Productivity

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Productivity

11 ways to have productive meetings

Making meetings more productive has become the holy grail in work culture. How many times have you come out of a meeting and thought ‘this could have been an email?’ What a post-COVID world has taught us is that there is a way to make meetings work even when we’re not all together. And with more virtual meetings taking place – from having to work from home or remotely – it has us compiling a list of the best, simple ways to have more productive meetings.

 

1. Review your meeting calls

Start by reviewing the criteria you have that calls for a meeting. You may have come to learn that some things can be organised and resolved by simple emails or a quickfire chat in the office or a WhatsApp group.

 

2. Use group chats

When it comes to remote working or working from home, group messaging apps (like the popular WhatsApp) have brought an easier way to get things done for companies. Whether you have staff who move around such as travelling to clients etc. a group chat can be a quicker and more productive way to keep everyone involved or to host a meeting.

 

3. Make them virtual

Virtual meetings are one of the most helpful ways to carry out meetings for remote workers. As a company, try sticking to one technology to keep it simple and so that everyone knows what to download, it could be Zoom, or it could be Google Meet. You don’t have to worry about costs with so many free resources.

 

4. Make them more specific

Only host meetings for those involved. This may work for you but not for others. If you’re a company whose team works closely together or a smaller business, whole-staff meetings may be the way. But for bigger companies or for tasks that are more specific, it may be better to keep them for only those involved. That way, they can be shorter and more productive and team members can simply fill others in with quick chats.

 

5. Create agendas and share in advance

Create quick agendas to help meetings be more productive so everyone is prepared and can bring their A game. This can help keep meetings free from awkward pauses or can help employees bring more thought-out ideas to the table.

 

6. Take mini minutes

Taking minutes can often leave one employee pressured to keep up or could cause them to fall behind as they may struggle to stay engaged. Minute taking is a productive way to summarise and keep everyone informed to avoid any key info being missed. Consider alternating the role of minute taker and reassure employees that notes should be kept short and sweet. 

 

7. Do standing and walking meetings

For those quicker meetings that don’t need a notebook, have employees stretch their legs and go for walks or encourage them to stand for more collaborative approaches. Being a bit more active and allowing your staff to move can re-energize them and spark ideas.

 

8. Productive presenting

If you need to make presentations, there are so many quick and free resources to help you bring your ideas to life and get the key facts and stats across. Download design apps or use websites to create simple presentations that can save time and prevent PowerPoint boredom.

 

9. Use gadgets

With so many great gadgets at our beck and call, it’s now easier than ever to speed up meetings and to make them more productive. It’s worth investing in some key technological items that can help meetings run smoother. Consider your budget and how suited some are to your company. For instance, if you’re a smaller team, you may have tablets for meetings for employees to interact with documents or to make it easier to view them. You don’t even have to break the bank as you could use voice recorders to help with retention (every smartphone has one).

 

 

10. Assign roles

An idea to help meetings run efficiently could be to assign roles. For instance, having an assigned summariser or minute taker takes care of the wrap-up of meetings. Designating someone who is good with technology to take charge of all the tech admin can also help meetings run more smoothly.  

 

11. Create a template

This doesn’t have to only mean creating presentation templates. It can be a good idea to create a general template for how you run meetings in your business. Linking in with assigning roles, you could hand out a template to all staff to show how all meetings should run so everyone knows what is expected of them. This could look something like a step-by-step outline to make them less time-wasting e.g. Meetings > Held in conference room 1 > Matt to set up projector > Lorna to hand out meeting notebooks and pens > Meeting host begins > Q&A from the rest of the team > Karen to summarise. 

 

Productivity, Workplace

How to manage your time effectively

Our relationships with time can be up and down. It’s either on our side or working against us. One major factor that can control this, is proper time management. Once you’ve cracked how to manage your time effectively, you’ll be instantly less stressful, projects will be done more efficiently, and you’ll be more at ease with managing your professional and personal time, and your workload.

Working from home

One area where managing time is of great importance is when having to work from home. Whether you have a big family, housemates, a partner or you’re sick but have your laptop on the couch, working from home has its challenges and if you don’t have your time managed well, it can have a serious knock-on effect for poor productivity and mental health.

Time management tips for work

  • Have a dedicated workspace set up wherever you are, just for you and your work
  • Make sure your chair is comfortable and good for posture
  • Use diaries and calendars, whether printed or digital
  • If you’re working on team projects, use apps like Google Drive to easily share and edit work
  • Get that to-do list written daily and checked off
  • If you need to do chores around the house, delegate tasks in the household and use those calendars, diaries and to-do lists for others too so you’re not left with all the tasks
  • Set alarms and reminders on your phone

How to manage time better

Your to-do list is your saviour, and really such a simple technique that shouldn’t be forgotten. As soon as you get up, write or type up a to-do list for that day. You could even start the week with a main to-do list and then break it up daily. Have those green highlighters at the ready to check off every item. Did you know that seeing more green lines or ticks (which is a calming colour) will have you instantly feeling better because you know you’re keeping on top of tasks?

Use calendars on your phone or your computer/email to slot in tasks, chores or work projects. It could be those little organisation tasks to help keep on top of things like sorting your emails or going through meal plans to make use of your food and to reduce food waste.

Apps for better time management

  • FabulousThis app focuses on setting and organising healthy routines and rituals into your days
  • EvernoteThis app allows you to take notes anywhere, to find information faster and to share ideas. Make meeting notes, note web pages, projects and to-do lists
  • RescueTime – Blocks social media, YouTube, news etc. from taking over your attention for set periods of time
  • todoistLets you keep track of everything in one place to keep on top of things and you can add to your to-do lists anytime, anywhere, on any device – even offline
  • Microsoft To Do  – Makes it easy to plan your days and manage time as you can have a personalised daily planner with suggested tasks, share and assign tasks with friends, family and colleagues. You can also add notes to any task and attach files to tasks
Productivity, Workplace

8 morning habits to set you up for a productive day

There are typically two types of people in the world: the morning person and the one who has several alarms set every 15 minutes. Whichever group you fall into, we have a helpful guide on how to be more productive in the morning right here to kickstart your day. Not only will this encourage better habits and a healthier routine, you’ll see knock-on benefits throughout your lifestyle, organisation, productivity and house management.

Productivity, Workplace

Your ultimate guide to working from home

Whether you’re part of a company or self-employed, many of us will have to work from home at some point in our careers. While it may sound like the ideal place to set up shop, being at home and trying to graft can be challenging! Don’t worry though, we’re here to help you navigate this time with our ultimate guide to working from home. Everything you need to know is right here. 

Productivity

5 must-have personality traits that drive productivity

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 officpexels-photo-29594e 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 creativeput 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 – cpexels-photo-196656oming 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 withpexels-photo-271560in 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.

Productivity

9 Ways to Encourage Your Staff to Exercise (and Save Your Business Money in the Long Run!)

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. DBI Post 1
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:

DBI Post 2“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.DBI Post 3

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 DBI Post 4of 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 DBI Post 5and 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.

DBI Post 6Imagine 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.

IDBI Post 7n 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

DBI Post 8

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.

DBI Post 9But 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.

DBI Post 10With 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!

Productivity

Keeping the festive spirit alive in the workplace – How to create the perfect office Christmas party

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!

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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

dbi 3

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…

  • Coupons

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

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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.

Productivity, Workplace

A Successful System – Hot Desking

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 info@dbifurnituresolutions.co.uk.