Tag: Home Office (page 1 of 3)

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.

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!

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!

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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