Meridian Interiors are proud to be accredited members of FIS, the trade body of the £10 billion fit out, finishes and interiors sector.
FIS represents specialists in all aspects of the interior fit-out and finishes sector. As a vertically integrated organisation, FIS works with members from across the sector supply chain support best practice knowledge exchange, drive technical competence and support quality, through the FIS Product Process People Quality Framework.
FIS is a not-for-profit community, built around a strict code of conduct – members are subjected to regular ongoing vetting.
At Meridian Interiors, as specialists in commercial fit out and office refurbishment, we are advocates of producing high quality office installations, and are proud to be members of this dynamic and proactive community that is focused on delivering a better construction experience for all involved.
Paul Dawson, Managing Director, said: “FIS is a highly-regarded, well-respected organisation at the forefront of the sector that does much to uphold values and drive quality in our sector. We are delighted to be recognised as member of an organisation which is an essential component of the modern-day construction industry.”
Meridian exist to make our clients’ working life comfortable, achieving this by listening to and understanding the human side of their business. Teaming up with the FIS has cemented our commitment to our clients to uphold quality throughout the process, from design and space planning, through the quality in materials and workmanship, to the project management and consultation throughout the project.
Please contact us if you would like more information or guidance on your next project.
Read our office refurbishment checklist from the experts at Meridian Interiors.
Investing in your workspace is a positive way to update working practices within your organisation, boost staff morale and express your company’s brand. This guide walks you through the path involved in the office fit-out and refurbishment process, so you are well informed for your next office refit.
The Office Refurbishment Process
Deciding when to carry out an office refurb is a good place to start because it is a very involved process, so you need to have the time and dedication to commit to it. Utilising the skills of your own staff (IT, Facilities Management, Office Managers), coupled with an experienced office refurbishment and fit-out company, like Meridian Interiors can help the process run smoothly, ensuring important elements are not missed.
Stages of Office Refurbishment
There are a series of stages to work through to design, plan and implement a new office refurbishment. Even though the size, scale and cost can vary dramatically between projects, the process remains very similar.
When you decide to carry out an office refurb, the first stage is referred to as the consultation stage. It is at this stage that initial conversations are had to establish what the goals are for the build, and how that will influence the design and planning stage.
At Meridian Interiors we focus on four fundamental concepts: Listening, Understanding, Creating and Delivering.
During the ‘Consultation phase’, office refurbishment companies will strive to take your vision and turn it into a reality. A workplace evaluation is paramount at this stage, where key people from your organisation set out the project parameters and review your main project objectives. Whether it be owners, managers of SMEs, facilities managers, maintenance teams, IT, finance, sales and marketing or operations managers, this is the first key step to ‘listening’ to your needs.
Design and development
Following the consultation and having defined your needs, the design and development of the project will need to be established using the framework below:
Headline Project Objectives
Team synergy in your organisation
Employee Habits & Wellbeing
Your Brand Themes
How the current space is utilised & performs
Requirements for expansion/future proofing
Analysis of these factors can then be used to determine what options and solutions your company can use to create the best possible working environment for stakeholders.
During the planning phase, it is important to understand how the budget can be used to achieve the desired result.
As planning a project is very involved, using both 2D and 3D drawings, can help shape the interior refurbishment and ensure all parties are on the same wavelength, after all a picture speaks a thousand words!
Once the design and plans have been agreed, ‘creating’ and ‘delivering’ are the next steps.
Have a programme of works in place with your chosen office refurbishment company will help the project to stay on track. Regular meetings between stakeholders are important to ensure the project is built accordingly to plans and change management can be implemented, where necessary.
The final project needs to run according to the planned budget and therefore having a project manager, to control costs and lead times, is imperative to achieving an office refurbishment that fulfils the brief.
Office Refurbishment Solutions and Options
For an office interior refurbishment to be successful, changes and improvements to the areas discussed below are paramount. Office refurbishments can vary in scale, so you may be looking to change only one or two of these items, to establish a better working environment. Or you may be looking to make significant changes and incorporate all these items within your new scheme.
Many offices have suspended ceilings because they are a practical way to hide ductwork, cabling and pipework.
A suspended ceiling is made up of a grid system, which is suspended on wires, with ceiling tiles and light fittings fitted within the frame. A lighting design is recommended to ensure the correct lux level is achieved throughout the space.
Suspended ceilings make maintenance for air conditioning, power and lighting accessible and are therefore a practical addition to an office.
The infrastructure behind a great office space needs to be well thought out and planned as part of the design process. Power, lighting, plumbing and HVAC systems are the elements of a design that make the aesthetics work.
As described in HSE’s Lighting at Work report, poor lighting at work can represent a significant cost to business in the form of:
Time off work because of accidents and injuries
Reduced staff efficiency and productivity
Getting it right is therefore paramount for the health, well-being and productivity of employees.
Having a lighting design created for your specific layout is a useful design tool, both to ensure the correct aesthetics of the refurbishment and the practicalities of having the correct lighting in the right areas. For example, you may need specific task lighting for carrying out detailed work, more relaxed lighting in a breakout area or feature lighting to make an impact in a reception area.
Decorating your workspace is an easy way of refreshing the space, without the need for a big budget. There is a seemingly endless range of wall coverings, paint colours and wall tiles. Using Meridian’s expertise in commercial office design, can help you to realise your ideas. It may be as simple as bringing in the colours from your company’s brand or selecting a style and colour you like!
As part of a larger project, decoration can form an integral element of the overall aesthetics of the office interior design and with a little creativity and inspiration, you can create a ‘wow’ factor or point of difference, setting your business apart from the competition.
Partitioning needs to be considered to create a fully flexible working office, as it offers privacy, better acoustics, meeting rooms, departmental layout, and safety, while offering enough personal space for workers to feel individually valued and productive.
Meridian can provide many different types of partitioning systems for the modern office or industrial environment.
Jumbo Stud Partitions
Industrial Steel Partitioning
Fully Glazed Partitioning Systems
Glazing, used in partitioning, has the added benefit of allowing light to flow throughout the office.
We discussed how incorporating as much natural light into an area as possible and positioning workstations evenly throughout the area can be beneficial to employee’s well-being. A 2018 Harvard Business Review reports a study concluding that workers in daylight office environments reported a 51% drop in the incidence of eyestrain, a 63% drop in the incidence of headaches and a 56% reduction in drowsiness.
Flooring is so versatile and a great way of zoning a space, without the need for partitioning it physically. Different types of flooring with varying textures, patterns and colours can make a big impact to an office refurbishment.
There is suitable flooring for every budget, use and colour scheme, making it a great way to freshen up an office space, re-purpose an area or adding an injection of colour or branding.
As a focal point within a workspace, a place where employees can interact socially, have drinks, have some lunch or catch up for an informal meeting, we believe the provision of a well-designed kitchen and breakout area, is essential in any workplace.
The space available will help with the design process, along with creative input from an office fit-out specialist and the analysis of how employees would like to use the space.
As an experienced company in office design and office fit-outs, Meridian Interiors have experience in creating well-designed, well planned and executed offices and workspaces. We have used our expertise to create an all-encompassing guide on how your company can best plan out an office space for functionality, practicality, and flow.
What is office space planning?
Office space planning is a commercial interior design stage where you consider how the workplace can produce the best possible environment for staff and visitors alike. It is an opportunity to analyse how the company is structured, how this correlates with how specific teams work together and how the layout of the office can aid a positive working environment.
At Meridian Interiors, we start this process with a Workplace Evaluation, where we meet with key people from your organisation to set out the project parameters and review your main project objectives.
Benefits of office space planning
What are the benefits of office space planning? Read below to explore the best reasons to plan your office space, and how it can help you get the most out of your workspace.
Getting more from your space
Have your working practices changed, as your company has grown or modernised, but your office is still set up in the same rigid way it always has been? Investing time into creating an office layout plan to establish the best way for staff to interact and collaborate is a benefit of office space planning. It ensures you really think about the different functions, how the staff in those teams work most effectively, remembering there may not be a one size fits all solution and how these functions could make the best use of the available space.
Optimise office space planning and see it as an opportunity to involve employees and encourage collaboration. Such changes to the office layout can be key in creating a workspace that works for everyone. Staff are key to a business’s success and feeling comfortable within a working environment can promote better well-being. And being involved in the office space planning process can help to boost morale.
Creating more space
A badly designed layout may make you feel like you need to relocate to larger premises. Whilst this may be the case, it may simply be a need to redesign the current workplace to create more usable space. This is an option worth exploring, as it is certainly a more economical option to relocating.
Planning for the future
Realigning your office space can also help you plan for the future. This may be to realise that the existing space has room for expansion, or it may be to understand at what point a relocation will be necessary for future years.
How do you plan an office space?
Office planning starts with an evaluation of your existing workspace. Things to consider are:
What works well?
What could be improved?
How do departments, functions and teams work together?
Evaluate IT infrastructure
Analyses time spent in each area. Are there areas that need to be decreased or increased in size?
From there, investigate how you want people to behave in the new space and then establish your workplace requirements, to best plan the layout. At this stage, think about concepts like agile working, hot desking, collaborative working and how they may be used to good effect in your office space.
Office spaces are an environment where stakeholders should be productive, creative and well connected, so planning an appropriate space is time well spent.
Once the evaluation has been carried out, you can utilise your findings to start planning your space. This is the fun bit, as you can start designing how you would like it to look and feel, how people should interact with the space and how technology can be embraced to enhance your business’ productivity.
How do you calculate how much office space I need?
A good working environment is not usually achieved by packing in as many workstations as possible into the desk space available, as many factors should be considered when planning your workplace.
At this stage, involving a professional office planning, design and fit-out company would be beneficial, as they have CAD software, knowledge of modern materials, design concepts and workplace products.
How much office space per person?
Figures that are often used are 100 to 150 square ft per person however, this will depend on the type of work that your employees carry out, along with the type of furniture they will need to carry out their role. Selecting the right office furniture is paramount to making the space work most effectively while creating a comfortable workplace.
What is the best way to layout an office?
Using the knowledge gained in your evaluation stage will enable your office designer to create office layout ideas that will work best for your business.
There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to office design and the most successful layouts are office layouts that focus on creating productive and positive environments for staff.
Providing the following areas within your office layout have proven to be popular choices within a modern working environment:
If an office is planned effectively, it will impact favourably on staff well-being and productivity, as well as creating a positive impression for visitors and customers alike.
Office space design utilises space planning practices to create effective layouts, which aid efficient footfall throughout the space, ensures air and light moves effectively within the workplace and enables collaboration between staff, teams and functions.
An office breakout area is an area for employees to take a break from their desks and screen. Within the modern working environment, where much more of our time is spent in front of a screen, it is important for employers to not only provide a breakout area for staff but to encourage its use.
These areas can be versatile and used to not only provide a space for staff to enjoy their lunch (the more traditional reason for creating a breakout space). Office breakout areas also create:
Informal meeting areas
Space where people can catch up on their personal ‘life admin’
An area to socialise with colleagues around a tea-point
A place to rest their eyes from the screen!
By providing a space that is more relaxed, it gives employees time for rest and rejuvenation throughout the day. Breaks like this are important, as employees can return to their desks revitalised and raring to go. Such breaks in the day can result in better productivity compared to an office where employees never leave their desks!
These areas can also function as an alternative workspace for tasks that require collaborative or creative thinking. Sitting in a more relaxed environment alone or with a colleague, in a separate space away from general office noise, can be beneficial when brainstorming new ideas of having important discussions.
What to include in an office breakout area?
Due to the versatility of these spaces, it is important to consider the office breakout area design so it caters to everybody and works with the existing office.
The available space for your breakout area will depend on the size of your business premises and the number of staff you have. With developments in acoustic screening and pods, you will not need a huge space, particularly if you are an SME employer. The use of acoustic furniture is an ideal way of creating small breakout spaces in pockets around your offices. Pods or booths, as featured below can offer an area where several colleagues can meet, shutting out the background noise.
The acoustic winged chairs used in The Parks Trust atrium in Milton Keynes are a brilliant way of providing relaxing seating, that when you sit back, the cleverly developed wings help block out background noises.
Depending on how you want staff to use the breakout spaces will determine what you should include. As well as the acoustic seating options above, if you have the luxury of a separate room or space for your breakout area, creating different zones could be an option for you.
Office breakout area checklist
A tea-point or kitchen facility
Fuctional seating with table for either eating or meetings
One to one booths
Quiet working areas
Charging areas (ports for technology devices)
Office breakout area ideas
In order to transform an office space and improve employee wellbeing, morale and productivity, we have put together some office breakout area ideas from previous client projects. This small selection illustrates the different look and feel that can be created within a breakout area.
Elements that can be incorporated within these breakout spaces are outlined below.
To provide an element of separation, but to ensure light flows into the breakout space, using glass partitioning can form an attractive and practical solution.
The breakout area can be a place to have some fun with the company branding, incorporating colour into furniture, soft furnishings and paint finishes.
Creating a sanctuary of calm among a vibrant and busy office can provide an area for staff to recharge their batteries and take a break.
You may find in a larger company that a lot of staff go off-site for lunch, to either a coffee shop or sandwich bar. If space allows, creating a lounge area with a coffee shop vibe can encourage staff to socialise with each other during their downtime, form better working relationships with colleagues.
These self-contained areas for smaller offices, can provide a private area to carry out work in peace, make a sensitive phone call or have a meeting with a colleague.
Office Breakout Area Furniture
Selecting furniture for your office breakout area design will depend on what you plan to include.
Types of furniture to be incorporated would ideally include:
Sofas and relaxed seating
Low coffee tables
As with all office design, considerations to natural light, ventilation, and foot flow all come into play when designing a breakout area, so it is sensible to seek advice from a specialist office fit-out company when planning to incorporate this type of space into your office.
As an office fit out and refurbishment company, we wanted to put an all-encompassing article together to assist our readers with all aspects of office refurbishment, using our experience and real-life case studies.
Within this article we cover the following:
What does an office refurbishment involve?
Who carries out an office refurbishment?
Cost of an office refurbishment
What does an office refurbishment company do?
Benefits of Office Refurbishment
Examples of office refurbishment
What is the difference between an office refurbishment and an office fit out?
What Does an Office Refurbishment Involve?
Office refurbishment could be described as the renovation of a workspace. It is often a method of modernising, refreshing and revamping a space, not necessarily to change its function or layout, although this can form a part of the refurbishment. More likely, it is to be initiated by new branding, an increase or reduction in staff or updating the space to offer employees a better working environment.
Who Carries Out an Office Refurbishment?
Businesses who are focused on the well-being of their employees are either aware or keen to learn about how their office can help to produce a positive working environment (that may be why you are reading this article!). Job satisfaction and productivity are both key benefits to a well thought out office refit project, along with a positive impression to both stakeholders and visitors alike.
Once a need has been identified, contacting an office refurbishment specialist is paramount to producing a successful project.
Cost of an Office Refurbishment
An office refurb project can vary dramatically from simple redecoration to a full modernisation and therefore the attributed costs can vary significantly.
Elements that may be considered in an office refurbishment project are:
● Partitioning ● Lighting ● Flooring ● Joinery ● Data cabling/ AV cabling ● Breakout areas ● Reception areas ● Ceiling Refurbishment ● Suspended ceilings ● Mezzanine floors ● Suspended ceilings
As each project is unique, with the scope of works and size of the office influencing refurbishment costs, a detailed breakdown of all elements is essential and having a budget to work to is very useful. Working with an Office Refurbishment specialist will establish if your budget can be used for a basic, mid or high spec finish.
What Does an Office Refurbishment Company Do?
An office fit out and refurbishment company will work to listen and understand the needs of your project and create and deliver a design and subsequent fit out based on your needs.
Businesses are experts in their own field, whether they offer a product or service, however, unless your company offers interior refurbishment or office refurb, you will need to seek guidance from a specialist in these areas to assist with your refurbishment project. And we exist to make your working life comfortable.
During initial consultations, trained staff will be listening to and understanding the human side of your business, because creating your perfect office design is all about asking the right questions.
Office refurbishment companies often have a wealth of experience and innovative skills to deliver high-quality projects that are aesthetically pleasing, whilst providing practicality to suit your everyday business needs.
Working with The Parks Trust in Buckinghamshire is an exemplary example of collaboration and the importance of using an office refurbishment company. As a charity who care for parks and green spaces in Milton Keynes, they were keen to use a lot of timber in their design for the collaborative workspace and break-out area. Utilising our expertise and talented craftsmen, we were able to create a stunning space in The Parks Trust’s atrium.
Ally Phillips, Senior Property manager at The Parks Trust highlighted one of the benefits she found from using an experience office refurbishment company. “Meridian were happy to provide a chain of custody of the timber required, as this was a major part of the design”.
As previously mentioned, every brief and budget are different and every client’s requirements unique to their brand and workplace environment. A one size fits all approach just would not work for providing a well-thought out and executed refurbishment project, which is where working with an experience office refurbishment company matters. We create workspaces that not only look good, but also promote wellbeing in the workplace, leading to increase productivity for your business.
Benefits of Office Refurbishment
There are many benefits for carrying out an interior refurbishment in your office and some will be specific to individual businesses. Detailed below are a selection of the more common ones.
Growth and Future-proofing
As a business expands, an office refurbishment may be generated, as teams may change in dynamic and size. This would be a good opportunity to discuss the most efficient ways of working and how space planning could assist with this, as future proofing the layout at this stage is time well spent.
Technology improvements and scientific research into the ergonomic benefits of workplace furniture is ongoing. In recent years, sit-stand desks have been advocated in many working environments and much research has been written about their benefits. Sit-stand desks have become particularly popular among millennials and some even expect one as part of their package when they start a new job. A refurbishment is an ideal opportunity to take stock of existing office furniture and explore modern options, which can help staff well-being.
Introducing new technologies
As technology changes, so often does the space. From larger server cupboards, ‘Zoom’ rooms, to considerations around remote working and the potential change of use of offices, to meeting and collaborative hubs. Embracing these developments within your refurbishment will assist with more agile working practices.
Opportunity to change the working environment
In many modern working environments staff complain about noisy spaces, making it hard to concentrate because of background noise or overbearing office lighting, lack of natural light or good ventilation. As these elements are intrinsic to creating a healthy working environment, as detailed in our article ‘How to Design a Productive Office Environment’, a refurbishment project is a perfect time to consider these factors and include them into your plans.
Creating a new identity
If your current workspace has become a bit dated or run down, this can reflect negatively on your brand, as visual impression is paramount to your corporate identity. An interior refurbishment is therefore advantageous and an opportunity to affect business progression, through staff morale and productivity, following positive investment in their working environment.
As explained throughout this article an office refurbishment can mean something different to each company. This project involved demolition, installation of new suspended ceilings, updates to lighting, decoration, glazing installation, bespoke joinery, a kitchen fit-out and fitting new flooring.
The result is a modernised workplace, utilising the space more effectively and providing staff with a working environment and break-out area, flooded with natural light and refreshing colour palette.
A different project saw Meridian Interiors carry out a complete high-end office refurbishment, incorporating our client’s re-branding exercise, which was complemented with a new office furniture installation.
Incorporating impressive design, good products and skilled workmanship, the following elements were incorporated into the scheme; space planning, upgrading meeting areas, partitioning and screening, an operable and sliding wall installation, bespoke joinery, kitchen fit-out, tea point and break-out refurbishment, W/C refurbishments, decoration, carpet & luxury vinyl tile installation and supplying both functional and relaxed furniture.
These images show the creation of this stunning office environment.
What is the difference between an office refurbishment and an office fit out?
Office refurbishment and office fit out are often used interchangeably because they are very similar.
The key difference is that an office fit out may be completed within a new building and an office refurbishment project can be considered to be undertaken in an existing building/space.
A fit out is the process of creating an interior workspace suitable for use, involving the implementation of electrical and mechanical systems, followed by internal decoration and furniture installation. There are different levels of fit out, depending on who is developing the space, the landlord or the tenant.
The term Category A (Cat A) fit out, generally involves fitting out the core of a building, to possibly include amenity areas, staircases, corridors, lobbies or reception areas.
The term Category B (Cat B) fit outs are more reflective of the works completed in the tenants or owners demise, possibly the office or workshops where the client will operate their business.
Whatever your level of office refurbishment requirement, Meridian Interiors have the knowledge and expertise to create an amazing workspace! Discover our office refurbishment services here or contact us today to find out more.
Office design, employee wellbeing and therefore satisfaction and productivity has become an important factor for employers. When possible, employers should reflect on their current office environments for their staff and focus on the key features they should be considering. Workplaces with a modern approach to a work-life balance are more important than ever, in tune with the modern-day attitude to workplace wellbeing.
This article will look at office design, how to design the perfect workspace and the features that should be considered.
What is office design?
Office design needs to consider many factors, including the structural layout of the building, the types of workspaces that are needed within the office, how much natural light is available, what facilities are required, how staff will interact with each other… the list goes on.
What makes ‘good’ office design, is how all these elements work together to create a workplace that impacts favourably on staff well-being and productivity, as well as creating a positive impression for visitors and customers alike.
How to design the perfect workspace
When designing a workspace, the key is to ensure it works for everyone, which can be a challenge as people, by nature, like working in different ways. Some may thrive in a busy, noisy environment, while others may work best in a peaceful setting and some may like both, depending on what work they are doing or the mood they are in.
A ‘perfect’ workspace is probably an impossible goal, but creating a place where colleagues enjoy working and are productive in, is a great place to start!
As people are at the heart of offices, the main focus should be on the types of spaces that they thrive in and create areas that harness this. As a lot of people will have become used to working from home, we may see the type of areas they feel comfortable working in change over the next year or so, as they start frequenting office space again.
Features of good office design
These areas can offer a relaxed atmosphere, but have functionality build in, with wipe boards, interchangeable desking and seating, projectors/screens etc.
These areas act more as break-out areas, with a mix of sociable seating and more private areas, where people can ‘get away’ from work but also catch up with colleagues, if they want to. The focus here is on providing different options for individuals.
Let’s face it, sometimes you just need to sit on your own and concentrate. With many offices opting for open plan layouts, this is a type of space that is often lacking in many offices but is hugely beneficial. Giving staff options of where to carry out their work, is a good way of boosting morale, through autonomy.
A relatively new addition to workspaces is ‘zoom rooms’ which are essentially small rooms with a chair and the technology to either make phone or video calls. These are becoming increasingly popular, as more business is done virtually and through lockdown, many people have become accustomed to working in this way. We anticipate that this trend continues, as employers increasingly realise that travelling long distances for meetings is not always needed.
As well as creating a variety of types of workspaces within one office facility, there are aesthetic features that help to make those areas really work for people.
Incorporating as much natural light into an area as possible and positioning workstations evenly throughout the area to benefit from this, is a good place to start. A 2018 Harvard Business Review reports a study concluding that workers in daylight office environments reported a 51% drop in the incidence of eyestrain, a 63% drop in the incidence of headaches and a 56% reduction in drowsiness. These benefits would certainly improve staff well-being and productivity.
If possible, if exposure to natural light can be coupled with access to outside space, you are onto a winner! It does not need to be a massive space, but a small area with some seating and access to Wi-Fi, can serve as a great place for staff to recharge their batteries.
Who are Meridian Interiors?
Meridian Interiors is an office design company that gives your employees everything they need to succeed, and more. We use our knowledge in office design to create a workspace for collaboration, whilst promoting health and wellbeing for all.
From Workplace Consultancy to our detailed site surveys, the data gathered helps us to plan your environment accurately. This allows us to review future proofing of the space, whilst identifying building constraints and checking on regulator and environmental compliances.
Please get in touch today for our assistance in encompassing up and coming trends, while also producing functional and practical office layout ideas. Contact us online, call ll 0333 3448 772 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ensuring workspaces are designed to promote well-being is key in creating a positive working environment. As employee wellbeing and satisfaction can have a direct result in a happier, more productive workforce, it is worth investing in an office environment where workers feel comfortable, with their needs met.
This article looks at the following areas, which we consider important elements to office layout design that help to create a productive office environment:
The way an office is designed is paramount to how ‘good’ it is. Good office layout design impacts favourably on staff well-being and productivity, as well as creating a positive impression for visitors and customers alike. Making investment in office design, smart business sense.
Office design utilises space planning practices to create effective layouts, to ensure footfall flows efficiency throughout the space, air and light moves effectively and collaboration between staff and departments is possible.
Graymatter – Milton Keynes
How does office design affect productivity?
As well as the physical layout, good office design also considers the emotional well-being of its users, which can have a massive impact on the productivity of staff. In the past there has been a common misconception that working hard correlates with high productivity. Confinement to a desk within a booth, without sufficient down-time and nutrition intake reduces productivity, despite spending longer on tasks. Office layout ideas can be simple, but effective, to create a good working environment that meets the needs of workers while reflecting your workplace values and business model.
So a well-designed office, where there are dedicated spaces to relax, quiet areas for doing tasks that require more concentration, collaboration spaces etc. can not only produce better productivity through smarter working, it can improve staff’s work life balance. Businesses are only as good as the staff we employ!
More than ever, office design will play a key role in the productively of staff and subsequently the success of a business. As many of us have become accustomed to working from home (whether you have enjoyed this experience or not), we should take learnings from this experience and use it within future office design.
Green Space is an area that many will have been able to enjoy when working from home (especially in the summer months) by working or taking a break in their garden, on a balcony or near an open window. In many workplaces this does not present itself as an option because it has not been incorporated in the office design or the office is located in an urban location with little outside space.
However, the centre for Sustainable Healthcare found that staff who said they regularly spent time in their sites’ green spaces during the working day “reported significantly higher levels of wellbeing.” This implies that by bringing more of the outside in, with living walls or planting within offices, can also help with staff’s well-being and therefore productivity.
The Parks Trust – Milton Keynes
Any well-designed office that takes staff well-being and subsequent productivity into account, needs to plan their breakout spaces.
There are different types of breakout space, and it is important to consider what the user is seeking to gain from the space.
Most people think of a canteen or large seating area, where staff can eat their lunch, when they think of breakout areas. Whilst these may be required, especially in larger offices, this type of environment isn’t for everyone and might not necessarily give staff that well-earned break!
Providing more private spaces, smaller spaces, more relaxed areas, where people can actually have a rest from work and carry out personal responsibilities, should be considered.
The purpose of a breakout area is to get away from your desk, to protect staff from stress and anxiety that comes from being overworked. An area to retreat to is therefore essential and staff should be encouraged to break from their desks, and a good employer should provide a separate space to do this.
Point of Difference – Banbury
It’s scientifically proven that wherever possible we benefit from natural light and this is a precious resource in any office, as we spend so much of our day in this environment. Natural light is particularly important, not only because it helps us to see, but because of its impact on our circadian rhythms, hormones and mood.
Therefore, at the planning stages of any office design, it is important to include the location of natural light into your designs, to see where windows or light wells are and how to best utilise these for maximum effect.
Equally, the intensity of the natural light is to be considered, to promote the most productive working environment. It is no good having natural light streaming through the window, but staff can’t see their screens clearly.
Using ergonomic design in offices to help with productivity is key, as it is essentially the process of designing workspaces to best suit the people who work in them.
Productive staff will be the ones who are comfortable in their workspace. They will have the correct type of chair with good support, desking that moves up and down so they can stretch their legs, the correct screen and mouse configuration with wrist support, footrests, the list goes on…
Ergonomic design needs to be considered in workplaces in particular, due to the length of time people spend there. All chairs essentially do the same job, but they are designed to do different tasks. Some are designed to be used briefly, like in a waiting room, and therefore do not offer comfort but others, like a task chair in an office, will need to offer many elements of support, for different sized people and to be used for long periods of time. Throughout a workplace, different types of seating will therefore need to be considered for the different areas created.
The Parks Trust – Milton Keynes
As with natural light, the colour of our surroundings can dramatically affect our mood, which impacts on staff productivity. It makes sense that happy, more positive staff will be more productive.
Choosing a particular colour scheme for your office can often be led by brand presence, as this gives an element of identity to a space. However, as colour can directly affect our morale, it’s worth considering what type of people make up your business and what type of environment you are trying to create, before selecting your colour scheme.
Calming colours such as white, blue, green and purple can be used to promote rational decision making. Warmer colours such as red and orange could be used in a more dynamic space, but used in smaller doses, so as not to overwhelm the user. Yellow works well in a kitchen or break out area, as it helps to brighten your mood and energise you.
This element is often fought over within offices, especially in open plan spaces, because people find different temperatures comfortable and the nature of ventilation systems is that within an open space, there will be some colder spots and some warmer spaces.
The fact that it is so hotly contested (excuse the pun!) in workplaces around the country just illustrates what an important element it is to the productivity of staff within an office. Too warm and people may become lethargic and if it is too cold people find it hard to concentrate, as their energy is going into keeping warm.
The discussion points in this article barely scratch the surface, as there are so many more elements to consider, which goes to show how much is involved in getting your office design right. It may therefore be useful to speak to the experts when you decide to plan your next office.
At Meridian Interiors we have 20 years of experience in helping clients design office schemes, so please contact us if you would like our guidance. You can email us on email@example.com or ring 0333 3448 772 today.
So, I like listening to music while I am working, as do my Meridian colleagues. You’ll often hear us humming along to our favourite tunes while we are working. It seems common place up and down the country and within different industries for music to be on in the workplace; from a mechanic’s garage, to a modern marketing consultancy’s office, to the operating theatre in a hospital…. but have you ever stopped to think why so many of us like listening to music while we are at work?
The Science Bit!
An article ‘How music affects your productivity’ looks into the value of listening to music while carrying out repetitive tasks. It appears to conclude that if we are carrying out recurring or immersive tasks, music can be useful, as it can actually relieve us from the monotony of carrying out certain tasks.
The Guardian explores whether the types of music we listen to is important and there appear to be mixed results. There has been some research into the level of syncopation within a piece of music but overall it would seem that the type of music we like to listen to, when we are at work, really comes down to our personal preference.
It could also be that listening to more uplifting tunes, while at work, helps to improve the mood. This may therefore mean that having the radio on in the office may be fruitful, as it will probably play tunes that are acceptable to most personal tastes. So it may be that we are all on to something here, the only problem is how are we going to agree what to listen to!
Maybe, the future, will look more like this, with individuals plugged in to their own headphones, listening to their own music, to get into their work.
One of the enjoyable parts of embarking on an interior design project for your office or commercial space is getting to choose the colours and materials that will make up your new working environment.
The skill comes from knowing how to put all of these elements together to create a well-laid out space, which offers a nice environment for staff and clients alike.
One way in which this can be achieved is to use contrasting floor coverings to distinguish between areas, which works especially well within open plan office environments.
Different types for different purposes
Flooring can be used for different purposes, from creating a safe, slip free environment, to a luxurious and opulent space.
Even within one building there will be the opportunity to use different types, textures and colours of floor covering, whether it’s to differentiate between a break-out area, Kitchenette, Boardroom or walkway.
Within a large open plan office you may want to distinguish between departments, with a subtle change in colour or a patterned verses plain carpet tile.
What would we suggest?
Within an open plan office environment we would suggest using contract grade carpet tiles, which are hard wearing and easy to replace in a small area, if needed.
Another benefit of contract grade carpet tiles is the vast choice of colours, styles and shapes that can be used to create impressive designs. We can now choose from planked carpet tiles, offering more ways to design flooring layouts, create zones and add flashes of colour.
Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT), which are available in ranges that offer the aesthetics of real wood and stone, can be used in partnership, alongside carpet tiles, without causing a trip hazard. This can work well as a clear way to distinguish between a Reception and office area, a Kitchen within an open plan office or a walkway within an office.
At Meridian Interiors, we are experts in design and planning and would be happy to help you with all aspects of your interior refurbishment, especially discussing all of the possible flooring options and how it can make your refurbishment come to life!
Legally, people employed in the UK are entitled to 20 minutes of rest in a six-hour workday. Staff and employees alike are encouraged to use breakout areas to recuperate and de-stress. However, many workers state they don’t always use that 20 minutes, with some not taking a break at all! A proper Office Refurbishment & fit-out service can help not only improve creativity and wellbeing, it can also improve productivity: helping that all-important bottom line.
An improved overall wellbeing
Staff need to take time and recharge during a regular workday. Stress and resulting health concerns like anxiety and stiffness are avoided by using breakout areas for nutrition and pressure relief. Taking breaks regularly throughout the workweek is a good habit to adopt, promoting self-care. This has enormous benefits for a person’s physical and psychological health. According to Bupa, their survey of 2000 employees shows 30% of workers who skip lunch felt ill by the afternoon. A further 40% claimed dampened productivity and 52% state low mood. Therefore, taking breaks are important in both physical and psychological aspects.
Moreover, detaching the eyes from a glaring computer screen for a while helps eyesight, reducing headaches. Moving away from the desk and correcting posture lessens the impact of the common slouched sitting position. Sedentary behaviour is lessened, helping negate risks such as musculoskeletal discomfort, metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes and cancer.
A productive working environment
Working hard doesn’t directly correlate to high productivity. This misconception occurs due to employers’ attitudes and the rat race to securing a bonus or promotion. Confinement to a desk without sufficient down time and nutrition intake reduces productivity, despite spending longer on tasks. This suggests taking a break at work is imperative for getting stuff done! Be it a lunch/smoke break, they boost productivity, psychological wellbeing and performance.
In fact, stress, anxiety and poor performance stem from overworked staff. Therefore, it is in a company’s best interests to encourage staff to use breakout areas to enhance performance and job satisfaction.
Encourage breaks; exploit the tremendous benefits by revamping the breakout area with our quality Office Design. The ideal retreat is essential for a needed desk break. Encourage colleagues to break for lunch and discuss the benefits of doing so. Most importantly, lead by example and take a break yourself!