Time to Design a Workplace Refresh

Spring has sprung. Now is the perfect time of year to do a full office evaluation, de-clutter and refresh. Sound a bit daunting? It’s not. If you’re looking to liven up your workspace with the change of season, there are simple things you can do to create a warm, inviting space that inspires your employees and impresses your visitors without blowing through your design budget.

Here are three simple tips to keep in mind as you spring into workplace design planning:

A Little Change can go a Long Way

Ahead-of-the-curve workspaces go beyond being ‘functional’ and ‘clean’, they also capture the spirit of the company and its brand. By keeping the bare bones of the design space neutral in colour, you make room for swapping in seasonal quirky touches without looking excessive. The good news is, your seasonal changes don’t need to be significant, or expensive. A feature wall with your company logo is one place to start, or mix in some vintage touches, kitschy knick knack’s, something handmade or easily swapped accessories like throw pillows or planting pots (you do have plant life in your workspace right? Because that is the ultimate way to ‘spring your workplace’ to life!).

 Art – Trade in ‘Meh’ for ‘Wow’

Search online and download unique photos or images that create conversation and speak to your brand (or course by acquiring the appropriate licensing). Make the images your own by cropping, zooming, or adding custom effects. Once the images are matted and framed, they become fresh, unexpected and unique art installations that don’t break the bank. Blowing up two to three pieces will create an ambiance that livens up your workspace. By holding onto the frames, you can swap images and photos in and out according to seasonality – keeping your workplace crisp and on trend.

Remember the Fine Line of Being Too Trendy

Remember when fluro and neon were all the rage in design? If so, you probably also remember cringing at the thought a decade later. Instead of putting a heavy investment in design solutions that are incredibly fashionable in the moment, but might come with a short lifecycle, consider integrating materials that will carry you through not only multiple seasons – but multiple years. Materials like timber and laminate for instance create comfortable environments without threatening to come back and haunt your organization’s photo records years down the road.

When it comes to giving your workspace a spring refresh, it’s all about putting the right pieces, in the right places to create an environment that employees, executives and clients enjoy spending time in. A lively space awakens innovation and productivity, allowing your business to grow right along with the season.

 

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Warm Up to These Workplace Design Ideas!

When the temperature drops, many of us take steps to make our homes cozier as we to settle into wait for the season to change. While some of the steps we take are logistical, such as sealing air leaks, adding insulation or adjusting thermostat settings, there are often also design concepts to consider that will make you feel right at home. Most of these approaches can also be integrated into the workplace to create a comfortable environment that promotes productivity while also encouraging team members to settle in.

Here are a few simple tips to help transform your workplace into a winter haven for employees and executives alike:

– Give your workplace a fresh coat of paint. Earth tones are warm and inviting, creating a cozy workplace environment that pairs perfectly with both warm and cool tones, allowing you to swap out seasonal design pieces like area rugs and throw pillows.

– Incorporate fabric couches and chairs into common areas is a good step towards workable seasonality. The material doesn’t absorb cold (or hot) weather, allowing employees to feel right at home in the office. If you want to add a playful touch, add throw blankets for your team to wrap up in during downtime.

– Introduce softer lighting solutions. Minimizing glaring light can reduce visual strain and fatigue while also creating a calming atmosphere. The best lighting solution available, is natural light. If your space has the windows to accommodate, let the sun shine in!

– Give your office some greenery. Plant life is good for the soul. Green spaces promote feelings of positivity and satisfaction while also improving quality of air. It’s a win/win!

 

These are just a few of many simple design ideas that will help your workplace not only beat the winter blues, but heat up business in the process!

Sustainable Design is in the Details  

 In today’s business landscape, environmentally designed workspaces are quickly becoming the norm as younger generations step into more managerial roles and begin to transform the business environment to align with their personal ideologies. And what’s often a top priority for our next generation of executives? You’ve got it – green initiatives.

For interior designers, project managers or business leaders looking to stay ahead of the curve and help grow their brand, reputation and bottom line through sustainability, here are some simple tips to consider:

 Integrate Sustainable Wood

 The Australian Government has implemented a Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Australian Forest Standard (AFS) to ensure true sustainable forest management practices to protect the 400,000 hectares of Australian forests.

When considering wood based furniture like desking or common room tables, opting for FSC or AFS certified products ensures you are sourcing your design solutions from a sustainably managed forest. Now that’s a breath of fresh air!

Choose Furniture Solutions with Low VOC Foam

What are VOCs? Good question! Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a family of harmful which can be released into indoor air from a number of sources, including workplace furniture (flame retardants and formaldehyde being quite common). While some VOCs are more toxic than others, the health risks associated will depend on the levels you are exposed to, the length of time you are exposed, and your individual sensitivity to toxicity.

Considering the fact that the workplace has become a second home to employees and executive’s alike, introducing low VOC furniture into your workspace will be an instrumental step towards driving a greener and healthier work environment.

Martindale Count

The Martindale test is a measure of the durability of a fabric. The tests are undertaken on upholstery fabrics to check their suitability for various uses – whether this be to ensure longevity for your home or small-business or commercial furniture solutions. The test is also known as the ‘rub test’ and essentially tests for abrasion resistance.

Essentially, the Martindale test involves rubbing a piece of worsted wool cloth in a circular motion on a flat mounted fabric sample. The number of cycles the test fabric can withstand before showing a change in appearance (such as thread breakage or pilling) is its abrasion rating. At the beginning of the test checks are made every 1,000 cycles, and if no wear is apparent, the fabric is put through another 1,000 rub cycle, and so forth. Here is a basic breakdown of what the Martindale count means in terms of the durability of your furniture solutions:

  • Light use: 6000 – 9000 double rubs
  • Medium use: 9000 – 30,000 double rubs
  • Heavy use: 30,000+ double rubs

Depending on your design needs, a high Martindale count can go a long way in reducing your environmental impact and getting the most out of your budget.

Whether you are own and operate a small business, or manage a major enterprise operation – supporting green initiatives is easier than you think. All it takes is a little information, and a firm commitment to growing a healthier planet, by building a sustainable workplace.

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New Product Release: FUNHOUSE OTTOMAN

Funhouse hails from the LuxStudio team. These ottomans are light weight and versatile. The simple shapes combined with carefully stitched lining bring out the best of chosen fabric textures and colours.

Get to know the new collection in our TestFit app which includes the ottomans in a variety of our house fabric colours.

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Breathe Easier With Low Toxicity Furniture

Creating a sustainable workplace has become vital to the reputation of an organisation, it’s almost no longer a choice, but instead, a necessity. With an overwhelming call across the globe to go green, it’s simply bad for business not to integrate sustainable initiatives into organisational planning.

For interior designers, project managers or business leaders looking to help drive sustainability in the workplace, a good (and healthy) place to start, is with low emissions furniture.

Consider the workplace; the actual size of the space, the number of employees, every piece of furniture needed to promote productivity and comfortability while also keeping a company’s brand in mind for stylistic purposes. Each piece of furniture integrated, will release substances into the air. While this isn’t necessarily something to fear, as almost everything does this, synthetic materials, or those treated with synthetic substances can be especially harmful as they contain Volatile organic compounds (VOCs). What are VOCs? We’re glad you asked!

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a large family of chemicals that contain carbon and hydrogen. They can be released into indoor air from a number of sources, including workplace furniture (flame retardants and formaldehyde being quite common). While some VOCs are more toxic than others, the health risks associated will depend on the levels you are exposed to, the length of time you are exposed, and your individual sensitivity to toxicity. Because your risk increases with exposure, and employees are logging more hours in the office than ever – introducing low emissions (or low VOC) furniture into the workplace just makes sense on so many levels.

Whether you work in an office, shop, run your own business or manage a major corporation, taking care of the environment is easier than you think. Creating a more sustainable workplace by providing optimal air quality can result in a healthier and more productive place to work, a lighter ecological footprint, a boost in staff morale and increased growth for your bottom line.

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Workplace Design With the Environment in Mind

Workplace design is one of the most influential tools which can be used to help achieve business goals. The power of space to influence our energy, interaction, health, and drive is tremendous.

Not surprisingly, when we discuss the workplace of the future – sustainable design tools, products and services are quickly identified innovative solutions to help organize and implement a new way of working – with increasingly positive results to an organization’s bottom line.

How exactly do environmentally conscious choices affect your business? We’re glad you asked!

Socially. 

Now that employees (and executives alike) are logging more hours at the office than ever before, they have become more immediately linked to the company they work for. For this reason, employees are more likely to enjoy more job satisfaction when they are working with an organization aligned to their own personal belief systems. Workplace sustainability instills a pride in the workforce and demonstrates an organization’s commitment to “walk the walk”.

Economically. 

Sustainable workplaces help to improve productivity, reduce operational costs (through energy cost savings), and eliminate waste (using renewable and recyclable materials while also integrating actual recycling programs).

Environmentally. 

Sustainable workplaces respect the planet. To ensure you are choosing design solutions that truly take environmental impact seriously, consider the following:

  • Shop Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) Certified

Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) runs Australia’s only independent, not-for-profit, multi-sector ecolabelling program. The organizations certification program has developed standards by which products and services are independently audited to ensure minimal environmental impact while also taking personal health and wellness, and social ramifications into consideration. By choosing GECA certified products, you are making socially and environmentally sustainable choices for your workplace that make a world of difference.

  • Do Good Business With ISO 14001 Certified Companies

ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems (EMS) provide an integrated approach to environmental management. Put environmental management at the top of your sustainability goals in order to achieve success while reducing your environmental impact.

At the end of the day, sustainable design in the workplace – is just good business. It allows you to reduce costs, increase employee health and grow your business by building a reputation that positions you as a sustainability champion!

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Colour Your Workplace Happy

Choosing the perfect combination of hues for your workplace can be tricky, as the colours should take into account the personality of your organization, while also appealing to the majority of your employees and clients.

From an ergonomic standpoint, colour might not seem high on your priority list in ensuring employee comfort. In truth, colour is absolutely crucial in promoting a positive, inspiring work culture. Colours elicit emotional and physical responses from people who are exposed to them for extended periods of time. In general, there are two major colour families: warm and cool.

Warm colours include red, orange, yellow and pink and typically appeal to fewer people in a working environment. For instance, vibrant, colours like lime green, fire engine red or fuchsia are described as energetic, power colours — perfect a business thriving on the larger-than-life personalities it employs. Cool colours like blue, green and purple, instill feelings of relaxation and calmness and tend to appeal to a broader base. Cool colours also encourage focus and cause less eye strain, team members to work for longer periods comfortably.

The most commonly used colours for workplace environments, are neutral (black, white, grey and brown). While these might not seem like the most exciting choice, they work well in a professional environment because they have the widest appeal. To create a dynamic, engaging and inspiring work environment, integrate a neutral colour scheme that incorporates pops of warm and cool colours through statement furniture, wall art, area rugs and accent walls.

While workplace functionality often takes centre stage, as a project manager or interior designer, it’s also important to take colour into consideration whether you are creating a workspace from scratch or giving your business a facelift by integrating new design elements. After all, colour and thoughtfully designed spaces have the power to inspire creative, innovative ideas that drive growth and position your business for prosperity and success.

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Introducing the King Dome

We recently introduced the King Dome light designed by Dowel Jones, with YellowTrace, Domus, Trendland, SohoMod and StudioHome featuring the lights.

King Dome is a series of simple spun metal and rod lights available in 3 variations. Versatile in it’s application, King Dome focuses on silhouette and intersecting line with the thin metal structure creating grid like formations within spaces.

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For more information, get in touch by email.

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About the Designers

Dowel Jones is a young design studio operating out of Melbourne, Australia. Started in 2013 by Dale Hardiman and Adam Lynch as an extension of LAB DE STU, an award-winning independent Melbourne based design collective founded in 2011.

Keep an eye on this space for an upcoming interview with Dowel Jones!

Five Quick Ways to Make Your Workspace More Ergonomic!

Considering all the hours you spend logging in at the workplace, it’s easy to forget about your body’s needs when you’re juggling multiple deadlines and projects — that is of course until your body sends you a painful reminder. Save yourself some strain with these quick ergonomically friendly tips! This can also help designers in what to consider when building the perfect workplace for your client.

 

1. Take a step back. It’s great that you’re dedicated to meeting those deadlines, but unless something is due right this second, walk away from your workstation every few hours, even if it’s only for a brief walk about the office. Stretching your body is the only thing that can combat the health issues that arise from prolonged sitting.

2. Get aligned with your computer. Keeping your elbows bent near 90 degrees, with your mouse comfortably within reach of a keyboard. Oh, and stop slouching (you probably just caught yourself doing it while you read this)!

3. Keep your chin up – literally! Elevate your monitor to eye level, approximately 18-28 inches from your face. Your neck will thank you for it.

4. Use a sit – stand workstation. On top of making sure you’re decked with a good ergonomic office chair, consider a sit-stand workstation, which will allow you to take stretch breaks throughout the day, elongating your spine and promoting blood flow.

5. Adjust that chair. Your chair is your best ergonomic friend. It supports your back, your bottom, and your posture. Consider the following:

Shape. To help maintain a healthy posture, choose a chair that offers good lumbar support.

Length. When you sit, there should be a little space between the edge of the chair and the back of your knees. Adjust the seat depth to be able to sit accordingly.

Height. When you are sitting, your feet should be on the floor in front of you, and your thighs should be slightly below your hips. Shorter folks might need to use a footrest, while taller people might need to adjust the height of their desks.

 

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Small Details To Tie Your Office Design Together

It can be easy to forget about the little things in interior design like power outlet covers and door knobs. We rarely give it a second thought but that gives it all the more reason to catch our attention when it’s out of the ordinary. For some, even the furniture isn’t as planned out as it should be. It’s the details that make an office stand out from boring ones. Take the opportunity to display your great attention to detail and impress your clients by putting a little more emphasis on often overlooked furnishings.

So what things should be on your checklist so that you don’t forget them? Furniture is definitely at the top of the list. However, a lot of offices drop the ball in choosing furniture for the office. Everything, from the arms to the upholstery can bring all of the design elements together.

Wooden accents add a natural cozy look. You can bring a little bit of nature inside of the office in some fairly simple ways. Wooden bookshelves or chairs are great to add a bit of nature. Reclaimed wood paneling and furniture with wood accents are good ways to incorporate wood in the office.

Other details to consider are the small pieces that bring everything together. Matching power outlet covers and door hinges to light switch covers and door knobs can really bring everything together.  Show off your attention to detail by focusing on the little things that bring your office design together. Putting more emphasis on the finishing pieces can make a huge difference in the way your office looks. Impress more clients with the look that these little changes can make.

 

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