Awareness

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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!

Awareness, Workplace

How to make a collaborative office space with social distancing

As we look towards 2021, we can only hope for a more stable year ahead, one where workers in offices can continue to work safely and socially distanced. We may have to continue alternating between working from home and office days, judging the climate of the pandemic as we go. For those office days, we need to make sure we are following updated, safe policies in line with social distancing and even better hygiene. But how can the workspace be updated? One way that workspaces can be enhanced for next year is by making room for a more collaborative office space, but how can you do this exactly?

What does a collaborative office space look like?

There are a few ways to interpret this, but overall, it’s about making sure teams can work together easily and efficiently to achieve company goals through a more dynamic office space.

Another way to make a collaborative workspace is by allowing employees from different offices and companies to work under one roof, in one shared workspace. Whether you have a small start-up or a renowned, global enterprise, a collaborative space provides opportunities for your staff to integrate with other groups on shared floors, using shared amenities as well as allowing more flexibility for staff throughout the day.

Collaborative working

Considering around 75% of workers regarded teamwork and collaboration as important, it’s a great idea to make sure your office space works around this.

This means providing a layout that encourages teamwork and helps people work more productively and in cooperation, all while social distancing is maintained. If social distance is too difficult to achieve in certain areas, make sure you’re requiring that staff wear masks, or that you have a physical barrier such as a protective screen.   

  • Sit-stand desks allow employees to move around more, which improves circulation
  • Swivel chairs mean workers can easily move around, especially if they need to look at something on another office desk
  • Avoid back-to-back layouts, and have as many people facing one another with good, safe distancing
  • Collaborative working is all about comfort – go for multifunctional furniture and beanbags to encourage more socialising (safely distanced, of course)
  • Brainstorming areas – provide working walls so employees can add to notice boards and whiteboards, sharing ideas etc.
  • Make sure project collaboration software and communication channels are up to date so that teams can work together more efficiently, even when working from home

Communal spaces

A communal space is key to collaborative work and there are a number of ways you can help set this up for your office:

  • Circular layouts with comfy office sofas give a more communal vibe, as they encourage team members to group together in a relaxed setting to share thoughts
  • Connect teams by having open-plan spaces where things are not too closed off
  • You can get glass cell pods to separate people whilst not keeping them totally shut off
  • Bring more breakout areas into the workspace by providing benches, relaxed office rooms and coffee tables
  • You could make areas a bit cosier for staff to take a break in or for some timeouts to think creatively
  • Opt for more transparent walls and separators in the office like glass screens and biophilic features to create divided spaces that aren’t too segregating

Coffee place feel

Create a more collaborative feel by offering amenities and coffee stations. Starbucks does an interesting business program or you could simply design an office that is styled more like a coffee shop, where staff could plug in laptops at coffee tables on comfier chairs with nearby coffee machines. The more open the better, and who doesn’t love working from a coffee shop?

Making an office safe with social distancing

Of course, with more collaborative designs and encouragement for team building, it’s important you maintain effective social distancing wherever possible. If this proves too difficult in certain areas, make sure employees are wearing masks. If you have implemented clear COVID-19 policies that require staff to follow best hygiene practices and social distancing, along with signs and guides within the office, you can create safer office spaces. Whatever sector or industry you’re in, see how you can implement effective social distancing in the workplace

Awareness, Workplace

How to deal with pregnancy at work

Pregnancy is a wonderful time in a person’s life. But it is also one that has to be fitted in around other aspects of their life, one of the main ones being work. As we spend so much time at the office, it’s essential that pregnant women at work have a suitable environment that makes their life as easy and comfortable as possible. Employers have a responsibility to ensure that the workplace is safe and comfortable for the mother-to-be and developing child. How aware are you on how to deal with pregnancy at work and what needs to be in place in the office? Don’t get caught out and let our guide take you through the legalities and helpful ways to make your office fitting for working mums.

What are pregnant employees’ rights?

In the UK, pregnant employees have four main legal rights:

When should you be informed about a pregnancy from your employees?

Employers must be told about pregnancies from employees at least 15 weeks before the beginning of the week the baby is due. If employees didn’t know in time, they must tell as soon as possible.

Pregnant employees must also tell employers when they want to start their Statutory Maternity Leave and Statutory Maternity Pay.

How long can mothers take for maternity leave?

  • All pregnant employees get Statutory Maternity Leave which is 52 weeks, made up of: ordinary maternity leave (first 26 weeks) and additional maternity leave (final 26 weeks)
  • Employees don’t have to take on the full 52 weeks but it’s mandatory for employees to take two weeks’ leave after the baby is born or if working in a factory, four weeks must be taken
  • Employees may be entitled to take some of their leave as Shared Parental Leave
  • Fathers or partners are entitled to one or two weeks of paternity leave even if adopting a child, if qualified. To be qualified, they have to have had the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the due date or by the time they have matched with a child for adoption
  • You can offer extra leave if you have a company maternity scheme but make sure all maternity leave and maternity pay policies are available for staff to view

What Maternity Pay and Paternity Pay are employees entitled to?

  • Statutory Maternity Pay is paid for up to 39 weeks and employees receive 90% of their average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first six weeks. Then it will be £148.68 or 90% of their average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the continual 33 weeks.
  • You can offer extra maternity pay if you have a company maternity scheme but make sure all maternity leave and maternity pay policies are available for staff to view
  • If fathers or partners qualify for Paternity Leave, Statutory Paternity Pay is likely to coincide with Paternity Leave and to qualify for pay, employees have to keep working for their employer up to the date of birth and be earning an average of at least £118 a week The rate of pay is the same for both Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Maternity Pay

How much time off can be given for antenatal care?

  • ‘Antenatal care’ covers medical appointments, antenatal classes, parenting classes, if recommended by doctors or midwives
  • Once employees have informed their employers of their pregnancy, employers must give time off for antenatal care whilst paying their normal rate for the time off 
  • Partners or fathers have the right to unpaid time off work to attend two antenatal appointments
  • Employees can’t take time off for any antenatal appointments until they’ve told their employer about their pregnancy

What are the health and safety requirements for pregnant employees?

  • A risk assessment will need to be carried out for a pregnant employee and their baby as soon as an employer has been informed of the pregnancy
  • The risk assessment should assess the possible risks caused by heavy lifting or carrying, standing or sitting for long periods of time without adequate breaks, long working hours or exposure to toxic substances
  • If there are any of these risks, employers need to take reasonable steps to remove the risks. For instance, sit to stand desks could be put in place to allow employees to work on tasks from different positions, improving comfort and posture 
  • If risks cannot be removed, then employers should suspend pregnant employees on full pay by offering alternative work 

What if employees have pregnancy-related illnesses?

  • If an employee is off work for a pregnancy-related illness in the four weeks before the baby is due, Maternity Leave and Statutory Maternity Pay will start automatically no matter what has been previously agreed
  • If an employee has to take work off due to a pregnancy-related illness before the four weeks run-up to when the baby is due, then Statutory Sick Pay can be claimed. Maternity Pay may be affected depending on the circumstances

What happens for employees if a baby dies?

  • Employees will still qualify for leave or pay if the baby: is stillborn after the start of the 24th week of pregnancy or if the baby dies after being born

Employees rights after giving birth

What rights are in place once employees have given birth?

  • If the baby is born early, then leave begins the day after the birth of the baby. Employees must provide birth certificates or a document signed by a doctor or midwife that confirms the date of birth. If babies are born prematurely (15 weeks or more before the due date), then employers need to calculate the Statutory Maternity Pay  
  • New risk assessments are to be carried out when employees are back in work to accommodate breastfeeding (anchor link?)
  • Fathers or partners can take paternity leave (providing they have qualified), from the day the baby is born, from the day a child is placed with them for adoption or from a date after the birth or adoption that is agreed in advance between employee and employer

How should offices accommodate breastfeeding?

  • New mothers when returning to work have certain rights, including breastfeeding rights. A new risk assessment is needed to be done which looks out for the same health and safety risks from the assessment done when an employee first informs an employer they are pregnant
  • Risks to be assessed are making sure still that there’s no heavy lifting or carrying, long working hours, exposure to toxic substances or sitting at an office desk for long periods of time. Added to this, is making sure there is space for mums who are breastfeeding to lie down and rest if they need to
  • Breastfeeding mums at work can also express milk at work and employers should provide a suitable private space for breastfeeding employees. Guidelines are to make sure a clean and comfortable room is provided with a lockable door (not a toilet). A pregnancy office chair could be provided
  • Fridges to store breast milk are encouraged
  • If it works best, breastfeeding employees can ask to change hours or their working pattern to fit around their breastfeeding and/or milk expressing. Shared parental leave can also be factored in

Why it is good business to encourage and support breastfeeding for employees:

  • Supporting breastfeeding for employees will help for staff retention and it can mean fewer absences as breastfed babies are generally sick less often than formula-fed babies. This means parents will take fewer days off to care for a sick baby
  • Parents of breastfed babies have ⅓ of the absences of parents of formula-fed babies
  • Retention rates are increased when accommodating breastfeeding mums as employers are reducing training and recruitment costs as they can keep female talent.
  • Supported mothers are more likely to return to work and not look elsewhere than unsupported mothers in the workplace. Productivity and loyalty are both significantly increased when accommodating breastfeeding for working mothers
  • Accommodating breastfeeding in the workplace is a simple and productive business decision

Source: Maternity Action.

How can offices accommodate breastfeeding and working mums?

  • Employers could consider introducing a breastfeeding policy to outline best practice for how employees can make requests which could be included in maternity policies
  • All that is needed for an office to accommodate breastfeeding and milk expressing is a separate, private room with a lockable door, giving enough space for a mother to lie and rest
  • In order for your office to be the most comfortable and supportive for working mums is to make sure comfortable, suitable seating is available. The chairs you choose can be cost-effective as they can be a suitable addition that can act as either visitor chairs or colleague chairs for those out-of-the-room little catch-ups. They don’t have to take up too much room either. Here are some top picks for multi-purpose office chairs

What employers are NOT allowed to do related to working parents:

  • Discriminate against anyone because of pregnancy
  • Change a pregnant employee’s contract terms or conditions without agreement. If employers do this, they are in breach of contract
  • Keep pregnant employees in work if risks identified by assessments have not been removed
  • Discriminate against breastfeeding employees

As a business owner, you know you have to evolve in order to remain successful and companies are realising that accommodating their staff is beneficial for all. Working mums shouldn’t be seen as a hindrance for being able to have the ability to bring life into the world. Make sure to keep up-to-date and refresh your office once in a while. Being prepared with a fitting environment for pregnant employees to show your investment and commitment is worthwhile as employees will show even more loyalty.

 

Data on maternity and parental rights in the workplace has been taken from the UK Government’s official website

Awareness

Clerkenwell Design Week

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.

Awareness, DSE, Ergonomics, Workplace

Workplace Eye Awareness Month — Check YOUR Vision

Office ergonomics almost always focus on ensuring the limbs, neck and torso are maintained in a comfortable and supported position.. but what about your EYES? This part of the body is often woefully neglected when it comes to creating a healthy office environment but Workplace Eye Awareness Month, which runs throughout March, attempts to rectify this situation.

Eyes Down!

Computers, mobile phones and TV equipment are standard pieces of kit for almost everyone, whatever kind of work they are involved in. We all use these items in our free time as well, meaning that people today are spending many, many hours with their sensitive and complex eyes glued to a screen. Extended periods of screen-time can lead to:

  • General pain and discomfort
  • A feeling that the eyes are ‘tired’
  • Eyestrain from focusing on small text, leading to permanent sight damage
  • General fatigue and a reduction in the sense of wellbeing
  • Headaches, particularly in those who suffer from migraine attacks
  • Visible symptoms such as parched or red eyes

The Importance of Blinking

The reason that we blink is to moisturise and lubricate the eye and this usually happens between 12 and 14 times every minute. As we focus our eyes on a computer screen or other kind of digital display has been shown to reduce this rate by anywhere from 33% to 50%, causing the eyes to become dried out, sore and painful.

Here are some tips to avoid eyestrain in the workplace:

  • Keep your Distance – Stay at least an arm’s length away from the screen. Close-up focusing is more demanding on the eyes and increasing the size of the type on the display while keeping your distance is preferable to being close to small type
  • Beware of Glare – make sure the display settings are appropriate so this issue is minimised. Good task lighting and increased contrast can help
  • Rest & Relax – just the same as your wrists can be damaged by carpal tunnel syndrome from typing too much, your eyes can be damaged in a similar way. Stick to a 20/20/20 rule – take a break each 20 minutes and, during this, stare at an object 20ft away for 20 seconds
  • Let there be Light – choosing correct lighting for your unique premises is essential and you should seek expert help on the range of products available. DBI stock a broad selection of quality task lighting and our dedicated space planning team can provide the most competent advice

Workplace Eye Awareness Month is the perfect time to start considering your visual health and that of your employees. Start your journey with our selection of Task Lighting!

Awareness, Ergonomics, Furniture, Products, Workplace

Indoor Environment Quality – Try Our Experiment!

There are a precious lucky few people who will be able to say that the air they breathe in at work feels cool, fresh and pleasant, refreshing them. An even smaller number of these people report seeing soft-edged, organic and natural shapes and tones. Instead, a worrying majority of us at work, school, university or other public buildings have to tolerate stale or artificially-conditioned air in our lungs and dull, artificial shapes & colours on our retinas. Why? And when will it change? The answer, thankfully, is very soon indeed.

The presence of plants in the indoor environment has been proven to have many benefits on humans, from a perceived improvement in air quality to higher levels of morale, productivity and health. Studies in hospitals show that patients heal quicker and experience lower pain levels when plants are around and research on a smaller scale suggests a host of practical beneficial effects from bringing the green inside – the effects range from lower levels of employee absenteeism to a reduction in energy usage.

For any business or organisation, there are financial constraints which cannot be ignored – budget is naturally of major importance and any investment must be carefully considered for its cost-effectiveness. It is here that indoor plants have met a stumbling block and hence not gained truly widespread appeal –  a new study, which will include masses of data from social organisations, research institutes and any organisation which registers its interest and is approved, aims to make sweeping changes and usher in a new, green era.

“There are as yet insufficient concrete figures on the matter and insufficient innovative and usable green solutions,” as Annemieke Smit, the Project Leader, succinctly sums up the matter. Under her expert guidance, the research team will collate data and produce a definitive, authoritative guide to use freely when deciding future strategy, policy and actions for the business in relation to interior plants and organic office design.

Do you want cleaner air, unrivalled natural aesthetics and healthier, happier employees? Find out how with DBI – browse our select range of indoor plants and call us to get the fastest, most competitive quote.

Chairs, Desks, DSE, Furniture, Sit Stand

Sit/Stand Desks — Get the Height Right!

The sit-stand desk is thankfully becoming a more common sight in the modern office environment as the problems caused by extended periods of sitting at a computer become more obvious and understood. We supply an eclectic range of sit/stand desks, as they are commonly known, and here we offer some tips for ensuring their optimum performance.

Recent research that revealed the many health problems caused by sitting down for too long, particularly with little other movements, caused an instant call for people to stand more. This increased focus has ironically led to some people now standing up for too long – a practice that has its own accompanying health risks such as increased risk of varicose veins and atherosclerosis. As with many things in life, balance is the key.

  • Users of sit/stand desks should adjust their posture approximately every 30-45 minutes and in not less than one hour. Avoid extended periods of standing or sitting. What is the best posture? The next posture

  • Ensure that the desk is adjusted correctly. People have a tendency to set the desk too high, forcing a posture of elevated shoulders and increasing fatigue levels and injury risk. A safe working level is at or just below the height of the elbows at 90 degrees when the shoulders are relaxed and the upper arms resting by the sides

  • Sit back completely, allowing your chair to support you. If you have one, position your computer keyboard to around 2” above the lap and keep the elbows close to the body as you work

  • If budget permits, choosing a sit/stand desk with electrical adjustment is preferable to avoid cranking by hand

  • Be proactive – don’t wait for discomfort or pain to strike before optimising your workstation setup. Get it right first time and avoid stress later on

 Please enjoy browsing our select range of sit/stand desks – or indeed take a peek at all our office desks. For more tips on optimal usage, call our technical team now or chat to us online.

Awareness, DSE, Sit Stand, Workplace

Sit Stand Desks – For a Healthier Future

Long periods of physical inactivity can lead to an increased risk of serious illness and even premature death, warns the report, before suggesting that sit-stand desks should be used in conjunction with more traditional seated arrangements.

Several health experts conducted the research that backs up the report, which was commissioned by Public Health England in partnership with Active Working CIC. This latter organisation is an actively-campaigning group of people whose slogan and aim is to ‘Get Britain Standing’. The authors of the report calculated that the average UK resident spends around 60% of their waking time in a seated position, rising to a worrying 75% of office workers.

Popularity of sit stand desking is increasing as office furniture designers respond to the growing need for alternatives.

Humanscale QuickStand

This is the ultimate solution, allowing its user to work comfortably from a sitting or standing position as they wish. Clamping quickly, easily and securely to any standard fixed-height work surface, the versatile QuickStand can be used for either new or existing workstations. Expertly-engineered cable management systems combine innovative function with a clean aesthetic, creating one of Humanscale’s most impressive pieces of office furniture so far.

Humanscale Float

A compact, convenient height-adjustable table that features a unique and extremely reliable counterbalance mechanism, Float is designed to make everything easier, safer and more comfortable for the user. With one hand, you can easily adjust the height to what best suits your own ergonomics before enjoying the desk and its distinct lack of obstructive, uncomfortable crossbeam.

Senator Chemistry

We introduced this brand new range from market-leading Senator Group in a news article back in January. By flawlessly incorporating several disparate elements into a single sit/stand desking unit, the Chemistry collection is described as a ‘future proof solution’ to modern office design challenges. The ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to office furniture design is thrown out of the window by Senator, who choose instead to focus on making office ergonomics a personal, individual matter.

Whatever kind of office desk you want, DBI Furniture Solutions are with you all the way. We are an independent company and so have the freedom and buying power to work with all of the major modern office furniture manufacturers to deliver the perfect bespoke combination of components. Call us today to find out more about how sit stand desks can positively change the way employees work while improving their long-term health.

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