Category: Uncategorized

Office Partitioning Doesn’t Have To Be Boring

Lets face it most people outside of office fitters pay much attention to office partitions. They are those everyday features of the office that people take for granted even though they can be a vital part of an office layout.

If you have an office with partitions picture that office without them or replace those glass partitions with solid walls. You will probably end up with rooms that are either far too open in the case of the former or claustrophobic in the case of the latter.

Clearly office partitioning plays a critical part in the layout of offices that have it but office partitioning is far more than just a way to separate spaces. It can have an influence on anything from staff wellbeing to productivity and external perceptions of the business.

Partitions provide a cheap, alternative way to set the right balance between group working spaces, private areas and even spaces to relax in progressive offices.

Unlike solid walls, portioning can also provide flexibility. You can modify them and use different materials depending on your needs. For some offices having branding clearly visible is important and it’s easy to do this with partitioning. For others the priority might be create the illusion of open spaces, which is easy to achieve with glass office partitioning.

Is Your Warehouse Ready For Black Friday?

This November is likely to be a record breaking month for mobile smartphone shopping with 10bn predicted to be spent this year. Meanwhile overall spending across all devices is predicted to top 20bn.

The behaviour of online consumers in recent years has been shaped by Black Friday, an event imported from the United States where retailers offer large discounts on their items. Unlike the high street where peak times tend to be the run up to Christmas and the January Sales people are understandably keen to purchase presents online in November to take advantage of low prices.

All this extra spending on online purchases will certainly increase the demand for storage and distribution facilities and bring added pressure to capacities. So how can you adapt your warehouse space to this demand?

Fortunately, there are several ways including the introduction of mezzanine floors to maximise unused headroom. Investing in additional racking and shelving will also help increase storage space significantly. Investing in double racking for example will mean pallets can be stored two deep.

If space is restricted then you could consider reducing the number of access aisles to further increase pallet storage capacity.

Open Plan Offices

An interesting blog in the FT looked into how open plan offices may not be the best layout for introverts. Studies have apparently shown that introverts not surprisingly like to be closed off from their colleagues while they work.

Various studies which have looked into the effects open plan offices have on people who consider themselves introverts should provide some food for thought for business owners. While the idea behind open plan offices in the first place is to promote team work, there will always be some staff who like a bit of time to work by themselves.

Forcing them to work amongst noisy extroverted co-workers may even have an impact on some introvert’s productivity levels which might make an investment in solutions such as private glass pods and semi screened off booths worthwhile.

The FT article is not the first one to feature research into open plan offices and it is unlikely to be the last. As more research is done with the aim of improving health in the workplace, the way the office environment is constructed is likely to increasingly be the focus.

The challenge for those businesses having open plan offices is to also keep their extroverts happy. No extrovert will be happy sitting in a sealed off booth even if that will make quieter colleagues a lot happier in work.

Google Creates Offices Inspired By Nature

Office furniture may not be high on the agenda for whoever is responsible at Google for creating workspaces for happy productive employees but wallpaper and light is according to recent news released by the search giant.

If you walk around a Google office today, you will find the usual coders and play areas but you might also notice light meters hanging from their necks as they go about their daily work. This is because the environmental team at Google thinks that natural light is a very important part of keeping the workforce happy and more importantly for this ambitious firm – productive.

Google is one of the more famous companies experimenting with biophilic design or the subtle changes that can make an office space seem more natural. Having a more natural space to work in while you sit at your office desk is said to better for you psychologically because it helps to reduce stress.

With this in mind Google has added extra skylights, and even solar tubes in its conference rooms to brighten things up. Employees of Google are reported to be more deeply focused on their work and more creative as well as productive.

Obese Staff May Soon Be Entitled To Heavy Duty Office Furniture

While the EU mulls over whether or not to class obesity as a disability, there is the possibility business owners may be forced to provide office furniture suitable for obese employees.

As the law stands obesity is not seen as a disability, however a case involving a 25-stone worker from Denmark at the European Court of Justice may change everything if a ruling is made against his employer then this will set an important precedent.

Employers would be forced to invest in heavy duty office furniture that is designed to take the extra weight rather than opt for standard office furniture, which may not be up to the job.

The Danish child minder disputes his employer’s claim that he was dismissed due to poor performance and claims that it was because of his weight and the extra cost of providing heavy duty furniture.

Employers have a responsibility to provide to make offices safe and comfortable for disabled employees and this may include those who are obese if the Danish employee wins the case or risk being accused of discrimination.

Office furniture makers have reported an increase in orders for reinforced office chairs in recent years. According to The Overseas Development Institute an estimated 64% of Britons are overweight or obese.

Is your warehouse ready for an even bigger sales boom?

Online shopping is big business in the UK. The IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index has reported that online sales in the UK totaled £91bn in 2013, a rise of 16% on the previous year. Now that figure’s set to rise by a further 17% this year to reach total online sales of £107bn. It’s very much due to the rise of consumers using tablets and mobile devices like Smartphones to make their purchases – a trend that was huge in 2013 and is set to become even more popular in 2014.

In fact, it’s predicted that the number of mobile devices being used in 2014 will outnumber the number of world population! With our increasingly fast-paced lifestyles, we can communicate with the click of a button and consumers are more and more used to having whatever they want or need delivered to them, almost instantly. It’s convenient, and it’s certainly a trend that will grow and grow. In fact, it’s also predicted that by 2018 the online food and grocery sector will be worth £8.1bn, an incredible 123.7% increase over five years.

This massive surge in online shopping means it’s vital to have the most up-to-date warehouse storage systems. Consumers expect their ordered goods to arrive fast and accurately, often by the next day. So the pressure is on e-tailers to pick, pack and despatch as quickly as possible. This means that automated warehouse storage will likely be critical to e-tail success, with warehouse storage solutions to match.

Are you ready to meet the ever-increasing needs and demands of your customers? Do you have the most effective warehouse racking and warehouse shelving systems in place? Are you maximising your warehouse space with creative racking and shelving systems that let you pack in more products but locate them quickly and easily? If you’re not ready to meet the inexorable rise of the online shopping trend, then it’s time to talk to us!

We can create the ideal warehouse racking and warehouse shelving systems to meet your business’ – and more crucially your customers’ – needs. After all, we’re industry leaders in warehouse racking and warehouse shelving systems, from the simple through to computer-controlled live location narrow and very narrow racking. We work to create warehouse racking and shelving systems with clients from all industries, whether we re-design your current system or start from a blank canvas.

The boom in online shopping won’t stop. So don’t let your warehouse racking and shelving storage systems let you down when your customers want their products, well, NOW!

Workplace luxuries – US style!

US business magazine Forbes recently ran an article discussing the benefits of employers providing ‘perks’ of the job in terms of maximising employee productivity and loyalty. Whilst expert opinions were divided as to how effective these perks and benefits could be – over, say, a great company culture – well, we thought we’d share with you some of the weird and wonderful workplace luxuries some US businesses are providing for their staff. Here goes:

1: On-site masseuse – to combat stress in the workplace companies including LinkedIn, American Express, Coldwell Banker, Intel, SAS and Samsung provide chair massages to employees. It’s not always free, but it does mean employees don’t have to travel to get their stress-relieving fix.

2: On-site doctor’s office – the software firm SAS has provided an on-site Health Centre at its HQ since 1984. The centre provides a wide range of services at no cost for employees and their family members covered by SAS health insurance. So again, so need to miss a half day’s work travelling to and from a doctor’s appointment.

3: Cleaning Service – IT staffing firm Akraya sends professional cleaners to employees’ homes twice a month to combat the stress of having to cope with work as well as stay on top of housework.

4: MetroNap EnergyPod – one of our favourites! As seen at Google offices, this ‘chair with a helmet’ reclines and plays soothing sounds for that all-important power nap. At $12,895 apiece, we wonder how soon we’ll be seeing these gizmos in UK offices?!

5: Webcam-monitored childcare – Deloitte in particular underwrites the costs of childcare for employees who place their little ones in daycare centres that have Webcams installed. Mums and Dads can log on remotely from the office or by phone to check in on Junior at any time, thus giving peace of mind and letting them get on with their work.

6: On-site Bar – another favourite! Social media company Yelp has both an on-site bar and even ‘adult beverage’ vending machines delivering FREE beer and developed by its own engineers! Of course, drinking on the job isn’t allowed, but it’s a way for employees to socialise after working hours, perhaps making use of the pool table, ping pong and video games room too.

7: Scooters – corporate HQs in America can be vast and are often called a ‘campus’. To help employees travel to and from meetings ‘on campus’ companies including Abercrombie and Fitch and Google provide scooters for just that purpose.

8: On-site laundry and dry cleaning – perhaps the most sensible and useful of the lot, firms including Facebook, Google and Twitter offer on-site laundry and dry cleaning facilities to make life that bit easier for their people.

So, that’s how they’re doing things over the pond – but if you’d like to start things off a little easier, how about coming to talk to us about your office layout and design? Even simple changes can make a big impact on employee productivity and wellbeing at work. As experts in workspace design we can ensure you maximise your space as well as your employees’ enjoyment of it.

Though we may try and talk you into investing in a MetroNap EnergyPod…just so we can come and have a go!