January 2015 archive

Your Office = Your Business

Every single business that has an office space has a unique opportunity to create a hub or home for their business brand…. not only to engage their customers, but also to show their employees what kind of a fantastic organisation they’re working for.

So in order for you to ensure you create this utopia for your business, ask yourself these questions:

What do I want my office space to say about my company?
Your office design can help communicate your corporate mission and image to both clients and employees. That can be especially important if you change your business model.

What kind of employee behaviour do I want to encourage?
Your design can incorporate elements that will help you achieve certain results. If you want to encourage recycling, for example, you can install recycling stations throughout the office, providing easy access and clear instructions. Do you want more mingling between employees in different departments? Create a centralised coffee bar or printing station that will entice them to leave their immediate work area and share their thoughts with co-workers from another group.

Do I have comfortable places for employees to socialise and relax?
Popular spaces are cafes, hubs and other spots where people naturally congregate. Some businesses offer more elaborate amenities, such as fitness rooms, acupuncture/massage therapy centres, dry cleaning drop-off points, and wellness rooms for everyone from nursing mothers to employees who don’t feel well. Creating spaces that allow employees to socialise and get some exercise or rest is important to create a sense of balance and well-being.

Acoustic Booths

How do I make the space as green as possible?
Thinking in terms of sustainability is becoming the norm in office. For example some overhead lighting will automatically grow dimmer as more natural light enters the space. Such a system can pay for itself in reduced energy bills within three years. Many “green” offices also use carpeting made of recycled content and wood harvested from sustainable forests.

What could your office look like? Come and sit down with one of our office designers who can work with you and the partitions and screens you can use to ensure your office is working effectively for you.

Acoustic Booths

5 Questions to ask when designing your office

The work environment is evolving at many companies these days, resulting in the need for new office design. At some businesses, for example, individual cubicles and offices are being dismantled in favour of a more open environment in which an employee’s workstation is wherever he happens to plug in his laptop.

However, all of the above is all said and done…but does it work for your business? We’ve compiled 5 questions you should ask yourself when considering the layout of your office space:

Do I want to encourage transparency and camaraderie?
More companies are knocking down walls and cubicles to create more open space. Now, top executives and managers may even sit in open areas with other employees. But this can be really difficult from a noise perspective, to get more work out of employees or simply for privacy (when it’s needed.) At Rap Industries we have a thorough range of Acoustic Booths that can solve these problems whilst still creating an open environment.

5 questions to ask when designing your office

How do I provide privacy when necessary?
While you may want a more open office design, it’s still important to provide spaces where employees can work quietly on individual tasks or simply have a private conversation. People spend about half their time in “focus mode,” so the office needs to have a mix of “me spaces” for individual work and “we spaces” for group work. We have an exciting new product range launching in February that will solve this problem…so stay tuned!

How much space do I really need?
Office designers used to plan for about 250 square feet per employee, which included a walled workspace with a desk for a computer and personal items, such as photographs. Now that number has dropped to 150 square feet. The photos are on each person’s laptop, which can move from home to the office and then to different locations within the office.

How can I make my space flexible?
A young, growing business that is expecting to add employees and services doesn’t want to be pouring precious pounds into reconstruction. Keep your office as flexible as possible. You can buy desks and tables on rollers for easy movement to reconfigure a space on the fly and create “plug and play” areas where employees can take their laptops to work. Private offices can double as huddle rooms for group meetings, and you can use Portable Partitions to make conference room space as big or as small as needed.

5 questions to ask when designing your office

How do I make my reception area warm and welcoming?
The reception area is the first impression someone is going to have of the company. So, it’s important to create a comfortable and hospitable atmosphere. You can impart a feeling of warmth by allowing daylight to stream in and by making artificial lighting indirect and soft. Some designers suggest specific paint colours to convey a certain vibe: creams and beiges for sophistication, blues for honesty and loyalty, and greens for prestige. Finally, the overall space should not be imposing. If it is a large lobby, for example, we create pockets of space within that volume for people to have a comfortable place to go.


Creating a Healthy (and productive) Office Environment

Designing your office is more than just picking out paint and carpeting. A few small investments of time and money can foster a more productive work space.

Designing a comfortable office environment is about more than aesthetics; careful attention to design can give a boost to your employee’s happiness.  In today’s economic climate the focus is often on renting an office space based purely on price, with less attention paid to design, layout and local amenities.

Smart businesses, however, think beyond the existing layout and furniture options when moving into a new office or refurbishing a space. That fresh coat of paint and new carpet your landlord gave you when you signed the rental contract is great, but there are other small investments of time and money that can transform your office into a more productive work space.

How to Create a Productive Office Environment: Heating and Lighting

Temperature is the most common office complaint among workers, but there are a number of ways to get ahead of such issues.

When considering office space, a key question should be how the HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) system works and how the management company responds to complaints.

  • Is the temperature controlled by the landlord or the tenant?
  • Are there temperature zones within an office?  Do individual employees control the temperature of their office?
  • What do other tenants say about the temperature at different times of the year?

If you don’t like the answers you get to those questions, you may want to consider a different office space.

While temperature is hard to individualize, light can be much easier to address. The process begins when identifying and designing office space.

  • If possible, every employee should work in space with at least some natural light; at a minimum, create common or public spaces that have access to natural light. You can separate these areas easily by investing in screens to separate your office space. Creating a ‘public area’ with screens is an easy (and cost effective) way to change your office layout without breaking the bank.
  • Remember that fluorescent lighting is no longer the only choice for overhead lighting. Research and employ new lighting options.
  • Specialise lighting according to tasks; this small bit of personalisation can make working easier on the eyes. An accountant working with spreadsheets all day likely needs more light than a senior manager who spends the majority of their in meetings with staff members.

How to Create a Productive Office Environment: Open vs. Closed Space

Your office space doesn’t have to adhere to the old standard of a ring of exec offices around the perimeter, a cluster of cubicle spaces in the middle and a boring lunch area occupied only at mid-day. Such office configurations limit collaboration and have been shown to slow response times in bringing products to market or responding quickly to client needs.

The trend today is to support collaboration, in all its forms:  mentoring, problem solving, routine communication and information sharing. To do so, create more open spaces in the office, from work spaces with low panels that make it easier to communicate to all-day ‘breakout’ areas where employees not only eat, but meet to work.

But what happens when someone in a large open office environment needs to concentrate on a big project or lead a conference call? Open spaces only work when employees have access to areas where they can focus on a specific task.  That’s where Acoustic Screens come into play- available in a variety of colour options as well as bespoke heights…our Acoustic Screens are fantastic for any office because they can create those ‘breakout’ areas and retain a control over the level noise emitted.

From desk dividers to 3 panel screens, we provide Acoustic screens in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit your every budget and office layout need.

Check out our huge variety on the Rap Industries website and see how you can change the noise level in your office: http://www.rapind.com/acatalog/Acoustic_Office_Divider_Screens.html

Morton Concept Screens from Rap Industries

Working with Wheatley Testimonial

Rap Industries: What was your requirement when you first came to Rap Industries?

Answer: To get an updated partition between our meeting room and the corridor

Rap Industries: Have you been using your new screens frequently?

Answer: Every day- they are a permanent fixture

Rap Industries: What would you say to other businesses who are thinking about purchasing office screens?

Answer: They really brighten the office up and give it a modern feel

Rap Industries: Why did you choose to work with Rap Industries?

Answer: We googled wall dividers on the web and you came up- we liked the look of what you offered.

Rap Industries: Thank you Testimonial with WheatleyTestimonial with Wheatley