Bringing the outdoors into your office

furniture & interiors

An exciting development to take hold of the interior design community, specifically in office spaces and work environments, is ‘biophilic design’, but why should modern businesses adopt it into their workplace design? Biophilic design takes the concept of nature and a human’s natural connection to it and applies it to contemporary design and spacial planning …

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An exciting development to take hold of the interior design community, specifically in office spaces and work environments, is ‘biophilic design’, but why should modern businesses adopt it into their workplace design? Biophilic design takes the concept of nature and a human’s natural connection to it and applies it to contemporary design and spacial planning with an office space to create more nature-inspired environments for workers. With recent studies from Human Spaces informing us that 30% of EMEA workers (Europe, Middle East and America) don’t have access to natural sunlight in their workplace, it’s significant for organisations to ascertain whether incorporating biophilic design into their business is worthwhile. In this post, we will discuss three variants of implementing natural design into your office space, and the benefits of these methods.

Visually:

One way to simply involve more natural aspects into your office design is through visual changes and additions. Perhaps the easiest, yet most important, way of doing this is to find ways to make natural and dynamic lighting more accessible. As humans, we follow what’s known as a circadian rhythm which is a 24-hour cycle. This is naturally intertwined with our motivation, productivity and energy throughout the day, and can be modulated by sunlight and temperature. If you’re stuck in a dark office with no natural light, it’s not inconceivable that your circadian rhythm will essentially become jumbled up, leaving you feeling tired and unmotivated during the day. By adding simple changes such as natural light, you can limit these effects and create a boost of energy during the day across your office space. In fact, according to the Human spaces report already mentioned, office workers who work in an environment with natural elements (such as sunlight and greenery) experience a 13% higher level of well-being than those without natural amenities.

So how does a business introduce these types of changes, along with other forms of natural visual design? For most, it should be as easy as having unobstructed windows across the office allowing light to flood in, or installing larger windows or skylights, however this isn’t always possible, especially if you’re renting out office space. For this, you could implement dynamic lighting that shifts in direction and colour to mimic the sun’s natural cycle. Sunlight isn’t the only way to alter your office space to a visually, biophilic design plan, though, as greenery and colour schemes will have similar effects on the psyche. Incorporating colours such as forest greens, browns and tans along with a sky or sea blue can greatly impact the general well-being of your office. This could be introduced simply through minor things like stationery, and other office equipment as a start, and could go as far as repainting the office and laying new carpets to match the design. In a recent refurbishment for Pets at Home, we used some of these visual elements within their design, such as breakout pods with natural tan and green colours to allow for a natural atmosphere.

Texturally:

Another interesting way to invoke feelings of nature into your office environment is through the medium of textures, surfaces and just the general feel of your workspace. Similar to the idea of biophilic design, this variant of bringing the outdoors inside is called ‘biomorphic’ design and focuses on creating work areas that model and feel like natural spaces. Biomorphic designs are supposed to create environments that, although artificial or man made in design, look and feel as if they could be found naturally. According to a UK based study titled ‘The Relative Benefits of Green versus Lean Office Space’, workers that were exposed to nature at work are 15% more productive than those who weren’t.

There are many ways to easily integrate these kinds of designs into your current space without too much effort or even expense. First, let’s clarify what counts as biomorphic design, as it does correspond with specific materials. Most offices are likely to include equipment or furniture that already falls into this category, such as natural wooden desks, or marble workspaces, as these are both materials that can be found within nature and evoke feelings of being outdoors. For more ideas, you could embrace greenery with plant walls that can be used to partition spaces and decorate and office’s aesthetic whilst also providing a more colourful, unique and natural backdrop to any office space.

Sensory:

A more obscure or unusual approach to creating a work environment that assimilates nature and its many benefits into the day-to-day grind is through sensory approaches to design. So, what does sensory refer to? The kind of changes under this branch of biophilic design aim to affect the way we take in our environment, whether that be through sound, smell or anything that influences our senses in a considerable way. Altering the way, we feel and sense our surroundings in any environment, even man-made ones, isn’t a new concept. Practices such as ‘Feng Shui’ are based around creating spaces following defined principles to boost our innermost feelings of happiness, well-being and even productivity, and nature has a lot to do with this. Certain conditions of an environment can affect us very easily, such as not being able to sleep when there’s loud noises. If you can manipulate not only the sounds you add to an environment, you can have more control over the way your team feels and can create a definitively more fruitful working environment.

There are simple ways you can incorporate these features into your spatial planning, but all make significant changes to your workplace for the better. Simple additions to your space such as water features can make a huge impact, as its proven that the sound of running water can naturally put people at ease and allow them to concentrate as they tune into a more constant, uninterrupted sound. Having these features is undeniably aesthetically pleasing, which can help for the visual aspects of biophilic design. Another way to include some sensory changes to your current design is through your spatial planning and creating a system which makes your space as unpredictable as nature itself is. Create winding paths between paths, offices and meeting rooms to provoke the wild essence of nature. Although a small change, it doesn’t go unnoticed and will create an interesting climate between the teams and even encourage more collaboration. Another method to adopt this abstract style is through varying ceiling heights or natural partitioning between areas using material like cork, bamboo or straw.

Whether you’re looking simply for a fresh, modern layout to shake up the office or considering adopting more natural design additions to impact the well-being of your office, biophilic design styles are a great way to renovate your workspace. For more information, get in touch with our team today and we can discuss how refitting and reinventing your office can help you and your team today!

Adopting Social Spaces in your Workplace

furniture & interiors

Resurging as a necessary element of an office’s design, social spaces such as kitchens, breakout spaces or pods have become something of a growing corporate zeitgeist. With more and more modern industries beginning to focus on mental wellbeing and its positive implications on the workplace, as well as physical wellbeing, contemporary solutions were needed to …

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Resurging as a necessary element of an office’s design, social spaces such as kitchens, breakout spaces or pods have become something of a growing corporate zeitgeist. With more and more modern industries beginning to focus on mental wellbeing and its positive implications on the workplace, as well as physical wellbeing, contemporary solutions were needed to allow businesses to concentrate on their colleague’s productivity and motivation. Introducing or remodelling social spaces in your organisation can carry forward many benefits and allow you to make the most of the space you have available to you. In this post, we will be discussing how these kinds of spaces can affect team dynamics, personal capabilities and also the ways in which you can integrate these into your office or workplace.

According to a report from Merchant Savvy in 2019, around 20% of UK workers are working remotely, which puts them in 5th place as compared to the rest of Europe. With likely more and more becoming self-employed and working remotely, it’s easy to interpret that people prefer to work in homely locations where they can freely move around and take breaks, so why don’t offices adapt to this trend? By introducing a neutral space, such as a café style breakfast bar, you allow your workers to relax and unwind when needed without creating an atmosphere of unprofessionalism through homely furnishings and furniture throughout the office. The reason why the majority of office workers still work at an office rather than at home may not be as simple as the lack of flexibility to work remotely, but more to do with the fact that the human condition is social by nature. By spending up to 5 days a week with other people we maintain a necessary social quota, but what if we do more than maintain it, and instead encourage the positive consequences of socialising to bloom in a working environment through social spaces.

How do we implement social spaces into our workplace?

The difficulty with adding in these kinds of social spaces into your organisation can be choosing the right products to create a professional, dynamic and friendly area, and as experienced consultants within the industry, we’ve had clients who’ve faced these difficulties before they worked with us. Some effective ways to create these kinds of informal, yet presentable, socialising centres for your employees and visitors are kitchens, breakout spaces, breakfast bars, pods and general lounge areas. Each with their own levels of scope and integrated features, you can find a social space which matches the message of your business. If you’re a business that relies on your ability to connect and network, then perhaps a café style breakfast bar can provide a neutral area for you to discuss business or personal relationships with a nice cup of coffee by your side. Maybe you run a digital agency, such as an IT firm, and need a place with brighter colours and open windows to inspire creativity and create a contrast from potentially monotonous variants of work. Whatever your situation, your organisation can benefit from a unique and appropriate form of a social space.

More than just a place to collaborate

Some organisations will not have these social facilities for their employees, as they instil a strict separation between work and home, but social spaces go beyond just providing a place for your employees to socialise, interact and collaborate, they also provide a space for them to take screen breaks. Due to recent research and studies being popularised in media, many industries now require that their staff take regular screen breaks to avoid fatigue and stress, as well as receiving time to walk outside or drink water. DSE (Display Screen Equipment) regulations suggest that regular breaks of 1-2 minutes after every hour can be largely beneficial to avoid issues with overworking, staring at a screen for too long and stress.

The fact is this, organisations that value their employee’s time, mental health and ability to communicate provide them with spaces to help them restore, reenergise and reflect on their activities. To properly foster collaborative efforts within your organisation, spaces like these allow for a space away from the office or workplace where your employees’ creativity can flourish. To help our customers with this, we’ve undertaken projects that install breakout areas like kitchens and pods which isolate the inhabitants from the main work space so they can concentrate on the project at hand or simply socialise more with the members of their team.

If you and your business are looking for practical ways to introduce social spaces that are relevant to your layout and mission statement, then we can certainly help. Get in touch with our experienced team today to discover more about the many benefits of social spaces and breakout areas.

Wellspring Donation

business

On the 23rd of December 2019, Egan Reid handed over a collected amount of £450 to The Wellspring – an organisation set up to help combat homelessness through housing referrals and prevention. Based in Stockport, The Wellspring is a vital lifeline to the homeless community, providing a resource centre for those left without homes and …

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On the 23rd of December 2019, Egan Reid handed over a collected amount of £450 to The Wellspring – an organisation set up to help combat homelessness through housing referrals and prevention.

Based in Stockport, The Wellspring is a vital lifeline to the homeless community, providing a resource centre for those left without homes and disadvantaged. They actively engage with people who find themselves at risk of homelessness and work to prevent this from happening. Their resource centre puts on regular activities such as educational courses, art classed, football and even gardening. Besides these developmental activities, they also cover the necessities through health services, including a drop-in service from a GP. Drug and alcohol teams are also made available on frequent occasions. Other amenities and services include free food and drink, showers, clean clothing as well as blankets and sleeping bags.

Being open all year round, The Wellspring is in constant need of support, and as advocates for supporting the community at all levels, Egan Reid were happy to hand over what they have raised to the good team at The Wellspring, as well as vital food and drink donations.

Unveiling our new online education store

education

We’re pleased to announce the launch of our new dedicated online store for educational supplies. The new shop has a raft of intuitive features and has been designed to make procurement across your whole organisation quicker and easier. With over 5000 products available to order now, and new lines added all the time, our new …

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We’re pleased to announce the launch of our new dedicated online store for educational supplies. The new shop has a raft of intuitive features and has been designed to make procurement across your whole organisation quicker and easier. With over 5000 products available to order now, and new lines added all the time, our new facility saves you the time and hassle of shopping around different suppliers for your requirements. Here are just a few of the benefits:

Greater Efficiency

• Use the quick ordering tool to build a shopping list of your most-used product lines quickly.

• Streamline your procurement in a flash by creating a personalised favourites section with the help of our intelligent software.

• View all your previous orders on the history tab.

• Manage your team’s requirements with the addition of multiple logins to a team account. This allows you to create orders ready to be approved, as well as setting budgets for your team based on departments and so much more.

More Choice:

• Shop a carefully curated selection of over 5000 products spanning all areas of your organisation, from classroom essentials to janitorial products and technology (be ready for a wider range of classroom and office furniture products to drop onto the site later this month too!).

More Savings:

• With a constant stream of exclusive discounts and offers for our online customers, there’s even more incentive to use Egan Reid as your primary educational needs supplier.

• We’ll have lower prices, money off, free gifts and multibuy offers on select products- to name a few- all for our dedicated customers.

Make sure to check out our new online store today and see how we can make your procurement more efficient and transparent. If you’re already a user on our online store, your login details are still correct – you won’t have to create a new account or reregister. For more information, join our mailing list today to keep in touch with all updates, events and promotions:

https://www.eganreid.co.uk/

A review of Orgatec 2018

furniture & interiors

It’s clear to see from our recent visit to the Orgatec trade fair in Cologne, Germany, why the event – the largest of its type in the world – remains the number 1 platform for trendsetting in office interiors and a magnet for exhibiting companies….

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It’s clear to see from our recent visit to the Orgatec trade fair in Cologne, Germany, why the event – the largest of its type in the world – remains the number 1 platform for trendsetting in office interiors and a magnet for exhibiting companies and visitors alike. Where some high profile trade shows have lost their spark in recent years, Orgatec is definitely ‘alive and kicking’ with some 760 exhibitors showcasing their products and over 60,000 international trade visitors.

The key trends

Unsurprisingly, Orgatec 2018 was all about ever changing work cultures, with flexibility a key theme: flexibility to quickly change the layout or use of a space, flexibility to collaborate and communicate wherever you are, flexibility to reclaim traditional office space for time away from the desk. So, products designed for multifunctional areas were everywhere, always pushing creative boundaries further and experimenting with shapes and finishes – seating booths, meeting pods, personal storage lockers but also telephone booths, open shelving systems, meeting and office enclosures …

Wellbeing featured heavily too, something that was already a defining trend of the last event in 2016. Sit-stand workstations and tables are becoming more and more widely adopted as a solution to counteract some of the health risks of sedentary office work, and some of the best examples were on show, as were more dynamic seating options focusing on balance, strengthening the muscles and relieving the spine. For us though, the move towards a quieter, more peaceful office really stood out. Whilst more open, collaborative offices encourage better exchange and communication, they come with the challenge of how to maintain good levels of privacy and sound insulation. Many exhibitors were showcasing their acoustic solutions, from wall-mounted and mobile panel systems or more adaptable acoustic bricks to sound absorbing ceiling hanging panels, light fittings, floor finishes, ‘room in room’ concepts and more.

Seating and phone booths at Orgatec

Our personal favourites

We took so much away from the show that picking particular highlights may seem a bit of an impossible task. Belgian company BuzziSpace’s various takes on workspace acoustics certainly impressed us with their BuzziBracks curtain enclosed modular room concept, BuzziMood moss wall panels tapping into the biophilic design trend, as well as their striking chandeliers and light fittings.

Connectivity and smart working solutions are something we’re always looking out for, and there was plenty at Orgatec to get our attention, with so many manufacturers making access to power, data and comms an integral part of their furniture – and coming up with new, smarter, more intuitive ways to achieve that all important technological harmony. We loved Spacestor’s ‘California cool, London design’ Phonebooth and SBS Mobilier’s Seat Box and Stand Up Box.

We couldn’t help but indulge in some of the more informal and playful product ranges displayed by a few exhibitors, such as ball sports inspired chairs, unique pieces made of books or corrugated paper furniture.

Orgatec never fails to deliver a great show. Yes, some of the largest companies were absent. Yes, there were very few exhibitors from the United Kingdom. Our overwhelming feeling, however, is one of excitement, with a refreshed creative and innovative mindset that will be at the heart of our future projects.

3 reasons behind the rise of ‘resimercial’ offic

furniture & interiors

Love or hate the name, resimercial – the coming together of commercial and residential or home interior design elements in an office environment – is fast becoming one of the hottest trends in workplace design. Is it a fad? What are the…

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Love or hate the name, resimercial – the coming together of commercial and residential or home interior design elements in an office environment – is fast becoming one of the hottest trends in workplace design. Is it a fad? What are the benefits?

1. It’s all about wellbeing

When you think of resimercial design, the first thing that comes to mind has to be the use in an office of interior finishes and styles usually seen in homes. The choice of more daring, warmer, more natural or sometimes more playful colours, patterns, shapes and layouts contrasts with the safer, somewhat colder and more rigid styles traditionally seen in office design. This allows a greater focus on creating happy, comfortable spaces that offer much more than a desk and chair to sit at, possibly tempting home workers who feel isolated back into the office, with the ultimate goal of improving staff productivity and retention.

2. The age of the agile office

Resimercial embodies the move away from traditional office design and the need to reflect how people work. With the rise in home, flexible and multi-location working, the office is no longer a place where each space has a clearly defined function, a move taken straight from domestic interiors, where, for example, the dining room often is a family room, an office, a craft room … In new office design terms, this means providing spaces that people can work, meet and relax in, hence the increasing popularity of collaborative pods or booths, bench tables that work just as well as desks or as canteen tables, sofas with built-in power and data etc.

3. Getting the balance right

For all it draws from residential environments, successful resimercial design is about adopting a well-balanced blend of home and traditional office, not making the office feel ‘just like home’. After all, are piles of cushions, ornate chandeliers or shagpile rugs really cut for the office? Workplace furniture and finishes need to remain practical, durable and cost-effective. Here at Egan Reid Office Environments, we partner with furniture and interior finishes suppliers who have adapted their product ranges to take inspiration from the residential world and retain their commercial properties – proving that the ‘best of both worlds’ is the way to go.

If you’d like to explore introducing that ‘home from home’ feeling in your office, contact the team at Egan Reid Office Environments and get your project started today!