Space Planning

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Space Planning, Workplace

Flexible workspace: What is it and why do you need it?

What is a flexible workspace?

The modern working world is changing. What was once regarded as being a “typical” office environment is now considered restrictive and counter-productive. Gone are the days of set desk positions, cubicles and the strict ‘nine to five’, replaced with open-plan seating that caters to employees’ ever-changing working needs. 

Within a flexible workspace, there need to be different “zones” that staff have a choice to work from, giving them the freedom to choose where suits their current task at hand. This mentality has become the norm, with recent research conducted by the EY in their 2021 Work Reimagined Employee Survey revealing that four out of five workers desired a flexible workspace. Not only this, a whopping 47% stated that they would consider moving jobs if flexible working wasn’t available to them. If there’s ever a time to hop on the bandwagon, it’s now! 

Why do you need a flexible workspace?

So, what are the benefits of flexible working? To answer, there’s plenty. Embarking on an office redesign could provide the boost your employees need, as proven by a Dr. van der Voordt’s study that aimed to shine a light on productivity and employee satisfaction in flexible workspaces. This research revealed that, when a company decided to change its office layout, an increase in productivity was felt by 51%, as opposed to a low 14% before the redesign. 

When staff have control over how and where they work, it’s evident that they’re much happier being in an environment that caters to their ever-changing needs. And with the smiles comes a heightened desire to stay within the business, alongside attracting new talent. 

How to set up a flexible workspace

Of course, the process of setting up a flexible workspace is made much easier when you have a bunch of office fit out professionals to help you out. By collaborating with an office furniture company, they’ll be able to turn your design dreams into reality, being able to understand your requirements and business needs, as well as offering you items that would best fit the desired office aesthetic. From minimalistic styles to cosy and kitsch, there’s something out there for every business. 

Collaborative areas

The flexible workspace features various office breakout spaces, which are set zones designed to enhance staff communication and collaboration. They allow groups to participate in a brainstorming session, or provide a space for partners to work on a project together. Without these spaces, it’s likely that employees will end up tightly huddled around a desk, causing a distraction to the rest of the office if noise levels begin to creep higher. When staff are given their own breakout space to chat in, which are often complete with shielding acoustic panels for noise protection, the whole office will be productive. 

Quiet zones

Any working environment experiences moments in the day that are particularly high-energy, and sometimes employees may need to take a quiet minute to recharge away from the commotion. Incorporating an office relaxation room into your flexible workspace creates the opportunity for staff to get some “me time”, surrounded by calming plants, ambient music and of course, plenty of comfortable furniture. Our office armchairs and sofas strive for optimum comfort, allowing your employees to sink back into complete luxury. And…breathe.

Open plan office design

The open plan office design concept is a massive contributor to increased flexibility in the workspace. This allows staff to move freely through the various working “zones”, as described previously, creating a more sociable environment where it’s perfectly normal to bump into a few colleagues along the way. The open plan office design is all about using your working space wisely, contrasting against more traditional set-ups that confined staff to cramped, sectioned desks. 

Hot desks

Another feature of the flexible workspace that goes against traditional office design is hot desking, where desks are not assigned to any particular person. With no strict seating plan in place, staff can pick and choose where they complete their work, and this also opens up the opportunity for visitors or temps to take a seat.

If you want to enhance flexibility in your workspace, our team of office fit out experts are here to help. Have a chat with us to discuss your business goals, so that we can match you up with the right furniture to suit your dream aesthetic. 

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.

Space Planning

Preparing for schools reopening

As of recently, the government has confirmed that schools will be reopening for the autumn term and has asked schools to prepare for all pupils to return full-time, and that includes nursery, too. What is also asked is that schools comply with health and safety laws, assessing risks and putting in place proportionate control measures. It’s vital that schools review their health and safety risk assessments and adapt and consider extra measures reacting to the current climate.

Protective measures for schools

The government has set out some extra, adapted measures to those already in place. The protective measures include:

  • More thorough hand and respiratory hygiene
  • Enhanced cleaning protocol
  • An active engagement with NHS Test and Trace
  • Requiring those who are ill to stay at home
  • Implement social distancing and serious efforts to reduce contact wherever possible

Social distancing in schools


When it comes to one of the main requirements – that has been drilled into us since the outbreak – social distancing is a tough one to manage when working in a school. The government understands this and it has given some pointers:

  • Arrange classrooms with forward-facing desks
  • Staff should maintain social distancing between each other and their pupils as much as possible
  • When grouping children, avoid contact between groups

Whilst it’s going to be a difficult protocol to maintain, the government takes this into account but stresses the importance of social distancing and to implement it wherever possible.

Adapting the school environment around coronavirus

The idea of using canteens, toilets and kitchens in the school environment, brings a chaotic scene to the mind. Hundreds of children will be in and out daily, so what can you do to help the school environment adapt?

Breakout areas

Consider more breakout areas around school. Many schools have already implemented these for intervention and guided reading groups but for the extra measures to consider, this will further help reduce contacts. There are many space-efficient tables to opt for. If this proves tricky, many intervention teachers take groups to outdoor areas too.

Have some canteen seats off limits

When it comes to canteens, it’s a good idea to reorganise the queuing system, you could opt for floor stamps like many retail shops have to signpost appropriate distancing. Also, for canteen tables it would be wise to have markers or signs to help break out groups on tables. Have some canteen seats off limits with seat signs. Consider setting up outdoor areas for even better ventilation.

 

Provide social distancing protective screens

For the ICT rooms or smaller areas where social distancing is more difficult, provide social distancing protective screens.

Keep toilets well stocked

For toilets, just like you should be checking already, make sure they are well stocked and have plenty ready in storage. This includes toilet paper, hand wash and hand sanitiser. It’s also a good idea to provide sanitary products for your female students and staff.

Make more space in classrooms

Make sure classrooms are adapted appropriately. Again this may be difficult but every little helps. If you have enough room and space, rejig the seating and use whatever you have in storage e.g. add some beanbags for extra seating space.

 

Reorganise lockers

It may be worthwhile reorganising lockers and breaking up units to help spread them out to help with those chaotic transitions between classes. And for school offices, make sure you have the best office storage

Hygiene in school

When it comes to thinking about long-term virus protection, consider these tips to help maintain hygiene in all school areas:

  • Make sure antibacterial wipes and hand sanitisers are available in classrooms, breakout areas and canteens. Wipe down sides and equipment before and after use. Don’t forget labs and chemistry equipment as well as desks and chairs
  • Give wipes and hand sanitiser to each student for their desk and encourage regular cleaning throughout the day
  • Review your cleaning protocol and make sure they are up-to-date with government guidelines
  • In canteen areas, make sure kitchen staff are extra protected. If they aren’t already, consider wearing different gloves when cleaning down and serving food. Also, consider face visors as well as face masks
  • Encourage pupils and parents to bring in their own hand sanitiser and face masks but it’s best to provide disposable masks on premises 
Awareness, DSE, Furniture, Sit Stand, Space Planning

Stand Up Desks for Healthier, Happier Employees

If you want to stay as healthy as possible – then stand up. This is the advice being given to office workers, drivers and other employees who spend extended periods of time sitting down at their office desks which, according to recent research, significantly increases the risk of developing diabetes and cancer.

The study was carried out by Kansas State University and, led by Professor Richard Rosenkranz, looked into the sitting habits of more than 63,000 men aged between 45 and 65 in New South Wales, Australia. Though only men were studied in this particular research, the findings are also likely to apply to women.

Comparing men who remained seated for less than four hours, four to six hours, six to eight hours and over eight hours, the study looked into related health problems. Findings included:

  • Those who sat for in excess of four hours a day were ‘significantly more likely’ to report having one of a number of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes or cancer

  • The chance of such a condition being reported increased as participants indicated a higher amount of time spent sitting

  • Results were consistent across factors including age, height, weight and level of physical activity

Professor Rosenkranz said: “We saw a steady stair-step increase in risk of chronic diseases the more participants sat.. the group sitting more than eight hours clearly had the highest risk.” He then warned that: “A lot of office jobs that require long periods of sitting may be hazardous to your health because of inactivity and the low levels of energy expenditure.”

This study adds to the large body of research that shows how sitting for extended periods can have dramatic negative effects on human health and wellbeing. Other studies have shown that:

  • Compared to someone who watches no television, someone who watches six hours a day can cut their lifespan by five years

  • People who sit for long periods have higher cholesterol and blood sugar along with a corresponding larger waist size

  • Less than 50% of adults meet the physical activity recommendations of the World Health Organisation

Sit-stand desks, a select range which will soon be available from our website, offer an ideal solution to the health problems caused by extended periods of sitting inactive. To find out more about this essential enhancement to office ergonomics, contact us now for exclusive information.

Ergonomics, Space Planning, Workplace

Office storage is a required necessity

There is nothing worse than turning up to a messy office to find there is clutter all over the place. Office storage plays a vital part in ensuring that an office can run smoothly and efficiently without anything important like paperwork going missing or being lost.

Why office design is important for an organised office

Once office storage solutions have been designed and implemented, there is no excuse for clutter, mess and overflowing filing cabinets. Offices shouldn’t represent disorganisation, especially if you don’t want your values or company to represent it either. Simply implementing suitable storage solutions can lift staff morale: a clean and organised office is a happy one!

Choosing the right office storage solutions

DBI Furniture Solutions has a number of storage solutions which can be beneficial in any workplace environment, even those that can be integrated seamlessly into office desks. We take the time to listen to our customers about the types of tasks which take place in the office on a daily basis before we specify a storage solution for them. With a wide range of office storage solutions, it’s important that you get the right one for you and your business.

Filing and shelving

For all those important documents, an office needs secure filing solutions. From cabinets to electronic and mobile shelving, employees can access paperwork with ease.

Mobile storage

Mobile storage units have risen in popularity and are now in high demand because they can help ease access to important documents, whilst allowing for large volumes of documents to be stored in the minimum amount of space.

Innovative tables

To make use of work space, innovative office tables with crates and shelves – placed around workplaces – are perfect for storing boxes and handy office essentials.

Automated carousel

This is a clever piece of office equipment that brings storage to you. Employees can access multiple levels of storage making the working day incredibly more productive. This type of storage is ideal for large companies that need a lot of files to be stored with ease of access.

Bookcases

Whether it’s for a breakout area, a staff room, the main office floor or reception, bookcases are a brilliant office storage asset. You can store niche reading materials to suit your sector as well as newspapers for staff to read and start conversations over.

Lockers

Ideal for schools, offices and industrial warehouses, lockers mean people can have their valuables safely stored and secured. Especially if your office has a shower, lockers for your staff are a great asset.

Having a storage solution or multiple storage solutions within your office will mean that those daily tasks will become more streamlined and productivity will increase because less time is spent frantically searching for those important documents!

If you are short of space within your office, then speak to our expert team because we have experience in space planning and design and can provide you with a number of space-saving storage solutions, which may be ideal for what you need.

For more information, then please contact us on 0845 6830024 or email info@dbifurnituresolutions.co.uk.

Space Planning, Workplace

Reception Counters are the Face of Your Business

The reception area of an office or business represents how people will view your company. They will form an opinion based on what the reception area looks like and one of the most important items within the reception is the reception desk or reception counter.

There are a number of reception counter option s available and so choosing one can be extremely difficult. They can be made from wood, glass and even steel but it isn’t just the material which they are made from which can often be confusing but it is also the choice of shapes and sizes too!

What should you look for a reception counter?

It is important that your reception area looks aesthetically pleasing to the eye however; a reception desk which looks good might not be all that practical. You need to combine aesthetic appearance with utility since the reception is going to be someone’s working area whereby a receptionist will carry out many important tasks.

First impressions count! You will never get a second change to make a first impression and thus when designing your workplace you should seek advice from a professional. DBI Furniture Solutions offer services in space planning and design using CAD which means you can have 2D and 3D layouts presented to you as possible solutions and you can choose which one you like or make alterations until you are happy with the design.

DBI Furniture Solutions can provide you with a whole reception interior fit out which is tailored to your requirements. We have a wide selection of office furniture and as mentioned have a full range of services which you can take advantage of because we do more than just your standard office desks! Our after sales support service is second to none which means we will be on hand to help should you need information regarding your new office furniture.

For more information then please contact our experienced team on 0845 6830024 or email info@dbifurnituresolutions.co.uk.

Space Planning, Workplace

Creating an office space like a pro

Whatever the business, having a well-designed and properly defined office space is one of the key factors in helping to make a business or company successful. But, especially if you’re a brand new business and have just bought your first office, creating an office space can seem daunting. Whether you are brand new or just need an update, we’ve got you covered. We are experts in the field after all.

What first impression do you want to give?

So, to begin with, first impressions are everything, and this is so true when it comes to office space! The office area needs to look professional but suited to your company ethos and brand. Although it needs a professional feel, you can afford to be experimental, quirky or more cosy with your office design, it’s all about the impression you want to give off and being in line with your brand.

From the initial entrance, you should make visitors feel comfortable. Maybe you need a reception area with soft seating solutions and an inviting atmosphere.

When a visitor or customer is invited from the reception area to the meeting room or office area, it’s important that this is well designed and looks impressive too, whilst keeping in line with your brand. Reception sofas can be colourful, neutral and come in a range of styles to suit the venue or office tone.

Office design ideas for different sectors

  • Marketing agencies and creative businesses: Quirky, arty and bright colours. Wall and stencil art. Beanbags and comfy, colourful office sofas.
  • Finance and accountants: Office pods, cosy feel, and multifunctional furniture. Mathematical wall art.
  • Hospitality: Coffee tables, lockers and a hygge design. Inspiring quotes framed.
  • Retail: Breakout canteen tables, social areas, with a pop of colour. Humorous wall art.
  • Medical: A bit more of a clinical feel and minimalist design. Neutral tones and longer tables. Waiting areas with comfy seating, individual chairs and sofas.
  • Sales and telecoms: Bench desks, sit-stand desks and an inspiring, motivating feel in the office. Make sure cable management is good. You can afford to be quirky and brighter with the design.

Beginning office design

If you’re just wanting an office update, you may want to get some ideas or feedback from staff. Either send out a poll and questions to share design ideas or have them write their own ideas on notes and make a suggestion box. Or, if you’re more certain on what you want or you have a brand new business, use mood boards, colour palettes and note down necessities. The more you detail and visualise, the easier it’ll be to convey what you want to office designers and for picking office furniture products.

Clearing the clutter

If you’re having an office refresh, you should clear out clutter to make more room, or to simply rejig things around.  You should invest in storage solutions which will ensure that everything remains clean, tidy and free from clutter; this in turn will make your business look more appealing, professional and organised.

Creating a great office space for employees

Ensuring that your employees have the correct task and executive seating to work from is so important. You need to provide your staff with comfortable office desks and inspirational office space where they look forward to working in, feel comfortable in and are able to carry out work productively in.

If you have a team environment within your office, then it’s important that desking is arranged in a way which will aid communication between the team and that office space is designed efficiently to get the best use out of teams.

Breakout areas bring a refreshing dynamic to a workspace and can help with staff morale by providing social spaces. Make sure to provide multifunctional, comfortable furniture. You may want some booths or office pods to help with breakout areas and to provide opportunities for mini meetings and collaborations.

If you want to turn prospects into customers and clients of your business, then come and speak to DBI Furniture Solutions about the design of your office space and see what we can do for you today.

For more information, please call us on 0845 683 0024 or email info@dbifurnituresolutions.co.uk.