5 signs your office needs a refresh

If your struggling to remember the last time your office was updated, or if it was over 10 years ago, it’s time to consider a refresh. Keeping the workplace maintained and looking up to date and professional is critical to ensuring you have a happy and motivated workforce. Not only this but it gives off a great impression to customers and visitors too!

The following points represent common problems that many of our clients have and how we think you can solve them through workplace design:

1. Your brand and your building don’t match up

Problem: Potential customers visit your website and are really impressed with how great it looks , however when they walk into your building they think ‘Is this the same company that I saw online?’

Solution: Determine the most important aspects of your brand and ensure your office reflects these. Brand is so much more than a colour and a logo, its an image and a set of values that you need to communicate on every platform, including your premises.

2. There’s nowhere to relax

Problem: Your employees would rather sit at their desks at lunch time than sit in the office canteen.

Solution: It’s important that your break room isn’t an extension of the office. Create a fun break out area with comfortable seating, bright decoration, a TV or even a few games. Anything that can help encourage your employees to forget about the stress of work and relax.

3. You have a lot of wasted space

Problem: Many offices have lots of wasted space; banks of empty desks and areas that have become dumping grounds for boxes, folders and old technology.

Solution: You need to space plan your office, could you remove some desks and replace them with break out seating, or informal meeting spaces? Could you use the space to fit more desks in making employees more comfortable? A properly planned out office will be tidy, safe and allow for company growth.

4. Your office design is having a negative effect on productivity

Problem: Maybe you have bland décor with no colour, or poor lighting and old office furniture that’s not in the best condition?

Solution: Work on the design of your office, make sure its bright,vibrant and motivating. This will do wonders for the productivity of your employees, whilst also making them happier at work.

5. There are no areas made for collaboration 

Problem: Everyone has the space and furniture needed to work alone, but there isn’t anywhere for colleagues to collaborate.

Solution: Create two types of working areas that support both collaboration and individual work. Introducing booths and pods can allow for informal meeting spaces, enabling teams to go work together without disturbing others.

 

Simon Clark - Interiors Specialist
This post was written by
Simon Clark - Interiors Specialist

As one of our Office Interiors experts, Simon’s passion for designing dream workspaces is contagious. With over 25 years experience, you can be confident your project is in safe hands.

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Prevent colds and flu from spreading around your office this winter

Its officially Autumn and if you work in an office, the likelihood is that you’re currently sat listening to many of your colleagues sneezing and coughing. Autumn is the start of cold and flu season and when you work in such a close environment, the cold and flu germs spread fast!

The advice we are often given seems obvious, wash your hands, don’t touch your face and sneeze into a tissue to try and stop spreading your germs. But what other things can you do to stop germs spreading around your business?

Remind your employees about the importance of hand washing

Washing your hands with soap and water is the most effective way to help prevent the spread of germs. Simply running your hands briefly under the tap wont get rid of them, its important to make sure hands are washed thoroughly and dried with a paper towel to rid yourself of any germs that may be lurking.

Keep your desk clean

Colds & flu are not just passed from person to person, but they are also passed from surface to surface. If your workspace is a shared hot desk, take the time to wipe down items like the phone, mouse and keyboard, to make sure you don’t pick up any germs left over by the last user. Leave hand sanitiser and surface wipes on the end of every block of desks to remind people to clean their hands and desks regularly.

Clean shared items

Many offices have communal printers, kettles, fridges and microwaves. It’s important to give the buttons and handles on these devices a clean down once a day, to rid them of any harmful germs.

Be aware of shaking hands

Make sure you wash your hands before and after attending meetings, this will help limit the spread of germs. If you’re in the situation where a handshake is necessary and you have a cold, politely refuse it all together to make sure you don’t spread your germs onto the other person.

Take a sick day

Taking the time to get better and keeping your germs away from the workplace can prevent the ‘snowball effect’ off passing germs and illness through the office. If you really don’t have the time to take a few days off, consider working from home.

Rest

Sleep is one of the most important things when trying to stay healthy. You should aim to get 7-8 hours sleep per night. If you’re particularly busy at work, try adopting a relaxing routine to help yourself wind down before you go to bed. You should turn off any electronic devices at least an hour before you plan on going to sleep and try having a long warm bath or doing gentle stretches to help relieve yourself of any stress from the day.

Eat your greens

Eating a balanced diet filled with lots of yellow, red, green and orange fruits and vegetables will help strengthen your immune system and help you fight viruses when they hit.

Relax

It’s been proven that having high stress levels decreases your immunity. As an employer you should introduce wellness programmes into your workplace, such as health and fitness classes, walking clubs and lifestyle coaching.

Regular exercise

Exercising regularly can help build up your resistance to cold and flu germs. Encourage your employees to take lunch time walks, use the stairs and go over and talk to eachother instead of sending emails. Offering discounted corporate gym memberships will also help when trying to get your staff members to become more active.

 

 

Pam Wakefield - Facilities Supplies Specialist
This post was written by
Pam Wakefield - Facilities Supplies Specialist

Maintaining Good Posture At Work

Our everyday lives ofen make it difficult to practice the correct posture. From our office desks to lounging around on the sofa at home, most of us don’t consider our posture on a day to day basis, but it’s important to understand that bad posture can lead some serious health issues.

Slouching for hours on end can lead to back pain, poor digestion, poor circulation and even arthritis. Even more surprisingly, a study found that a slouched body posture can lead to decreased energy and feelings of depression!

Although its sounds a lot of work to maintain correct posture throughout the day, the benefits of doing so will make that little bit of effort more than worthwhile!

The benefits of good posture include:

– Allowing the muscles to be used correctly by keeping bones and joints in correct alignment which decreases the risk of arthritis and joint pain.

-Helps prevent muscle pain and back strain

-Reduces stress on ligaments in the spine

-Helps muscles to work better, allowing the body to use less energy which reduces fatigue.

If you do feel achy after a day at the office, here are my top tips to help you maintain better posture whilst sat at your desk:

Ensure you have the correct seating

Ergonomic chairs take posture problems into consideration. These types of chairs have all the features including back rests, that support the natural curve of your spine and head rests that support your posture whilst you’re sitting. With adjustable height and back settings to make sure your feet are flat on the floor at a 90-degree angle and parallel to the hips at all times, ergonomic chairs evoke good posture.

Uncross your legs

Women in particular are guilty of sitting with their legs crossed throughout the day. Although sitting this way comes natural to many of us and feels like a comfortable position, it is terrible for your circulation and posture. When sat on your chair your feet should be flat on the floor with your knees at a 90-degree angle, if you struggle to do this, try placing your feet on a box or a foot rest.

Stand up

Sit-stand desks are a great way to stop poor posture. When you’re feeling lethargic and slouching in your chair, they allow you to get up and stand for a while. Standing up at your desk helps with circulation and can also improve your overall health!

Stretch

It’s important to stretch throughout the day to get blood flowing around your body. Simple arm, leg and neck stretches can be done whilst sat at your desk and will help prevent you feeling stiff at the end of the working day.

Get up and move

Sitting for 8 hours a day is very dangerous and brings with it a whole host of health problems from aches and pains to diabetes. You should get up from your desk and walk around at least once every hour of the working day. If there’s lifts in your workplace- take the stairs, park further away from the building and go and speak to your colleagues across the office instead of pinging them an email. Activity gives you and instant energy boost that will make it easier to maintain better posture once your sat back at your desk.

 

Simon Clark - Interiors Specialist
This post was written by
Simon Clark - Interiors Specialist

As one of our Office Interiors experts, Simon’s passion for designing dream workspaces is contagious. With over 25 years experience, you can be confident your project is in safe hands.

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How bringing the outdoors into the office can benefit your employees

Adding nature and greenery to your office design can have both physical and psychological benefits for your employees.

Office workers spend on average 90% of their time indoors, however bringing the outdoors into office buildings, can offer some of the benefits that are lost when you spend the majority of your day inside.

Studies have found that employees are happier and more productive when their office is filled with greenery. There are many other benefits to having plants in your work place, these are:

Less Dust

Plants don’t only add oxygen to the air and reduce the levels of carbon dioxide, they also act as an air purifier and remove any toxins from paints, plastics and chemicals. As plants have a large surface area, they also help to filter out dust and impurities, which results in a cleaner, healthier working environment.

Happier employees

Bland offices with no colour, pictures or plants have been described as ‘the most toxic space’ that you can put a human being into. When employees work in a bare, dull environment, it doesn’t provide a happy, creative workspace that encourages creativity and productivity.

Research has shown that adding greenery to your office can boost your employees overall moral and improve performance. Colourful plants can help liven up an office, creating a calmer and more enjoyable working environment.

Reduced Sickness

Office workers often spend the majority of their day indoors, starring at a computer screen. This can lead to many health problems such as fatigue, headaches, dry skin and even asthma. However, research has found that offices that contained plants saw a significant reduction of the following common health related issues:

Fatigue – reduced by 20%

Headaches – reduced by 30%

Coughs- reduced by 40%

Sore throats – reduced by 30%

Dry skin– reduced by 25%


A boost in Productivity

Studies have shown that having plants around the office can boost employee productivity by up to 15%.  It has also been shown that office plants can increase the level of focus, workplace satisfaction and the air quality around the office was also seen to improve . Plants can reduce stress levels, increase attention span and increase wellbeing, whilst also removing toxins from the air, which makes for happier, healthier and more productive staff members.

 

Which plants are the best for the office? 

Rubber plant- Known for the ability to remove toxins from the air.

English Ivy – This plant can help eliminate mould and air born faecal particles. This plant is ideal for offices that don’t have much fresh air circulating.

Mother- In- Law’s Tongue – Also good at ridding the air of pollutants.

Aloe– Aloe plants are small enough to sit on desks and also have air filtering qualities.

Lemon Balm– Lemon balm plants have been proven to improve moods and boost workplace wellness.

 

As the research shows it’s worth bringing plants into your workplace if you’re looking for a way to boost productivity. Not only are office plants easy to add to your working environment and low maintenance, they also offer long-term benefits that can help with focus and overall employee moral.

 

 

 

Simon Clark - Interiors Specialist
This post was written by
Simon Clark - Interiors Specialist

As one of our Office Interiors experts, Simon’s passion for designing dream workspaces is contagious. With over 25 years experience, you can be confident your project is in safe hands.

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How to stop the spread of germs in your office

The moment you hear your colleague coughing and sneezing, you know that germs are going to be spread around to everyone else in the office. Office desks are a hotspot for germs, where they quickly fester and multiply. Water fountains, kettles, photocopiers and break out areas can be covered with nasty bacteria as well. Although the domino effect does apply to workplace illness, there are steps you can take to ensure you don’t catch the latest bug.

Keep your distance

If one of your colleagues seems like they’re coming down with something, avoid close contact and make sure you don’t share pens, snacks and phones.

Avoid touching your face

Try not to touch your nose, mouth or eyes throughout the day. Every time you do this, any germs you’ve picked up from phones, door knobs or appliances will transfer onto you and increase your chances of picking up an illness.

Clean your workspace

Having a dirty, messy desk gives bacteria and germs the perfect place to live and multiply. Make sure you wipe down your desk at least once a week and don’t leave any dirty cups or food containers lying around.

 

Use disinfecting wipes

You should always keep a pack of disinfecting wipes on your desk. Particularly if you eat lunch at your desk, it’s important to wipe down your desk before and after. You should also use wipes to clean your phone, keyboard and shared items such as microwaves and kettles.

Wash your hands with soap and water

As adults, being told by your employer to make sure you wash your hands can seem very patronising but it is one of the most important parts of stopping the spread of germs. Briefly running your hands under water won’t get rid of any germs. It’s important to wash your hands with soap and water and make sure they are properly dried before leaving the toilet.

Keep hand sanitizer on your desk

Use hand sanitizer throughout the day, especially after having used shared office supplies and appliances. This will stop you from spreading germs around the office and will help you fight off any harmful bacteria you could have picked up from your colleagues.

Don’t cover your mouth or nose with your hands

Make sure you never cough or sneeze into your hands even if you’re not ill, make sure you always cough and sneeze into a tissue or your inner arm. Coughing and sneezing into your hands can cause germs to spread like wildfire from everything you touch throughout the day.

 

Educate others

It’s a team effort to keep an office clean and free of nasty germs. Educate your colleagues about the spreading of germs in the workplace and the importan. Lead by example, take the time to clean your desk and shared appliances and ensure that you regularly wash your hands and sanitise throughout the day.

 

 

Pam Wakefield - Facilities Supplies Specialist
This post was written by
Pam Wakefield - Facilities Supplies Specialist

Illuminate your workspace with Rexel ActiVita desk lamps.

It’s not just where you sit, it’s the environment in which you work. Much has been said about the benefits of moving around in the day whilst at work and products such as Sit Stand desks and work platforms etc. But what about other areas of the office environment?

 What do we know about daylight?

It is clear that daylight has the power to energise us. At midday, in clear weather conditions, daylight measures at a colour ‘temperature’ of 6,500 Kelvin. At such high colour temperatures, the brain will begin to release the hormone serotonin, which actively brightens your mood and helps to increase concentration. In simple terms, daylight will trigger activity in the brain, leaving people feeling much more energised and alert.

So can daylight help us to be more efficient when we’re at work too?

A study by the Green Building Council would suggest that this is the case. It found that staff members in an office that were exposed to more daylight were 18% more productive. However, ensuring that sufficient daylight is available to everyone in order to achieve this can be problematic.

The right light for everyone

Managers strive to provide an environment that will help employees increase their output whilst supporting the health and wellbeing of their team members, reducing absenteeism where possible. Generally employees want to work in a bright, clear and comfortable environment. They also want to avoid eye strain and fatigue that is so often caused by dull overhead fluorescent office lighting.

These aims can be achieved by increasing the quality and amount of light available in the working environment. Everyone will react differently to light levels and it can be incredibly difficult to provide light conditions that suit everyone and boost overall efficiency.

A solution that works

Rexel has developed a personal lighting solution to overcome these hurdles – the ActiVita Daylight desk lamps. The innovative, affordable and contemporary lamps bring the benefits of daylight into offices, providing a much-needed boost in energy levels.

The Daylight Lamps are available in three models, each with a life of over 25 years (40,000 hours) with low levels of energy consumption. Models in the range can be adjusted for different purposes, including ‘Daylight’ that aims to boost alertness, ‘Warm’ that helps the mind to relax for activities such as reading and ‘Cool’ to brighten the workspace. LCD panels on the ActiVita Pod+ and Strip+ display a calendar, clock and temperature, with the added benefit of a USB port for charging mobile devices on the Strip+.

In ‘Daylight Mode’, ActiVita’s blue LEDs emit a colour temperature of 6,500 Kelvin, the all-important level that causes serotonin to be released in the brain. Users are able to adjust their desk lamp to position the light wherever they need it.

Boosting daylight in the office can be a challenge but with ActiVita desk lamps, it’s never been easier to work brighter.

Watch the Rexel ActiVita Pod+ video below:

 

Contact us to find out more about the Rexel ActiVita Daylight range.

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Stand up for a healthier way of working with Fellowes Sit-Stand solutions

Many of us would claim we lead a healthy and active lifestyle. From regular gym sessions and sporting activities, to scrutinising the ingredients in our favourite foods. It seems there is a growing awareness of the importance of being fit and healthy. But the minute we walk in to work we sit down at our desk, start working, and rarely move for the vast majority of the day.

Sitting is a part of everyday life. We are all sitting longer than we should, whether it’s sitting in the car on the way to work, sitting for the entire day whilst at work and then followed by more hours of sitting we get home. That is a lot of sitting, but unfortunately some people are unaware of the health risks linked to a sedentary lifestyle.

Having a sedentary lifestyle can have serious health implications as sitting is not just bad for your back; it affects your breathing, digestion and every aspect of your health, along with your brain engagement and focus. Many health experts are calling it the ‘new smoking’ in terms of health implications, after citing it as a major cause of rising obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. It’s then no surprise that research shows one hour of daily gym-time is easily offset by over seven hours sat at a computer screen.

Recent Fellowes research reveals that 48% of workers suffer from back problems, 42% neck problems, 39% fatigue and 38% headaches because of this. And, troublingly for employers, a sizeable number of them are happy to attribute their ailments to the long periods of time they spend working at a computer, or a laptop.

 

What’s the solution?

Although prolonged sitting can be extremely damaging for your health, just standing instead is not a complete solution. Standing over a prolonged period can be harmful to your back and lower limbs, with aching feet and swollen legs being just two of the most common complaints. Getting the right balance of sitting and standing is essential and there are many ways to do this.

The new LOTUS™ Sit-Stand Workstation from Fellowes is designed to hit these issues head on, effortlessly taking desk working to a higher level. The intuitive Sit-Stand working solution encourages desk-based employees to work actively and introduce more movement into their day, rather than being sat in one sedentary position for hours at a time.

Such functionality is essential when you consider that 71% of UK workers believe the longer they stay sitting at their desks, the harder they find it to stay alert. While 55% admit to poor posture at their desks and 58% agree that their work would be better quality if they stood up to work sometimes.

With the LOTUS™ it only takes a few seconds to transform your desk into a height-adjustable workstation. You are provided with a large work area for all of your equipment to move with you too, without the inconvenience of needing to replace your existing desk furniture. All of this helps to make the transition between sitting and standing a seamless process.

Other key features include:

  • Parent-pending Smooth Lift Technology™ keeps workstations stable and makes changing positions effortless
  • 22 different height settings so your employees can work in a positon that’s perfect for them
  • An innovative cord management and device charging slot to allow your employee’s entire workspace to move freely with them

It also arrives fully assembled, so you can join the sit stand revolution in a matter of moments.

Check out the Lotus video:

In Scandinavian countries, such as Denmark and Sweden, 88% of office workers are already using Sit-Stand desks as a way of tackling workplace health issues and feeling the benefits, so it’s an obvious move for other European countries to follow suit.

Stephen Bowden, Chartered Ergonomist for Morgan Maxwell on behalf of Fellowes UK commented:

“Sit-Stand products can introduce the idea of how simple movements from sitting to standing can have massive health and wellbeing benefits. The Sit-Stand desk is the first step in getting people moving which is what the human body is designed to do.

“People focus on how many hours we sit for. This is incorrect. It’s how often you interrupt sitting that is good for you.

“If you do nothing else, going from sitting to standing 32-36 times per day which will help reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.”

Ultimately, a more active work life leads to more dynamic, focused and productive teams.

See how the LOTUS™ Sit-Stand Workstation can help transform your business with our unique workplace assessment process, and try before you buy. Contact us for more information.

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Discover the smart way to clean your technology

We’ve finally made it through the cold dark winter months to April, which means only one thing – it’s Spring Clean season. We may all do a thorough spring clean at home, but how often do you think about cleaning your workstation in the office?

Home and office workstation cleaning doesn’t need to be hard work with the AF range of specialist cleaning products. Designed especially for screens, surfaces, phones, keyboards and technical equipment, they are all available in a variety of handy kits, wipes and sprays to ensure cleaning is easy and convenient.

You can find the whole range in our catalogue but we wanted to highlight one particular product which is THE product of the moment and perfect for cleaning your tech devices.

How dirty is your smart phone?

We all have our smart phones and tablets within arm’s reach at all times and we must pick them up and use them hundreds of times per day. But the disadvantage of touch screens is that it takes no time for them to become covered in fingerprints and other greasy marks. We all love our smart technology but smart technology demands an equally smart cleaning solution.

Luckily AF have developed the perfect solution. The brand new AF Smart Wipes are a nifty box of 10 super strong, individual dry wipe sachets that absorb grease and fingerprints in an instant leaving a sparkling finish.

An essential wipe for any smart technology. It gives fantastic results on tablets, fitness watches and any other device. Not forgetting glasses too, it works wonders removing smears and even make up effectively. It’s even washable. That’s right, a dry wipe that you can use time and time again for ultimate convenience.

So there’s no excuse for a dirty phone now! To find out more about office equipment cleaning, the right products to use and a sample of the new AF Smart Wipe, contact our customer support team.

 

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Discover why a £1 pen could actually be costing your business £2.25.

Purchasing essential business supplies and services can be a heavy burden on businesses, and a real drain on time, money and internal resource so I have put together some information about how using multiple suppliers can be a drain on your business – in both time and cost.

A £1 pen could be costing you £2.25.

Businesses need a diverse range of supplies and services to keep them running smoothly. This can range from pens and paper to toilet rolls and cleaning chemicals, business cards and brochures, to staff uniforms and office chairs. Managing the provision of these essential everyday products and services is crucial to a business’ success.

But the procurement and supply of these can cause all sorts of hassle and headaches for your business, as well as huge hidden costs.

Spending across multiple product categories across a mix of different suppliers can be very time intensive for purchasing and procurement departments. It can also make it difficult to control spend and gain a bird’s eye view of company-wide expenditure.

In fact, businesses are often spending 2-3 times more than they need to on indirect procurement. The real cost of buying products can actually be up to 125 percent higher than the actual invoice cost. In real terms, that could mean that buying a £1 pen could actually cost you £2.25.

Work that out across your total business supplies spend and I’m sure it’s a mind-boggling number, so where does it all go?

Storage alone can add 40 percent and up to 15 percent can be wasted on creating P/O numbers, calculating invoices and processing payments. Pilferage, waste and obsolescence can tot up to almost 36 percent and then another 34 percent can be added on for the time and hassle of doing the actual purchasing – researching the right products, checking prices, ordering, chasing deliveries.

pen_pound

So there’s a huge opportunity for significant savings and a new way of working.

Got it InOne

That’s where InOne with Irongate comes in. It’s a new service that helps you to transform the way you buy your business essentials and makes the lives of procurement and finance teams much easier.

InOne combines all of Irongate’s six specialist sub-divisions to enable a business to source everything it needs from just one supplier with one point of contact, one delivery and one consolidated invoice. And all of your products are accessible to order via one easy-to-use online portal. It can save huge amounts of time, hassle and money on procurement and administration in your business.

InOne with Irongate gives you effortless control of your business procurement spend, no matter how many different sites, offices or branches you have. The online ordering system can give multiple users access to order the supplies they need, at the price you’ve agreed, whether it’s promotional branded notepads, staff uniforms or teabags. You can mix and match to create the perfect package of supplies.

Irongate office and Irongate facilities take care of the everyday essentials, from pens, paper and printers to coffee, carpet cleaner and confidential shredding.

Our workwear division can help you better manage the provision of your staff uniforms that can be ordered in handy employee wearer packs.

Our office interiors team can transform your office environment and with trained ergonomists on hand to ensure your workstation is set up correctly.

And our promotions and print communications departments help you with all aspects of your marketing, including innovative solutions to reducing your print costs, increasing marketing campaign return on investment or produce exciting branded merchandise to promote your company.

Each division is headed up by an industry specialist, who knows the ins and outs of their category like the back of their hand.

Does that sound like the answer to your problems? Well, it gets better.

The new online ordering system is customisable to suit you and your team. It has special ordering controls and it’s easy to see which branches or departments have ordered what each month. There are online management reports so you can keep a full track on spending, plus a stock management system that will auto-order the things you need, so you’ll never run out of the essentials.

We’re well located to get your orders delivered quickly and efficiently too, since 60 percent of the UK is within 3 hours of our Derby HQ.

Switching to InOne with Irongate can really help you to take back control of your procurement, get rid of those headaches and make some more time for doing more important things. If you’d like to find out more, give our team a call.

Adam Noble - Managing Director
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Adam Noble - Managing Director

How to make your office more productive

Throughout the workplace, every piece of furniture plays an important part when it comes to boosting your employee’s productivity. By replacing your boring, old furniture and replacing It with vibrant, modern furniture throughout your workplace, you will take the productivity of your employees to the next level. Below are our tips on ways you can use office design to enhance productivity throughout your workplace:

Colours

Choosing furniture in bright, vibrant colours is a trend throughout many office environments. Studies have shown that offices that feature lots of bland greys and beiges induce feelings of sadness and depression, whereas bright colours increase productivity, reduce stress and spark creativity.

Ergonomics

When you work in an office, most your day is spent sitting at your desk. This means there is nothing more important in your office than the desks and chairs that you supply your staff with.

Providing your staff with ergonomic furniture will ensure they are happy and comfortable and not distracted with the aches and pains of uncomfortable furniture. Providing staff with chairs which aren’t comfortable and don’t properly support the back can have a huge effect to employee productivity, leading to long periods of time off work.

Staff who have comfortable chairs and desks can focus better on their work and are much more likely to retain a higher level of productivity and morale, which is a good thing for you as well as your employees.

Lighting

Lighting is one of the most important factors when it comes to staying focused and productive throughout the day, yet it is one of the areas that gets most over looked. Providing your employees and office environment with bad lighting can cause eyestrain, headaches, fatigue and irritability. Sitting in dark spaces day in, day out can also cause depression.

Organisation

Filling cabinets, lockers, pedestals and other items that can help your employees to keep their workspaces tidy and organised, will also help them to become more productive. If everything has a home, it will reduce the time they are spending searching through clutter and stacks of paper to find exactly what it is they need.

Sit Stand Desks

It’s not just your health that sit-stand desks can affect, they also affect your productivity. A recent study found that people using sit-stand desks are 45% more productive that those with standard desks. The study also found that 75% of people who had a sit-stand desk felt more comfortable than when they were just provided with a regular desk.

Simon Clark - Interiors Specialist
This post was written by
Simon Clark - Interiors Specialist

As one of our Office Interiors experts, Simon’s passion for designing dream workspaces is contagious. With over 25 years experience, you can be confident your project is in safe hands.

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Celebrating all things coffee for UK coffee week!

Just where would we be without the caffeine powered boost we get first thing in the morning at our desks? Or that much needed mid- afternoon pick me up? We have a lot to thank coffee for, and with it being UK Coffee Week, we thought it would be the perfect time to celebrate all things coffee!

Thousands of people can relate when we say that a cup or two of the hot stuff is exactly what we need to get things done. Be it early morning starts, late afternoon meetings, or just having the energy to complete an important project by the next day, coffee is exactly what many people use to get them through.

Did you know…

70 million cups of coffee are consumed each day throughout the UK, this makes it pretty clear that we are definitely a nation of coffee drinkers, both inside and outside the workplace.

Below are our top 5 reasons why businesses should provide their employees with good quality coffee:

It improves performance

Countless studies have shown that caffeine can be very effective when it comes to productivity and performance, which is very useful in the workplace. Coffee has been proven to provide enhanced motor and cognitive performance, increase accuracy of reactions, boost short term memory and even decrease mental fatigue.

People are less likely to leave the office

Providing great tasting coffee on-site to employees and visitors, not only gives off a good impression about the working environment but it also encourages people to stay and have their drink in the office, rather than leaving to find themselves a better-quality beverage.

A cheap jar of instant coffee however, isn’t the solution. If the coffee that you have on offer isn’t of good quality people will leave to go out and find a better option. Studies have shown that 47% of worker leave the office daily to purchase their drink from a high-street chain.

It boosts employee morale

Providing your employees with nice things make them feel appreciated, valued and boosts their morale. With the average British male drinking 13 cups of coffee per day and the average British female drinking 11, good quality coffee with appeal to the needs of the majority of your employees.

It brightens your mood

Caffeine boosts the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline, and stimulates the central nervous system which lifts your mood. According to studies, two cups of coffee a day prevents the risk of depression by up to 50%.

And finally, it feeds the office plants

The leftover grounds from fresh coffee in the office don’t need to go to waste. Adding left over coffee grounds to the soil in office plants can boost drainage, aeration and water retention. It’s recommended that you rinse the grounds first for use on most plants, but leave them as they are for acid-loving plants such as azaleas and gardenias.

Pam Wakefield - Facilities Supplies Specialist
This post was written by
Pam Wakefield - Facilities Supplies Specialist

What’s trending in office furniture?

There’s  no doubt that when it comes to office furniture, trends change quickly with new and interesting products constantly entering the market. With the office furniture and seating market place moving faster than it has done for years, what are the current key trends that we need to be aware of?

1.Flexible layout

Businesses are changing constantly, along with changes in technology. If your workplace is well designed, it should be able to accommodate these changes. Purchasing bench desking is ideal for this as its offers maximum versatility and is also a very modern looking desking format.

2.Adaptable Furniture

To be able to have a flexible layout in your office, it’s important to have furniture that can adapt to any changes. Bench desking, soft seating, meet point tables, collaborative and breakout furniture and acoustics, are all examples of smart office furniture which allow for flexibility in the workplace.

3. Workplace Wellbeing

Companies are becoming more concerned with the health and wellbeing of their employees and office furniture plays a big role in that trend. Proving employees with sit stand desking, ergonomics and posture chairs, ensures that they are comfortable and happy whilst at work.

4. Technology

Integrating technology into your workplace is a trend which is set to grow in popularity. Built in power adapters and wireless charging along with monitor rises are all trends which are going to become more and more popular throughout the next few years.

5. Different colours

Although white desking is still the most popular, the trend for having colour in the workplace is only predicted to continue. Colours can help influence productivity in the office and convey moods (this is why you don’t see many black or red walls). Blue is currently a big trend and will continue to be, as businesses like to create a calming environment to the often stressful office atmosphere.

 

6. Breakout Areas

Breakout areas, where employees can relax and put their feet up are an essential addition to the workplace and their popularity is on the rise. These areas are affective as they help employees to relax and socialise, which in turn can impact on productivity and performance.

7. Co-working Areas

Businesses have begun to look for co-working facilities which provide a convenient and cost effective office environment. This kind of set up allows for discussions and more interaction between different individuals and teams, allowing them to work more collaboratively in a shared area.

8. Bringing the outdoors inside

Bringing the outside indoors is a long-standing trend that isn’t going to go away any time soon. Employees can be in the office for  8 hours or more a day, providing a natural ambience can help create a more pleasant office atmosphere, whilst also purifying the air. This can be done by introducing planters, desk plants and living walls.

9. A home for personal belongings

Nowadays, we carry more valuable personal belongings around with us than ever before, such as smart phones, laptops, tablets, car keys and wallets. Because of this, it’s important to provide your employees with a safe place to store these belongings whilst at work. Many companies provide lockable pedestals at the sides of desks, however the latest trend is to provide lockers, giving your employees more space and less clutter, whilst also providing them with the security they need.

 

 

Simon Clark - Interiors Specialist
This post was written by
Simon Clark - Interiors Specialist

As one of our Office Interiors experts, Simon’s passion for designing dream workspaces is contagious. With over 25 years experience, you can be confident your project is in safe hands.

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Why you should invest in an office coffee machine

A coffee first thing in the morning is an essential part of the day for many workers up and down the country. Most employers offer a hot drink making facility, be it a tub of instant coffee and a kettle or a hot beverage vending machine. However, many workplaces are now investing in coffee machines for their employees, bringing barista style coffee into the office.

Coffee has grown in popularity in the last few years, there are now approximately 16,500 coffee shops on the UK high streets alone, with around £6.2 billion being spent in them in the last year.

The idea of socializing over a cup of coffee first came from Italy to America in the 1980’s and then over to the UK in the 90’s. With coffee slowly becoming our hot drink of choice, peoples expectations of a cup of coffee have got higher, meaning that your tub of instant probably isn’t satisfying your employees.

As the popularity of coffee continues to rise and the coffee shop revolution continues, more and more employees are seeing the benefits of offering a barista style coffee machine to their staff

Here’s why:

Productivity 

Its estimated that daily 47% of workers leave the office to purchase coffee from a high-street coffee shop. If you offer quality coffee to your employees, they are less likely to leave work to head to the nearest high street and are more likely to spend longer at work.

Expectations 

With our own home coffee machines and coffee shops offering a much higher quality coffee than 20 years ago, our expectations of what a cup of coffee should taste like have risen. Enjoying a cup of high quality coffee when your away from home is the norm. According to Mintel research, two thirds of people purchase coffee away from home. This figure is even higher when you look at the 16-24 year old demographic, where three in four people buy freshly brewed coffee.

Hospitality 

Statistics show that one in two people drink coffee every day. As well as your employees, clients  like having a good coffee during a business meeting. Imagine serving them a dull, tasteless coffee. That wouldn’t really help the deal, would it?

Offering your customers and visitors a drink is a simple way to ensure your guests feel welcomed. High quality beverages contribute by creating a much more pleasant experience for your visitors. If you consider the value of your customer in relation to the cost of a quality coffee machine, it’s likely that you will soon recognize the value of the investment.

Control  

It’s important to many of us to be able to choose black or white, sugar or no sugar, full of caffeine or caffeine free as well as a range of different coffees, this means employees can create a drink they actually enjoy instead of having to ‘settle’ for a drink they wouldn’t usually drink because it’s all that your workplace had to offer.

 

 

Pam Wakefield - Facilities Supplies Specialist
This post was written by
Pam Wakefield - Facilities Supplies Specialist

A chair for everyone, no matter what your shape or size. Meet Harvey.

Whether you are above or below average height and build, you need to have a task chair that correctly fits your needs. With petite, standard and tall options, Harvey is deigned to accommodate individuals of different sizes, whilst maintaining a consistent look throughout the working environment.Harvey is a highly supportive ergonomic chair, designed by ergonomists with user comfort in mind. Two back sizes and three seat sizes to ensure a good fit can be achieved for all people, no matter what your size or needs.

harvey

To select the correct chair, ideally users should fill out a seating assessment form which collects dimensional information. People are multi-variate which means they may be longer in the legs than the back and vice versa; weight also has an impact on the correct chair choice. As general guideline if people are in their ‘ideal BMI weight’ the Harvey chair size may be suitable for people of the following height ranges:

Harvey Petite (small seat and small back) 5ft and under (152.4cm and under)

Harvey Standard (standard seat and high back) 5ft to 5ft 11 inches (152.4cm to 180.3cm)

Harvey Tall (Large seat and high back) 5ft 11inches and above (180.3cm and above)
There are also options for inflatable back and seat lumber, coccyx cut out, seat slide, headrest and adjustable arms.

harveysitting

 

Two mechanism options

The Independent Mechanism allows an accurate angle between the backrest and the seat to be achieved; this is very important for accurate control of your posture. When the chair is unlocked it ‘rocks’ from a semi-knee tilt point allowing good movement to be achieved without adjusting your trunk to thigh angle. A tension control allows you to adjust how easy or difficult it is to recline in the chair. The Self Balancing Mechanism lets the chair do the thinking for you, all you need to do is choose whether to lock or unlock the chair.

 

For more information or to request a demo of the Harvey chair, please do not hesitate to contact our special furniture team on the details below.

Simon Clark - Interiors Specialist
This post was written by
Simon Clark - Interiors Specialist

As one of our Office Interiors experts, Simon’s passion for designing dream workspaces is contagious. With over 25 years experience, you can be confident your project is in safe hands.

Email LinkedIn

Supercharge your promotions with power on the go!

Nowadays we all have such busy lives. We are constantly on the go – from the office to the gym to home, juggling a family, a work life and a social life. There’s an ever-increasing need to know that we can always rely on our mobile devices and therefore a need to charge our devices on the go. Our iPads, iPhones, and many other portable devices always seem to run out of battery power when we need them the most.

Powerbanks are portable chargers for mobile phones and tablets and have become one of the best-selling promotional products. They make a superb corporate gift for customers and staff. They are versatile as promotional gifts because they can be used with a variety of portable devices therefore are incredibly useful and something that is kept and used often, providing a great opportunity for increasing your brand awareness.

We have over 40 different styles to choose from, in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours and in price ranges from £3 per unit to £30 per unit. Minimum orders start at 25 items.

Here’s our guide to choosing the right promotional power bank to supercharge your promotions.

Decide what size of battery capacity (milliampere hour or mAh) do you need?

Most smartphones have batteries of around 1400-2900 mAh so a basic 2200mAh promotional power bank is suitable for most smartphones. Tablets and iPads have batteries in the region of 8000-12000 mAh. Therefore, it’s important to choose the right promotional power bank as a basic 1000-2000 mAh won’t be much use for charging a tablet.

Decide what design and shape you would like? 

There are lots of different shapes and sizes from sticks, tubs and flat bars to bespoke 2D and 3D designs. Some also come with a wrist strap or a strap to hold the cable. They come with a micro usb cable as standard but double check with us as you may need to upgrade if you want the cable to be compatible with Apple products. Consider if you want to be able to charge more than one device at a time and whether you’d prefer to print or engrave your logo and contact details.

Decide what your budget per item is?

The higher the mAh, the more expensive the power bank will be. If you wish to charge more than 1 device at a time, you will need a high mAh. The number of colours you would like printing on the powerbank will also affect the cost price. And finally, decide whether you would like it supplying in a nice gift box.

Here are our top 4 favourite power banks:

Powertone (MO5004)

  • Basic two tone powerbank 2000, 2200 or 2600 mAh capacity.
  • Red and blue indicator lights to see if the powerbank is charged.
  • Suitable for smartphones.
  • Product size: 21x30x90mm. Printing size: 80×13.5mm.

powerbanks

Powermate (MO5001)

  • Powerbank 2000, 2200 or 2600 mAh capacity with key ring included.
  • Suitable for smartphones.
  • Product size: 96x22x24mm. Printing size: 85x17mm.

powerbank-2

Powerflat (MO8735)

  • Power bank 4000 mAh in aluminium.
  • Capacity for smartphone use, output current DC5V/1A.
  • Includes USB cable with micro usb plug.
  • Product size: 6.5x11x0.9cm.
  • Print area 80x30mm.
  • Can be engraved or printed.

powerbank-3

Powersun.

  • Solar charger with 11000 mAh capacity and includes a micro USB cable.
  • Suitable for smartphones, tablets and other digital devices.
  • Product size: 8x13x2.3cm.
  • Print area 60x50mm.

powerbank-4a powerbank-4b

Here’s a cool idea!

Promotional power banks are a perfect giveaway for events and exhibitions. How about promoting “Free Charging Station” and “Free Power Chargers “at your stand. Your traffic will be increased, giving you time to talk to your prospective customers and qualify your stands traffic.

If you are unsure as to what product would be perfect for your company, then why not give us a call and we can do the hard work for you?

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Motivating your employees in 2017

January is often thought of as a gloomy, miserable month, but it doesn’t have to be. The new year is a great time for a positive new start!

The year usually ends on a high, with New Year’s Eve celebrations. However, a few days later people are usually back at work with empty pockets and tight trousers and its usually down to managers to stop their staff suffering the January blues.

As Christmas is now well and truly over and the new year has begun, this is the perfect time for a fresh start within the workplace, thinking about how to lift the mood of your employees, increase wellbeing and lift their overall attitude towards the rest of the year.

Below are a few ideas to ensure your employees have the best start to 2017:

Encourage your employees to be healthier & more active

A healthy workplace is a happier workplace. Encouraging employees to be healthier and more active is important. Small things like using the stairs instead of the lift, taking regular breaks from sitting and starring at a computer screen  and providing healthy snacks throughout the day, will all help to improve the overall health and productivity of the office.

Boost Happinesshappy

If your employees feel appreciated and their hard work gets noticed, they are more likely to be happy in their job, making them more productive. A positive working environment motivates people to commit to a company. If you treat your employees well, they will reciprocate this by working hard.

Personal resolutions

It’s easy for people to feel unmotivated in January, which can cause productivity to dip. This can often be caused by not keeping to our well-intended New Year’s resolutions. Instead of making resolutions before the new year, why not encourage your team to come up with some resolutions in January, ones that encourage discussion between colleagues? While it’s important not to set the bar too high, it’s healthy to encourage your employees to take up the odd challenge, be that personal or work related.

 i-l-my-jobSponsorship initiatives

As an employer, it’s a good idea to offer your employees sponsorship initiatives to heighten productivity and boost morale. This can anything from fitness initiatives, taking part in activities either as a group or individually to offering prizes for the person that raises the most money for charity throughout the year.

Training

Providing your employees with the correct training is very important. Additional training boots confidence allowing people to build on the skills they already have and create new ones, which is of a benefit to the both the employee and the employer.

 

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