Category: Coronavirus (page 1 of 2)

Virtual Christmas party: ideas and games for hosting an online office party

The last thing we wanted to be doing during the Christmas season was sitting on Zoom, Skype, Houseparty or Google Hangouts instead of being able to meet up with friends and family in the flesh.

Despite a four nations agreement that allows families to meet in “bubbles” between 23 and 27 December, normal rules will stay in place for the rest of the holidays.

This means that festive parties and work celebrations are completely off the table this year, so it’s looking like a return to virtual hangouts is inevitable.

After spending nearly a whole year on Zoom, instead of meeting people face-to-face, many of us are feeling sick of the extra screen time.

Here’s a list of simple ideas that could be really fun and festive:

Cocktail making

In the same vein, virtual cocktail making is a fun activity – and who can say no to a cocktail?

Choose a tasty, but easy, cocktail recipe that participants will be able to mix, step-by-step on-screen, such as strawberry daiquiris, mojitos or espresso martinis.

Make it a competition to see who can produce the best-looking cocktail – and who makes the worst.

Christmas quiz

Zoom quizzes may be overdone, but you’ll only get one chance to organise a festive quiz so you may as well go all out.

Christmas jumper attire is encouraged, and make sure all the rounds are suitably seasonal – we’re talking classic Christmas movies and songs and festive trivia.

Virtual bingo

Bingo nights are a total crowd-pleaser, and it’s really easy to set one up virtually via Zoom or Skype.

The best part is there is no limit to the number of people who can join in, whether you have three friends or 30.

All you need to do is send bingo cards to all participants for them to print – there are plenty of free online resources.

Then, find a number generator and share your screen with everyone so they can see the numbers as they are selected.

Great Ways to Engage Your Employees This Christmas!

Decorate the office!

Surely a few Christmas decorations can’t make an entire office feel happier?

You’d be surprised how much a few bits of tinsel here, and a couple of baubles there can really pick up the atmosphere and get staff feeling excited about the holidays!

Even better… you could make Christmas decorating an annual tradition, getting the team working together and bonding over a mutual love for the festive season.

Host an Award Ceremony

Awards can be a great way to engage staff and let them know that you value their hard work.

And they don’t have to be based on targets – you don’t want to leave a proportion of your loyal workforce out – consider things like…

– The most encouraging person in the office.
– The most organised.
– The best at keeping your customers happy.
…split your awards up across teams and make sure your perceived ‘favourites’ (if there are any) don’t get more praise and credit than others.

Secret Santa

A slightly more obvious Christmas tradition, Secret Santa is an amazing way to bring your employees, across different teams, together.

Just decide on a £5-£10 limit and then pick a day for the ‘big reveal’ and you’re sorted!

Let Your Staff Leave Early

A great incentive and reward scheme that works specifically well for salespeople is allowing them to finish work early for the Christmas holiday if they hit an (achievable) target.

Whether it’s on 1st December (you’d hope not…) or 23rd, when they’ve hit the target, let them go home until January!

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way a lot of people work

Earlier this year, many companies closed their offices and shifted their staff to remote work due to health and safety concerns. And while remote work has been a mixed bag, it’s also proven itself as a viable model for companies in almost every segment of the market.

That opens the door to a world of flexibility for companies going forward. But it also puts office buildings in real danger.

Office building demand could wane to a dangerous degree

When employees were first told to pack up their desks and work remotely back in February and March, many assumed it would last a few weeks. But now, nine months later, many companies are realizing remote work is a sustainable model, with the potential for major cost savings. If workers can maintain productivity from afar, businesses can spend less on office space.

A good 68% of large-company CEOs say they now plan to downsize their office space, according to a survey by KPMG. And that’s not just in response to the pandemic.

LONG-TERM OFFICE LEASES COULD BE HISTORY

Those who are considering returning to the office are doing so cautiously due to the uncertainty of lease commitments and health protocols.

The last several months have left workers reeling as many were forced to work from home to stay safe from the ongoing pandemic. Real estate technology firm Yardi recently conducted a survey recently that revealed office users are still skeptical about what the workplace will look like in the future.

“Occupancy is around 86% nationwide,” said Rao. “It was generally flat up until a month and a half ago. In the last month, it dropped 0.3%, which is a large monthly drop. What we are finding is that for many leases that are expiring, generally what’s happening is the tenants are holding onto the space, and they are not wanting to make any rash decisions one way or another.”

The overall theme of the market is uncertainty. The demands of offices have evolved since the beginning of the year. Now, tenants want touchless technology, outdoor areas and air filtrations systems to ensure that their health is protected.

Additionally, the relationship between landlords and tenants is bound to transform as short-term, flexible leases grow in demand.

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.

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.

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.

Creative ideas on how to turn your home office into a stylish haven

Get a desk with built-in storage

When you have a small home office, storage tends to be an issue. Where on Earth will you store your stacks of sticky notes and cool pens? Before you know it, you’re elbow-deep in loose papers, wires. Invest in a desk that not only serves as a desk but can also be used to store all of those essentials that you don’t want lying around or in reach of your little ones!

Add a rug or cushions

This will give you a cosier feel to your work space, it can also make your workspace feel bigger.

Light it up

As well as ensuring you get as much natural light as possible we recommend turning off the harsh overhead lighting (that you don’t miss from your work office!) and instead using a mix of floor and table lamps or even candles to give off a smoother light that still does it’s job without making you squint!

Just add plants

Given that you’ll be spending a good chunk of your day at your desk, you may as well dress it up so that it’s visually stimulating and gives you a burst of energy when you start losing steam. One way to do this is with small plants. Use easy-to-care plants near your desk.

How to improve your home office

Working from home may have its benefits like getting up a bit later, wearing comfy clothes and having an oven handy for making lunch.

But you may find working, eating and sleeping in the same place each day gets a bit tiresome after a while.

Here’s a few tips and tricks for making your work environment at home that little bit brighter…

Find a comfy chair

If you have a comfortable chair you can use as your work chair, this will make a big difference if you’re sitting at a desk or table all day.

Clean up your mess (computer, papers, laptops etc)

A clean and tidy working environment can make the world of difference.

Making sure your desk or table is free of clutter so that you have space to work, and that it’s clean and tidy can leave your feeling calmer and more productive.

Make sure you also tidy up at the end of your working day so that you come away from work and enjoying the evening for yourself and the family.

Natural lighting

If possible, choose a place for your workspace environment that has natural lighting. This can be beneficial to your mood and increase productivity. We also recommend you get outside a 20 minutes or so, to give you a break from work and also get much needed fresh air.

Being near a window while working can also up your vitamin D levels, which helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, and these nutrients are needed to keep muscle, teeth and bones healthy.

Separate work and living areas

If it’s possible to do so, your workspace should be in a room or space as far away as possible from the place where you sleep if you want to increase your productivity.

Your brain tends to associate certain spaces with certain tasks, which is why it’s important to keep your work and living areas physically separate if you can.
For more ideas on office space at home or in a city office, contact us today!
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