Ever heard of breakout furniture? If you haven’t then you’re probably not up to speed with the latest innovations in office furniture.
There’s a buzz word for most things nowadays and that includes a specific type of furniture called breakout furniture. Now before we go into breakout furniture we need to understand what a breakout area is in an office.
The definition is actually as the name suggests, a place to break away from the desk and hold informal meetings or take time out for a break.
So you may actually have a breakout space without even knowing it but for some or even most offices, the breakout space is little more than a battered old sofa someone moved from their house and a cheap coffee table.
Breakout furniture doesn’t have to be this way, however, when there is the opportunity to make these spaces livelier and engaging.
A well thought out breakout space complete with office pods or even booths where people can use their phones can make for a much more happy and relaxed work environment.
If you are planning to fit or plan a new office layout, give us a call today to discuss the options available.
Most of us look forward to some hot sunny days in the summer but when you’re in the office it isn’t much fun at all particularly if you are working all day. So here’s some advice on how to improve the office environment to keep your staff motivated and productive.
Ensure Everyone drinks enough water
It might sound obvious but drinking plenty of water can limit the effects of heat. Access to clean cool drinking water is something every office should have. Mood, memory and energy levels can all be affected by dehydration which is something you may want your employees to avoid.
Keep the work place bright and airy
Nobody wants to be stuck in a dark stuffy office on a hot day and the type of furniture you choose can make a big difference to how bright your office is. Ensure enough natural light is allowed into the spaces around your offices and open windows if necessary.
Arrange some outdoor time
Why not arrange some time out of the office for your staff in prolonged heatwave conditions. A bit of team building will keep things interesting and if it is held outdoors, staff won’t feel like they are missing out on the sunshine.
Google’s influence on our lives cannot be understated and its office layouts have become an inspiration for many companies hoping to copy its office design styles. But is a Google style office right for your business?
When people were first introduced to the inside of a group of offices known as the Googleplex they were puzzled by the all the toys it contained. At first people viewed the whole thing as a gimmick and many will have laughed at staff working near sand volleyball courts or taking time out on adventure playgrounds.
It wasn’t long before people stopped laughing and started to imitate what they saw until Google style offices with dedicated leisure and play areas for staff became almost commonplace particularly among tech companies keen to attract staff to their playful work environments.
Like all fashions, however, there are signs that the playful office design layout might be coming to an end or at least it will be toned down. Design magazines are already suggesting that staff are fed up with the noise of co-workers having fun which could be detrimental to business.
While Google has no plans to ditch its playful office spaces, the many smaller businesses around the world adopting their approach might well be considering a change of direction to something that appeals to all staff rather than just the few who like to play while at work.
As time moves on so does the age of your employees and most office chairs will now be filled by a generation of people collectively known as millennials or those born between the early 1980s and just after the year 2000. As millennials are now so essential to businesses, how do you go about attracting them and keeping them in your office rather than those of the competition?
Most millennials don’t like conventional offices
If you want to retain your younger staff members it’s time to ditch the traditional office layout and go for something less conventional. Millennials despite their reputation are hard working on the whole as well as being career focused. They can be trusted to work in collaborative spaces with flexible furniture.
Millennials Want To See Up-To-Date Technology
Some business owners are hopelessly out of touch with technology and these are the ones that tend to have a high staff turnover. No self-respecting millennial is going to want to work in an office and make do with poor outdated equipment when they have superior technology at home.
The days of travelling to work every day and going through the motions from 9 am until 5pm are coming to an end for many private firms. Flexible working is now demanded by many people as is a flexible approach working remotely. IT infrastructure should be set up to allow this and enable millennials to enjoy a better work life balance.
Offices come in all sorts of layouts from sleek open plan, to period offices in city centres.
The challenge in both cases is to find a solution that not only creates a sense of space but also provides privacy and a quiet place to work for those employees who need it. So when designing an office layout, a delicate balancing act needs to be struck to ensure that everyone in the workplace will be happy.
Unlike visual distractions, which can simply be screened off or hidden by a simple re-arrangement of furniture and screens. Unfortunately, good acoustics will require a more complicated solution to reduce noise from phones, chatter and colleagues moving from one place to another.
All of this can become very frustrating for those who require peace and quiet to do their best work, which will in turn hinder productivity.
While the modern trend continues to lean towards the open plan spaces which have been seen as the best way to develop cooperation and creativity since the 1950s.
To improve acoustics in your office requires knowledge of how sound impacts on different surfaces and how it is absorbed by others.
This starts with the introduction of carpets, acoustic panels and acoustic screens which can help reduce noise dramatically. Then create separate spaces for collaborative work so as not to disturb those staff members who prefer to work in quiet isolation from time to time.
The more you learn about architecture and the buildings we use everyday, the more you understand just how much they can influence us.
Do you ever find yourself sitting in a room at work wondering what might be going on in the office across the corridor or do you feel excluded from management who occupy a corner office hardly anyone ever goes into?
Despite open plan offices and glass partitions now being an established part of business culture, you can still be left feeling an unwanted sense of seclusion and separation.
As a business owner, having your office laid out in this traditional manner is more likely to put people off coming to work for your organisation.
The days when people coveted the big office in the corner are now numbered as collaboration is understood to be the key to effective working.
If everyone in your office is crammed into small rooms, then it can be little wonder that conflict between staff members can begin to develop and instead of working as a team, the organisation becomes fragmented.
This can all be changed by a re-imagining of your office layout to encourage rather than discourage collaboration and a more harmonious working environment.
Google is the undisputed leader among the world’s search engines and it has also been a front runner in the evolution of office design, but experts in office design are beginning to question how its brand of office design can actually be detrimental to some businesses.
It’s inevitable that office design trends will change over time and Google’s playful approach to making its employees feel at home in the work place is beginning to look a little bit dated.
A recent article in architectural magazine, Dezeen suggests that even some Google employees are getting fed up with hearing people play on slides. Many among those who have tried out office play equipment themselves, often do so only once when they realise that their clothes have been messed up in the process.
Turning offices into playgrounds was seen as a way to stimulate creativity and put staff back in touch with their childhoods to keep them more relaxed. While this may have worked and helped Google staff solve problems creatively, for some businesses having staff stand around next to play equipment can lead to people not working as hard as they should or messing around in the workplace.
The article concludes that If you do intend to kit your office out like Google, it is worth assessing if the playful approach is right for your business before doing so to avoid problems later on.
There are reports that Google is planning to have developers build several new offices in London, notably in Kings Cross where an 11-storey office building has received planning permission.
The new building only received the go-ahead last month from Camden Council and in typical Google style it is unlikely to be the run of the mill kind of office development. Plans include a large roof terrace overlooking the city and there are certain to be many other features you would expect from Google’s office designers.
According to Joe Borrett, Google’s director of real estate and construction, the new office building will cement Google’s expansion in Kings Cross as well as make the area its new home in London. The tech giant has already revealed plans to spend 1 billion on its UK HQ according to reports, but it is not clear if this new building will be part of it even though the firm has been buying up additional plots in the Kings Cross area.
The planned regeneration of areas of Kings Cross have not gone down well with everyone. Architect Peter Cook has allegedly branded some designs as boring while Google’s Larry Page himself has allegedly considered scrapping one scheme because he too labelled it as boring.
Google’s current London offices feature anything from allotments to grow veg to dodgem cars and beach huts.