Pandemic-proofing offices

Pandemic-proofing offices could involve short-term fixes, new working patterns and long-term design upgrades that put hygiene at the heart of workplace planning.

Mitigate the risk 

The biggest priority and challenge for post coronavirus offices is controlling the infection.
How can we control contamination in open plan high density offices?
How can we control infection in hot desking environments?
Or communal and social spaces?
The challenges are many. We have to respond to COVID-19 crisis and mitigate the infection risk by introducing new safety features and measures and improving sanitisation and disinfection processes in our offices. It’s a big change that will create new work styles and build new working culture which we need to be prepared for.

2M rule

We have created some illustrations showing ways of changing office desk configurations to create greater space between your team members.

Here are some points to consider when you are thinking about re-configuring your office:

  • Can you turn back-to-back desks currently in the centre of the room around, so the operators face the walls?
  • Reducing density: Can you separate banks of desks so there are gaps between each set of two or four?
  • Can you spread workspaces around, so people are at least 2 meters apart?
  • Consider moving pedestals so that they are in the centre of the desks between two users, so they are physically unable to come together side by sideIf you have mobile pedestals, consider moving them out so they sit between the desks, increasing the space between the users
  • Consider moving filing cabinets/cupboards between desks to increase the space between the users
  • For face-to-face users, consider introducing additional barriers on top of desk top screens to increase protection from coughs or sneezes. Add screens beside and behind office workers, the higher and wider the better
  • Hot desking: Eliminate or introduce a strict clean in and clean out measures

Meetings and social spaces

It’s likely that before we start welcoming visitors to our workplaces, we can expect to spend much time meeting virtually with our customers and suppliers rather than sitting face-to-face around the meeting table.

With that in mind, we would recommend to thin out the meeting rooms to safely accommodate smaller groups with greater distancing. It’s important to remove alternative chairs and ensure there is always a 2m space in every direction between the chair positions.  There is also the potential to use these rooms to create working space for members of the team thus allowing us to provide greater distancing in office areas.  If meeting tables are modular and can be separated, do so to increase the distancing further. It’s recommended to even meet standing up in the open areas of your office. By using flexible tools, movable furniture solutions and screens you can easily create a safe and productive meeting area.

Floor plan ideas

  • Decrease density by staggering lunches and breaks in cafes or other staff areas
  • Incorporate higher space division to naturally encourage distancing by introducing barriers such as screens, storage, large plants and partitioning
  • Introduce cubicle style office to protect personal desk space with higher screens
  • Adapt an owned desk space approach and reduce shared desking
  • Reduce guest seating in reception areas and introduce individual seating in lounge spaces
  • Easy access to disinfecting stations

Workplaces will not return to normal

A report has suggested that:

The 9-5 is dead but the office is NOT: Workplaces will not ‘return to normal’ after the coronavirus pandemic but most companies will not let employees work from home permanently.

The publication warns workplaces ‘will not return to normal’ after the pandemic is brought under control – with employees having adapted to the ‘new normal’ of working from home during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The study has advised that there has been increased stress levels among employees due to working from home since the lockdown was enforced in May 2020. It suggests workers splitting time between the office and working from home may be the way forward for many companies, even after the pandemic is over.

London-based outsourcing giant Capita have not renewed leases on 25 of their offices, while Lloyds Banking Group was reviewing its office space requirements after deciding most of its 65,000 employees have performed well working from home.

But the report says others, including social media giant Facebook, had turned against working from home models, while American mutlinational IBM had also pulled back from its staff working from home.

However the report concludes that the likely way forward for businesses will be a mixed model, with employees working from home some of the time, and in the office others.

Innovative ideas to make your warehouse more efficient

Most businesses are always looking to be more efficient, but never more so than in the present day. A variety of difficult business conditions mean that warehouse and logistics operations are increasingly looking to save money and space. Oftentimes, the best way to do this is to invest in technological solutions – upgrading the infrastructure that your business relies on every day.

Some of the improvements that can be made to warehouse and logistics infrastructure are more familiar, while others are more on the cutting edge. From smarter shelving to roving robots to simply investing in your staff, here are five innovative ideas to make your warehouse space more efficient.

Smarter storage for your warehouse: While there are plenty of cutting-edge technologies you can apply to your warehouse, an equally effective solution is simply to reappraise your storage. A higher density form of pallet racking could easily increase your available storage space by more than half – or double the amount of floor space you have available for other tasks – giving you ample room to grow.

Employee training : Many warehouse and logistics businesses offer some sort of training to employees to help them carry out their roles, often in the realm of health and safety. However, by going above and beyond to offer additional skills training, you can both improve the quality of people’s work and reinforce the ties that bind them to your business. Offering and incentivising training courses can be a great way to sharpen skills, improve practices within your warehouse or logistics operation, and even to fill roles that you may be struggling with or anticipating a need for.

Automation: Warehouse automation isn’t just the future – for many businesses, it’s the present. While Amazon has been the front-runner in this field, they have kept most of their advances to themselves. Numerous companies have stepped into the breach to develop similar autonomous robots and other automated systems, which shepherd pallets and individual items around the warehouse.

The advantages of automation are numerous. Autonomous vehicles and robots can be more reactive, as they receive an order from a WMS and immediately know where to go to carry it out. They also present safety benefits, as they can support heavy loads and pose no risk of injury to human operators, with sensors to prevent them from colliding with people. Their suitability for menial, repetitive work also reduces the physical and mental load on human operators, who can be moved to other tasks.

Tips on How to Effectively Plan a Warehouse Layout Design

Principles of an Efficient Warehouse Layout

Before you start designing your warehouse, you should understand what you’re trying to achieve with your warehouse layout design.

Here are 3 major principles to keep in mind when planning your warehouse:

Space

Consider how to maximise the space you can afford, taking into consideration storage, stock, offices, working areas, empty pallet storage, battery charging, etc.

With a wide variety of vertical racks and freestanding equipment, you should be able to design your warehouse in the way you need it initially, while being flexible enough to change it in the future if desired.

Flow

Warehouse flow can be summarised as the uninterrupted movement of materials, people, and traffic within your building.

Your first goal should be to cut down on any areas of high traffic or potential for cross-flow crashes.

So, each activity that an employee performs must be located as close as possible to the activity that precedes it and proceeds from it.

That also means materials used to perform those activities should be situated as close as possible to each workstation.

Your second goal should be to eliminate as much movement and disruption as possible.

Accessibility

Every product and all products on pallets should be accessible by everyone, usually without the need to move one product to get to another.

That means structuring your pallet racks in rows that are wide enough to accommodate pallet jacks and trucks, and stacking and stocking items strategically for minimal interference with one another.

Millenium SI Solutions for Common Warehouse Problems

Use Your Vertical Space

Look up and make sure you’re using all the vertical space available. Investigate storage media to take advantage of your clear span height. How much cubic feet of vertical space is not being used? Be sure to know how your design might impact your sprinkler design and fire code.

Analyze Your Department Space

Identify functions that do not require high ceilings in areas where lower stacking heights are dictated by the clear height. We often see unused overhead space where large departments like packing and shipping are performed.

Consolidate Locations

If you have multiple locations for storing the same item, consider combining them to create better warehouse space utilisation. This can be done during the putaway process and as a standalone function.

Drop Shipping As An Option

If you store and ship large items, consider utilising some form of drop shipping to reduce your in-house inventory and costs.

Use Off-Site Location for Overstock

If you store a large quantity of excess inventory for a few items, consider some type of offsite storage for the excess, thus freeing up space for supporting the fulfillment operation.

Mezzanine Installation

If your building layout permits, consider the use of a mezzanine to house functions that do not require high-bay storage. These can be expensive and are fairly permanent, but will maximise warehouse space utilisation.

Interiors trends to copy from your favourite influencers

We find ourselves scrolling through Pinterest or Instagram, but how can we confirm what the definitive interiors trends of 2020 are?

Rattan – Natural Materials

Made popular in the 1970s, rattan and wicker is having its revival and it’s not doing it quietly. If you spent two minutes browsing home decor retailers like Homesense and Dunelm, you’re guaranteed to see an array of gorgeous chairs, benches, lampshades, baskets, the list is endless. The rise in popularity of this natural colour and textural style recently caused H&M Home to sell-out of their iconic cane-webbing chairs, the demand is so high they can’t be restocked quick enough.

Want to feel like you are holiday? Why not decorate a bedroom in this incredible Riad theme?

The best thing about this trend is that it fuzes perfectly with rattan, wicker and weave. You’ll find the best rattan lampshades you’ve ever seen in the souks of Marrakech, if only they could squeeze into hand-luggage. By combining riad ritual, wicker or weave and throwing in a few touches of gold you’ll inevitably feel like you’re chilling in a chic version of a Moroccan palace. This trend transitions smoothly from inside the home to outside into the garden. During Summer you could throw a flatweave rug and some embroidered cushions onto your decking leaving you with an idyllic African picnic scene.

What Can Your Business Gain From Installing a Mezzanine Floor?

Mezzanine floors are beyond being able to create extra floor space or saving money on rent, and there’s a lot more. Of course, being able to create extra space in your commercial building without any major construction work is quite a benefit. However, the versatility of mezzanine floors means there’s a lot of pros to having one.

Here’s what we think your business stands to gain from installing a mezzanine floor:

A Boost to Productivity and Efficiency

An additional working place will go a long way to increase the output of your business. With mezzanine floors installed, you will have new office, lunchrooms, bathrooms, secure rooms and even a fitness centre all within the existing office space.

One of the ways to increase productivity is to look into the work space. More importantly, being able to provide specific amenities can be a morale booster. To provide these amenities, you will require extra space which you cannot afford except through a mezzanine floor.

A Cost-Efficient Approach to Expansion

Compare the cost of the building extra space in your business from scratch to having a mezzanine floor installed. You’ll always stick with the mezzanine option. Building a new structure involves a lot of investment which your business may not be able to afford currently.

However, with mezzanine floors in place, you will be getting value out of every square metre of your current business space. Mezzanine floors help you to achieve maximum and optimal space efficiency.

Quicker Installation Time

It does not end here. Mezzanine floors are made with prefabricated materials. As a business, you do not have the luxury of time to pause business activities. However, there’s no need to disrupt business activities when mezzanine floors are to be installed; the turnaround time is quicker.

When compared with building a new structure, a mezzanine floor saves you time. Depending on the size and space, installing a mezzanine floor is comparatively faster.

Customisable to Suit Your Taste and Needs

The beauty of the mezzanine floor extends to being able to create an interior environment that captures your business philosophy. A mezzanine floor can be customised for an industrial, warehouse, retail, or regular office interior.

We are referring to having a mezzanine floor with decorated walls, wallpapers, ceiling, windows, doors and carpets. What matters is knowing what you intend to achieve out of the new extra space created.

If you believe your business stands to benefit from mezzanine floors reach out to us on  (01942) 603344 or email info@millennium-si.co.uk

 

What Is External Racking?

Are you looking for a way to utilise your yard space that will be completely unaffected by adverse weather conditions? External racking could be the solution for you.

External Warehouse Racking is a storage system that has been galvanised to ensure that the racking will have the longest lifespan possible.

By galvanising the racking you are providing the system with extra protection, ensuring that rust and corrosion are not a problem that you will encounter.

If you have an outdoor space, installing an external racking system will provide useful space for your materials whilst utilising the available space.

Where Could External Racking Be Used?

There are multiple applications that external racking is ideal for:

  • Outdoor retail storage
  • Storage yards
  • Builders Merchants

Advantages of External Racking:

  • Weather resistant – the racking is galvanised to prevent any rust and corrosion
  • Ideal for cold or damp locations
  • Utilising available space in your facility – outdoor space is often under-utilised, outdoor racking allows you to use this space efficiently

Disadvantages of External Racking:

  • The racking must be galvanised to protect it from the elements – this increases the costs and often lead times
  • The products stored must also either not be affected by the elements or be protected from them – this may mean protecting the racking with some form of cladding
  • The floor area must be concreted, flat and level as in an internal warehouse

If you would like more information regarding warehouse racking solutions, call us today on (01942) 603344 or email info@millennium-si.co.uk to arrange a no obligation visit.

5 Critical Pallet Rack Safety Hazards

Physical damage to the pallet rack

Often this damage occurs from lift truck collisions. Sufficient clearance space and clear aisles are both great ways to prevent this kind of damage. Always encourage employees to promptly report all minor impacts or observable damage.

Misaligned Racking Safety Hazard

This can cause collapse or failure of your pallet racking system. During inspection, use the manufacturer’s instructions to check that racks are properly aligned, plum, and level.

Loose Floor Fittings

OSHA is clear that rack columns are bottom-anchored to the floor with column base plates secured with anchor bolts.

Suitability of forklift truck

Your material handling equipment and pallet jacks should be sized to meet your needs.

Weight of stored goods versus capacity of racking system

To prevent dangerously overloaded racks, ANSI/RMI MH16.1 suggests posting the maximum permissible unit load, average unit load, and maximum total load per bay.

In the end, whether your racks are damaged, overloaded, improperly anchored or misaligned, they’re a serious safety hazard that can result in serious injury. OSHA recommends warehouse managers develop a thorough maintenance and inspection program. Be liberal with safety audits that include everything from pallet rack signage all the way up your material handling equipment.

Millennium Storage Office Refurbishments

Millennium offers you a full service to provide you with the best possible environment with minimum disruption. We believe in practical solutions and creative office space planning. As a company experienced in office fit out, we offer office partitioning, flooring, decoration, furniture (standard and bespoke). As a result you have one point of contact and dedicated project management to ensure a seamless transformation.

The Benefits of Refurbishing Your Office or Workplace

The average worker spends vast portions of their lives in their office or workplace, so it is important for the surroundings to look and feel welcoming. If your workplace needs a bit of a spruce up, you may want to consider the benefits of an office refurbishment.

Improved efficiency

Refurbishing your workplace can allow you to alter the layout of your establishment, and you may find that by moving certain aspects of your office, you can increase the efficiency of your workplace. You can even take this opportunity to invest in new, high-quality equipment for your office that can increase the speed of functions.

Increased productivity

A new, attractive, updated workplace can boost the morale of your workers, which in turn can increase their productivity.

Attracts new clients or customers

Your office is, in effect, the face of your company, and the quality of your workplace can speak volumes about how your company is run, and even how successful your business is. A high-quality establishment indicates that your company is turning a good profit, which can make other customers or clientele have faith in the success of your company and be more inclined to do business with you.

More room for more staff

When you refurbish, you can alter the size of certain aspects of your establishment – storage, hallways, etc. to create more space, which can fit your expanding workforce more comfortably. You may even find that simply rejigging the furniture into a more organised state can create the extra space you need.

Increased health and safety

If you’ve been using your office for a while, general wear and tear might have caused some damage to the fixtures, which can be a huge health and safety risk to your workers. An entire new office will be completely safe and secure, greatly reducing the risk of workplace accidents.

Millennium Storage and Interiors offer both office and commercial refurbishments, so no matter your workplace, we can provide you with the new look you want. We only use high-quality materials and fully qualified and skilled workers, to ensure that the work we produce is of the utmost quality. No job is too big or too small for our dedicated team, and we’ll be on hand at all times to manage the project, completely eradicating the stress from the procedure.

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