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How to stay sane in a loud office

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Open plan office environments are more popular than ever. Without walls and cubicles to get in the way, creativity and collaboration are made effortless and business culture can thrive, which is why employers opt for a modern, open-plan layout when designing their offices.

But the increase in volume that is common in open spaces isn’t helping our productivity. From barks of laughter, loud chewers and out-of-tune renditions of your former favourite songs, offices can quickly become a place where focus is the forgotten concept.

Diamond Interiors recently conducted a survey that found that 52% of office workers are distracted by the noise in their office.

The importance of minimising noise

There are naturally going to be times when noise is inevitable in a working environment – we’re only human.

However, controlling the volume in these instances is crucial to maintaining a healthy workplace, as less than 50% of office workers can work in loud environments without being distracted. So, what effect does this have on our day-to-day work?

There are a number of problems that can affect workers when the office becomes too noisy.

1. Reduced productivity

Continual distractions in the office can seriously hinder productivity, as research shows that the average office worker is distracted every 11 minutes and then takes 23 minutes to return to a state where they feel deeply engaged in their work. In fact, simply being exposed to one nearby conversation can make an employee’s productivity plummet by up to 66%.

2. Low morale

When you’re working to a deadline and trying to stay in the zone, the last thing you need is to be trapped in between two conversations or hear cackling laughter from the other side of the room.

Not only does this stop productivity in its tracks, but it also has a negative effect on employee relationships and morale.

3. Health risks

Noise pollution in the workplace can cause a number of detrimental effects to employee health and wellbeing. Studies show that even intermittent exposure to loud noises can cause lead to elevated blood pressure.

You may think that your office isn’t loud enough to worry about such things, but it’s not just about volume. Prolonged exposure to moderate noise levels can even lead to hearing damage and loss in extreme cases.

How to stay sane

When working in an open plan office, it may seem as though there’s nothing you can do to cope with the daily drone. However, you don’t need to redesign your whole building; starting small is the best way to drown out the noise and reclaim your sanity.

1. Use your headphones

If you’re working on a project that doesn’t require any communication with colleagues, the easiest way to deal with noise in the office is to block it out with your headphones. Obviously, this isn’t always an appropriate solution – you can’t exactly sit in the middle of a board meeting with your earbuds in – but, it’s ideal for when you’re at your desk and need a couple of hours to focus.

Be cautious, though: blasting loud music in your ears to try and overpower the ambient noise will have the reverse effect, making it difficult to focus and potentially damaging your hearing.

Noise-cancelling headphones offer a happy middle ground. They block out the noises that bother you without having to pump even louder sounds into your ears.

2. Take a walk

When it’s difficult to try and control the noise level in situations like these, the best solution is to remove yourself from the situation.

Enjoy a short walk, give your eyes a rest from your screen and get a breath of fresh air. A small break away from the hustle and bustle will help you take a step back and recharge your batteries. When you’re back at your desk, you’ll find yourself less irritable and all the oxygen in your brain will improve your concentration.

3. Have ‘the talk’

When you’re working in close quarters, you might need to speak to your colleagues about controlling their noise levels, but nobody wants to create an awkward situation for themselves or their colleagues. However, if you’re tactful, you’ll be able to masterfully defuse the situation instead of being labelled the office buzzkill.

Sometimes workplace noise levels can really get out of hand, but usually, people don’t realise how loud they’re being. By gently mentioning the noise level, you can ask if they wouldn’t mind keeping the volume low without offending anyone or causing any drama. Everyone just needs a nudge every once in a while.

4. Use whatever space is available

When working in an open-plan environment, you may not have a dedicated quiet work area where you can seclude yourself. An alternative to this is to make use of other areas in the business that may be less noisy than at your desk.

Jump in a meeting room while it’s free or ask if you can borrow a colleague’s office so you can get your head down on a project. There may even be a coffee shop nearby where you can escape from the chaos for an hour or two to focus on your work.

What can employers do?

If you approach your employer and ask them to redesign the whole office because you’re finding it a bit loud, you’ll be laughed out of their office.

But that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing that can be done to help quell the noise, as there are unobtrusive ways to customise a workspace.

Nick Pollitt, Managing Director of office design specialists Diamond Interiors, believes that a little ingenuity can go a long way in office acoustics. “Keeping the volume down in offices can be tricky, as it’s predominantly down to each individual to be aware of their actions. This doesn’t mean however that there’s nothing employers can do to help reduce the levels of noise pollution.

“More and more workspaces are incorporating quiet booths into their office design, giving their employees a place to escape from the noise without removing themselves from the office entirely.

“In fact, if you’re clever with your design, there are a number of acoustic solutions that can be implemented into your current work environment without needing a full office overhaul. Absorbing sounds with acoustic panelling is a great place to start, as they can be installed in walls, floors and ceilings; giving you options for whatever space you have available.”

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It has it’s own beach, James Bond meeting room and even a Back To The Future themed floor – no wonder Rentalcars.com new head office has been dubbed the coolest office in Manchester.

 

The stunning new £2.7 million UK HQ in Fountain Street is the hottest office in the city and Diamond Interiors are proud to have created such a fab place to work.

Diamond Interiors supplied the furniture and fittings for OBI Property, the project managers and designers on the incredible project.

They transformed 38,000 sq feet of office floor at 35 Fountain Street for rentalcars.com who have taken the second to sixth floors of their city centre  building in their 10th anniversary year.

Rentalcars.com are one of the largest car rental firms in the world hiring a staggering five million vehicles every year employing more than 350 members of staff in Manchester alone.

The move to Fountain Street will create a further 200 jobs and the company were determined to create an office space that would ensure a happy workforce.

Rentalcars.com CEO Ian Brown, said: “At Rentalcars.com we’re proud to be ‘anything but ordinary’ and we wanted a new office space that would really reflect this ethos and the diversity of our team.

“That’s why we invested so much time and money in creating an office space like no other in Manchester.

“We’re delighted with what we’ve achieved with the building. The reaction from all of our colleagues and visitors so far has been fantastic.”

Manchester based OBI Property represented rentalcars.com on acquiring the new lease and were appointed to design and project manage the new fit out, the biggest property deal in Manchester in 2015.

The team created a totally unique building with each floor of Fountain Street hosting it’s own theme including drive-in movies, metropolis, road trip and world cars.

Each floor also contains quirky meeting rooms including James Bond, Manchester, Las Vegas and Back To The Future and a number of fun ‘break-out’ rooms including an open air cinema, PS4 room, a tranquil park and a beach on the top floor complete with beach huts, a Starbucks bar and pool table in a car!

Diamond Interiors MD Nick Pollitt, said: “It was an exciting project to be part of and the results are absolutely stunning.

“We worked with OBI Property sourcing and installing the furniture and bespoke fittings design to compliment and enhance the themes embraced for each floor.

“The final results are an absolutely stunning office that will ensure a happy and motivated workforce.”

Rentalc

For more information from Diamond Interiors or to arrange a free space-planning appointment please contact 01257 278 277 or email info@diamondinteriors.co.uk

Diamond Dazzle With Sequre Success

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Sequre Property Investments turned to Diamond Interiors for their second office move in a year.

 

The leading property investment specialists are growing at such a staggering rate they needed to secure even larger premises in Greater Manchester.

They have secured an additional 5,000 sq ft of office space within the building in Sale that has been their headquarters for the past 12 month.

The Manchester based business specialise in sourcing discounted buy-to-let properties in bulk and now have offices in London, Liverpool as well as their Sale HQ.

Sequre Property Investment providing bespoke property investment services for novice investors through to high net worth individuals and professional property investors.

They turned to office and design specialists Diamond Interiors who were tasked with the creation of an open plan office space with storewall and meeting rooms.

Graham Davidson, MD of Sequre Property Investment, said: “We are extremely proud of the success that Sequre has achieved in such a short amount of time. Our growth has enabled us to create local jobs, encourage investment in Manchester and allowed us to support local charities with our fundraising efforts.

“Our rapid expansion is testament to our solid business model and our ability to put investors at the forefront of everything we do, this is why we are experience such an overwhelming number of enquiries each month.”

Diamond Interiors are UK leaders in office design and planning and suppliers of office furniture from leading manufacturers and designers.

The Lancashire based business provided a full design plan service for Sequre Property Investment as well as the supply and installation of the office furniture.

For more information from Diamond Interiors or to arrange a free space-planning appointment please contact 01257 278 277 or email info@diamondinteriors.co.uk

 

Diamond Desk For Clarke Energy

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 clarke-energy

It is the showstopper Clarke Energy dreamed of and the final piece of their Diamond Interiors make-over.

 

They have installed a bespoke reception desk created by one of the UK’s most prestigious furniture manufacturers at their Liverpool head office.

Diamond Interiors have led Clarke Energy through a complete refurbishment program transforming their CEO suite at their Knowsley headquarters.

Clarke Energy specialise in the engineering, installation and maintenance of engine-based power plants and are the largest distributors of GE’s reciprocating engine business.

Having successfully complete the refurbishment of their CEO Suite and general office areas in partnership with bespoke furniture manufacturer Hands of Wycombe they were tasked with the creation of a new reception counter.

Diamond Interiors MD Nick Pollitt, said: “This was the final piece of the jigsaw for the Diamond Interior team in terms of our refurbishment program for Clarke Energy and what a way to celebrate.

“We have worked with Clarke Energy for a number of years and they asked us to create something special for their reception area, the main public focal point for their head office and that is exactly what Hands of Wycombe created.”

For more information about Diamond Interiors or to arrange a free space-planning appointment, please contact 0845 683 0024 or email info@diamondinteriors.co.uk