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Say yes to an open office!

Benefits open office design-BFG

An open office can help create a more efficient, friendlier and connected workplace.

The way we work has changed, so say goodbye to cubicles and traditional private offices and welcome large open spaces with zones for collaborative work and pods for private conversations.

We can now login, work and check emails from anywhere in the world, so how can we bring everyone together and encourage collaboration through office design? An open office encourages an environment where management is approachable and employees are productive, motivated and feel valued. Great office design can help you get the most out of your staff, make your workplace more desirable and help retention.

Reduce your overheads

An open office plan requires less floor space per person, potentially reducing your real estate or rental costs. Since equipment is more easily shared, your set-up costs may also be lower. Plus, you’ll have more flexibility as your personnel requirements change.

Encourage collaboration

To collaborate is to bring people together and to share ideas. It’s important to understand how your staff work, so make sure to consider:

  • how teams work together
  • what are their individual needs and requirements
  • what do they need in their space to enable them to perform daily tasks
  • what changes are required to support a mobile workforce
  • Doing your research and planning accordingly will ensure a successful transition to an open plan office.

Doing your research and planning accordingly will ensure a successful transition to an open plan office.

Reduce your email inbox

For some of us, our inbox is the bane of our working life. Ditch the traditional way of communicating, get up and connect face to face with your team. In an open plan office, it’s easier for colleagues to communicate, which is faster and more productive than going back and forth via email or messaging.

A sense of community

In a traditional office set up, many staff members come to work, shut their door and keep to themselves or their immediate co-workers. An open plan office changes this dynamic; individuals are aware of what’s happening in other parts of the company and feel more engaged and involved.

Make sure management spends at least some time working in the open space as well. They’ll be more approachable and also have a real sense of what’s going on with their staff.

What about distractions?

The key to a successful open office is to create different spaces or zones:

  • An office zone with desks where staff can collaborate, ask questions and share ideas
  • Quiet zones where people can easily focus or work on time-sensitive tasks
  • An area for small group conversations or brainstorming sessions
  • Private spaces for phone calls or work of a confidential nature
  • Meeting rooms

 

To create an office that provides the right balance of individual and collaborative workspaces, contact us today.

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Let there be light!

Are you living out your office days in a fluorescent lit cubicle? There is light at the end of the tunnel!

Our lighting tips will help brighten up your workspace for the better.

Find that natural light

Shuffle things around and move closer to that window! Natural light is far less straining on your eyes, and a good view never hurt anyone. Research shows you’ll be significantly happier and more productive at work if you are positioned closer to natural light sources.

Draw in the focus

Increase light levels in your immediate surroundings with task lighting. If your workspace is shadowed by furniture or equipment, then you could benefit from additional direct lighting to illuminate particular working areas.

Avoid the glare

It is recommended that lights are placed parallel to the windows to achieve a balance between natural and artificial light, and also to avoid shadows and glare – which both have a distinctly negative impact on a workspace.

Give your eyes a break

Feeling the eye strain from eight hours at your computer monitor? Clinical optometrists often suggest applying the 20/20/20 rule. For every 20 minutes of computer use, look at something 20 feet (6 metres) away for at least 20 seconds.

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The Fabric of your Environment

Incorporating elements of texture into your office space can transform it from cold and rigid, to warm and comfortable!

Regardless of whether your workplace encourages customer visits and interactions, having a decent place for people to sit is important.

Soft seating in collaborative spaces can turn a formalised meeting into an environment where everyone feels relaxed and ready to contribute ideas. It is also a fantastic way to add colour into an office or reception area and utilise company colours and branding. Many visitor chair options can accommodate fabric seat pads onto a moulded base.

There is also a range of products that allow you to brighten up a workspace with textural fabric wall features and acoustic panels with multidimensional effects. Bringing a little bit of home comfort into an office environment can do wonders for moral!

Fabric doesn’t have to mean difficult to clean or harbouring bacteria. Crypton is a common choice for the hospitality and healthcare industries. It is 100% recycled polyester and provides a permanent moisture barrier. It also provides stain resistance, odour control and microbial protection.

There are a multitude of options when considering applying soft furnishing elements into your workspace. So make comfort a priority and apply fabric elements as a key part in your next office revamp!


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Stand up for your health

Did you know simply standing can increase your overall health and well-being?

Sit-Stand desks can be beneficial for your body and mind. Standing for 15 minutes each hour can assist with burning calories, weight loss and an overall increase in our health and well-being. It can even add years to your life!

Now there is a tool to assist with making this work/lifestyle transition even easier. Desk Control™ is the new DESKLINE® software desk panel for use in all types of office desks. It’s as easy as installing software onto your computer and making it work for you! There are reminders that will instruct you to stand or sit throughout the day and also give you feedback on standing time achieved and the calories burnt!

Another great tool is the Bluetooth control which allows the desk height to be modified without the direct use of the desk controls via your smartphone or tablet. The app can be downloaded for free to support both Android & IOS. Linak also have some great tools that calculate the annual benefits of standing while you work on their website.

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Great workspace, happy staff!

Your physical environment can have a big impact on your productivity

A positive workspace is all about balance. Your physical environment impacts your productivity and ability to work collaboratively and cohesively with your colleagues. A variety of factors can come into play:

  • Is there adequate personal space?
  • How are the noise levels?
  • Is there sufficient lighting from windows or overhead?
  • Are you in a corridor with lots of disturbances?
  • Does the quality of air promote a healthy environment?
  • Are you an individual or team worker?

Providing ample balance between individualised workspaces and collaborative zones is vital to ensure colleagues are able to interact and communicate clearly. Divisions of space can be made with permanent walls, acoustic screening or modern accents such as vertical gardens.

However, no one likes to feel chained to their desks, So just as a positive work zone is important, so are the social spaces. One of the simplest ways encourage a positive environment is to eat together. This can be an invitation to a lunch out, bringing a shared plate or eating individual meals together. It all adds to the workplace moral and better relationships between colleagues and employees.

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Using your Sit-Stand desk

Humans are meant to move and grow, so use a desk that does the same!

Now there's a desk that is as dynamic as you are. Sit-Stand desking is an increasingly popular way to grow productivity, job satisfaction and physical well-being.

Don’t get locked into sitting all day! Being inactive for 8+ hours a day is not only bad for your body, but your mind too. There is a healthy balance that needs to be reached between both sitting and standing. It is recommended that a sit-stand desk user spend up to 15-minutes every hour standing.

To ease you into the sit-stand shift, start by standing for 5 minutes every hour and progress up to the 15 minute mark. Make it part of your daily routine; set a timer or use software to prompt you.

Follow our tips to get the most from your standing desk:

  • Avoid strain on your back and neck by raising your desk to a height where you are able to direct your line of sight in a natural manner.
  • Wear comfortable shoes to ease the transition from sitting to standing.
  • Make sure your desk is able to support the weight of your arms, but that you're not leaning forward and hunching.

So are you getting the most out of your sit-stand desk? Now’s the time to stand up!

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Get creative with colour

Transform your office by using colour to boost your mood and well-being

Do you spend most of your day in a dark office cubicle or facing blank, grey, lifeless walls? This could be drastically affecting your productivity as colours can trigger moods, stimulate creativity and influence your overall feeling of well-being.

Bringing excitement and colour into your office doesn’t have to mean a total makeover! You can transform your office space into a vibrant environment using some simple ideas such as coloured pin boards or desk screens, plants and greenery, upholstered office chairs, coloured stationery that aligns with your brand, painted feature walls or some art.

Different colours have diverse effects on our moods, so make sure you select the colour that’s fit for your purpose.

Red                                                                    

Trying to draw attention or create urgency in a particular area? Red is an active and high intensity colour. It is vibrant and energetic, but can be overwhelming and startling when overused.

Yellow

Boost your creativity and emotional response by incorporating yellow into your workspace. It is a colour of optimism and can stimulate imagination and ingenuity, making it ideal for designers, artists, developers or writers!

Green

As a colour of calm and balance, green is said to aid your intake and recall of information. If you work long hours, incorporate green into your workspace to counteract sluggishness and improve your focus.

Blue

Much like green, blue is a low-wavelength colour and lowers your heartrate by soothing and calming you. If your job is brain intensive and requires a lot of focus, blue is an excellent colour to level out stress and improve productivity.

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Ergonomic ideals

Tips ensure your workspace is set up to minimise aches and pains

Regardless of whether you have the ideal ergonomic chair, there are still things you can do to correct your workplace seating to improve your comfort levels and prevent unnecessary pain.

Correct your posture

Sit up straight with your shoulders back, spine straight and your neck in a comfortable position. Some sources suggest to set a timer for 15 minutes and see if you are able to unconsciously maintain this position for extended periods of time. Get yourself into a good routine. It's worth the effort.

Seat height

Adjust your chair to a height where your feet are flat on the floor and your knees are at a 45° angle. Alter your armrests so your arms rest comfortably outstretched with adequate support towards your keyboard or workspace. The less strain there is on a particular area, the less pain you will experience as your muscles or spine won’t have to overcompensate.

If you are able to upgrade your office chair, select an option with multiple lever operations to adjust your seat height, backrest angle and seat slide options – such as the Tivoli Task Chair.

Foot rest

Having the option to stretch your legs for periods of time, and still have them supported can be solved by incorporating a foot stool. You can use any number of items to achieve this.

Monitor height

If you are unable to adjust your screen height with a monitor arm, it can be as simple as using a stack of books to create a makeshift stand. This will assist in maintaining a neutral neck position at a natural eye level to avoid unnecessary strain.

Quick tips

Other simple tips to consider include not holding your phone between your ear and shoulder for long periods of time, resisting the urge to cross your legs and wearing supportive shoes that will assist with healthy blood flow and reduce stress on your knees and back.

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Future Proofing!

Create flexible working spaces that can adapt to your changing needs 

Now, more than ever, it is crucial to create a working environment that can evolve with your company's needs and keep up with ever-changing technologies and working styles. Here are a few things to consider when setting up or refurbishing your office space:

Future Planning

Design your space for adaptability. Look at desks, tables and seating that all fit together and configure in a variety of formations. Are you able to accommodate new staff members or adjust your desk configuration for presentations or large projects? Creating zones for low noise work areas, along with collaborative spaces will cater to a range of working styles and enable higher productivity levels amongst staff.

Invest in Technology

Flexibility is key in a modern working environment, and utilising Cloud based IT resources is an important way to provide staff members with a ‘work from anywhere’ atmosphere. This gives the ability to accommodate staff members with children, sales reps on the road or even the simplicity of moving freely around the office and away from the traditional, and sedentary, desk and chair setup.

Don't cheap out on the chairs!

Be clever with your furniture! Comfort is key and having a chair that promotes correct ergonomics is essential. There’s nothing worse than sitting in an uncomfortable chair for hours on end. Correct seating is dependent upon your height, leg length and usability of your workplace tools. Make sure you’re looking straight ahead at a computer screen, and that everything you need is in a workable distance.

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Green Workspace

Go green and make your office more environmentally friendly!

Green work spaces mean more than just separating your rubbish and recycling. There are a variety of ways you can look to do this in your office, so here are a few of our suggestions:

Support local business

While supporting local businesses is great for the economy, it's also green because products don't need to be transported so far. BFG are proud supporters of a variety of local businesses, and we work closely with our suppliers to source raw materials designed to mitigate negative environmental impacts.

Literally, go green!

Introduce plants into your workplace! Studies have shown that both productivity and moral increase when your workplace is filled with leafy green life. Plants are also said to decrease stress, improve air quality and add a calming aesthetic quality to your office.

Implement paperless work practices

Resist printing that email! Communicate electronically as much as possible and utilise technologies such as tablets and laptops to discuss ideas with colleagues. If it really is necessary, print on both sides of the paper and maximise your page layout so that there is no unnecessary wastage.

Upcycle your furniture

If your office is looking to replace furniture, look at ways you can utilise the items you currently have. Reupholstering is a great way to give new life to an old chair, and can also save you a bundle!

Review processes

Look for ways to improve efficiency and minimise end waste in all aspects of your business. Being more environmentally friendly could also reduce costs! BFG constantly review our operating processes, plant and equipment in order to improve efficiency and minimise the end waste. We do this with smart design and maximising things like board cuts and fabric meterage.