The traditional office landscape is changing. Gone are the days of closed cubicles, quiet workspaces and water-cooler talk. Now, it’s not uncommon to see napping pods, office dogs and funky breakout rooms with an array of fun and exciting activities.
One of the biggest changes that has quickly grown in popularity is the rise of the remote working space. By eliminating some distractions that are common in an office environment and reducing commute time, remote working can have significant benefits for many employees, which explains why half of the UK’s workforce is set to be remote working by 2020.
However, there are also some issues that arise when employees work remotely that can have a real negative effect on businesses. In fact, many big businesses including Yahoo and IBM, are scaling back or completely eliminating their telecommuting programs.
We’ve taken a look at the most pressing issues that remote working can create for businesses, and provide some alternative options that might work better for you and your staff.
Communication issues can arise
Thanks to increased technological advances, we can communicate with people half-way across the world in a matter of seconds. You might think that thanks to these advances, communication won’t be an issue, even if your employees work remotely. For example, Ben Davies, head of marketing at remote working space Ziferblat, said:
“When working remotely, communication can be a challenge, but this is where strong management and company culture step in.
“Managers can often find that without office distractions employees can be more effective when they work remotely and will communicate with each other in a more intentional way.”
However, the opposite proves to be true in some cases. According to a survey from Buffer, 21% of people who work remotely believe that collaboration suffers when they’re removed from the office and find it makes communication with other employees more difficult. Worse still, 52% of people who work remotely feel like their colleagues based in the office don’t treat them equally.
On top of this, flexible hours can lead to scheduling issues and make spontaneous communications problematic – if someone needs an answer to a question quickly about a certain project, resentment may build if they have to wait hours for an answer.
When the bulk of your communication happens via email, it’s very easy for communications to get twisted or misconstrued. Small misunderstanding can grow to bigger issues that snowball into bad blood between employees – especially the ones feeling left out.
It can impact creativity
All good business leaders know the importance of collaboration when it comes to creativity. Although there are services out there that have been created to aid collaboration, nothing really beats the output from a fun, face-to-face ideas meeting.
One of the most important aspects of innovation is trusting your team to respect your input and help you develop your ideas in a constructive and helpful manner. Professor and author, John Bessant claims that businesses need to “create an atmosphere where creativity is welcomed, by making people feel like they can deliver an idea, and that it’s safe to share their own and link up with others.”.
This can be difficult in remote working spaces. They can lead to a more disjointed team, which may mean people are apprehensive about voicing their concerns or take offence to well-meaning criticism.
Even just a face-to-face quick chat about a problem with colleagues can help employees come up with a creative and innovative way to solve it – something that’s missing from remote working spaces.
Loneliness and isolation
Often, the biggest problem facing remote workers is the isolation. People who choose to work from home may go the whole day with no face-to-face contact – there will be no co-workers around for a quick chat, no kind words of comfort when a project goes wrong and no one to share a lunch with. This can have a real damaging effect on employees mental and physical health.
Long hours spent working from home can lead to staff feeling very isolated and lonely. A recent report by the Campaign to End Loneliness predicts that social isolations costs U.K. employers £2.5 billion per year in absenteeism, productivity losses, employee caregiving obligations, and turnover.
Dr. Dhruv Khuller, a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital also states that the effects of loneliness on our health are only slightly less strong than smoking or obesity. If done wrong, remote working can have a negative impact not just on our mental health, but our physical health too
Accountability and visibility
Accountability and visibility are concerns for both employers and employees. If staff work remotely, a manager may find it difficult to know if their employees are doing exactly what’s being asked of them. Yes, you can give your staff deadlines, but a project rushed the night before won’t be as good as one that’s worked on over the week. Many managers find it difficult to balance the need for transparency and “checking in” without overwhelming staff.
On the other end of the scale, when working remotely, some staff members may feel like they need to over-work and do more hours than their office-counterparts just to be visible. They may also feel ignored and overlooked simply because they are less likely to talk to senior managers day-to-day. They will also have fewer opportunities to gain insight into the “bigger picture” which could lead to dissatisfaction, and ultimately, staff turnover.
So what’s the answer?
Remote working doesn’t come without its hiccups, and often the negatives can outweigh the positives. However, depending on your industry and the type of staff you have, there are some ways to balance the good with the bad.
- Create a strong company culture for all staff members – encouraging staff members to meet (if face-to-face is not possible, via Skype) regularly with fun team building events will help them form more of a unit, making communication easier and helping relationships develop.
- Make staff feel valued – Ensure remote working staff still have regular one-to-ones and receive feedback on their work.
- Modernise your office – Updating your office with modern workspaces, relaxing breakout areas and private working spaces will minimise the number of employees who choose to work remotely.
- Consider a mix – Allowing your employees a certain amount of time a month to work remotely is a great way to balance the scales – your employees will feel valued thanks to the perks available to them.
Nick Pollitt from DBI Furniture said:
“Remote working can work well for some employees in some industries. However, it’s not ideal for everyone. A great compromise is to make sure staff feel completely comfortable at work by updating your office and offering perks such as fruit, drinks and bonding activities.
“Alternatively, offering part-time remoting working can offer staff and managers the best of both worlds – visibility and accountability coupled with freedom and autonomy. It’s up to businesses leaders to decide what will work best for their workforce – the may find that offering remote working rejuvenate their workforce, or it may do the opposite.”
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.
There’s a personality clash in your office right now. And it’s affecting your staff retention, productivity and employee morale.
It’s not that inevitable blow up between Jeff from Sales and Katie from Production that you witness every couple of weeks. It’s something much more deep-rooted yet harder to pinpoint.
But we’re going to show you how you can address it, and why it’s vital you do so now.
Why catering for both introverts and extroverts matters
No one is a pure introvert or a pure extrovert. Yet every workplace has representatives of these personality types.
There are fundamental differences between the two that affect how they interact with their colleagues. And also how they feel about the workspaces they are asked to function in.
We recently surveyed 850 people in the UK. We asked: “Do you think your employers are making the effort to cater for your work performance and are encouraging the growth of skills on your terms?”
Most employees (59.6%) did not feel that enough effort was being made.
Commenting on these findings Nick Pollitt, Managing Director of DBI Furniture highlighted:
“Studies suggest introverts make up one-third to one-half of the population. Yet most open-plan workplaces are designed and set up exclusively with extroverts in mind. Providing workspaces that meet everyone’s needs will help you retain staff and develop their performance.”
How to make your office space work for introverts
Let’s think of an open-plan office. In theory it fosters creativity, spontaneous collaboration, and transparency among employees.
Now let’s think of an introvert:
- Introverts dislike noise, interruptions and big group settings.
- They prefer time to think before speaking.
- They build relationships and trust one-on-one.
- They need space to reflect and focus.
- They prefer individual projects.
You don’t have to be a psychologist to see that an open-plan office is actually designed to close out this sort out of person.
In practice, different personality types thrive in different work environments. So, what would be better suited?
- A breakout room or a huddle room, where just two or three people can get together and concentrate on getting a project wrapped up or kickstarted?
- A dedicated area full of hot desks that is a silent zone for those who need quiet to concentrate?
- Or an ‘intimate corner’ with comfy bean bags or a sofa – and a welcoming coffee machine – where one-to-ones can be held?
And, of course, you need to think about how you act, as well as how you design your office.
Jeff Bezos of Amazon begins every meeting in total silence. Attendees must quietly read a six-page memo about the meeting for 20 minutes. The logic here is that writing a detailed ‘narrative’ helps structure the meeting, reading it ensures the introverts have time to think, and the quiet time calms things down to encourage participation.
How to make your office space work for extroverts
Let’s just remind ourselves of what extroverts like:
- Extroverts gravitate toward groups.
- They tend to think out loud.
- They are energized by personal interactions, social gatherings and shared ideas.
Extroverts thrive on social situations, so you should aim to include common areas in your workspace and opportunities to collaborate in your office design.
- There are plenty of ways to encourage sharing through smart tech. For example, set up video conferencing areas. This allows those who need to see and hear others to formulate ideas and work effectively with staff or partners in another location.
- Use adjustable height desks with monitor arms that allow for screen sharing and allow the extrovert freedom to roam and ‘spark’ with others.
- Instead of an employee break room with tiny cafe tables, why not try one large community table? It’s an ideal setup for extroverts to meet new people across departments each week, and offers introverts the chance to engage in social chitchat but disconnect without guilt after the break.
Just as Jeff Bezos has instituted a quiet time at meetings, it can also be useful to consider that to develop extroverts’ ideas more effectively you may need to interrogate them.
The ideas tend to be top of the head and may hide hidden gems beneath what seems unfeasible, or may hold unseen flaws that need teasing out. Tactics such as a brainstorm followed by a period of reflection from what has emerged can help this.
The perfect workplace
The perfect workplace is where everyone can feel at home.
The open-plan office may be the norm but it certainly doesn’t feel ‘normal’ to many employees. If you’re looking for inspiration to create breakout rooms, offer different desk designs or create quiet booths within your office, you’ll find hundreds of ideas in our online showroom.
And if you’re feeling extroverted, click on Chat now and we’ll be happy to talk through your needs.
Cultivating a positive workplace environment is not something achieved by a select few – everyone brings something of their own to the table. Forgive the cliché, but the modern office space is such a hive of activity that it is almost impossible for it to be led by a single presence. Everyone pitches in.
And, if your business is to reap the sweet benefits of growth, increased revenue and industry recognition then the employer must embrace this. Personalities are what make a successful business tick – for better or worse.
So, in the spirit of diversity, DBI Furniture Solutions has been in touch with a few industry leaders to find out whether it is not just sophisticated seating and stand-up desks, but personalities that create a productive office environment.
1. Don’t worry, be happy
Positivity! Every office has that shining beacon of positivity, and some are lucky enough to have more than one. Again, this is something more employers should recognise. Happiness at work equals productivity; a brand new survey from employee services provider Personal Group proves that happy workers are 12% more productive.
Happiness at work can be influenced by a number of factors, from pay to how the office itself is designed.
Commenting is Lee Biggins, Founder and Managing Director of recruitment experts CV Library. Having helped countless professionals into their jobs, Lee is more than familiar with office personalities and what best influences a workplace:
“Our research found that there are certain personality traits that UK professionals would most like to see in their colleagues. At the top of the list was positivity, with 48.1% of workers rating this as the trait that they would like to see in their colleagues. This was followed by honesty (42.1%), approachability (41.5%) and a sense of humour (38.3%).
“What all of these traits have in common is a theme of openness and support. Clearly, UK workers want to find themselves in a workplace where people are able to express their opinions withou
t fear of unjust negativity.”
From Lee’s experience, positivity is almost an ‘umbrella’ trait which envelops related aspects:
“Being positive in the workplace can only help breed success across the workforce. Alongside this, being honest and approachable means that co-workers are happy and confident to approach you with new ideas as well as any concerns they may have.
“Finally, a sense of humour is highly desirable; while we of course all need to knuckle down and work hard, being able to have a laugh with your colleagues is just as important to help maintain morale within the workplace.”
2. Creativity is unique
Our minds work differently, and we often approach problems from different angles – this is all to do with creativity. Creative minds are best put to use in collaboration with others, as ideas bounce off one another and become industry-leading campaigns (or are retired to the wastepaper bin, as some are).
Because, while success might be reflected in profit margins and ROIs, they only exist because of brave, bold ideas. Good ideation processes will always uncover the creative minds of your workplace, so employers should be taking the time to engender a positive, creative environment in order for talent to flourish.
Speaking here is David Ingram, Managing Director of digital marketing agency Bring Digital. According to David, a well-executed brainstorm session encourages an open playing field where all suggestions are welcome to the table:
“We’ve created a brainstorm process that works brilliantly for all personality types; with a transparent platform through which people can come forward with ideas, and contribute to others.
“Creativity in the office translates into so many different areas. It can mean looking at a problem from a unique perspective, or taking an idea in the opposite direction. I can’t think of a business, especially in digital, that wouldn’t benefit from such a trait.”
3. We all appreciate punctuality
Being on time is an understated, often-overlooked aspect which gets far less credit than deserved. It goes for anything – coming into work on time, delivering tasks and respecting deadlines.
If your business is reliant on timing, then this can be even more important. Working in digital, for example, may require you to provide reactive comment on industry developments or events in the media.
It’s not only important within the team, it’s great for meeting clients and ensuring that you make a good impression at job interviews.
4. Let’s not forget about integrity
Integrity relates to so much within the workplace; have you ever taken credit for someone else’s work? Maybe you’ve witnessed something untoward but have neglected to tell anyone.
Honesty and trust are central to integrity, and its ethical foundations within work must not be underestimated. It is also closely aligned to passion – how much you know about your industry depends on the amount of work you have put in and your genuine interest in the business.
Commenting is Marcus Franck, Founder of startup business Franck Energy:
“For me, the most desirable trait of a co-worker is integrity. When we’re looking for new team members at Franck Energy, we look for people that are genuinely passionate about environmental issues and understand the context in which we work.
“I don’t mind if a co-worker isn’t completely clued-up on a certain topic, but genuine honesty and curiosity goes a long way.”
5. Passion pays
Having a passion for what you do is crucial, not only for personal fulfillment (everyone wants to enjoy what they do) but career advancement, too. Whatever industry you are in, a love of the business will stand you in good stead for success.
Maybe you are a design-head, and live for creating websites. Have you always had a way with words? Copywriting should be right (or, write?) up your street. Either way, passion is a list-topping priority for most recruiters and is most certainly something fellow colleagues will want to see.
To get more information, we spoke with Craig Hall, Operations Director at digital marketing agency Glass Digital. According to Craig, passion is a powerful personality trait to possess:
“Digital marketing is a young industry, so it can be difficult to hire experienced staff. That’s why we place huge emphasis on the right personality traits when hiring. The most important thing is passion and focus, as a lack of enthusiasm often translates into poor productivity.
This is not just passion for the business, either. Passion for self-improvement, pro-active goal setting and practicing your craft is a brilliant byproduct of passionate employees.
“We also look out for people who are fast learners, because best practice is constantly changing in our industry. For the same reason, staff must be able to identify their own weaknesses and have the desire to develop their own knowledge and skills.”
These traits run through most businesses, and should be valued for their contributions to the wider organisation. Happiness goes hand-in-hand with productivity, and success. The products at DBI Furniture Solutions are all geared toward the same goal. See our varied range of office furniture for more great office ideas.
Across a diverse range of businesses, there is one recurring problem for office workers in the UK. With long periods spent sitting down, sedentary lifestyles are putting employees’ health at risk.
Never has there been such an urgent need for employee exercise programs – but just how much exercise are we talking, here?
According to physical activity guidelines from the NHS, adults aged 19-64 require at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week to stay healthy, as well as a minimum of two day’s strength training per week.
This is more than doable, even if you are stuck in an office all day.
With some simple steps and a little encouragement, employers can easily promote an hour of daily exercise for staff. After all, it’s in the business’ best interests to ensure that all employees are fit and healthy, given that long-term sickness absences cost UK companies an eye-watering £4.17 billion EVERY YEAR!
Promoting exercise and a healthy lifestyle is a win-win situation for both sides. We can reduce the risks of sedentary living for employees, whilst saving businesses billions and improving the economy in the process.
Here’s how you can do it…
1. Bring the workout into the office
Employers can make great strides in promoting staff exercise by simply bringing exercise to them. Time constraints are one of the biggest challenges facing employees – especially those who have lengthy commutes and out-of-work commitments.
Draft in a fitness professional to give employees brief but beneficial workouts. A midday adrenaline boost can prevent you from hitting that 3pm wall of tiredness and reaching for the nearest caffeine hit.
We spoke to Bring Digital, a digital marketing agency for whom exercise classes have boosted productivity and staff morale. Speaking is Office Manager Suzanne Monks:
“Since introducing our ‘Bring Wellness’ initiative, our health and fitness program, we’ve found that staff are coming into work motivated and in a healthy state of mind.
“It allows them the flexibility to get a workout in without going out of their way, which is great for us all. We understand just how important exercise is, especially within the office environment. It’s a lot of fun, too.
“Staff have reported feeling more energised throughout the day, and the late-afternoon slump has pretty much disappeared.”
It’s an easy solution which works wonders for staff productivity, boosting morale and giving employees the chance to build rapport with colleagues.
Here are just two exercise classes you can bring to the office:
Improve flexibility with Yoga
There are a whole host of benefits to be had from yoga. For the office worker, these include; healthier and uninterrupted sleep, improved blood circulation, a boost in energy levels and enhanced mental wellbeing.
It’s also easy to take into the office. All you need is your health and fitness professional, a few yoga mats and some floor space. Move a few desks – it’ll be worth it.
Commenting on the benefits is fitness expert Chris James, who has been teaching yoga in the workplace for several years.
“Staff have reported an improvement in flexibility and awareness of weaknesses in the body. There have also been fewer days off sick – which managers have reported has had a direct impact on the bottom-line of their business.”
As well as physical flexibility, yoga can vastly improve your state of mind according to research from the Harvard Medical School. It helps you deal with stress, can boost your mood and can potentially help Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. So, get stretching!
Pilates to fix your posture
For those of us who are familiar with the aches, pains and niggles of sedentary office living, it’s vital that preventative measures are taken.
Pilates offers a great combination of yoga-like relaxation techniques with light-to-moderate aerobic exertion.
We spoke to Magenta Associates, a PR Agency providing regular (non-compulsory) Pilates classes to employees. Speaking is Managing Director Cathy Hayward:
“The general consensus is that taking an hour out to do a Pilates class once a week has had a very beneficial effect. Staff return to their desks feeling energised and well rested (it’s a forced time away from their computer, whereas people can eat lunch while carrying on with work).
“As a result, they feel they’re more productive after the session.
“It’s also improved their posture, which is really important when you spend so much time at a computer. And they feel valued by the company so, as a result, they’re more engaged”.
Recent studies by the Asian Journal of Sports Medicine showed that Pilates can be used to improve flexibility and to speed up recovery from musculoskeletal injury (in turn, shortening the time needed away from work).
Again, you require very little to host a Pilates session. What’s stopping you?
2. Offer discounted gym memberships
Short of bringing exercise to the office, this method is the next best thing. For many, actually getting to the gym is half the battle. Between transport troubles, long working hours and all the stress in-between, squeezing in gym time can be tricky.
By offering discounted gym memberships to employees, you’re making it a whole lot easier and incentivising staff to get a workout in where possible.
Research from Britain’s Healthiest Workplace recently showed that high stress and a lack of physical activity are causing industries to lose up to 27 days of productive time per employee, each year.
As an employer, you’re naturally looking out for productivity levels as well as the wellbeing of your staff. It’s been proven by Stanford University that regular exercise immediately boosts brain cognition and performance.
For this reason, gym memberships are a great way to improve employee fitness while, at the same time, ensuring that the work they produce is of the highest level possible.
You could work out an agreement with a local gym, offering your business’ services in return for discounted memberships. It’ll certainly be cost-effective in the long run.
3. Drink water – the ‘forgotten nutrient’
You might feel like you’re always being told to drink water. It settles a wide range of ailments and it’s no surprise that it’s often the go-to solution when you’re feeling a little off colour.
If employers installed a water cooler, that would go a long way in encouraging consumption throughout the office. Offering free water prevents dehydration – obvious, yes, and still many neglect it and end up flagging later in the day.
In fact, research from the University of Connecticut showed that even mild dehydration can adversely affect mood and how our mind and body perform generally.
The problem is that we are dehydrated well before thirst begins to set in, meaning that we should stay well-watered throughout the day if we’re to maintain a consistently high level of productivity.
To find out more, we spoke to Dr Emma Derbyshire, public health nutritionist and adviser to the Natural Hydration Council.
“Water is often regarded as the ‘forgotten nutrient’, our brains are about 70% water and our bodies around 50-75% water, depending on age and gender.
“It’s not surprising, therefore, that being inadequately hydrated can affect how we feel and perform at work.
“Research has shown that even a reduction in dehydration levels of as little as 2% of body weight can influence mood, lead to greater feelings of fatigue and reduced levels of alertness.
“Given that in the UK we spend an average of 37 hours a week for a full-time job, it’s really important we stay hydrated for our wellbeing and for productivity.”
The European Food Safety Authority recommends a total water intake of 2.5 litres for men, and 2 litres for women per day (via food and drink). Ideally, 70 to 80% of this should come from drinks and 20 to 30% from food.
Here’s how you can encourage better hydration in the office:
Start the day right with a glass of water
Encourage your employees to start the day with a cold glass of water. Coffee may be the first port of call for many, but overdoing it on caffeine will only set you up for a drop later.
Water offers a stable, clean energy boost. Installing a water cooler or providing free bottled water will ensure your employees are well hydrated and ready to work.
Headache? Grab a glass and take a seat
Headaches are common in the average office space. If you find yourself burdened with a heavy head toward the end of the day, then there’s a high chance you’re dehydrated.
Take a break with a cold glass of water. It’s scientifically-proven by the University of North Carolina to help your headache by fuelling your system with vital nutrients, allowing more Oxygen to reach your brain.
4. Forget the elevator – take the stairs
It’s all about the minor changes. You don’t have to run a marathon every week to be healthier (although this would help, admittedly!). With some small lifestyle changes, your employees can make huge health improvements in the long run. All it takes is a little encouragement.
Imagine if, every day, your employees took the stairs to the office instead of the lift. That’s X number of steps added each day, five days a week. This should keep your business’ sick day payments down to a minimum – because, according to research from the University of Oxford, those with sedentary lifestyles showed a lower mortality risk of 46% after increasing their daily steps from 1,000 to 10,000.
Increase the stakes
You can even promote the 10,000 steps a day challenge – set up a chart for staff to log their daily amount. Incentivise this with an end-of-month prize! To boost uptake of the challenge, you could provide your staff with Fitbit watches to monitor their steps.
We spoke to Georgina Richardson, Head of Operations at digital house and pet sitting business Trusted Housesitters, for some words on employee incentivisation.
“Investment in people is hugely important to us, because you see it repaid with staff loyalty, hard work and a lot more creative energy.”
While staff perks and incentives may seem costly in the short term, they can drastically bolster staff happiness and morale in the long-run.
There are a lot of options to help your employees exercise a little more. This is one of the cheapest (scaling the stairwell of your building is complete and utter free exercise!).
5. Get out of the office for a lunchtime walk
Sitting in a chair all day can be bad, so it’s vital that your employees take every opportunity to get on their feet. The lunch hour is a perfect opportunity for them to take a breather.
In the fresh air, staff can walk their lunch off and chat with colleagues, or take some much-needed alone time away from the bustling work space. Depending on where your office is based, you can take in the surrounding sights. There’s a park nearby? Brilliant – take an afternoon stroll and recharge your batteries.
Let’s not forget the mental benefits of a lunchtime stroll – recent research from Curtin University, Australia showed that workplace stress can be greatly alleviated by a simple lunchtime saunter (or in this case a brisk walk to really get the blood pumping).
Your productivity should see some definite improvements. By stepping outside of the office space, you’re actively taking steps to engender a fresh state of mind. You’ll return to the office invigorated and ready to smash through your workload.
6. Exercise for charity – it’s for a good cause!
You can get your employees to represent the company for several charity events – be it sponsored walks, marathons or even a fun run. The whole workforce can take part and make it a real joint effort, getting some quality team-time in as well as some exercise too.
Aside from the clear physical benefits, staff charity events are great opportunities for your team to get to know one another. They can motivate each other during a particularly gruelling hill climb or provide some healthy competition in the marathon.
It’s quality time spent with your team, so there are benefits to be had all-round. Staff could even take part for a charity that is really close and significant to them.
7. Stay on your toes – try standing desks
Offices are getting more and more innovative all the time. From trendy décor to new and progressive furniture solutions, it seems that the office space is a fitting domain to test the water and see how greater mobility can help to improve productivity.
Standing desks are the new kids on the (office) block. Getting your work done upright can send productivity levels through the roof, boosting staff morale along the way.
According to a recent study from Monash University, alternating between sitting and standing positions can drastically improve fatigue and ease musculoskeletal discomfort.
To get to the bottom of this, we spoke to Georgina Richardson of Trusted Housesitters. The company have seen some notable staff improvements since installing standing desks on their premises.
“The new standing desks are definitely making us more active and they’re giving the office a 21st Century, digital feel.
“Everyone is happy that they can move around the office, setting their MacBooks up at every level – the standing desks are particularly great when you need to feel energised and creative.”
You’re giving staff the option to use standing desks, while keeping the usual setup that they’ll be used to. Employees will appreciate being given the choice as they can experiment with the new desks and see how they work.
Standing desks are a shiny new toy for a lot of companies looking to shake things up. It’s worth giving them a try!
8. Get an office dog – they’ll need to be taken for walks!
Aside from bringing a pet into the office as a mascot and general morale-booster, pets can be a great way to get staff out into the open. If you bring a dog in, for example – someone will have to be on walk duty. You can assign weekly duties to staff, taking it in turns to get some fresh air.
As an added extra, having a pet around the office will shake up the tedium for some employees. Morale will be lifted and, according to research from the Virginia Commonwealth University, stress levels could fall.
Having dogs around also facilitates the social life of the office space. You get to meet members of other departments and staff you’ve only encountered through email – all this, because of some simple dog-talk.
But remember, bringing dogs into the office can pose health and safety risks. Nestle recently became a dog-friendly workplace, and have ensured that all dogs go through what’s called a ‘pawthorisation’ process to make sure the dog is suitable.
Also, not all staff will be ‘dog-people’ and might not appreciate the presence of dogs – so keep this in mind. A quick survey amongst your workforce should be enough to assess whether it’s a good idea.
9. Install cycle storage for a greener commute
You’ll be killing two birds with one stone, here. By providing bike storage on your premises, employees will benefit from cycling to work rather than taking the car. It’s cheaper, healthier and – here’s the best bit – it’s better for the environment.
With vehicle emissions lowered, cycling to work offers some quality, unavoidable (you need to get to work!) exercise.
You can’t go wrong. The early blasts of fresh air will be great for staff, and nobody likes being stuck in traffic jams, so cycling to work is ideal.
Recent studies by the University of Cambridge show that the benefits of cycling and walking largely outweigh the risks posed by greater exposure to air pollution – perfect for offices in bustling, metropolitan areas with high levels of city smog.
There’s so much that you can do and, as the employer it’s down to you to implement real, healthy changes. Take the above steps into consideration and ensure that your employees are fit, healthy and happy coming into work. It’ll pay off in the long-run!
As the festive season looms ever closer, employers across the UK will be thinking about putting on a Christmas party in order to reward staff for their efforts in 2016 – or at least they should be!
A recent survey conducted by DBI Furniture Solutions revealed that one in three people in the UK naturally expect their employers to organise a Christmas party.
What was once viewed as a bonus or “nice-to-have” has quickly manifested into something that a lot of workers now demand.
Hosting a festive get-together can have clear business benefits. Not only does it encourage your teams to interact with each other, it can also act as an effective stress-buster.
Results from the recent British Social Attitudes survey showed that we’re more stressed than in recent years, with 37% of respondents reporting feelings of stress “always” or “often”, compared with 28% in 1989.
Managing Director of DBI Furniture Solutions, Nick Pollitt, commented on the stresses of Christmas and what employers can do to help.
“Christmas is stressful for many of us, and it’s easy to bring this tension into the workplace. Many of us look forward to the Christmas party where we can let our hair down.
“This is an opportunity for employers to say thank you for their staff’s hard work and is also a fantastic chance for employees to socialise with each other, build connections and forging new friendships in the workplace.”
Christmas is about giving – employers, get in the spirit!
We spoke to Stan McLeod, CEO of corporate event organisers Headliner, who explained why Christmas parties can benefit everyone.
“Everyone gets excited at the idea of a party, and the office Christmas party is part of our culture, so it is important that some sort of celebration is in order. Smaller companies might find it harder to throw a full-on party, but even then there’s lots of options.
“It’s always great to get to know your colleagues outside the four walls of an office. Not only does it make collaborative work in the office more efficient, we find it breaks down any barriers between different departments as well.
“This means that everyone is comfortable pitching new ideas and taking on new projects – it’s beneficial for the company as a whole.”
Nobody wants to be a Scrooge
The work Christmas party has become an annual tradition, so much so that any manager neglecting to organise something is almost immediately outed as a ‘Scrooge’.
Lorraine Bow, Fun Facilitator at Musivate, commented on the repercussions of a Christmas without a party.
“An office manager who doesn’t organise a party for their staff is seen as a miserly Scrooge. What’s more, they’ll miss out on a brilliant chance to bring people together, and a happy workforce is a productive workforce.”
Remember that you don’t need to host an expensive bacchanal – moderation is key where both money and alcohol are concerned – but with a few simple measures you can host a Christmas party to remember. Take note of the following…
1. Try to make sure people don’t overdo it
You don’t want to be accused of being the ‘Fun Police’, but it’s important that some guidelines are put into place before the night begins. It’s the employer’s responsibility to keep an eye on employees – even if the party takes place outside of the office, the location is merely an extension of the workplace.
For this reason, it’s in the employer’s best interest (not forgetting the staff, too) that some arrangements are put in place. A hungover office is not a productive one! Even if you stage your shin-dig at the weekend, you still run the risk of having some excruciatingly awkward conversations to deal with on the Monday morning.
Here’s how you can get around it…
Giving your staff a certain number of drink coupons will reward them with free beverages, but you can monitor it a little better. It’s also a good idea to make sure plenty of soft drinks are available (whether that’s for non-drinkers or for that end-of-the-night sobering effect).
- Designated driver
This one is great for those who don’t drink, and can ensure that colleagues get home safe. This isn’t to say that you can’t have any fun if you’re driving, however. In the name of fairness, if you’re driving one night then you should have a night off for the next party.
- Social media
Alcohol and smartphones can be a disastrous combination. We post on social media so much when we’re sober, but if you’re inebriated then you have less control over the content you put online. Inappropriate pictures of co-workers, managers even? This can land you in hot water, as well as your colleagues (especially if they’re posting from a business account). Set out some ground rules right at the start!
We spoke to John Larsen, Director of Evidence and Impact at alcohol education charity Drinkaware, who highlighted some of the issues surrounding alcohol at Christmas parties.
“The festive season is a time to socialise with colleagues, but many of us may end up drinking more than we intended to, which can put us in embarrassing and even dangerous situations.
“Alcohol lowers inhibitions, making us more confident and less anxious, which can make you accidentally say or do something that you regret.
“Alcohol also upsets our sense of balance and co-ordination, slows down our reactions and impairs our vision and hearing, making us more prone to falls and more serious accidents.”
Measures put in place by the employer can prevent such things from happening. It’s vital that employees take care – things can get very messy if something goes wrong.
2.The next day…
It can’t be helped if a Christmas party takes place midweek – all this means is that you must be in a sound, sober state of mind to come into work the morning after.
Here are a few things you can do to prevent a collective sore head, sickness and rock-bottom productivity levels…
- Goodie bags
Providing recovery packages is great for ensuring that your staff come in well the next day. Tim Stevens, Managing Director of event organisers Best Parties Ever, commented:
“We have our own ways of trying to make sure that the effects of Christmas events aren’t felt too strongly the following day. At midnight, we supply a hearty Survivors’ Breakfast to help soak up some of the bubbles.
“We also enjoy putting together an ‘emergency rations’ goodie bag which we give out to guests – these usually contain well-tested hangover cures such as Red Bull, a water bottle, a sachet of Beechams Resolve, a fruit tonic/elixir, blister plasters, a chocolate bar, Berocca, and a sachet of coffee.”
3. Pick an accessible venue
You should make sure that your employees can make it to the party – it shouldn’t have to feel like a commute to get there. It’s a good gesture to make sure that transport is arranged – the less your staff worry, the more they’ll enjoy it.
Kicking things off in the familiar surrounds of your office, before moving elsewhere, can ensure that your employees spend at least some time together on the day. Everybody has different commitments and there will be some who simply cannot attend. Set up a poll that enables people to pick a number of days in which they are available. This will allow you to pick a night when the majority of your team are available.
Also, pick out a few venues and activities, and put them to a vote. You might set up a party with the best intentions, but have you actually asked your staff what they’d like to do? Again, this approach can help to swell attendance figures.
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.
The system known as ‘hot desking’, whereby more than one worker uses each desk or workstation in an office, is enjoying phenomenal success thanks to its many benefits. DBI Furniture Solutions have been constantly involved as the system has developed, tailoring our range to meet the growing demand for hot desking in the modern office.
In a traditional office setup, each worker is allocated their own desk or workstation. As the way in which we work changes, employees are often away from their desks for long periods of time, for instance when they are in other parts of the building or using an alternate working space such as an internet-enabled café. This means that traditional one-to-a-desk systems are becoming inefficient, taking up valuable extra resources and space (up to an astonishing 30%). Hot desking, named after the naval practice of ‘hot racking’ where sailors took turns sharing a limited number of bunks, allows the number of desks to be reduced without affecting the productivity of employees.
A great variety of hot desking systems are in place, each building on the central theme of less-desks-than-employees, to suit individual office environments. Some offices create a colour-code system, whereby identical desk-and-chair setups can be distinguished from one another; workers are placed into coloured groups to indicate which workstations are to be used. Integral software systems that link all aspects of the company are essential to hot desking systems and desks to be used in such systems must be able to incorporate this facility.
Comfortable, supportive seating is essential to the heath, well-being and productivity of every employee. As chairs in a hot desking system will be used by multiple occupants, it is important to choose a highly-versatile chair that requires minimal adjustment to safely and comfortably accommodate each user. The recently-launched Orangebox Seren range of chairs is perfect for hot desking environments, featuring an innovative mechanism that automatically adjust to each individual sitter.
DBI are proud suppliers of a vast range of quality office furniture designed to meet all of the many complex requirements of a hot desking system. All of our furniture is fully guaranteed to meet all health, safety and quality requirements while being offered at one of the most competitive prices on the market.
For more information on hot desking and how DBI Furniture Solutions can help prepare your office for this essential development, please contact our expert team on 0845 683 0024 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now in the world of business it’s not about fitting in but rather it is about standing out in the crowd. It has never been a better time to think about space planning and design of your office to give yourself the edge on the competition!
Recently in the furniture industry we have been seeing a lot more companies choose more open floor plans for their office designs and more and more are choosing to have collaborative environments in the hope of growing their business and moving it into this new generation.
However, the debate comes about whether or not we should promote open office spaces where employees are encouraged to work in an open collaborative space or whether or not they would be much better with more private areas to work in.
Now this is a tough one and it is a question which we are frequently asked at DBI Furniture Solutions Ltd the Privacy VS Collaboration debate.
Privacy VS Collaboration
For the majority of us we have probably experienced both situations of being in an open plan office whereby group discussion is a regular occurrence but on the other hand we have probably all experienced the four walls and a door where we are isolated from other employees.
In argument against the more open plan office designs there is nothing worse than having a massive project to concentrate on and needing peace and quiet in order to concentrate but being in an open plan office environment whereby everyone is constantly talking and causing a disruption.
On the flipside though and in argument for more open plan office designs where the desking is arranged to promote communication amongst employees could be more beneficial where two heads are better than one and in some industries it requires a whole team to reach one end goal and significant achievements.
DBI Furniture Solutions Ltd would like to know what your thoughts are on the Privacy VS Collaborative office design debate. Are you a business owner who has tried both and has found one to be more beneficial than the other?
Why not send us in your pictures of your current office designs and we will showcase some of the best on our website. What works for you and your business?
For more information then please contact us on 0845 6830024 or email email@example.com.
There is nothing more annoying within an office for both you and your work colleagues than an office chair that creaks every time you move. You can fix this however and it will only take a few minutes to do plus your work colleagues will be grateful for the quietness!
Firstly what you need to do is to kneel down beside the office chair and then move it just as you would when you were sat on it. Listen out to the creak and try and locate where it is coming from. In our experience the majority of the time the chair will be creaking because of the swivel mechanism around the wheelbase, the sides and the back of the chair.
Next when you have located where the creak is then you need to apply a small amount of specialised spray lubricant such as WD40 to that part of the chair. Look for a lubricant which is a spray one and one which contains a fine-tip nozzle as this makes it easier to get the spray exactly where you want it at the direct area causing the creaking.
Thirdly what you need to do is have a cloth handy and this will be used to wipe away any excess lubricant and to prevent the lubricant from staining the upholstery of the office chair. Move the chair backwards and forth a few times in order to work the lubricant into the swivel mechanism then leave it to sit like this for a few minutes. Test your chair to see if it is creaking still but hopefully it will not be.
In the unfortunate event that the office chair is still creaking then apply another coat of lubricant to the affected area or areas. If the problem still persists then try applying the lubricant to the surrounding joins and areas to see if this works.
This should solve the problem but if not maybe it’s time you renewed your office furniture and got yourself a new office chair.