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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Integrated Agile Workspaces

Among the many stereotypes thrust upon millennials is their overwhelming desire to be collaborative. It turns out however, millennials have a lot more in common with the baby boomer generation, and would actually like a little peace and quiet to get their work done. In fact, a recent survey from Oxford Economics found that “the ability to focus and work without interruptions” was ranked #1 most important by 29% of respondents from a pool of 1,200 employees across a wide range of industries. Half of them were bothered by lack

It’s no surprise really. As baby boomers reach retirement and millennials begin stepping into executive positions, they’re taking on the kinds of responsibilities that require in-depth, strategic thinking. Having a quiet workspace allows them to tune out chatter, which in turn increases productivity and overall morale throughout the workplace.

Architects, designers and project managers trying to develop meaningful workspaces to cater a wide range of work styles might want to focus less on ping pong tables and brag worthy breakrooms, and more on creating personal offices or quiet spaces which allow team members to work their best.

For this reason, the future office must really embrace the dynamic, fluid nature of work in today’s business landscape. By creating an agile workplace where employees are flexible in choosing the best type of space for the work at hand, you are making room for them to move seamlessly through individual and group work – fully supporting work flow from a 360 degree perspective.

 

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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!

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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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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How Can You Get The Most Out of Your Office?

With rising real estate costs in CBDs like Sydney, Melbourne and many other international cities around the world, designers and staff are increasingly challenged with doing the most with the least amount of space. How do we maximize the limited space that we have to work with?

When you’ve got a small office, you’ve got to be smarter in the way that you operate. It’s easy to let the clutter build up and make the office feel tiny. This is where a few simple changes can make a huge difference.

Organization is much more important when space is limited. We have to make it much easier to file or discard things as soon as they hit the desk. Finding a good system for putting away paperwork and not allowing clutter to pile up on desks is essential for keeping the office feeling open. Be sure to discard things that aren’t needed as well.

Vertical space can be a savior when you’re limited. Using vertical space for storage can limit the use of square footage thus giving more space for other furniture and activities. Tall filing cabinets work well, and shelves above your workspace keep from using precious floor space.  Mobile and multipurpose furniture can expand a small space by function.

It’s important to not use brightly colored furniture in such small spaces. Bright colors make objects appear larger than what they are. Conversely, darker colored walls will make a room feel more closed in. So use darker furniture and brighter colored walls to visually maximize the space that you have. The options are endless with the ability to customise furniture colours with upholstery, powder coating and staining.

Working with small spaces can be incredibly challenging. But with a little bit of planning you can make the most of just a little bit of real estate. Organization and some policies on clutter can be game changers. Add in some design elements and you can have a very impressive office.

 

Prefabricated Office Spaces Make Room for Growth

In today’s increasingly complex, diverse, mobile and environmentally conscious business landscape, organizations are facing increased pressure to curate office spaces designed to meet the diverse needs and values of their employees.

Prefabricated office spaces show great promise as they are easily customized to be any size, allow for multiple stories and often integrate modular device and furniture solutions that promote collaboration and increased productivity. Prefabricated office spaces also reduce waste and boost sustainability as they are often built using several recycled products and materials.

To keep your modular workplace ahead of the curve, you can also request the integration of Universal Design strategies to ensure all employees, regardless of age, size, cultural identity, ability or disability are exposed to inclusive spaces and products that promote accessibility, safety and convenience.

The process of introducing a prefabricated workspace is fast and simple. Once a prefabricated building is complete and shipped to your location, it is set into place and connected to the foundation. Utilities are connected and your choice of exterior finishes are then added. The resulting prefabricated workspace is environmentally friendly, with the all the same architectural aesthetics you would expect from a conventional building. To accommodate the needs of a thriving business, prefabricated modules can be expanded or minimized at minimal expense.

With a significantly reduced time to occupancy, your business can start driving growth and optimizing your bottom line sooner.

While prefabricated workspaces may not suit the needs of every business or organization, the cost-savings, sustainable practices and inclusivity they provide – make them a strong consideration for the future of your workplace.

 

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