All posts by Leah Winstanley

5 must-have personality traits that drive productivity

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Cultivating a positive workplace environment is not something achieved by a select few – everyone brings something of their own to the table. Forgive the cliché, but the modern office space is such a hive of activity that it is almost impossible for it to be led by a single presence. Everyone pitches in.

And, if your business is to reap the sweet benefits of growth, increased revenue and industry recognition then the employer must embrace this. Personalities are what make a successful business tick – for better or worse.

So, in the spirit of diversity, DBI Furniture Solutions has been in touch with a few industry leaders and business professionals to get the lowdown on what personalities shine most in the office environment.

1. Don’t worry, be happy

Positivity! Every officpexels-photo-29594e has that shining beacon of positivity, and some are lucky enough to have more than one. Again, this is something more employers should recognise. Happiness at work equals productivity; a brand new survey from employee services provider Personal Group proves that happy workers are 12% more productive.

Happiness at work can be influenced by a number of factors, from pay to how the office itself is designed.

Commenting is Lee Biggins, Founder and Managing Director of recruitment experts CV Library. Having helped countless professionals into their jobs, Lee is more than familiar with office personalities and what best influences a workplace:

“Our research found that there are certain personality traits that UK professionals would most like to see in their colleagues. At the top of the list was positivity, with 48.1% of workers rating this as the trait that they would like to see in their colleagues. This was followed by honesty (42.1%), approachability (41.5%) and a sense of humour (38.3%).

“What all of these traits have in common is a theme of openness and support. Clearly, UK workers want to find themselves in a workplace where people are able to express their opinions withou
t fear of unjust negativity.”

From Lee’s experience, positivity is almost an ‘umbrella’ trait which envelops related aspects:

Being positive in the workplace can only help breed success across the workforce. Alongside this, being honest and approachable means that co-workers are happy and confident to approach you with new ideas as well as any concerns they may have.

“Finally, a sense of humour is highly desirable; while we of course all need to knuckle down and work hard, being able to have a laugh with your colleagues is just as important to help maintain morale within the workplace.”

2. Creativity is unique

Our minds work differently, and we often approach problems from different angles – this is all to do with creativity. Creative minds are best creativeput to use in collaboration with others, as ideas bounce off one another and become industry-leading campaigns (or are retired to the wastepaper bin, as some are).

Because, while success might be reflected in profit margins and ROIs, they only exist because of brave, bold ideas. Good ideation processes will always uncover the creative minds of your workplace, so employers should be taking the time to engender a positive, creative environment in order for talent to flourish.

Speaking here is David Ingram, Managing Director of digital marketing agency Bring Digital. According to David, a well-executed brainstorm session encourages an open playing field where all suggestions are welcome to the table:

“We’ve created a brainstorm process that works brilliantly for all personality types; with a transparent platform through which people can come forward with ideas, and contribute to others.

“Creativity in the office translates into so many different areas. It can mean looking at a problem from a unique perspective, or taking an idea in the opposite direction. I can’t think of a business, especially in digital, that wouldn’t benefit from such a trait.”

3. We all appreciate punctuality

Being on time is an understated, often-overlooked aspect which gets far less credit than deserved. It goes for anything – cpexels-photo-196656oming into work on time, delivering tasks and respecting deadlines.

If your business is reliant on timing, then this can be even more important. Working in digital, for example, may require you to provide reactive comment on industry developments or events in the media.

It’s not only important within the team, it’s great for meeting clients and ensuring that you make a good impression at job interviews.

4. Let’s not forget about integrity

Integrity relates to so much withpexels-photo-271560in the workplace; have you ever taken credit for someone else’s work? Maybe you’ve witnessed something untoward but have neglected to tell anyone.

Honesty and trust are central to integrity, and its ethical foundations within work must not be underestimated. It is also closely aligned to passion – how much you know about your industry depends on the amount of work you have put in and your genuine interest in the business.

Commenting is Marcus Franck, Founder of startup business Franck Energy:

“For me, the most desirable trait of a co-worker is integrity. When we’re looking for new team members at Franck Energy, we look for people that are genuinely passionate about environmental issues and understand the context in which we work.

“I don’t mind if a co-worker isn’t completely clued-up on a certain topic, but genuine honesty and curiosity goes a long way.”

5. Passion pays

Having a passion for what you do is crucial, not only for personal fulfillment (everyone wants to enjoy what they do) but career advancement, too. Whatever industry you are in, a love of the business will stand you in good stead for success.

Maybe you are a design-head, and live for creating websites. Have you always had a way with words? Copywriting should be right (or, write?) up your street. Either way, passion is a list-topping priority for most recruiters and is most certainly something fellow colleagues will want to see.

To get more information, we spoke with Craig Hall, Operations Director at digital marketing agency Glass Digital. According to Craig, passion is a powerful personality trait to possess:

“Digital marketing is a young industry, so it can be difficult to hire experienced staff. That’s why we place huge emphasis on the right personality traits when hiring. The most important thing is passion and focus, as a lack of enthusiasm often translates into poor productivity.

This is not just passion for the business, either. Passion for self-improvement, pro-active goal setting and practicing your craft is a brilliant byproduct of passionate employees.

“We also look out for people who are fast learners, because best practice is constantly changing in our industry. For the same reason, staff must be able to identify their own weaknesses and have the desire to develop their own knowledge and skills.”

These traits run through most businesses, and should be valued for their contributions to the wider organisation. As proven, happiness goes hand-in-hand with productivity, and success. The products at DBI Furniture Solutions are all geared toward the same goal.

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

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Across a diverse range of businesses, there is one recurring problem for office workers in the UK. With long periods spent sitting down, sedentary lifestyles are putting employees’ health at risk.

Never has there been such an urgent need for employee exercise programs – but just how much exercise are we talking, here?

According to physical activity guidelines from the NHS, adults aged 19-64 require at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week to stay healthy, as well as a minimum of two day’s strength training per week.

This is more than doable, even if you are stuck in an office all day. DBI Post 1
With some simple steps and a little encouragement, employers can easily promote an hour of daily exercise for staff. After all, it’s in the business’ best interests to ensure that all employees are fit and healthy, given that long-term sickness absences cost UK companies an eye-watering £4.17 billion EVERY YEAR!

Promoting exercise and a healthy lifestyle is a win-win situation for both sides. We can reduce the risks of sedentary living for employees, whilst saving businesses billions and improving the economy in the process.

Here’s how you can do it…

1. Bring the workout into the office

Employers can make great strides in promoting staff exercise by simply bringing exercise to them. Time constraints are one of the biggest challenges facing employees – especially those who have lengthy commutes and out-of-work commitments.

Draft in a fitness professional to give employees brief but beneficial workouts. A midday adrenaline boost can prevent you from hitting that 3pm wall of tiredness and reaching for the nearest caffeine hit.

We spoke to Bring Digital, a digital marketing agency for whom exercise classes have boosted productivity and staff morale. Speaking is Office Manager Suzanne Monks:

DBI Post 2“Since introducing our ‘Bring Wellness’ initiative, our health and fitness program, we’ve found that staff are coming into work motivated and in a healthy state of mind.

“It allows them the flexibility to get a workout in without going out of their way, which is great for us all. We understand just how important exercise is, especially within the office environment. It’s a lot of fun, too.

“Staff have reported feeling more energised throughout the day, and the late-afternoon slump has pretty much disappeared.”

It’s an easy solution which works wonders for staff productivity, boosting morale and giving employees the chance to build rapport with colleagues.

Here are just two exercise classes you can bring to the office:

 

Improve flexibility with Yoga

There are a whole host of benefits to be had from yoga. For the office worker, these include; healthier and uninterrupted sleep, improved blood circulation, a boost in energy levels and enhanced mental wellbeing.DBI Post 3

It’s also easy to take into the office. All you need is your health and fitness professional, a few yoga mats and some floor space. Move a few desks – it’ll be worth it.

Commenting on the benefits is fitness expert Chris James, who has been teaching yoga in the workplace for several years.

“Staff have reported an improvement in flexibility and awareness of weaknesses in the body. There have also been fewer days off sick – which managers have reported has had a direct impact on the bottom-line of their business.”

As well as physical flexibility, yoga can vastly improve your state of mind according to research from the Harvard Medical School. It helps you deal with stress, can boost your mood and can potentially help Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. So, get stretching!

Pilates to fix your posture

For those of us who are familiar with the aches, pains and niggles of sedentary office living, it’s vital that preventative measures are taken.

Pilates offers a great combination of yoga-like relaxation techniques with light-to-moderate aerobic exertion.

We spoke to Magenta Associates, a PR Agency providing regular (non-compulsory) Pilates classes to employees. Speaking is Managing Director Cathy Hayward:

“The general consensus is that taking an hour out to do a Pilates class once a week has had a very beneficial effect. Staff return to their desks feeling energised and well rested (it’s a forced time away from their computer, whereas people can eat lunch while carrying on with work).

“As a result, they feel they’re more productive after the session.

“It’s also improved their posture, which is really important when you spend so much time at a computer. And they feel valued by the company so, as a result, they’re more engaged”.

Recent studies by the Asian Journal of Sports Medicine showed that Pilates can be used to improve flexibility and to speed up recovery from musculoskeletal injury (in turn, shortening the time needed away from work).

Again, you require very little to host a Pilates session. What’s stopping you?

2. Offer discounted gym memberships

Short DBI Post 4of bringing exercise to the office, this method is the next best thing. For many, actually getting to the gym is half the battle. Between transport troubles, long working hours and all the stress in-between, squeezing in gym time can be tricky.

By offering discounted gym memberships to employees, you’re making it a whole lot easier and incentivising staff to get a workout in where possible.

Research from Britain’s Healthiest Workplace recently showed that high stress and a lack of physical activity are causing industries to lose up to 27 days of productive time per employee, each year.

As an employer, you’re naturally looking out for productivity levels as well as the wellbeing of your staff. It’s been proven by Stanford University that regular exercise immediately boosts brain cognition and performance.

For this reason, gym memberships are a great way to improve employee fitness while, at the same time, ensuring that the work they produce is of the highest level possible.

You could work out an agreement with a local gym, offering your business’ services in return for discounted memberships. It’ll certainly be cost-effective in the long run.

3. Drink water – the ‘forgotten nutrient’

You might feel like you’re always being told to drink water. It settles a wide range of ailments and it’s no surprise that it’s often the go-to solution when you’re feeling a little off colour.

If employers installed a water cooler, that would go a long way in encouraging consumption throughout the office. Offering free water prevents dehydration – obvious, yes, and still many neglect it and end up flagging later in the day.

In fact, research from the University of Connecticut showed that even mild dehydration can adversely affect mood DBI Post 5and how our mind and body perform generally.

The problem is that we are dehydrated well before thirst begins to set in, meaning that we should stay well-watered throughout the day if we’re to maintain a consistently high level of productivity.

To find out more, we spoke to Dr Emma Derbyshire, public health nutritionist and adviser to the Natural Hydration Council.

“Water is often regarded as the ‘forgotten nutrient’, our brains are about 70% water and our bodies around 50-75% water, depending on age and gender.

“It’s not surprising, therefore, that being inadequately hydrated can affect how we feel and perform at work.

“Research has shown that even a reduction in dehydration levels of as little as 2% of body weight can influence mood, lead to greater feelings of fatigue and reduced levels of alertness.

“Given that in the UK we spend an average of 37 hours a week for a full-time job, it’s really important we stay hydrated for our wellbeing and for productivity.”

The European Food Safety Authority recommends a total water intake of 2.5 litres for men, and 2 litres for women per day (via food and drink). Ideally, 70 to 80% of this should come from drinks and 20 to 30% from food.

Here’s how you can encourage better hydration in the office:

Start the day right with a glass of water

Encourage your employees to start the day with a cold glass of water. Coffee may be the first port of call for many, but overdoing it on caffeine will only set you up for a drop later.

Water offers a stable, clean energy boost. Installing a water cooler or providing free bottled water will ensure your employees are well hydrated and ready to work.

Headache? Grab a glass and take a seat

Headaches are common in the average office space. If you find yourself burdened with a heavy head toward the end of the day, then there’s a high chance you’re dehydrated.

Take a break with a cold glass of water. It’s scientifically-proven by the University of North Carolina to help your headache by fuelling your system with vital nutrients, allowing more Oxygen to reach your brain.

4. Forget the elevator – take the stairs

It’s all about the minor changes. You don’t have to run a marathon every week to be healthier (although this would help, admittedly!). With some small lifestyle changes, your employees can make huge health improvements in the long run. All it takes is a little encouragement.

DBI Post 6Imagine if, every day, your employees took the stairs to the office instead of the lift. That’s X number of steps added each day, five days a week. This should keep your business’ sick day payments down to a minimum – because, according to research from the University of Oxford, those with sedentary lifestyles showed a lower mortality risk of 46% after increasing their daily steps from 1,000 to 10,000.

Increase the stakes

You can even promote the 10,000 steps a day challenge – set up a chart for staff to log their daily amount. Incentivise this with an end-of-month prize! To boost uptake of the challenge, you could provide your staff with Fitbit watches to monitor their steps.

We spoke to Georgina Richardson, Head of Operations at digital house and pet sitting business Trusted Housesitters, for some words on employee incentivisation.

“Investment in people is hugely important to us, because you see it repaid with staff loyalty, hard work and a lot more creative energy.”

While staff perks and incentives may seem costly in the short term, they can drastically bolster staff happiness and morale in the long-run.

There are a lot of options to help your employees exercise a little more. This is one of the cheapest (scaling the stairwell of your building is complete and utter free exercise!).

5. Get out of the office for a lunchtime walk

Sitting in a chair all day can be bad, so it’s vital that your employees take every opportunity to get on their feet. The lunch hour is a perfect opportunity for them to take a breather.

IDBI Post 7n the fresh air, staff can walk their lunch off and chat with colleagues, or take some much-needed alone time away from the bustling work space. Depending on where your office is based, you can take in the surrounding sights. There’s a park nearby? Brilliant – take an afternoon stroll and recharge your batteries.

Let’s not forget the mental benefits of a lunchtime stroll – recent research from Curtin University, Australia showed that workplace stress can be greatly alleviated by a simple lunchtime saunter (or in this case a brisk walk to really get the blood pumping).

Your productivity should see some definite improvements. By stepping outside of the office space, you’re actively taking steps to engender a fresh state of mind. You’ll return to the office invigorated and ready to smash through your workload.

6. Exercise for charity – it’s for a good cause!

You can get your employees to represent the company for several charity events – be it sponsored walks, marathons or even a fun run. The whole workforce can take part and make it a real joint effort, getting some quality team-time in as well as some exercise too.

Aside from the clear physical benefits, staff charity events are great opportunities for your team to get to know one another. They can motivate each other during a particularly gruelling hill climb or provide some healthy competition in the marathon.

It’s quality time spent with your team, so there are benefits to be had all-round. Staff could even take part for a charity that is really close and significant to them.

7. Stay on your toes – try standing desks

DBI Post 8

Offices are getting more and more innovative all the time. From trendy décor to new and progressive furniture solutions, it seems that the office space is a fitting domain to test the water and see how greater mobility can help to improve productivity.

Standing desks are the new kids on the (office) block. Getting your work done upright can send productivity levels through the roof, boosting staff morale along the way.

According to a recent study from Monash University, alternating between sitting and standing positions can drastically improve fatigue and ease musculoskeletal discomfort.

To get to the bottom of this, we spoke to Georgina Richardson of Trusted Housesitters. The company have seen some notable staff improvements since installing standing desks on their premises.

 “The new standing desks are definitely making us more active and they’re giving the office a 21st Century, digital feel.

“Everyone is happy that they can move around the office, setting their MacBooks up at every level – the standing desks are particularly great when you need to feel energised and creative.”

You’re giving staff the option to use standing desks, while keeping the usual setup that they’ll be used to. Employees will appreciate being given the choice as they can experiment with the new desks and see how they work.

Standing desks are a shiny new toy for a lot of companies looking to shake things up. It’s worth giving them a try!

8. Get an office dog – they’ll need to be taken for walks!

Aside from bringing a pet into the office as a mascot and general morale-booster, pets can be a great way to get staff out into the open. If you bring a dog in, for example – someone will have to be on walk duty. You can assign weekly duties to staff, taking it in turns to get some fresh air.

As an added extra, having a pet around the office will shake up the tedium for some employees. Morale will be lifted and, according to research from the Virginia Commonwealth University, stress levels could fall.

Having dogs around also facilitates the social life of the office space. You get to meet members of other departments and staff you’ve only encountered through email – all this, because of some simple dog-talk.

DBI Post 9But remember, bringing dogs into the office can pose health and safety risks. Nestle recently became a dog-friendly workplace, and have ensured that all dogs go through what’s called a ‘pawthorisation’ process to make sure the dog is suitable.

Also, not all staff will be ‘dog-people’ and might not appreciate the presence of dogs – so keep this in mind. A quick survey amongst your workforce should be enough to assess whether it’s a good idea.

 

9. Install cycle storage for a greener commute

You’ll be killing two birds with one stone, here. By providing bike storage on your premises, employees will benefit from cycling to work rather than taking the car. It’s cheaper, healthier and – here’s the best bit – it’s better for the environment.

DBI Post 10With vehicle emissions lowered, cycling to work offers some quality, unavoidable (you need to get to work!) exercise.

You can’t go wrong. The early blasts of fresh air will be great for staff, and nobody likes being stuck in traffic jams, so cycling to work is ideal.

Recent studies by the University of Cambridge show that the benefits of cycling and walking largely outweigh the risks posed by greater exposure to air pollution – perfect for offices in bustling, metropolitan areas with high levels of city smog.

 

There’s so much that you can do and, as the employer it’s down to you to implement real, healthy changes. Take the above steps into consideration and ensure that your employees are fit, healthy and happy coming into work. It’ll pay off in the long-run!

Clerkenwell Design Week

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Last year 34,973 visitors attended London’s most important commercial design festival: The Clerkenwell Design Week. The Clerkenwell Design Week is the home to more creative businesses and architects to be found anywhere else, it is at the forefront of renovation and creativity. With each year it surpasses the previous year with even more talented architects and designers creating true masterpieces to behold. For a visual treat this festival is not to be missed. Last year’s festival marked the seventh edition of the Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW) delivering a huge benefit to London’s key design cluster with over 41,000 new business leads generated directly at the three-day show. The show featuring over 90 local showrooms, and a record 300 exhibition brands, CDW brought London’s most characteristic and creative quarters alive. The event ran from 24 – 26th May, as visitors came from over 70 countries to see the spectacular designs and to meet the various architects and designers. Mixing with exhibitors drawn from more than 20 countries, CDW used its transitional year to build on its position on the international design calendar.
This event was sponsored by Renault for the second consecutive year, 65% of the visitors that attended CDW were various architects or designers, confirming the importance of CDW for London’s creative sector and delivered through a unique format, including eight exhibition venues, over 150 local businesses and a series of original site-specific installations, with over 400 events.
New for 2016 was the comprehensive re-calibration of the show, which stretched across Clerkenwell, master planned by local architecture practice OMMX. OMMX have gained their incredible reputation by providing furniture fittings for various private residents, office spaces, shops, public spaces, even festivals and exhibitions. OMMX strive to amaze our clients by exceeding expectations and demonstrate a personal commitment for the duration of each and every project. This provided a fresh outlook on both the area and the experience of visiting a business-focused design event. Eye-catching way-finding guided visitors between festival locations as they explored the new parts of Clerkenwell, to hunt out the latest in design. Along with the geographical expansion exhibitions, a gateway destinations to Clerkenwell’s showrooms was added at Brewhouse Yard and the Goldsmiths’ Centre took centre stage as the show’s Live Events Hub.
The conversations at Clerkenwell series of talks and panel discussions, sponsored by 250 City Road, included a host of design thinkers and influencers and was headlined by a specially devised salon series curated by Ineke Hans, Daniel Libeskind in conversation with Patricia Moroso and Tom Dixon on his CDW installation, The Church. The live events programme complimented a series of high profile product launches and CDW exclusives, such as Loll’s UK debut and Layer design’s world’ first 3-D printed wheelchair by Benjamin Hubert at Clerkenwell London.2

Paulina, Nick and Kevin from HQ visited Clerkenwell Design Week this year between the 23rd to the 25th of May. Commenting on how inspiring and exciting all the new concepts and ideas where. Here are some images taken from their trip:

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Cycle To Work Day – 14th September

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Cycle To Work Day is an amazing organisation that every year gets thousands to pledge to #LeaveTheCarAtHome and cycle to work! This year it was on the 14th of September and Leah from HQ in Wigan pledged her 10 miles and cycled to and from work, doing her bit for our Carbon Footprint.

If you would like to find out more about Cycle To Work day, take a look at this link https://www.cycletoworkday.org/ – You can view photo albums of everyone who pledged and read more about the amazing results of the day.

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Is Sit-Stand The Future Of Desking?

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There is evidence of implementations dating back over a century, but height-adjustable sit-stand desks as we now know them have been available from Scandinavian manufacturers for about 20 years. Sit-Stand desks are becoming more popular, both in work and office environments as well as in a household.

Here are some examples of how sit-stand desks can benefit you!

  1. Increase Your Productivity

Standing up is believed to help increase productivity, emotion and motivation. This means that by standing up you should feel more alert, which in the end helps you stay focused on the tasks you are working on.

  1. Improves Posture

Even in a Task Chair with the best support we can all be subject to slouching!  The sit-stand desk improves your posture as you are no longer hunched over a desk. It’s also a lot easier to stretch and flex your muscles and joints whilst stood, increasing circulation.

  1. Standing up burns more calories!

Standing alone can burn more calories than sitting down. A study by the BBC found that standing for an hour; you can burn an extra 50 calories. Based on this study; standing for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, over the course of a year, you can burn an additional 30,000 calories!

  1. Beat the Zzzz’s

Standing is believed give an increased amount of energy which will help you stay perkier at work throughout the day. Sitting down can become to comfortable, and make you feel tired. Whilst standing is more active and keeps you alert!

  1. Health Benefits

Studies have advised that those who sit all day at work, live for two years less than those who have an active life. The importance of standing and moving during the day is hugely important, especially if it’s teamed up with sitting down in front of the TV in the evenings.

After seeing these points, your organisation shouldn’t be running out the door to get all of their colleagues a sit-stand desk, but the option to have one should definitely be on the cards. For additional information be sure to click the link provided by the BBC to find out more – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24532996

 Shop our range of sit stand desks here  https://dbifurnituresolutions.co.uk/products/desking/sit-stand-desks-products.html