Workplace

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Workplace

Why your employees need a breakout space

What is an office breakout space?

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

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

Collaboration station 

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

Home comforts

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

Keeping active

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

A change of scenery 

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

Concentration booster

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

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

Workplace

How to keep cool at work

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

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

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

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

Keeping it fresh

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

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

Take a breather

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

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

Stock up on the summer snacks

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

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

Adapt your office wardrobe

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

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

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

Workplace

5 happy workplace ideas your staff won’t hate

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

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

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

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

Up your greens

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

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

Something for the mind

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

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

Organisation is key

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

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

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

Fancy a snack?

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

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

A little healthy competition 

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

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

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

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

Workplace

Six of the best office plants to brighten up your workplace

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

1. Brighten up with Bromeliads

Bromelia

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

2. Dracaena

Dracaena

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

3. Cacti

Funky moon cacti

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

4. Peace Lily

Peace Lily

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

5. Gerbera Daisy

Gerbera Daisy

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

6. Ficus Benjamina

Ficus Benjamina

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

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

Workplace

How to celebrate staff birthdays

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

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

Let them pick a theme

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

Retro Dirty Dancing VHS lamp

Surprise, surprise!

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

Bakery boxes and sweet treats

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

Desk decorations

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

Birthday lunch

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

Video messages

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

Give them a superpower for the day

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

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

Awareness, 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!

Productivity

How to set up home office desks for productivity

Shifting office workers to homeworking brings on quite a drastic change in working processes, one being productivity. When we’re no longer confined to an office – in that purely work-focused space – and in our home environments, procrastination unfortunately can rear its destructive head. Improving working from home can start with small things, but for now let’s look at how to set up home office desks for productivity.  

Have you got the right home office desk?

Firstly, you need to make sure you’ve got the right home office set-up with good morning habits for a productive day. Choosing the wrong place will only set you up for decreased productivity. For instance, is the living room the right place when you’ve got a TV in there? Setting your home desk up in a spare room may actually be better for you. It may be a good idea to set up near a window too, so you can get better natural lighting. It’s all about making your home office comfortable and motivating, to put you in a good place to be as productive as can be. With that in mind, it’s time to look at different home office desks to see what would be right for you. 

Contemporary home office desks

Box desks for home office

There are quite a few modern home office desks you can choose from to make your home office right for you. Take this box home office desk design, for example. You can fold it up once you’ve done your work for the day, so it really is great for optimising space. They’re perfect for laptops and lighter set-ups. 

Box home office desk

Drop desks for working at home

An ingenious design that works brilliantly for home offices is the drop desk. Not only are they extremely versatile in their set-up, but they’re also portable, so you can easily transport them to different areas of the room or house – whatever works for you that day. The main feature is its ability to drop and be compacted to give more room when the working day is done.

Drop desk on wheels
Home office drop desk folded

Corner office desks

Corner office desks are ideal for homeworking environments, for their smart designs fit nicely into rooms, further optimising your available space. Giving you good desk space, both on the surface and underneath, this crate corner desk even comes with more space thanks to its added shelves. 

Wooden corner office desk with open shelves
Comes in left-hand and right-hand set-ups

The drop desk can also work great as a corner desk, so you have the flexibility at home in how you set up for the day. With the drop desk, you can set it up in a variety of ways, from a corner desk to a desk that gives room for two. 

Drop corner desk for home office
Drop desk for two people

Health and safety at home

When in the office, we’re reminded of health and safety policies, and we will have our workstations set up with them in mind – at least we hope you have. But, when working from home, we may let these standards slip. As expected, proper working set-ups can go out the window when the couch or bed is tempting, or if the kitchen table becomes your new desk but isn’t at the right level. Don’t forget about your monitor and eye-level positions. 

Your monitor should be arm’s length away from you, and your eye level should be looking slightly down to the centre of the monitor. Laptop risers will help with this. Slouching on the couch, or laying in bed all day with a laptop will not do you any good. Not only does it invite procrastination and affect productivity, it’s also no good for your posture and eye levels. A proper home office desk is what you need for optimal productivity.

Home desk layout and stationery

Now that you’re in the comfort of your own home working at the desk, you can take advantage and truly put your unique stamp on it. Not only is this good for your own satisfaction, but it’s great for motivation. Be productive in how you arrange your stationery, and always have what you need at hand so you can work more efficiently. Your work may involve you having to go through piles and piles of documents, so never be low on paperclips, binder clips and index flags. Each colour could represent a category, so you know straight away which pile is what.

Being at home, you may want to jazz up your stationery or get some fun office supplies. Another good idea is to have a weekly planner on your desk so you can always see your schedule. It doesn’t have to be just work related either. Here, you can have notes on your home life, to-do lists and reminders. 

A motivating home office

And finally, when you are surrounded by your own four walls when getting on with work, you can truly take advantage of this. Why not surround yourself with motivational quotes, pictures and art; they are your walls, and it’s your desk, after all. You could even have little, motivating quotes on your desk. Motivation is directly linked to productivity, so having art, quotes or items that are just for you, that make you happy and are around you, can set you up for success. 

Home and desk plants are good for productivity

Productive home office workstation

We all know about the benefits of plants in the office, with their positive effects on stress, air cleansing and wellbeing, but they’re also good for productivity. 2014 research by the University of Exeter reported that the productivity of employees jumped by 15% from having the work environment filled with just a handful of houseplants. Researcher, Dr Chris Knight, stressed the importance of having workers be able to see a plant from their desk and he noted: “If you are working in an environment where there’s something to get you psychologically engaged, you are happier and you work better.” Plants form part of a more eco-friendly workspace, and there’s a full list of green office ideas to inspire a greener working day in our blog.

Set up your home office right and make it your own with productive work-from-home desking. Contact our friendly team for any more info to help you improve your home office. 

Chairs, Ergonomics, Office health and safety, Soft Seating, Workplace

The different types of office seating and their benefits

We spend hours upon hours in a sedentary position every day at our office desks. Whether we’re working from home or in the office, we can become engrossed in tasks and forget to stand up and move around, so it’s important that we have great office seating that can keep us comfortable, focused and in good health. 

With studies showing a strong link between lower back pain and sitting behaviour among sedentary office workers, it’s vital that we choose the correct office chairs and seating for our individual workstations. So, let’s run through the different types of office seating available and their benefits.

Ergonomic and adjustable

You may have heard of this type of office seating, especially when it comes to good posture and workplace health and safety. The benefits that these chairs can provide are recognised by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on seating at work. An ergonomic office chair is one that works to accommodate humans with good back support and posture. The benefits of an ergonomic office chair are endless:

  • Can be adjusted to give desk workers good eye levels for their screens, which can help with eye strain 
  • Designed with comfort in mind with plenty of space for the buttocks
  • Has supportive padding and cushioning
  • Gives good lumbar support to help reduce lower back pain
  • It can reduce pressure on hips
  • Improves posture 
  • Helps with blood circulation with curved seating
  • Can reduce RSI with its great adjustability

Lean-on or sit-stand desks

Another type of office seating the HSE values are lean-on or sit-stand seats, which work perfectly well with sit-stand desks. These can:

  • Offer workers increased mobility
  • Help with blood circulation
  • Go with specific workstations, where conventional seating is impractical
  • Be used where workstations don’t allow for knee space
  • Adjust in height 
  • Take a part of the body’s weight when constructed in a lean-in model
  • Help with varied positioning

Multifunctional office seating

What’s great about multifunctional furniture is the variety they offer, both in style and portability. Types of multifunctional seating include:

  • Solid-stand chairs
  • Star-based chairs with wheels
  • Upholstered chairs with arm rests
  • Static seating
  • Mesh fabrics
  • Wooden
  • Plastic
  • Steel
  • Height-adjustable
  • Armchairs
  • Stools
  • Cantilever chairs

What’s great about this type of office seating is that you can instantly update any office – boosting staff motivation and morale in the process – from a fantastic, extensive range of high-quality, reputable office furniture brands. Contact us today to see what would suit your office.

Beam seating

Beam seating is perfect for:

  • Reception areas
  • Visitor rooms
  • Waiting areas

And their benefits include:

  • Being easily transportable due to the beam construction
  • Cost-effective
  • Offering more seating options 
  • Great for optimising space
  • Can offer padded or hard seats
  • Coming in a range of styles to suit different interiors
  • Due to their row design, they are great for assemblies or community rooms
  • Easy to clean and wipe down

Mesh office chairs

What’s so great about mesh office seating?

  • They offer great breathability in the fabric
  • Provide good ventilation
  • Especially great for warm environments
  • Unlike padded backs, they can offer thinner comfort
  • Highly durable
  • Less likely to fray or rip
  • Can retain their shape well
  • Can come in a range of styles and colours
  • Easy to clean
  • The fabric is taut and very supportive

Swivel chairs

Allowing you to rotate 360 degrees to the left or right, a swivel chair provides a comfortable and productive work environment, how?

  • You can move easily around to access office items
  • Saves time on not having to get up as much
  • Very comfortable with height adjustment and reclining options
  • They’re easy to transport if you need to move rooms or offices
  • It offers comfortable resting with varied arm rests
  • With 360-degrees turning, you can benefit from increased mobility and positioning to help disrupt sedentary sitting 

High-back chairs

High-back chairs are especially great for taller individuals with benefits including:

  • Offering great lumbar support
  • Helps with neck positioning
  • Can improve posture
  • Allow workers to adjust to comfortable positions
  • You can fix it at a healthy level that matches your laptop or computer screen 
  • They provide a lot of space and back support, especially good for tall people

Office sofas

Whilst the term ‘sofa’ may seem odd when relating to an office, different workplace dynamics are benefiting hugely from comfy office sofas that fit a range of workspaces – from breakout areas to office relaxation rooms. Why are office sofas a great idea?

  • They can help boost staff morale 
  • Allow for workers to bond
  • Improves collaboration
  • Helps employees have comfy breaks
  • Great for reading time and timeouts in general
  • Brilliant for informal staff meetings

As you can see, there’s quite the range when it comes to office seating. It all comes down to understanding your brand and the needs of your workplace and employees. With a whole host of benefits from each type of office seating, you can be sure to find the right one for your business. 

For any advice or help with office seating and furniture, contact our team of office furniture experts today.

Workplace

How to make an office seating plan

Whether you’re in need of an office shake-up, are downsizing or relocating, you need an immaculate office seating plan behind you. And there are quite a few things to consider when creating one that will satisfy both a business and employee perspective. 

For instance, you need to start by considering that in a recent Savills report, around 32% of workers said their office design layout affected their productivity negatively. And 45% of workers also said that their productivity was harmed due to hot-desking.

That’s quite a lot of employees being directly affected by their work environments and office layouts and begs the question; how productive and thoughtful is your office seating arrangement as it is, or rather could be? Here are some things you should consider.

Organising departments and close-knit teams

You need to start by addressing your individual departments and understanding which ones work closely together. Maybe you have a social media team and content team who are always in each other’s areas working on tasks. Or, perhaps a new team is forming that needs the right place to work at their most productive level. With a regular department and team review, you can always be on the ball to maintain maximum productivity across the board, improving communications and workflow. Simply jot down names and teams on your office plan, or on the computer or tablet (whatever the design method you use), and start to test it out. 

Understand your employees

Whilst it may remind you of school when arranging a seating plan based on personalities, it’s actually an important thing to consider when putting together an effective office seating plan. If you’re all about office culture, it’s certainly something to think about. Arranging by personality is best done in a sensitive manner and through understanding each floor of the business. You can find this out by chatting with those who have good overseeing eyes. 

You may have some workers who work best in quieter areas with minimal disruption and some who need to bounce ideas off others. Make sure your seating plan takes into account different workers’ needs, as this can do so much good for your business and can keep workers happy.

Think about comfort

Concerning the physical and practical nature of your business, you should produce a seating plan that aims to make each and every staff member as comfortable as can be. Have standards slipped slightly in the daily hubbub of office life? Or, maybe you have never noticed there was a desk right near the air conditioning, or one directly next to a permanently-on radiator. This is why you should include equipment, features, systems, doorways and storage when making your plan, as it highlights areas that could cause discomfort, contain safety hazards or affect workers’ wellbeing. You should also monitor office lighting and workstation set-ups to make sure all of your employees are working safely and healthily. For instance, is a certain lamp causing screen glares? Even noticing office features like lighting can help you arrange comfortable layouts.

Rotations for the window seat or ‘luxury’ seats

You need to be aware of any preferred or ‘luxury’ seats in your workplace. For instance, you may have one window seat that overlooks a vista, lucky you! Or, rather, lucky employee! Whether you like it or not, you will probably have quite a few green-eyed staff members who covet this particular spot. One solution to help create a fairer seating arrangement is to offer a rotation where everyone gets a chance to work at the ‘golden desk’. 

It all depends on the office dynamic and your departments of course, but if each employee gets a day to work there, it could work and boost staff morale. Alternatively, you could reserve it for senior staff members and leave it at that, or maybe you could use it as a staff incentive – maybe the sales star of the week could win that seat for the following week.

Open plan or closed off?

Of course, you need to factor in how open-plan or segregated your current office layout is. Or maybe it’s time for a complete makeover! Here, you should work out what would suit your business and its employees. Maybe you need private spaces for executives or team leaders, or maybe you’re a business that needs a leader right there amongst all staff. 

With open-plan layouts, collaboration can excel, so you may want a more open office seating plan. You could still plan for quiet areas or have segregated office desks that are reserved for certain tasks. For instance, you could have a desk or area labelled ‘Plugged In’, meaning whoever is sat there should not be interrupted, as they have a long task that needs their undivided attention.

Get staff involved

Don’t forget about your staff’s insight and input. If you want your staff to be happy and productive, having individual talks with them to discuss your ideas could be a part of your plan. Plus, studies by the University of Exeter show that giving employees more control over their workspace layout improves health, happiness and productivity; so having that chat and asking for insight will probably go a long way. Having your staff get involved could also save you a lot of time, as some may even know a handy tool or software a seating plan could be designed on. They may even draw one up for you. 

What should a seating plan look like?

Now that you’ve got all the relevant information you need, you’re good to go. You can either choose helpful software or stick with drawing by hand. Whatever the method, a bird’s-eye view of your new or updated office seating and floor plan allows you to optimise space and to create the most productive, comfortable and happy environments for your workers. You can also use templates, or draft one up yourself on design software or on simple spreadsheets and word documents.

For instance, it could look like this one below, where it factors in departments, equipment, teams and space. Just make sure you note building features, outdoor areas and prepare to revisit and shift things around, as some things may not work or feedback might contain revisions.

Have we given you food for thought? Whatever your needs, you can create a unique office layout that works for your business and employees in no time with this guide. And if you need a helping hand with any office design and fit out projects or office supplies, we know a thing or two – just take a browse through our online office furniture catalogue, or contact us here.