All posts by Andy Roberts

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Why are desk dividers essential in your office?

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In the office design world open plan offices and collaborative spaces are at the peak of their popularity. However, all of this open space does come with some drawbacks. Sometimes privacy is what is needed to get the most out of your employees and in this blog, we explain the importance of having desk dividers (desk screens) and why your organisation can gratefully benefit from having them. Our desk dividers are available in a wide range of colours, sizes and designs. They make a great addition to any office space, read more below to find out why!

Defined Workspaces:

Depending on your job role, a desk divider is a great way to get a sense of separation from you and your colleagues so you will be able to differentiate your work load from the people that sit to the left & right of you. Take the very chaotic role of an accountant for an example, the amount of paperwork that they deal with is mind boggling. So having a desk divider/separator is absolutely essential as they can keep their workload separate from any other paperwork that’s floating around.

They’re also great for bringing a bit of privacy to the workspace – perfect for when team members need to knuckle down and concentrate at the task at hand, away from the chaotic atmosphere that’s occurring around you.

Branding and Colour

Desk screens are a great way to actually brand your office. This is due to the various array of options that are available such as colour, styles and finishes. They are a great way to brighten up any office workspace that creates a vibrant, welcoming space for any visitors that enter your company’s premises.

Information Security

Protecting information can be a challenging task in itself for all businesses, this becoming exceptionally difficult in large, open plan offices where everyone can see each other’s screens. Having strategically placed desk dividers is a great way of hiding the confidential information that other employees should not be seeing. Going back to our example of accountants and other HR employees, desk dividers make a fantastic feature to safely secure your work load from the other curious eyes in your workplace.

Personalising Working Areas

Having researched some statistics, stats show that allowing employees to personalise their work space with whatever dastardly devices they wish to showcase. This is known to increase the wellbeing and overall happiness of your staff, even increasing productivity. Again, this is where desk dividers come into play. It will be even more beneficial for productivity if your colleagues had office dividers to fully personalise their office space without having anyone else’s work/equipment invading like a swarm of Vikings.

Identifiable Departments

Not only do desk dividers do a great job of granting you room to actually keep your workload to yourself. They are also great for defining departments, without having to surrounding your team with separate sets of four walls. This will give your colleagues a degree of separation whilst still feeling like part of the same office.

Practical Storage

Choose the right desk screens, and they can make excellent platforms for useful office accessories like monitor arms, trays, shelves and pen holders. This can help to keep your office clean, tidy and organised, whilst improving employee productivity and freeing up valuable workspace on the desk surfaces.

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To browse our vast array of office divider screens please click here:

 

Asian Furniture Design

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Asian furniture designers are now taking the world by storm. Originally it was the Western brands that took up most of the spot light, we are happy to announce that the tides are changing and the Asian companies are ‘breaking the wheel’ by inventing some truly outstanding furniture designs that would only be seen in an alternate/futuristic movie.

Shin Azumi was the first big name to cause ripples in the Western furniture design scene. It was the fantastic Lem stool for La Palma (2000) that was an overnight success. Since this design we have seen a steady rise in Asian furniture designers adding a spark of creativity to the Western market.

There are also creative furniture producers called Stellar Works. These are based  in Shanghai, their aim is to ‘celebrate the poetry of Japanese aesthetics, the richness of Chinese ornamentation, the playfulness of Italian design, the refinement of French luxury and the less is more ethos of Scandinavian design.”

The Asian furniture designs are to truly be admired by all, the designs that are being showcased recently bend the realms of reality and will surely have you questioning what you are seeing. So to summarise, Western brand – start watching your back.

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The future of your furniture

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The future of your furniture depends on what you do today!

In today’s economic climate, many companies are opting to up-cycle their existing furniture. We have obtained many contracts resulting in the resizing of desks for a variety of companies. It has become apparent that it makes sense to re-size and upcycle office furniture at a fraction of the cost to buying new. This is achieved by (cutting it down) reducing the foot print, re-edging and providing a fresh look at a fraction of the cost of a new product. All of our up cycled products come with a whole of life recycle guarantee.

Over the last 20 years, desks have been manufactured wider at one end (800mm at one end and 1200mm at the other) to accommodate a large monitor for a computer which was the size of a microwave (300mm deep), monitors now are as thick as an IPad (30mm deep). Spaces in offices are now so expensive and with the increasing environmental sustainability awareness being an important factor in people’s lives, our re-working service can reduce your overall footprint.

One of our customers was planning to recruit 12 new co-workers in London and they were looking to relocate to a larger office to accommodate the additional staff. Once they had spoken to us, they realised by utilising their reworking service, it would save them 26% of their existing space, allowing them to accommodate their new staff without the need relocate.

Similarly we have also seen a demand for re-upholstery of existing seating, recovering customers own chairs, re foaming where necessary and completing a 10 point check on the chair before returning it back to re-use.

So up cycling your desks and a chair provides a massive saving. Now that’s sustainable and a sensible option!

  • Increase the Life span of your furniture
  • Save rental costs by utilising your current space
  • Better Value Investment Ethically it is perceived better to spend public/companies – rather than “splashing out” on new when cuts are being made elsewhere
  • Corporate Social Responsibility – Prevent your contribution to landfill
  • Green Credentials – Instead of re-manufacturing, we are simply Re-working or Up cycling the current items. If you are concerned about being green with your business, that’s great, but it’s even better to up cycle. E.g. when recycle; this involves an industrial process of being stripped, shredded, crushed, burned, melted and re-shaped to produce a slightly lower quality than the original. However, if you up cycle you will have a better-than-original item that didn’t require extensive processing… and its much more creative!
  • Budget Friendly – Makes your budget stretch, freshen up your office image (take the opportunity to colour change, new desk tops with the same frame/new upholstery in seating or screens)
SmartSlab

Is ‘Micro’ the Future of Urban Homes and Offices?

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As cities become more congested and built up, space becomes more valuable. And so does flexibility. If homes become smarter and more space saving (or multipurpose) using products like SmartSlab, they should also integrate smart reconfigurable interior walls and flexible equipment. In a state of the art city pad of the future (in just 10 years’ time) interior walls, furniture and equipment will be reconfigured on command to allow flexibility and optimum use of space.

MINI unveiled a micro living concept at Milan furniture fair, where certain items are foldable and movable. Great idea, but let’s make it smart. Bluetooth it up with 3 or 4 pre-programmed automated layouts. One tap of a smart phone screen and your studio pad goes from standard furniture to leading technological inventions that need to be admired.

In this situation furniture needs to lead. In the next decade we’ll see at least one major player emerge from Asia in the furniture mass market. And their furniture will be smart, automated and flexible. The Apple of the furniture industry. That is it for now.

 

SmartSlab

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‘Stupid’ Furniture…

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Would you believe it if we told you kitchen appliances have Bluetooth? That central heating is controlled with smartphones? The main question is why aren’t more manufactures making this kind of furniture?

 

Office spaces aren’t just becoming more nimble; they’re also increasingly wired for tech, and future tech. That doesn’t just mean more outlets in more places (though those certainly are multiplying rapidly). We are past the tipping point of technology being part of our environment.

Greg Lynn, designer of a smart sports chair for Nike understands. His new chair (see right, credit: google) has sensors to warm or cool users as required, eliminating cramps and reducing fluid loss after exercise, a great invention for athletes looking for the edge. In an interview with Dezeen he commented: “I think the furniture industry is slow to engage technology. It’ll either happen or they’ll disappear.”

Technology is truly powerful. A tech invention can send a startup from a garage in Stoke to the stock exchange in weeks. If the furniture industry doesn’t integrate tech fast (not just wireless phone chargers), it will lose market shares to tech companies that truly innovate.

Kram and Weisshar’s SmartSlab dining table integrates circuitry, allowing food to be cooked and kept at optimum temperature. At the same time your bottle of wine is kept perfectly chilled. All this on your dining table as your dinner guests sit around it. The collaboration between Kram/Weisshar and Iris Ceramica Group is a case in point: neither party is a furniture company. Iris Ceramica (ceramic tile producer) was looking for new uses for its range of tiles and hey presto. Very Jean Prouve too.

Chemistry height adjustable desking is designed to fully interact with you, whether you are in a seated or standing position.

Building A Story Blog Post

Building on a story

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We’ve arrived at the middle ground, in which companies are abandoning hot desking but not returning to closed-door offices. Where exactly does that leave us?

“It’s quite easy to point to the limitations of both ends of the spectrum,” Huxol says. “This friction between what the open office means for our clients’ corporate culture or brand ethos, and designing truly productive work environments has motivated our work in this sector”.

Think of it as the new era of super-customisation. For the office Bluecore, an email marketing startup in New York City, HuxHux and decorating firm Homepolish not only created meeting rooms of varying sizes, but also listened to the company’s individual story and the needs for employees within it to create some unorthodox arrangements.

“One employee we talked to said, ‘I’m most creative when I’m in my bed with my laptop,’ so I thought, ‘let’s make that happen,’ “Huxol says. He carved out a tiny nook high above the company’s grand entranceway, and lined it with glass. The little eagle’s nest is the perfect size for a few pillows and an informal meeting. And it has the best view in the office.

Another consideration when laying out the space was that Bluecore has an in-office custom of halting work every day so everyone can eat lunch together. That worked without a hitch when it was a few folks working out of an apartment, but when the head count approached 40, it seemed impossible to sustain.

HuxHux came up with a solution. It brought in a massive table for the café that seat 38 people. Now the team can continue the tradition from its early days. Our personal favourite was the YouNow office design. Those colleagues certainly have it lucky!

Is this a trend toward the end of trends? It’s certainly encouraging to see designers and architects embrace the individual narratives of the companies for whom they are creating the next generation of workplaces. For now, at least, customisation seems like it is king.

 

Building A Story Blog Post

 

Biophillic Retail Spaces

Smarter Office Furniture

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Does the design of a shop have an influence on whether you enter it or buy something? We believe this is exactly the same with your office space.

Felderman says sound and lighting are new areas of focus for innovative companies. “For instance, there’s knowledge that lighting affects the mood and productivity of people,” he says. “Companies will be coming out with lighting for which you can change the colour temperature, so it’s cooler in the morning and warmer in the afternoon.”

His business partner Nancy Keatinge, notes that companies are taking employees’ health into account when constructing new office spaces. Flexible workstations, in the mode of Herman Miller’s Living Office, that allow for standing or seated work and ergonomic computer viewing, are becoming standard. So are outdoor areas that allow workers to soak in the sun without taking a vacation. And health rooms, for practicing yoga or meditation, are on the rise.

Incorporating Biophillic design principles into an office space can have extremely positive effects on both employees and customers during the working experience. It is believed that biophillic design and plants in the office can have huge physical and psychological benefits, from reducing stress and anxiety, to improving the quality and availability of respite from work and increasing levels of self-reported wellbeing.

Not only does Biophilia have a massive impact on the employees directly but it may also improve your office economically, by helping to keep the air clean and reproducing oxygen, and may also reduce heating and cooling costs.

 

Photo credit: Pinterest

 

Biophillic Retail Spaces

 

The next hot thing in cool Office Design

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In the offices of today, it is a lot more than just a bank of desks with monitors and PC’s/Mac’s being installed on each. You want it to inspire! Inspire your colleagues to push that extra bit further, think that little bit harder for that spark of creativity that gives you that one fantastic idea.

When clients enter your office you want them to be impressed. You want your office environment to represent your business. You want the look of the office to nail how you choose to market your business. Want to be seen as the cool kids on the block? Get inventive with your office design. Want to be seen as the retro kids who live for the 70’s/80’s? Where are the arcade machines? It is also true that it is the people who adopt these office spaces as their own are the ones who bring the office to life.

While this is most certainly true, you must make sure that your colleagues are comfortable at their work stations to increase productivity. The best way to boost productivity in your office environments is to make sure your colleagues have the space to; eat together, play together and hang out together. The happier the colleagues, the more productive they will work and in turn the more the business will thrive.

A popular concept that small firms as well as large ones such as Microsoft, Macquarie Bank & Ernst & Young is ‘hot desking’. Hot desking is simply bring your laptop and working essentials, plunk them anywhere and you are good to go. Multiple employees can, in this arrangement, use the same desk at different hours during a day

 

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Photo Credits: Pinterest – Google.

 

Utilising Social Media for Brand Awareness

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Social Media

 

It is hard to keep count of the sheer amount of Social Media networking websites at people’s disposal. Therefore it is likely to throw thousands of companies from using these fantastic marketing platforms. Networking for businesses has never been easier as social apps like Skype allow you to have video conference calls and contact other employees who maybe working from home. Not to mention the two grandfathers of Social Media – Twitter and Facebook. Facebook has acquired over 1 billion users who have created an account, a decent percentage of these users are business promoting their own companies.

Joanna Lush is a Business Development Manager at GX Glass, and in a recent article she states: “Alongside producing a quality product, having good lead times and accurate costings, you have also got to be able to get your name out there and get people to see what you are doing. Social Media is not about making a hard sell, it is more about brand awareness. It is about making sure we have the right infrastructure in place so that we can respond to people and do it correctly, and also ensuring that both our IP (Intellectual Property) and that of our clients is being used properly.”

Lush continues: “As a business we are increasingly getting feedback from customers through Social Media channels. There is so much potential from Social Media and so many different platforms to choose from. For instance, we have been thinking about whether we should start putting together video content telling customers more about what we can do”.

If done correctly, video marketing can be a very successful way of gaining publicity to your website and bringing more traffic to your website – Which should be the main goal of Social Media promotion for all companies. Brand awareness allows you to showcase your company across any networking platform you choose thus persuading interested users into visiting your website.

Social Media marketing has hundreds of potential avenues for you to explore. Companies who have not yet explored the opportunity of Social Media marketing, we urge you to reconsider as it is a really effective way to promote your business.

Is the ‘Heavy Duty Chair’ the new ‘Chair’?

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Editorial kindly provided by Patrick Boland – H&M Ergo Seating

With an increasing ‘always on’ society and the rise in instant international communications, many companies are under pressure to offer a more flexible 24/7 working environment to keep pace. This means they need equally flexible office systems and robust furniture to match. Add to that the well-publicised increasing size and weight of the world’s population and the heavy duty category looks like it could soon be considered the norm in office seating.

Chairs designed to suit heavy usage and those for heavier users have many crossovers, and the need for good, ergonomic design in this category is even more important than in a regular office chair. Shift workers often have to share a workstation with others so the need for a multiply adjustable chair to fit individual body shapes and working postures is essential to prevent strain or musculoskeletal problems. With the heavier or taller person, back, knee and joint problems are already more likely, so an extra supportive posture friendly chair is required.

24/7 working usually means more than one employee will have to use the same chair. An adjustable seat, back, arms, neck rest and lumbar support is therefore essential to accommodate all workers. This flexibility is achieved in quality ergonomic chairs through at least 10 points of adjustability including functions such as arm rest width adjustment, seat pan slider and seat tilt options that encourage a healthier zero gravity posture.

For the big and tall worker, flexibility and comfort are also essential design features, as is the need for greater support, hardwearing fabrics and a more robust build. Manufactures of good quality large and tall chairs will include reinforced backs, padded and reinforced arms, higher spec gas lifts and strengthened, contoured seat pans to add support, comfort as well as reduce stress on a heavier user’s frame. Good suppliers will also use a modular design in their heavy duty range, so individual parts can be repaired or replaced.

As the working world gets bigger and the working ‘day’ becomes more and more flexible, it’s easy to see that what we now regard as heavy duty options may well be the standard that office furniture will have to aspire to in the near future.