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.

Man's back hurting without a sit-stand desk

Invest in your team’s wellbeing with sit-stand desking

furniture & interiors

With more and more businesses adapting their workspaces to benefit their team, the pressure to provide a cutting-edge work environment for your employees has never been higher – and for good reason. Say gooodbye to those aches and pains On the forefront of this need to create better environments for staff, sit-stand desks provide an …

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With more and more businesses adapting their workspaces to benefit their team, the pressure to provide a cutting-edge work environment for your employees has never been higher – and for good reason.

Say gooodbye to those aches and pains

On the forefront of this need to create better environments for staff, sit-stand desks provide an innovative and simple solution to many long-recognised issues commonly found in the average workplace, such as neck pain, back ache, and wrist strain.

The problem has often been that no matter how healthy your lifestyle is outside work, your efforts are often lost when you step into the office, and you remain susceptible to injuries and conditions such as back pain or even elevated cholesterol. In fact, according to research committed by Fellowes, for every two hours of sitting, you cancel out a substantial 20 minutes of exercise, and with a full office working day potentially eight hours long you stand to undo over an hour of exercise (equal to an average session at the gym or perhaps a long run).

This is the least of your worries, however, as prolonged periods of sitting over time can lead to higher blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, which in turn can lead to unwanted health consequences. With a sit-stand desk, you remove these prolonged periods of remaining seated, and also reap the benefits of standing up to work. For example, whilst standing up to work, you burn 30% more calories than when sitting down. This may not seem like a lot, but this extra activity can actually reverse the effects of staying seated for too long.

The health benefits don’t end there…

Of course, physical health isn’t the only concern for an office space, and rightly so. The mental wellbeing of any team is crucial to a positive working environment. Research shows that workplace productivity sees a significantly valuable increase of 46% simply with the ongoing use of sit-stand desks. With that level of additional work rate and yield, the challenges your business faces can be easily overcome, allowing for a more resourceful and efficient team atmosphere.

Considering all of the above, are sit-stand desks for you? With benefits including reducing health risks and increasing workplace productivity, there’s a clear argument for integrating sit-stand desking into your workplace. For more information, get in touch with our team today and we can discuss how sit stand desks can help you and your team today!

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/

5 top office interior design trends for 2019

furniture & interiors

A new year always brings new trends in office furniture and interior design, as well as emerging trends from the previous year which are set to make it big and enter the mainstream. We’re really excited by 5 key trends that we predict will leave their mark on 2019 … Greener offices There’s been a …

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A new year always brings new trends in office furniture and interior design, as well as emerging trends from the previous year which are set to make it big and enter the mainstream. We’re really excited by 5 key trends that we predict will leave their mark on 2019 …

Greener offices

There’s been a growing interest in biophilic design in recent times, with research highlighting the benefits of bringing elements from the natural world into offices. So, expect plants to feature heavily this year, both real and replica, from traditional potted displays to ‘living’ walls or planters built into storage furniture. Likewise, we will see exposure to natural light or creating the impression of natural light become a key element of many projects. Add to that a mix of furniture, décor and flooring colours and textures borrowed from nature and you will have completed a space making the most of the health and wellbeing impact of connecting with nature.

Re-inventing spaces

The days of static, single purpose spaces are well and truly gone. Office interior design in 2019 is all about flexibility and collaboration, as we reported after our visit to Orgatec in the autumn. With office space often at a premium and more and more of us working increasingly ‘away from the desk’, furniture design has vastly evolved in the last few years to shift its focus towards multipurpose pieces offering a choice of use and layout. We’re witnessing the birth of second generation ‘space within a space’ solutions either taking the popular booth to the next stage with a greater focus on communication and connectivity or exploring new concepts such as curtain enclosed modular rooms.

Working well

Unsurprisingly, wellbeing remains a key driver behind most office design. We all know that sitting too much harms our health and productivity, and it’s crucial that we introduce more movement in our work day. Growing numbers of workplaces are choosing sit-stand desks and we’re seeing furniture manufacturers refine their design and functionality. So what’s next? We’re predicting a rise in dynamic seating solutions promoting balance and core strength, challenging the ergonomic seating norm.

Acoustics with a difference

Collaborative office design undeniably helps with communication and teamwork, however it often makes retaining good levels of visual and acoustic privacy problematic. We’ve shown in some of our recent projects that acoustic solutions can be rather creative. Sound absorbing foam panel or brick systems are easy to install, move or reconfigure and come in a wide range of attractive designs. We’re also loving acoustic decorations, from wall-mounted panels to suspended displays or lighting shades – a perfect combination of both style and function.

Making a statement

There are many ways to add personality and individuality to your office interior, and make a statement that won’t be impractical or too costly. Splashes of colour – be it on the walls, floor, accessories or stand-out pieces of furniture – always work well against a neutral palette and can be aligned to your corporate branding or design trend (why not embrace the Pantone colour of the year?). Feature walls will create a focal point and again can become an integral part of your brand if you choose well: vinyl graphics featuring client testimonials or company mottos, story walls, floor-to-ceiling photographic murals reflecting specific company values …

Have you been inspired to update your office interior and adopt some of our picks from this year’s design trends? If so, contact us today and let’s discuss your project.

First impressions count

furniture & interiors

According to the latest research, it takes the brain only 7 seconds to judge a person after first meeting them. 7 seconds! This means that each time you meet someone, and perhaps unknowingly, you have only 7 seconds to shine. Harsh, right? But it’s something we all do. While this is important when it comes …

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According to the latest research, it takes the brain only 7 seconds to judge a person after first meeting them. 7 seconds! This means that each time you meet someone, and perhaps unknowingly, you have only 7 seconds to shine. Harsh, right? But it’s something we all do.

While this is important when it comes to representing yourself, it’s even more crucial when representing your business. If you don’t immediately come across as professional, modern, and engaging as your business truly is, then a potential customer will walk out of the door; you only get one shot at a first impression.

So, we’ve established that first impressions count, and they count for a lot, but what does this mean for your business? Keep reading to find out more.

The key thing here is learning how you sell yourself. You can have the best business in the world in every other aspect, but if you don’t make it clear to people what it is you do and how well you do it, then who’s to know? Since the advent of social media and recent advances in digital media technologies, marketing has never been more diverse and creative… so it should be easier than ever, right? Unfortunately, no. Now information is available so readily and services can be so quick, efficient, and easy, people’s attention has become much more illusive and difficult to get a hold of for businesses while patience has also shortened. There’s no longer time to explain why you’re great; there’s so much competition that people will go elsewhere. Instead, you need to make it clear who you are from the get-go; you really do only have 7 seconds. How do you do this as a business?

Firstly, branding shouldn’t be overlooked. As the adage goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words