Experiencing workplace Challenges?
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The growing issues of mental health in the workplace has unearthed some worrying statistics over the past year, with recent research from the OECD finding that the cost of mental health the UK economy sits at a staggering £70 billion a year, translating at 4.5 percent of GDP.
In fact, work related stress is the second most commonly reported cause of occupational ill health in Great Britain. This leads to an alarming 45% of all working days lost to poor health, or sick leave.
For small companies in particular losing these precious working days can impact annual revenue and customer satisfaction. Investing in the right working environment can play a huge part in the overall success of a business, with a more productive and happy workforce leading to better work and happier clients.
So what can your business do to incorporate comfort and productivity into the office?
The fact is offices have changed over the last decade, with a new wave of employees and different office needs. With this in mind, we’ve included four small changes your business could do to help bring a more positive and productive office.
Creating an office environment that allows its employees the chance to walk around, take 5 minutes to de-stress and get their thoughts together can make all the difference when it comes to office mentality. By utilising standing desks, or simply encouraging your employees to take a walk outside if needed can produce some impressive results. In fact, just 30 minutes of walking per day can reduce stress and boost the mood of your employees.
Office layouts can be bland and corporate for many firms. In this environment, many employees can stagnate with their work and creative ideas, leading to an unhappy and unproductive workforce.
To help with this, companies should think about allowing employees to customise their workspace to include things like family photos, bright colours or even different chairs or cushions. By empowering your employees to be themselves you can start to build an office community, instead of merely an office space.
Designing an office that allows your employees to have fun can be a great stress reliever, from installing a table tennis in the breakout room, to incorporating open space working areas for employees who thrive in a communal setting. The main thing to understand is that not every employee is the same, and by allowing your employees to find the best way to work for them means your company will get the best out of their workforce.
It’s the little things that tend to make the biggest difference when it comes to happiness and wellbeing. Allowing natural light, bright colours and greenery throughout your office can induce a state of focus, concentration and relaxation within your team. By making these small changes, your staff could begin to feel more focused, relaxed and motivated.
The ability to understand your team, and allow them to find the best way to work can make your office happier and more productive in the long term. Get rid of the rigid rules, and create an environment that cultivates and nurtures work, as opposed to one that enforces and demands it.
Biophilic design is based on the idea that using nature inspired themes for office design can greatly improve the productivity of your workforce, and has recently made headlines with its eco-friendly stance on office wellbeing. From growing your own greenery, to installing waterfalls throughout your office space, Biophilic design is a fast growing movement taking the office interior design world by force.
However, a recent study found that a surprising 57% of UK land mass is already dedicated to agriculture, with 35% termed at natural, or semi natural. This might come as a surprise to many, with Britain’s industrial industry booming, and large corporate cities from London to Edinburgh consisting of sky high buildings and high rise apartments.
With this in mind, the concept of biophillic design might hold some weight around the built up areas of London, where greenery is scarce and urbanisation leaves a grey tinge to the environment. – But what about those lucky offices in Thames Valley, such as Reading’s Green Park? Is it worth investing money on a trend that is already prolific in your environment? And if not, are there are better ways to get the most out of your business and staff?
Finding what works for your business can not only make you stand out to potential clients, but also attain your business goals. Glenside can help you to decide how best to spend your budget in order to get the most out of your environment, workforce and business objectives.
We offer a consultative service that allows us to create a bespoke office design to suit your needs. From increased productivity, to higher staff retention rates, knowing where to invest your cash can be half the problem.
For example, working in an office surrounded by rural settings can mean your office might benefit from:
It is by understanding your businesses strengths and weaknesses that Glenside Commercial Interiors can find the best office design to suit your needs, so you can start your own office trends to create a happy and productive workforce.
By its very nature, working in an office generally involves a lot of sitting. At a computer. In meetings. On the phone. This is very different to many other work environments where you might spend large amounts of time on your feet – teachers in schools; neighbourhood police officers; shop managers on the shop floor.
A recent survey, carried out by Edinburgh University has revealed that middle-aged male office workers spend more time sitting down than pensioners! Long periods of sedentary work has been linked to being overweight, even obesity, leading to a number of chronic or acute health problems such as type 2 diabetes, some forms of cancer and early death.
Dr Mike Evans explains the risks to our health beautifully in his well-known presentation, "23 and a half hours":
So, how CAN you avoid sitting down all day if you work in an office (or at home at a desk)? Firstly, there are some quick fixes you can employ immediately:
Another approach is to look at your office furniture. Glenside is able to supply, as part of an office fit out or separately, a new type of office furniture which allows users to stand at their desks for some or all of their working day.
These height-adjustable desks come in a range of styles and we have levels of luxury and functionality to suit every budget.
We think you’ll agree that this innovative furniture provides an excellent solution to the sedentary office problem. If you want to try some of our standing desks before buying, we would be delighted to show you our latest models at our High Wycombe showroom. Call 01494 529803 to arrange a visit.
Selecting a commercial estate agent is very important for businesses involved in finding new office premises or relocating operations. Making the right choice can help you to smooth the way in both finding the right property and undertaking successful negotiations with landlords.
The RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) explains in a recent website post that the profession is “not officially regulated and has no mandatory route to qualification.” However many of them will be members of either the RICS or NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) and therefore subject to their codes of practice. So when choosing a commercial estate agent, membership of one of these industry bodies might be a good starting place.
The RICS points out that commercial and residential estate agents do share common ground in some processes they undertake and in the values of professionalism and integrity they need to uphold. However, commercial estate agents need to have the expertise in dealing with complex freehold, leasehold and letting issues.
If you are looking for business premises in a specific location, then a local company with specialist knowledge of the area could be ideal. A small commercial estate agent that is well embedded in the community could be just as successful as a nationwide organisation, unless you are looking into a number of sites across the UK.
It is also worth considering the following when making your choice:
Glenside has many years of experience in dealing with commercial estate agents, landlords and other parties involved in locating or relocating businesses. We also support clients in successfully selecting suitable properties, and handling the complexities of business leases, including licences to alter.
It is worth taking a look at our Office Fit-out Checklist for some useful tips for when your business is on the move. We’re also only a phone call or email away and are ready to help and guide you in every way we can!
Collaborative working in an open plan office, undoubtedly, has its virtues:-
However, there are definitely some downsides.
Let’s say, for example, that you are trying to concentrate on your work when a work colleague sitting nearby decides to run through the audio of a marketing video he has just created.
Or perhaps you are proof reading a vital document when the sales manager with a loud voice, just across the way, excitedly clinches a deal. Noise and distraction can be a big problem in open plan offices.
One emerging solution is the use of booths or pods – closed off areas or seating arrangements, some soundproof, others providing a physical demarcation for a small seating area, all of which provide that much needed peace and quiet. The success of these pods or booths is due to the fact that people can work wirelessly and are no longer tied to a desk. Also, they provide that much needed private space in an open plan office layout.
Glenside has considerable experience of fitting out offices in this ‘open plan era’ of collaborative working. We know what works and what doesn’t. And we do know that pods and booths are becoming increasingly popular in the office designs that we create and build for our clients.
So, if you’re looking for an open plan design for your office but are mindful of the problem of colleagues talking loudly or the need for quiet areas for those sensitive meetings, then we think we have the solution. Let’s talk.
As the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Theresa May, Maidenhead has proved to be an excellent base from which to rise to the heights in politics. This thriving town on the banks of the Thames is also an excellent place for businesses to locate, grow and prosper, not least because of its dynamic regeneration programme.
Having recently undertaken a major relocation and office fit-out for a leading retailer's 30,000 sq. ft. headquarters in Maidenhead, Glenside has been able to experience at first-hand how development plans are progressing.
The potential of the town as a business hub is exceptional, not least because of its proximity to the M4, M25 and M40 motorways and to London Heathrow and other major Home Counties airports. In 2019, the high-speed Crossrail link is due to be opened, enhancing Maidenhead's fast connections with the Capital.
The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead provides updates on the regeneration programme which can be requested from email@example.com. Nearly 140,000 square metres of new office space is being created. Maidenhead is already home to above the national average of technical, communication and IT businesses and these new facilities will create great locations for both these and other sectors of business.
Glenside has carried out commercial interior fit-out services in Maidenhead and towns throughout the Thames Valley as well as London and the surrounding area. As such, we have experienced many different types of urban centre and out-of-town working environments. The exciting aspect of this major regeneration is the focus on the town centre, breathing new life into the hub of the local community.
The ideal settings are where workplaces are situated near attractive retail, leisure, entertainment and cultural facilities. These help to motivate the workforce by adding value to their immediate working surroundings. The Maidenhead regeneration plan covers these areas, as well as providing an excellent mix of residential properties. It also makes use of the town's riverbank and waterways to enhance the development's character and appeal.
A feature article in the Maidenhead Advertiser headed "Maidenhead set for big changes in 2017 as developments take shape" gives an update on the range of projects taking place.
The newspaper quotes the Royal Borough's cabinet member for the regeneration, Cllr David Evans, who explained: "We should see things really start to crystalise. We should see the waterways section coming to life and by spring we should have our development partner in place. It's going to be an important year for the regeneration."
Glenside believes from experience that Maidenhead is great for business and that this regeneration will do a great deal to enhance the prospects for industry and commerce in the neighbourhood. We look forward to providing further relocation and fit-out services for companies in Maidenhead, this most forward-looking of Thames-side towns.
CBRE, the world leading providers of commercial property and real estate services, have recently produced a comprehensive survey report "Millennials Myths and Realities" which provides fascinating and vital insights into the aspirations of the millennials generation. Also known as Generation Y, millennials are generally defined as people born in the years from 1976 to 2004.
Conducted by Ipsos surveying 13,000 millennials in their 20s in 12 countries worldwide, this survey offers findings that are immensely valuable, not least for employers. The report claims:
"By 2020, millennials born between 1980 and 2000 will make up half the global workforce.
"With such a large voice, millennials' decisions about where they work, how they work and whom they work for will have lasting consequences for the global economy and for real estate."
For Glenside, as specialists in commercial interior design and fit-out, the question of the type of business environment that will most satisfy millennials at work is of critical interest. It is also important to identify how well this marries up with aspirations of workers from other age groups.
To quote from the CBRE report again:
"Consider the workplace, for instance, which plays a huge role in staff morale and productivity. Employers looking to attract and retain the best and brightest in the war for talent will need to know what motivates millennials and how their needs may differ from those of previous generations."
One of the defining achievements of this survey is that it throws a critical light on many of the myths that surround the millennials generation. In relation to millennials at work, these include:
The participants in this survey painted a rather different picture. Only a very small proportion saw their ideal career ladder as working for a large number of companies and changing jobs frequently, whereas 62% wanted to work with the same or a small number of employers during their working life.
The CBRE report also cited a recent survey by Manpower6 which showed that, while millennials want to move on and up, they expect to advance with the same employer. Additionally, when considering the question of what do millennials want from a new job, it is interesting to note that almost two-thirds said that opportunities to learn new skills would be a major factor.
When asked what they would be prepared to trade off to secure a better working environment, two thirds of those surveyed by the CBRE were prepared to make sacrifices.
These findings, along with many others relating to millennials at work and leisure, make this survey of exceptional interest to businesses in every sector. Glenside believes that it supports our view that creating a motivational workplace environment through skilful planning and design plays a leading role in attracting and retaining the best talent.
There's no doubting 2016 has been a momentous year – Brexit, the US Presidential Election, Leicester City winning the English Premiership on initial bookmaker odds of 5000-1 and England's unbeaten record in the rugby!
As it draws to an end (phew!), it's natural to start looking forward to the coming year and to wonder what 2017 will bring. With Trump as President and Britain edging towards an exit from the EU, it certainly won't be dull. In the world of business, it will be exciting to see what new opportunities, innovations, technology and ideas begin to emerge.
Change is a constant factor in the overlapping spheres of buildings, work, interiors and business. 'To stand still is to fall behind.'
Glenside is looking forward to building on its successful portfolio of projects completed across a diverse range of businesses. These have included innovative mezzanine floor solutions when space has been limited, to striking a balance between accommodating growing staff numbers and collaborative breakout spaces.
An increasing trend – and one we think is going to feature strongly in 2017 – is the designing of office space based on the concept of agile working. Increasingly, office spaces are about connecting people by creating collaborative zones for both formal and impromptu co-working, alongside areas for individual, focused work. Employees are commonly provided with a laptop or bring their own device. Less and less are staff tied to one workstation with a fixed PC and phone.
Flexible working patterns – the ability to choose how, when and where to work – is another movement that we expect to continue. Working with global partners and the 'always open' culture means that businesses have to be available for longer and longer hours to respond to business or personal customers. Employees, however, can't be expected to work ever increasing hours so this is where flexible working patterns fill the need by utilising a number of personnel to cover the extended working day.
Growing corporate responsibility for environment and climate change might also impact working patterns and office space design and use. Recycling stations and management of resources are increasingly incorporated into office space designs. Furthermore, working-from-home arrangements have a direct effect of reducing emissions from commuting. Therefore, businesses might look to refurbish current office space and make better use of existing footprint in conjunction with telecommuting arrangements rather than look to expand their floor space.
So that's what we're predicting as being 'on trend' for office spaces and the world of work in 2017 and anticipating it now means we are already in a good position to respond.
Glenside Commercial Interiors LLP wish everyone a prosperous 2017 and hope that it brings you and your business growth and new opportunities.
This post was written by the Managing Director of Glenside Commercial Interiors LLP and originally appeared on LinkedIn. View original article.
Does your workspace help or hinder your employees? Does it motivate or deter productivity? In dezeen architecture and design magazine, it was reported that the right office design can have a huge bearing on the happiness of employees, more so even than pay rises. Employees look for a sense of "belonging, connection and contributing to a greater good" in their work environment, reflecting high levels of connectedness in their personal lives through social media.
Of course, employee happiness needs to be balanced with business goals. In this article, we hope to share with you our top ideas for creating an optimal work environment for your employees and at the same time maximise your business ambitions. By the end, you might well be asking – is it time for an office redesign?
They say a website is a virtual shop window to the world. A slick, clean website is undoubtedly important for winning new business. Imagine then the surprise and dare we say disappointment when a prospective client walks into your office and finds a tired and dated office space. First impressions really do count. A bright, smart and modern space suggests latest business thinking. A colourful and creative work environment suggests innovation and flair.
In order to respond proactively to changes at an industry level, it might be necessary to make changes to your work environment. More and more, employees from separate disciplines and functions are required to collaborate in project teams or multi-disciplinary work teams. This might necessitate an office space redesign to facilitate collaborative working which encourages interaction and cooperation; open spaces for round table thinking, enclosed spaces for private or individual working; co-working spaces for joint projects with customers or other industry players. You might also want your office space redesign to incorporate elements of agile working, a way of working that utilises the smartest elements of time, location, role and source.
It is neither healthy nor productive to be sat at one's desk for long periods. Breakout spaces provide respite from long spells in front of the computer and facilitate collaborative working and the sharing of ideas. Combined with facilities for making/dispensing hot drinks and refreshments, these areas can be multi-functional and are effective in bringing colleagues together in an informal way.
It's easy when recruiting new staff to overlook the issue of where to accommodate them so that you are faced with the real problem of overcrowding. An overcrowded work space has a big impact on employee wellbeing and productivity. Noisy, cluttered and disorganised workspaces can hinder creativity and affect morale. Putting workspaces in breakout or respite areas should not be considered as the answer. Instead, creative solutions such as building a mezzanine floor or re-orientating workstations, partitions or whole floor layouts should be investigated.
Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, announced two days ago that the economic fears held before the EU referendum, including those relating to commercial property, were beginning to crystallise. Following his remarks, the Global Head of Real Estate Research at HSBC, Stephen Bramley-Jackson, said yesterday that, "the suppressed activity levels in UK commercial real estate... will now likely extend for the remainder of 2016, and probably beyond".
So, what does this mean for businesses that are thinking of relocating to new premises, either as part of their plans for expansion, or to achieve other corporate objectives?
As an alternative to relocating, we recommend in this period of uncertainty that businesses instead look to explore the full potential of their current working environment. In our 43 years' experience in office interior design and fit-out, we have seen many highs and lows in the commercial property market. We have also often been approached by companies that had been looking to achieve specific aims through relocating but, given a change in external circumstances, decided to try to achieve those aims while remaining in the same location.
This does not have to be seen as a fall-back position. In fact, it can be a really positive decision to make. Many of the businesses we have worked with have been amazed at how well their aims have been achieved by the solutions that we were able to offer.
These have included improving the use of space to encourage communication between not only teams but also individual team members; repurposing working areas to create greater efficiencies; and introducing new materials and design concepts to transform the aesthetics of what had been tired and outdated surroundings.
If you are considering an office move but might be interested instead in looking at upgrading your current premises, please contact us for a consultation. We will be happy to help you determine if a complete relocation is necessary, or whether in fact your current building contains as yet untapped potential.
Glenside's space planning and office design expertise enabled a leading organic food wholesaler to expand their operation and enhance their working environment without moving premises.
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