Tag: Designing Offices (page 1 of 2)

How to improve hygiene in the office

As we start to move back into the office during a period of widespread virus outbreaks, improving hygiene in the office is imperative. With open plan and agile workspaces, employees tend to move around the office a lot and come into contact with more people and work surfaces than ever before. Whilst this is great for collaborating and communicating, it’s not so great for hygiene!

This article will discuss all of the ways you can make your office as safe as possible.

  1. Surface wipes & anti-bacterial gels

 Generally, it is good to have a ‘leave it how you would like to find it’ attitude towards flexible and agile working offices. However, even it is appears to be tidy this does not necessarily mean it is clean!

Keyboards, monitors, desk chairs (namely the arms and handles) and all work surfaces should be wiped down with anti-bacterial wipes on a regular basis. Workers should also make use of the anti-bacterial gel before beginning their working day.

  1. Keep the air-con off!

Coronavirus and air conditioning can be a potentially deadly combination as air ducts and vents can be a safe space for the virus to cultivate, even when the rest of the building is cleaned comprehensively.

It is key to provide adequate air flow in a working environment and the safest way of doing this whilst covid-19 is still present is by opening doors and windows. As a result of this airflow you will reduce the impact of spreading the virus.

  1. Recycling and general bins

 The NHS phrase of “Catch it, Bin it, Kill it” to stop the spread of germs requires…bins! Frequent placing of office general waste bins and recycling bins throughout any workplace is important.

Therefore, it is essential that you have a number of bins around the offer to help minimise the germs that could be circulating in your office.

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!

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.

The UK: Coolest Offices

Looks are never everything, but when it comes to the office you spend most of your time in, a work environment that is fun, easy on the eye and inspiring can make a huge difference to how you perform on a daily basis.

Take a look at a few of the trendiest offices we’ve got in the UK right now…

ASOS

The Office: ASOS’ headquarters in Camden are located in a former tobacco factory, with an art deco vibe that means natural light, modern furnishings, and funky, patterned wallpaper.

The Engine Group

The Office: Circular, spinning seating pods—like something you might see on a futuristic spaceship—and translucent acrylic display screens make this London office techy and cool.

Frank PR

The Office: This London office has a rotating fairground ride, a la an amusement park! Who wouldn’t want a spin—bad pun intended—at this office, which seems to value playing as much as it does hard work.

Millennium’s solutions are cost-effective and planned to the highest standards. The company’s strength is to understand fully client business and match it to their requirements.

If you have any questions or enquiries for us at Millennium Storage and Interiors, please get in touch using the contact details here.

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!

Self Isolating? Home Office Ideas

Latest official government guidelines say those who can should be working from home, for the foreseeable while the outbreak of coronavirus settles down.

We have turned our thoughts to making our home office space work more efficiently, because we might there for a while.

Creating a dedicated office space in your home is often tricky unless you have a spare room in which to get organised and away from the children. But regardless of whether your space is large or small, organisation is key and that’s where the best home office storage ideas come in handy. So take a look at Millennium SI’s top tips to get you started.

Repurpose where possible

We’re probably not exactly in a state of mind to pop to Ryman or WHSmith to find desk organisers right now, but we still have storage needs? How about fining an alternative use for all the extra tin cans we’ve amassed as a result of the recent news.

Simply wash out your tin cans after use and use them as cost-effect savvy storage solution. Ensure there no sharp edges of course. Ideal if you have never needed to work form home and suddenly find yourself with a makeshift office.

Repurpose a chest of drawers for a printer

Just because you have to have this bulky office gadget handy to get the job done, doesn’t mean it as to impose on your decor. By removing the bottom drawer from a chest of drawers you have the perfect stylish space to house a printer. For an extra decorative touch you can change the legs on the chest, to offer a less ‘officey’ look.

Use garden-centre buys inside

A trellis makes a brilliant noticeboard, even though its intended purpose was to support plants. Plant pots can be used to contain plants that will stimulate creativity. Or they can be handy containers for pens, art materials – even your phone.

Go pro with matching furniture

Coordinating pieces like this desk and bookcase say ‘executive’, as well as offering plentiful storage. The trick here is not to put your desk against the wall. Instead, place it in the middle of the room and voila – you’ve made space for a bookcase. For a pop of colour (and fun) choose a large-scale rug with a quirky print.

For more information and what you can do with your office space, contact us today!

New guide issued helps businesses with cold storage warehouse safety

The Cold Chain Federation have launched a useful health and safety guide for businesses operating cold storage warehouses.

Operating and working in a cold storage warehouse doesn’t come without its risks and challenges.

Businesses with cold storage warehouses must take care to comply with all relevant health and safety regulations to protect their employees from harm and keep their cold storage warehouse at a consistent and efficient temperature.

Just some of the risks of working in a cold storage warehouse include:

  • Ice build-up
  • Freezing surfaces
  • Condensation
  • Prolonged exposure to low temperatures

The Cold Chain Federation is an organisation representing the UK’s temperature-controlled supply chain. The federation represents and provides a voice for the industry in matters relating to cold chain compliance and helps to connect and provide help and support to businesses within the industry.

On January 31 they published a comprehensive guide called Keeping People Safe in a Cold Store, which can be downloaded from their website.

The guide provides information about the health and safety risks, compliance requirements, and best practice measures that businesses operating cold storage warehouses should be aware of.

Shane Brennan, the Cold Chain Federation’s Chief Executive says that the guide is “the first health and safety guide of its kind specifically aimed at cold stores”. He adds that the guide aims to “save businesses time and help them with health and safety compliance in an efficient and structured way.”

Cold storage racking and shelving inspections

Ensure that your cold storage warehouse racking is safe and in good condition with regular safety inspections.

Our team here at Millennium Storage and Interiors carry out independent racking and shelving safety inspections.

During a safety inspection, our qualified personnel will inspect your racking for damage and perform a risk assessment. To book a safety inspection, give our team a call on 01942 603 344.

 

How to design a disability-friendly office

An all-inclusive, disability-friendly office design creates a safer, more comfortable and welcoming work environment for all, including disabled employees and visitors to your business.

By law, all businesses should provide an all-inclusive workspace that facilitates a safe and comfortable work environment for all employees, including disabled individuals.

As well as looking after employees by helping them to feel more valued and comfortable, a disability-friendly office design attracts a more diverse workforce and a wider pool of candidates, helping your business to attract more top talent.

Whilst some disabled employees may require specialist equipment, most disabled employees’ requirements can be met by simply taking accessibility into consideration when designing your office.

Here are some key features of inclusive, disability-friendly office design.

  • Accessible sockets
  • Adjustable desks
  • Cable management
  • Low lever door handles
  • Low flat panel light switches
  • Wide doorways and hallways
  • Task lighting
  • Quiet workspaces
  • Computer monitor arms
  • Large-print equipment controls
  • Use of ramps instead of stairs where suitable
  • Climate control

Whilst these design features are all disability-friendly, many of them will make your office a safer and more comfortable workspace for everyone.

Space should be a key consideration when designing a disability-friendly workspace, ensuring that there is always enough room for a wheelchair to manoeuvre.

All trip hazards and obstructions should be removed and tidied away, especially trailing wires and cables. Cable management systems are effective for keeping cables neat and safe.

Inclusive office design by Millennium Storage

Here at Millennium Storage and Interiors we provide office refurbishments and new builds to businesses of all different shapes and sizes. We design practical and inspiring office spaces that find the perfect balance between aesthetics and functionality.

Our designs are practical for all employees, with accessibility and inclusivity always a key consideration in our design process.

For help or advice with designing a disability-friendly office, or to book a free consultation with our team, give us a call on 01942 603 344.

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