats. 

Armed with these simple, yet effective, tips and tricks, your office will be left feeling cool as ice. From revitalizing snacks to handy gadgets, there are plenty of ways for you to freshen up your space during a heat wave, ensuring that staff energy levels remain at an all time high. So go out and enjoy the summer while it lasts! 

Workplace

5 happy workplace ideas your staff won’t hate

Do you want to transform your office space but have no idea where to begin? If the answer is yes, then you’ve come to the right place! Right here is where you’ll find all our best furniture ideas that will give your workplace a new lease of life, and your employees a whole new outlook.

You know what they say: a clean mind always comes hand-in-hand with a clean space. Or, in this case, a well-designed office environment. 

The process of modifying a space from drab to fab doesn’t have to be a big ordeal – something that no doubt puts off a lot of employers. And making a happier workplace doesn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket.  By placing your staffs’ best interests at heart, it’s highly likely that a revamp will not only improve overall productivity, but it will also sell your company culture to passing visitors, clients and potential candidates.  

So whether you’re looking for clean, fresh and minimalist or funky and bright, we’ve got you covered.

Up your greens

Did you know that plants in the workplace have been proven to increase productivity by up to 15%?  Plants are one of the best ways to not only (quite literally) bring new life into the office, but they can also help to reduce stress and improve creativity. A dark office space has been linked to staff sickness days, so one brilliant way to combat this is by brightening up the working environment as much as possible.

Decorate your office desk with a few succulent friends, or, if you’re limited on floor space, hanging plant pots are a brilliant way to create the illusion of height, while transforming your office into your very own colourful, jungle paradise. 

Something for the mind

If you’re looking to keep your staff happy, reducing workplace stress is the best place to start. Mental health, on many occasions, can unfortunately be overlooked in the workplace. So why not designate part of your space to include relaxation zones with office furniture that strives for optimum comfort with ‘chilling’ at its heart? By encouraging employees to be more mindful at work, attention and concentration will gradually begin to rise.  

So, how can you achieve a calmer, more zen environment? Office pods are a great, modern way to boost focus by creating a quieter and calmer place where employees can avoid the hustle and bustle of the main office. 

Organisation is key

Maintaining a well-organised office is the best way to optimise efficiency in the workplace. Although decluttering may seem like a time-consuming task,  when kept on top of, office workers can virtually eradicate the impact of disorganisation.   

An office desk is the main working station for any office worker, so it’s important to keep this area uncluttered. To put this into the everyday perspective, if you’re opening your drawer looking for an important document, but end up pulling out KFC receipts, then it’s time to reevaluate your priorities

Why not spend the last 15 minutes of your day focussing on sorting through paperwork, and placing those that are relevant into an organised filing system? This means that you can come into work the next day with a free schedule to spend on upcoming projects without a desk full of clutter. 

Fancy a snack?

Food fuels an active mind, so fight the afternoon slump by having healthy office snacks readily available for hungry folks. By switching out your consistently empty sweet bowl with snacks that are higher in healthy fats, protein and fibre, productivity levels are guaranteed to rise. 

There are many parallels between food and company culture, which is often an overlooked aspect of working life. Did you also know that 40% of employees deem office food as being one of the most important amenities? So, to ensure that you’ve got the best office snacking station around (and lots of happy, well-rewarded staff), keep those goodies replenished as often as possible. 

A little healthy competition 

The word ‘distraction’ is likely to scare off any manager, but fear not. We’re talking about the good kind; the kind that sharpens strategic thinking whilst channelling your competitive spirit.   

In any workplace, it’s inevitable that staff will begin to lose concentration, so providing them with a fun activity to regain energy levels and motivation is key. Whether this is office table-tennis or a high-tech gaming station, incorporating both work and play into your office space is certain to elevate staff morale. 

So there you have it: Five super simple yet effective ways to inject some happiness into your office space.

Don’t be put off; a revamp doesn’t have to be a time-consuming or expensive task. But it’s certainly well worth it. With a few simple changes to your office furniture, sit back and watch as the stress levels fall and productivity levels rise. 

Workplace

Six of the best office plants to brighten up your workplace

You may have heard about the presence of plants in the workplace actually boosting productivity – yes, that’s right, a study found a 15% increase in productivity with the addition of just a few houseplants – but which ones suit your work space? We’ve handpicked the best office plants to brighten up your workplace to keep employees happy. 

1. Brighten up with Bromeliads

Bromelia

Flowering all year round, bromeliads are a long-lasting plant that inspire with their bright and vibrant colours. They’re easy to look after as they don’t require a lot of care, only a little maintenance to begin with to help them bloom. Once the flowers appear, they only need occasional watering and thrive in bright, indirect sunlight or dappled shade.

2. Dracaena

Dracaena

With lemon-lime, bright green, yellow and white leaves, this plant will make for a beautiful biophilic feature in the office. Its long, arching and wide-spreading leaves give a more naturalistic vibe with a unique multi-stem style. It needs bright, indirect light to retain its vibrancy and shouldn’t be overwatered, as this can cause leaf tips to blacken. When looked after, this plant is brilliant for cleaning the air by filtering airborne toxins.

3. Cacti

Funky moon cacti

Perfect for indoors, the funky moon cactus can certainly bring joy, just look at those quirky, colourful tips! Such a unique plant, this can go on your employees’ office desks or around reception areas – wherever could do with a touch of colour. They just need bright shade with one to two hours of slanted sunlight with watering every two weeks.

4. Peace Lily

Peace Lily

A popular, tropical plant, the Peace Lily can look great on your coffee tables. Creating a calm and soothing atmosphere, the sight of this wonderful plant alone can increase happiness. Its crisp white flowers have great longevity that appear in the spring, and the plant can thrive in a variety of light conditions; just avoid direct light in the summer. Regular misting to raise humidity and weekly watering will nurture it perfectly. 

5. Gerbera Daisy

Gerbera Daisy

Requiring very little sunlight, the Gerbera Daisy can survive in heavily shaded areas, making them ideal for darker offices that struggle with natural lighting. Plus, the vibrant colours of the flowers are perfect for adding a touch of brightness to your workplace. Other reasons why this plant works brilliantly for the office is because they are small and compact – so are easy to fit around and can personalise your office desks – they come in a wide range of colours to suit your office colour scheme, and purify the air.

6. Ficus Benjamina

Ficus Benjamina

Also known as the Weeping Fig, the Ficus Benjamina works great as a centrepiece plant or as a fixture for the corner of the office, boardroom or waiting area – particularly next to an office armchair. They are praised for their air-purifying and wellbeing-boosting qualities. Make sure to keep them away from cold drafts from windows and doors as they can harm them, and place them in bright, indirect light. They will need watering when the top two inches of soil feel dry to the touch. 

If you also need an office update with mood-boosting and ergonomic office furniture, then you’re in the right place. Create a more healthy and productive workplace with the experts at DBI Furniture Solutions; contact us today.

Workplace

How to celebrate staff birthdays

Looking for ways to treat your hardworking staff on their birthdays? As a business owner, keeping tabs on everyone’s birthdays is a daunting task in itself, nevermind thinking of unique ways to celebrate them! You may even delegate to others. If you have a social team, they might be the best at organising as they can share on the brand’s social channels too. 

It’s not just about existing staff; by having well-thought-out, creative celebrations in place, you can build a brilliant reputation for your company, and even tempt future candidates. So, let’s look at the fun ways to celebrate your staff’s birthdays, whether they’re working from home or in the office.

Let them pick a theme

One option is to let staff pick their own themes for work birthday parties, then the whole working day can follow a fun theme, and you can even include this on your list of work perks. Maybe a worker loves the 80s? Well, get those shoulder pads out, the nostalgic playlists, and go neon. It can be themed around something they love, like a favourite film or just totally random if they’re struggling to think. Maybe give a hint to Dirty Dancing with some watermelons, and remind everyone to never put Baby in the corner. Or, do they love Mean Girls? Decorate with ‘that’s so fetch!’ balloons and cupcakes, and all things pink. Maybe they’re going through a mermaid or unicorn phase. It’s all about making them feel valued and special, so a theme they can pick is a great idea and can boost staff morale.

Retro Dirty Dancing VHS lamp

Surprise, surprise!

Or, instead of allowing staff to pick their own themed work birthday parties, your thing could be to surprise everybody! Maybe it’s a day out, a fun experience, or a surprise guest speaker. Whatever you think will be a treat for the birthday employee. You can have fun with this, and act like nothing’s planned and make it out like nobody has a clue it’s their special day, only for them to come into a room full of decorations. Or, you may even want to stretch the surprise out by not having any decorations, but letting your team jump on a coach to a ‘work seminar’ that’s been planned, for you all to turn up to a fun experience day – cue “SURPRISE!”

Bakery boxes and sweet treats

Bakery boxes have grown in popularity as people looked for ways to show their appreciation during a pandemic. If your workers are away from the office, sending out a sweet treat, cake box or bakery box full of cupcakes is a kind way to show your appreciation. It’s also a way to make them personalised and more fun than just heading to the shop for a standard chocolate cake. If they’re into unicorns, mermaids, or a certain football team, then there’s your inspiration, and bakers love a good theme. You may even have an office baker amongst the team.

Desk decorations

There’s nothing better than seeing the look on your employees’ faces when they arrive at a beautifully decorated desk. Use their personality for inspiration. What shows do they like? What’s their favourite chocolate and sweets? Do they love a pun? There’s so much inspiration to take from when decorating your staff’s office desks, and you can even drape them with funky lights, bunting, and balloons. Why not print out a funny joke or lovely, heartfelt message on a company letterhead or memo?

Birthday lunch

You might want to go all out or plan a simple, personalised buffet. If you know they can’t resist a certain restaurant or takeaway, then treat them with a meal out or a delivery. If you go for a birthday buffet, you can create fun signs and jokes to suit, or style it around a theme. Just be mindful of allergies, intolerances and any vegans in the office.

Video messages

Whether you’re letting staff work from home, in the office, or you’re providing for the hybrid worker, a simple yet effective idea is to create a touching video. This one especially works brilliantly for an employee who is working at home or in isolation. Have staff film themselves giving the birthday star a compliment, explaining why they appreciate them, and have them share a fond memory of them. You could even get clients on board if they have a really good relationship with them. With simple-to-use video design tools, you can create a personalised, memorable birthday gift without even getting the company card out.

Give them a superpower for the day

Let the birthday girl or boy have the power for the day by being the decision maker. They get to decide the radio station or playlist, the lunch break, and when and where to have meetings. Maybe they’ve always liked the idea of taking a meeting out onto the park opposite with a picnic, or those office sofas have always looked like a comfortable place for some brainstorming rather than the boardroom. Let them take charge! If your office culture is more corporate, maybe for birthdays, you allow staff to choose whether everyone comes in casual. You may even allow them to try out different roles for the day, whatever task they’ve always fancied having a go at, they can learn some new tricks whilst having some fun.

One of the best gifts for any of your employees is to make sure they have a healthy and safe work environment. To ensure you’re maintaining your duty to provide this, browse through the incredible office range from DBI Furniture Solutions right here – specialists in high-quality, certified workplace furniture and equipment. Or contact us to find out more about what would work for your business.

Awareness, Office health and safety

How to stay fit with a desk job

When around 81% of UK office workers spend between four and nine hours sitting at desks each day, a sedentary lifestyle and a poor office set-up is something we’ve gotten used to. But, it shouldn’t have to be this way. It’s now more important than ever to know how to stay fit with a desk job. Here’s how you can create a healthier and fitter working day.  

Walk where you can

If you’re lucky enough to live close to your workplace, try walking in a few days a week. A good twenty-minute, half-hour or full-hour walk a couple of  a week will do wonders for your fitness. Not only that, you’ll be helping the environment by reducing your carbon footprint. If you can’t walk in, then why not park a bit further away to give yourself more walking time. Work on the third or top floor? Ditch the lift and use the stairs. Before you’ve even got to your desk, you can burn some extra calories. 

Walking breaks and lunch breaks

If you work more than six hours a day, you have a right to one uninterrupted 20-minute rest break during the working day, whether it’s for lunch or a brew. Many employers allow one hour for lunches with time for breaks during the day. Use these breaks to stretch the legs, go out for a walk or do some exercise. 

Sit-stand desks

Sit-stand desks are perfect for helping with posture and stretching the legs. These clever desks are adjustable, so you can switch between tasks that need to be done sitting down or when you need to change your position and increase circulation. You can also get anti-fatigue mats for standing desks to reduce pain, stress or discomfort from standing on a hard floor for a long period of time. Balance boards are made for standing desks to increase energy expenditure by 19.2% compared to sitting which means you actually burn calories. They can also increase your heart rate by 15%.  

Exercises at the desk

When at the desk, there are a range of stretches and exercises you can do to make your working day a little more active. 

Desk stretches

  • Sitting back extensions: Sit straight with feet together, putting the palms of your hands into the small of your back, before leaning back over your hands to feel your lumbar stretch out 
  • Prayer stretches: Start on your hands and knees with your hands in front of your knees. You then slowly lower your bottom towards your feet until you feel a mild to moderate stretch through your mid to lower back area. Hold this stretch for around 15 to 20 seconds, then repeat three to five times
  • Seated lateral trunk stretches: In a seated position, lift one arm over your head whilst placing the other hand on your thigh. Slowly, bend towards the opposite side where your hand is on your thigh until you feel a stretch along the side of your trunk (torso) and hold the stretch for 15 to 20 seconds. Repeat three to five times on each side
  • Seated knee to chest stretches: Whilst sitting in your chair, lift one knee up to your chest so you can reach it with your hands. Use both hands to pull the knee, bending it upward, placed against your chest until you feel a slight stretch in the lumbar region and at the back of your hip. Hold the position for around 15 to 20 seconds, then repeat it three to five times with each knee
  • Seated spinal rotations: Cross your arms over your chest whilst seated, then grab your shoulders. From there, rotate your upper body from the waist, turning gently from left to right. You should feel a tension on both sides of your lower back as it stretches out

Desk exercises

  • Under-desk elliptical or exercise bike: Kill two birds with one stone and get an elliptical or exercise bike under the desk to work those leg muscles
  • Chair balance disc: This is great for standing or sitting. For balancing when standing, stand on one foot on the balance disc for 30 seconds, then switch feet and repeat
  • Leg lifts and ankle weights: Type away up top and let your legs get some exercise in for you below the desk. Strap on some leg weights and do some leg raises every hour or so
  • Exercise ball: Bring in an exercise ball to act as your chair for a while, and engage your core, this will also help with good posture 
  • Seat squeeze: Multitask away by sorting your emails and doing a glute exercise. Squeeze the buttocks and hold for 5-10 seconds before releasing. Repeat this until you feel your glutes tire
  • Desk squat: When using a standing desk, add a squat into the mix. Or, even if you’re sitting, take a squat break. Bend the knees slightly so the thighs are almost parallel to the ground, and as you bend down, raise your arms straight up towards the computer screen. Keep knees together and aligned and hold for 15 seconds and release. Repeat for four or five reps
  • Thigh squeezes: Use a ream of paper or a sealed package of paper to place between the knees when sat down. Press the legs inward and continue squeezing the paper ream for 30-60 seconds; this will work your thighs

Healthy snacks and hydration

As tempting as it may be to have a drawer full of goodies, if you’re working on how to stay fit at your desk, then don’t put all that hard work to waste by scoffing too much chocolate and sweets. Review your snacking options; opt for fruit, protein bars, boiled eggs, carrots and dip, nuts and rye bread. 

We should be drinking six to eight glasses of fluid a day – water, low-fat milk and sugar-free drinks all count. Make brews to up your water intake and have your own water bottle on the desk to stay hydrated throughout the day. Water can also help you burn more calories and can even help with suppressing appetite if consumed before meals – perfect for curbing cravings.

As well as your desk exercises, stretches, walking breaks and healthier snacks, you should also increase your activity levels outside of work. Plan in a run, walk or workout at the weekend, or when you’re cleaning, break out into a sweat, dancing to your favourite tunes. Now that we are at our desks more, it’s so important to keep active whenever we can. 

Awareness, Space Planning

How to prepare for indoor hospitality reopening

From the 17th May, indoor hospitality reopens, that means restaurants, pubs, bars (including those in hotels or members’ clubs), social clubs, cafes and canteens can allow people to sit and dine and drink. The government states that venues that are providing alcohol for consumption on the premises must also provide table service. Venues that don’t provide alcohol for consumption on the premises can allow customers to order from the counter, but food and drink must be consumed whilst seated. As a hospitality business, we’re sure you’ve been preparing for this date for quite a while, but we’ve got some tips on how to prepare for indoor hospitality reopening that you can come back to time and again for guidance.  

Capacity and social distancing

Firstly, you should figure out how many customers you can accommodate safely, and factor this in when offering booking options. This is important for both your customers and your staff, as well as making sure you adhere to COVID-secure guidelines. If your customers are anxious, they’re not going to want to come again. Review your seating plan and available space to see how many people can sit down with appropriate social distancing – you may have to adjust it, or make more room. For example, you may be able to fit in another table and set of dining or canteen chairs where that huge plant feature is. 

Online booking or walk-ins

Some businesses are only offering walk-ins instead of booking options, as they’re worried about parties not turning up or letting them down. Others are only accepting bookings to help with capacity management and to reduce any congestion or queues. It all depends on your business size, popularity and what works for you here. If you’re a well-known brand expecting a lot of custom, only accepting bookings is the best option. If you’re an independent business, you may find accepting both walk-ins and bookings works best for you. Just make sure you think about any potential queuing to guide social distancing.

Seating plan and waiting areas

If you are offering walk-ins, or even if your next party has turned up slightly early, think about a waiting area that makes everyone feel comfortable, not just physically. Make sure there is adequate room next to each sofa, or you can use multifunctional furniture so that different household groups are safely distanced. 

Toilets

Where are your toilets, and how accessible are they? If you are a small venue with only one toilet, then make sure there are clear signs to say this so people are more aware. Put down social distancing markers in case people have to queue. And, it goes without saying, make sure you have them well stocked with toilet roll and soap. Check and clean them regularly. Having a toilet cleaning log can help you keep track of how often they’re checked and cleaned, and this will also give a good impression to your customers. 

Consider takeaway options

Due to limited capacity and people still hesitant around indoor dining, don’t cut out your takeaway options. You can have the best of both worlds; allow bookings for indoor dining, and offer delivery or collection options. There are plenty of delivery and takeaway partners and apps out there for you to work with. 

Staff training

Make sure your staff are trained up for new ways of doing things, like making sure face coverings are worn. Your customers should also be wearing them when entering, exiting and using the toilets. Maybe you’ve introduced new technology for table service? Run a refresher training session to give your staff confidence in dealing with potential issues or customer questions. Think about customer concerns, as well as any potential problems or frustrated customers and how best to deal with them. Make sure everyone knows the new policies through and through. For instance, state how often they should be using hand sanitiser and how often the bar should be wiped down. 

Communicating with customers

Use your social media, email marketing, shop window and Google My Business (GMB) listing to keep people informed about your business, policies, opening hours, services and general updates. Social media is especially powerful to entice customers back. You can even run a competition to give away a free meal for two by requesting people like, comment, tag friends, and share the competition post on social media. 

Refine the menu

It’s been a while since your doors were allowed to open for the public, so easing back in with the right stock levels is important for your business. Customers understand this. You may need to refine the menu and focus on what you can get in and build it up again. A smaller menu doesn’t have to compromise on quality and amazing meals though. Having stock alerts is an effective way to keep on top of things too. As business grows, you can then review your menu, and it may be the perfect time to get creative and offer new dishes. 

Table service and technology

Table service is mandatory for venues offering alcohol for consumption on the premises, and food and drinks must be consumed whilst seated. Even if your venue doesn’t offer alcohol for consumption on the premises, table service is definitely a good idea to avoid people gathering at the counter. There’s also clever technology and apps out there that businesses can use for table service, allowing customers to order from an app – this works so well for larger hospitality businesses. There’s also systems like eatPOS that offer waiter tablets to better organise orders.   

Whatever your business size, in hospitality, it’s about refining those policies, menus and keeping your customers, and potential customers in the loop. Don’t forget your online channels to keep people updated with promotions, COVID-safety measures and new menus. Make people excited again, and make your business irresistible! 

For any help with dining or canteen seating, speak to our experienced team today. We’re always happy to answer any questions you have.

Awareness, Working from home, Workplace

How to provide for the hybrid worker

The future of work looks to be shifting to a hybrid approach. Many companies have already made the switch to a mixed model of remote working and office days. Employers have sought bigger office spaces to make work environments safer, as well as alternating office and work-from-home days. 

So, as the new hybrid worker emerges – or rather has emerged – what can you do as an employer to better provide for them?

Make sure technology and communication is consistent

One of the most important things to maintain with hybrid working is effective communication. In this day and age, we’re lucky to have so much technology at our fingertips to help with meetings, instant message colleagues, and share and edit documents at the same time. Messaging apps like Slack are made specifically for work communication and for companies with remote workers, allowing employees to chat, share documents easily and to call through the app. Whatever app you use, just make sure you stick to one. For virtual meetings, stick to one platform for this too, at least for your own business. Be adaptable when it comes to clients and customers as they may use other platforms.

Are you ensuring home workers are safely set up?

Did you know that employers have the same health and safety responsibilities for their homeworkers as they do for their office workers? The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) has more guidance on this, but it’s all about taking into consideration your workers’ home environments and how suitable they are for the job. You also should be including home workers the same way you include onsite workers, meaning keeping them in the loop on social events (whether virtual or not) and general work communication to keep them motivated, feeling valued and to be able to do their job effectively. 

Work-from-home crate rectangular desk

With desk jobs and a poor office set-up, prolonged sitting is a significant health issue, so homeworkers need to have healthy and productive work stations at home. It all starts with a certified office chair. Make sure work-from-home seating is height-adjustable, with good lumbar support and ergonomic features that will allow workers to get the right positioning for good posture and to avoid eye strain. For homeworkers who may have limited space or unproductive home environments, work-from-home desks can give them a very productive and motivating space to get into work mode, whilst also providing a very good and healthy work set-up. 

Opt for larger office spaces and make them safer

Depending on your company size and how many you have in the office on certain days, you may need to upscale your office space to provide efficient social distancing. Air ventilation is also important. Natural lighting and windows are already features that workers very much appreciate, but now more than ever they are crucial to allow for better air circulation and comfortable work settings. Having your workers come into the office to be compacted in dark and musty environments is not only off-putting, but could get you reported for not following COVID-secure guidelines. If space is difficult or limited, social distancing protective screens can help, but if you do have the space, why not change and adapt to an open-plan layout or reorganise the work space to give more room for staff.

Keep mental health and wellbeing at the forefront

This pandemic has hit hard in many areas, from the tragic loss of lives to financial instability and isolation, driving a mental health pandemic in tandem. That’s why it’s so vital to consider your employees’ wellbeing and stress levels. The hybrid work approach allows for more flexibility, but the inconsistency can be an issue for some. When staff are working from home, make sure communication never becomes subpar, and when there are office days, that they are positive environments that help brighten up the working week. Social interactions are not to be undervalued or underestimated, so it’s worthwhile remembering that when moving to the hybrid work model. Make office days fun and maybe organise weekly or monthly online work quizzes or ‘memes of the week’ challenges – whatever can keep morale up.

Make the office irresistible

One thing employers have to contend with is the fact that many of their employees have gotten used to working from home and enjoying the flexibility that comes with it, including being surrounded by home comforts. The office now needs to entice workers back, so you need to make them as irresistible as can be; remind your staff of what they get in the office that they can’t at home. It may be the time for a fresh update. Whether it’s better office equipment, brighter walls, comfy office sofas, office pods, relaxation rooms, green office ideas, or hygge office design – the office can be the most productive and fun place. Just make sure you follow the guide to social distancing in the workplace.

Need to kit out your office with better seating, desking and equipment? Take a browse through our site right here at DBI Furniture Solutions, or contact our friendly, experienced team today!

Desks

9 great ways to personalise your office desks

Those of us confined to our office desks can end up spending a lot of time there; upwards of eight hours a day! Yet, we often don’t think to put our personal touches on them. Considering it’s almost a home away from home, it’s a good idea to personalise them and make them truly our own. Let’s talk about how we can do that.

1. Keepsakes and photos

When working, we always aim for the highest level of productivity, as we all want to get the jobs done to the best of our ability and with as much efficiency as possible. With that, it’s all about staying motivated. What better way to motivate us than to remind ourselves why we do what we do day in, day out?

At times, when our motivation dips, or if things get stressful and difficult, having a keepsake or photo of our loved ones nearby can get us smiling again. In fact, a photo could be of anything, not just of people, as in a funny memory, a place, a view or even your favourite TV show character. Looking over at something that’s cherished once in a while can keep us going at work. 

2. Unique and fun stationery

Stationery doesn’t have to be dull. A great way to personalise your office desk is to surround yourself with quirky stationery and office essentials that reflect your personality. So, you’re 30 and you love unicorns, so what? As they say, you’re only as young as you feel. If you want to get a mouse mat, sharpener and pencil collection that all show vibrant colours, unicorns and glittery designs, then go for it. This is where you spend so much of your time to do all your hard work, why not personalise things and make yourself happier. Whether it be bright colours, quirky prints, niche brands or colour-coordinated, your stationery’s style can reflect you, brighten your day and even motivate you with improved organisation.  

3. Stickers and skins

To really put your stamp on your desk and even your laptop or computer, you can decorate them with stickers and skins. Laptop skins are a brilliant way to show off your personality and style. There are skins you can get for your headphones, phone, tablet, speakers, and even drones. It’s about time we got more funky office desks, and with stickers and skins, you can add your personal touch to all sorts of office accessories

4. Desk planners and diaries

Desk planners, calendars and diaries can be life-savers, especially when your schedule’s getting hectic. With your own desk planner, you can be on top of all that life has to throw at you. Errands, reminders, to-do lists, shopping lists and task notes can all be in one place. Sometimes work and life can be hard to separate; so a personal diary, calendar and planner can do wonders for your organisation and productivity. 

5. Adding a touch of nature

Bringing the outdoors in can lift our moods. The positive benefits of plants indoors are endless. From helping alleviate stress and increasing productivity, to helping clean the air and improve people’s wellbeing, plants – whether on our desk or near to us – keep us in touch with nature. It’s also another way to personalise our work spaces. Having something we can nurture from our desks, something we can keep an eye on, helps us with our motivation and overall sense of satisfaction. Plants in the office also form part of a more eco-friendly workplace – and there’s a range of green office ideas to help inspire you.

6. Having a chair that’s comfortable for you

Spending lots of time in a sedentary position doesn’t do our health any good. In fact it can do serious damage and even increase our chances of premature mortality. Alongside taking regular breaks and increasing movement, it’s crucial you get the correct office seating in place. Ergonomic chairs are perfect for helping with our posture, for lumbar support and for correcting positions to our screens. Make sure you can adjust the height to work for your desk set-up; you don’t want to be causing eye strain. 

7. Whiteboards, notice boards and sticky notes

You can get cute little noticeboards and whiteboards these days; another great way to personalise your office space. Sticky notes on your walls, in books and documents can remind you of goals, tasks and important information. Find some that fit your style. You may even give yourself tasks that are fun for the day on your whiteboard with a little picture to make your working days more exciting. 

8. Desk puzzles and games

For those times when we get stressed or brain fog sets in, a break with a puzzle or game to stimulate our brains can work wonders. Not only can they take us away from a problem-focused task for a while, they can get our cogs working again, and when we come back to a problem, we may have a different approach or even a eureka moment. 

9. Snack station

A great, motivating fuel for us is snacks! Your desk could be the envy of all desks with a goody tray or snack station. A sugar hit could be just what you need in an afternoon slump (all in moderation, of course). You can also use them as rewards for getting things ticked off on your to-do list.

Personalising your office desks can be a fun task; you can be as creative and imaginative as you want, whatever makes your working days more enjoyable and productive for you. You just need the perfect office desk for you, that’s where we’ve got you covered. Contact our friendly team today for help with choosing the right one.