Pet Friendly Office: Is This What Your Business Needs?

The secret to an efficient well-running machine is the quality and well-being of its parts.   The same goes with your company, whereas the employees make up the parts of your business. From the person at the reception desk to the executive making all the important decisions, everyone plays a role in keeping the company moving forward.  But to generate good business means generating productive employees.  And to generate productive employees means looking after their well being.  The corporate culture today is fast-paced, cutthroat and high-pressured.  With rising demands and stiff competition, employees are more prone to stress and discouragement and could probably use a little TLC.  If you haven’t already considered it, a pet friendly office may help!

A Pet Friendly Office May Be For You

Modern offices nowadays are more considerate when it comes to the work-life balance of their employees.  Many are transforming their offices into a more pet friendly environment, allowing their staff and personnel to bring their pets to work. Not surprisingly, numerous surveys reveal that people are more happy when their furry companions are with them at their jobs. Most agree that having pets around leads to an improved office environment, better morale and higher motivation to work longer hours. 

A Pet Friendly Office Keeps Employees at Work

One study reveals that millennials are marrying at an older age, compared to the generations before them.  These young professionals are focusing more on building their financial stability first before settling down with someone. Interestingly enough more people are adopting pets, possibly as a substitute or to make up for that romantic counterpart. Employees are leaving work, sometimes early, to tend to their dogs and cats, regardless of whether they finish their task or not, to feed and walk and be with their pets. By allowing your employees to bring their furry friends to work with them, it will free them from the distraction of having to be at home on time with them. In addition, they will be more driven to finish their work based on task and not on time. As a result, this will ultimately generate more output and productivity from your employees. 

A Pet Friendly Office Helps Build Relationships

Employees tend to be more stressed and fatigued as early as lunchtime — especially on busier and taxing work days. It affects their performance as well as their mood and mannerism. One crucial contributor to your employees’ stress is their relationship with their co-workers, and how they interact with them. Having pets around is a great ice-breaker among staff, can trigger positive conversations, help reduce office gossip, and build camaraderie and relationships among your employees.

A Pet Friendly Office Creates a Positive Environment

Pets are also a great way to lighten up the office mood, especially at pressure-intense work environments. When the demand is high to excel and competition gets a bit cutthroat, employees are required to work harder in order to meet corporate demands. During a long day of fierce and intense collaboration between teams and employees, the presence of a silly, lovable and endearing pet can help alleviate stressful situations and diffuse office tension. 

Knowing your employees’ needs and coming up with ways that can reduce their stress will mean a lot to them.  Making your office a pet friendly environment is definitely one way and can offer many positive benefits to make your office overall a happier, healthier place to work in. If you’re considering inviting pets to the office, just make sure that your employees’ companions are friendly and well trained. As much as we love pets, they can sometimes be a liability if not trained well, especially at a very busy place like the office. 

Read Also: Device Free Work Zones: Is This Still Possible?

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Leading Principles of an Effective Office Layout

What is an Effective Office Layout?

Principles of an effective office layout that are followed well should lead to an environment that creates connections between people and supports a successful workflow. Layout and design principles aren’t just for huge corporations in downtown Los Angeles or tech giants in El Segundo. They’re needed in all industries, big and small.  Universities, tech start-ups, leading corporations and small businesses all need to consider the impact of an office on people — how space is utilized, and how relationships between departments affect workflow. Employee morale and wellness become underlying issues to address.  Read on to consider these office layout principles and how to adapt them.

The Office: Personal Collaboration

Offices can welcome or intimidate. They can also inspire creativity or reveal stress and clutter. Workspaces impact people in every industry, including academia. An office design research study from 2011 showed how students were impacted by the office layout of their academic advisor’s office. The author, James Eckerty, concluded that “our physical environments can be a powerful tool for creating welcoming and collaborative environments.”  Effective layouts were “spacious and neatly arranged,” wrote Eckerty, “and allowed for students to make eye contact with their advisor and also easily see the computer.” In the study, about half of the students surveyed noted that seat placement set the tone for the meeting.

To stimulate collaboration in a private office setting, consider using desks with comfortable guest chairs. Enhance the office layout with a potted plant to create a relaxed atmosphere.

In an open office setting or spaces with cubicles, there are creative seating arrangements that can be set up for focused conversation like Focal Point by OFS or Co-Op Lounge by Arcadia.

The Environment: Personal Wellness

A pleasing environment boosts productivity and keeps morale high. Natural light and green plants are considered essential for a pleasant office environment. Bringing nature indoors adds an aesthetically pleasing element to the workspace but it also has important health benefits.  Maximizing natural light infuses employees with energy and helps maintain a physical rhythm that promotes a restful night’s sleep.  Plants reduce the amount of bacteria in the air and provide needed humidity. They also offer a change of scenery and color.  Movement is another feature of an optimized office layout. Height adjustable desks and tables offer flexibility. Ergonomic chairs support natural body movements to reduce pressure on the spine and joints.

The Space: Personal Time

During the early to mid-20thcentury when heavy manufacturing ruled the economy, companies ran in strict top-down fashion. Executives had their personal space to create the directives that mid-level managers and laborers had to follow.  However, today’s thinking economy that’s digitally driven and connected has created a greater need for collaboration and consensus. Open office layout and desk arrangements and cubicles make sharing ideas and data easy.  Personal space to regroup and focus mentally now becomes important.  Make sure to provide a lounge or space where it’s easy to take a snack break or work individually. Provide seating options that are flexible and can be arranged for one person’s needs or for a casual interaction.

An Office Layout for Your Most Important Resource: Employees

Don’t forget that as a business, your most important resource is the people that work for you.  Following these principles of an effective office layout can keep personal satisfaction high and lead to greater productivity.  But effective offices don’t just happen. Workstations, cubicles and break areas need a well-planned space to provide maximum support.  If you are interested in designing your office for a more effective office layout, please don’t hesitate to ask us for help.  Our office furniture experts are here to guide you and help you every step of the way.

Read also: The Basic Criteria for a Good Design and a Good Business

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3 C’s of Office Interior Trends

Office Interior Trends

In Southern California, workers in the digital age will continue seeing office interior trends that focus on three important Cs: comfort, communication, and camaraderie. Expectations among staff is that the workplace should be comfortable and inviting.   Younger generations especially want a highly relational approach to handling tasks and completing projects.  They want to work in a place that fosters open communication that’s conducive to positive camaraderie.  How does your workplace compare to the direction that office interiors are heading?

Comfort

Office furniture that adapts to the individual user is an important consideration in creating a comfortable office environment. Continued use of quality ergonomic chairs and height-adjustable desks for workstations and private offices is part of the office wellness movement.  Moreover, a pleasant setting isn’t just about furnishings and how they look or function. Contemporary office interior trends continue to bring in the outdoors.  This encourages companies to maximize the benefits of natural lighting and plants. Surveys have shown that having windows, skylights, and solar tubes that let in plenty of light is a major office perk. Plants refresh the air and also break up the indoor scenery.

Communication

One of the interior trends that will continue are flexible or multifunctional office spaces and rooms. This adaptability comes natural with an open office layout.  Since permanent walls don’t define space in many office interiors, modular workstations and lounge areas can be set up or taken down as needs arise. However, one must consider that this benefit is also a weakness. Increased communication is great for collaboration, but the dialogue can also create interruptions and distractions.  Creating spaces that relate to each other in close proximity is also a great office trend. This allows like-minded groups to create camaraderie.

Camaraderie

Relaxed spaces allow people to take a breather and get refreshed but they also do something more.  They also allow employees to interact on a collegial level. Some companies may claim that their employees are like family. That level of intimacy may be overstated, but there’s no question that coming together as community is one of the office interior trends that’s valued.  Work tasks can be isolating and sometimes daunting. Corporate stakes can sometimes be high so coming together in a relaxed space can allow employees to breathe and, in doing so, relieve tension and keep office morale high.  It’s important to consider that some employees may be ready to play while someone else needs to finish a project. Plenty of lounge furniture with open, private or semi-private options are available to meet a variety of needs.

Achieving the 3C’s of Office Interior Trends

Getting the most from an office space to create optimal workflow and community requires expert input.  If you are interested in designing your office to help you achieve these 3 C’s of office interior trends, please don’t hesitate to ask us for help.  Our office furniture experts are here to guide you and help you every step of the way.

Read also: Choosing Office Furniture for the Optimal Employee Experience

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Enhancing Office Communication for Best Results

Enhancing Office Communication for Best Results

Sharing ideas, tackling tough issues, and simply engaging in casual banter is all part of office communication. Laying out workstations and lounge areas to support effective dialogue requires planning.  A lack of information flow gets teams off alignment (as noted by this article with a survey from Clear Company). Achieving the best use of space that fosters effective communication can build consensus and keep the team tracking toward the same goals.  Here are several types of communication and how a layout can enhance each one.

Project-Focused Sharing

A collaborative team faces a tight deadline and needs adequate time and space to give and take input. Open plan workstations like Teamworx by DeskMakers and Novo by Friant allow for small teams to gather in collaborative workspaces.  This style of workflow provides good office communication that’s ideal for brainstorming, planning and charting progress. An office set-up such as this will allow for coming together easily and then retreating to implement ideas.

Open Meetings

Great news such as promotions and landing large accounts are always more easily shared and celebrated. Addressing tough topics at the office however is more delicate. Promoting office communication with open meetings that allow for honest discussions help keep teams together in good times and in lean moments.  Office arrangements that include custom conference tables and multi-purpose chairs or adaptable lounge areas can enhance this office communication need.

Active Listening

Active listening is challenging in an office environment that’s busy and filled with phone calls and client meetings. It is especially difficult in an open office setting. Create a space for small groups or one-on-one discussions to take place without feeling like everyone is listening in. Private and semi-private seating arrangements such as Qove and Heya by OFS, Co-Op by Arcadia, and Coact by First Office are great examples of lounges that provide a focused space.  These types of setups promote focused conversation and effective office communication.

Keep Moving

The most natural environment where employees interact is the staff lounge or lunchroom.  One way to enhance office communication here is by promoting staff to move and get their blood flow going. Consider a multi-use product like the Nomad Sport Conference Table which can be converted and used for a ping-pong match. This can let off steam and lead to a robust time of sharing ideas and solutions.  Remember, communication is most effective when there are breaks and spaces for people to move around and absorb what’s been shared. Lounge areas are ideal for escapes and offer places to mill around, socialize, relax and re-focus.

Implement Better Office Communication

If you are interested in designing your office to promote better office communication, please don’t hesitate to ask us for help.  Our office furniture experts are here to guide you and help you every step of the way.

Read also: Office Communication Best Practices: Goal Setting

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Staying Productive with an Effort for Holistic Office Wellness

Staying Productive with an Effort for Holistic Office Wellness

Although important, health and wellness isn’t just about weight loss or getting flu shots. It’s really about knowing what makes us thrive physically, mentally, and spiritually – what energizes us.  Southern California’s image is one of beaches bathed in glowing sun and rugged mountains for skiing and hiking. Yet, the reality that we experience is much different. Meeting hard deadlines at work and braving congested freeways create high levels of anxiety and stress.  An effective approach to holistic office wellness cares for the whole person, and promotes overall well-being.  Read on below to learn some holistic office wellness tips for the body. Most of these are easy on the budget and can help make the week a little brighter and the mood a bit lighter.

Staying Physically Well

  • GET FLU SHOTS:  Remember that staying healthy is an important of part of practicing holistic office wellness.  Encourage employees to get a flu shot every fall. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that vaccines prevented 5.3 million influenza illnesses in 2016-2017. A person who says they’re healthy and don’t need a flu shot should still get one. Without the vaccine, they can infect others who are vulnerable.
  • REDUCE EYE STRAIN: Working on a computer for hours without a break will strain the eyes.  So will texting, web-surfing and catching up on social media on mobile devices. Dry eyes, blurred vision and not being able to see colors clearly are symptoms of eye strain.  Use screen displays that are large and clean. Improve lighting to eliminate glare on the screens. Reduce air-borne irritants like dust and take regular breaks.
  • USE ERGONOMIC FURNITURE:  Our physical comfort directly affects our holistic office wellness.  If we are not comfortable, then we don’t feel good and we can’t perform well.  It’s important to understand that how we relate to our surrounding environment includes our posture when sitting at a workstation and in a chair, especially while working for long hours at a time.  Reducing strain on the joints and sitting on quality chairs that support the body’s natural positioning keep the focus on work instead of aches and pains.  Use ergonomically designed chairs and height adjustable desks to adapt to various physical needs of the body.
  • STAY IN MOTION:  Staying active doesn’t only mean hitting the gym for an hour.  Periodic movement throughout the day helps the joints and muscles stay limber. Blood circulation benefits as well, which in turn can help keep the mind and thinking clear.  Stretch even while at the desk every 30 minutes and take brief walks during lunch. Take the stairs instead of an elevator or install a treadmill where employees can walk while reading.
  • RELAX THE MUSCLES:  Find a local masseuse to stop in at the office once a month (or more often if possible) to give 10-minute massages.  Ask a personal trainer to demonstrate exercises that can be done at a desk.
  • EAT AND DRINK WELL:  Food is very when practicing holistic office wellness.  You wouldn’t put kerosene in your car’s gas tank because it would hurt the system. What we eat and drink can slow us down mentally and physically. Get momentum going by bringing in fresh produce and keep a generous supply of water.  Bring healthy eating into the office. Have a local chef cook a pop-up meal and serve it in the lounge area. Or once a year, have an office cook-off using dishes with organic ingredients.

Following a Holistic Office Wellness Regimen

A well-coordinated holistic office wellness effort will reduce employee absenteeism and help boost overall positivity and productivity.  If you are interested in designing an office space that’s conducive to holistic office wellness, please don’t hesitate to ask us for help.  Our office furniture experts are here to guide you and help you every step of the way.

Read also: Harnessing the Benefits of Collaborative Workspaces

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Create an Office Wellness Plan for Optimal Thinking

The Quest for Office Wellness

Office wellness often focuses on how well we are physically. But it’s important to remember the importance of how well we also are mentally.  An effective holistic effort that sheds light on how clearly we think and make decisions is a skill that’s known as executive function. It’s how well we plan, concentrate, and handle different tasks that get thrown our way during a typical working day. An office space that is planned well contributes to a higher level of executive function than a space that’s cluttered. Read on for easy-to-implement ideas to keep the mind working at an optimal level.

Focused Thinking

Being aware of what slows us down mentally is an important aspect of office wellness.  Social media, news topics of the day and office gossip are distractions that can bog down a worker. Family stress, low morale at work, and poor health also bring employees down.  We can often see if someone is physically sick or if they’re hurting. However, mental wellness is a different matter.  It’s impossible to read the mind, emotions and mental wellness of a person.  This is where executive functioning comes into play.  It’s the brain’s way of practicing concentration, tackling priorities, and helps prevent eventual burnout.  To optimize executive function in the workplace, make sure to:

  • Keep workspaces clutter free with combined desk and storage solutions.
  • Maximize communication and workflow between departments.
  • Provide forums for asking questions on important topics.
  • Encourage employees who are struggling in their personal lives to seek outside counseling from a faith community or clinician. Health providers may also offer counseling services.

In Southern California, there are various schools of psychology with graduate students needing to earn hours. They usually provide counseling at greatly reduced rates while working under the guidance of fully licensed therapists.  Consider hiring grad students for your staff to maintain office wellness.

Channeled Energy

Meetings have a remarkable way of taking energy among a team and depleting it.  To channel energy effectively and efficiently in meetings and maintain a positive vibe, make sure to:

  • Keep group meetings or one-on-one sessions on point and as brief as possible.
  • Make sure the setup of conference tables and chairs is spacious or use a more relaxed lounge seating arrangement.
  • Don’t lay blame on someone in front of others or spring tough topics on people.
  • Ask for input to gauge reasons for negative data like missed sales numbers.
  • Schedule ahead for a monthly birthday celebration or milestone moment.
  • Provide comfortable areas where people can linger and chat away from desks and workstations.

Creative Down Time

Ask your staff what inspires them – a book, movie, or a simple experience like a walk they took recently. Maybe it’s cooking or playing sports.  Focusing on down time with your staff definitely has it benefits.  It contributes to optimum executive function and office wellness.  Consider:

  • Once a quarter try to schedule in an inspiring activity that builds up the team.
  • Offer a cooking class, a beach trip or museum outing to a place like the Getty Museum or the Huntington Library and Gardens.
  • If goals are met and work is done well, create a certificate for the individual to take off a couple of hours and do something of their choosing nearby.
  • Turn a workstation or lounge area into an Idea Center. Allow people to post notes there on how they get through challenging times at the office or home. Invite them to submit problem-solving ideas for the company.

Design for Office Wellness

Everyone can benefit from a holistic approach to office wellness. Planning the office space and using quality furniture is important in creating a pleasant and productive atmosphere.  If you are interested in designing your office to promote executive function, please don’t hesitate to ask us for help.  Our office furniture experts are here to guide you and help you every step of the way.

Read also: Staying Productive with an Effort for Holistic Office Wellness

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Your Guide to Choosing the Best Office Layout

Your Guide to Choosing the Best Office Layout

If you’re looking for a guide to help you choose the best office layout with maximum effectiveness, you’ve come to the right place!  An office layout is part of your brand and a direct representation of your company.  A well-designed and properly planned space conveys the order, quality, and stability of your brand, both to your employees and the clients who visit.  Read on to evaluate your needs — based on your type of company, your staff, and what your plans are for the future–and follow the guide below for some insights on how to create your best office layout.

Your Type of Company

Best office layouts can change depending on your type of company and stage of existence. There’s certainly cross-over from one category to another and today’s flexible designs can be adapted for various situations. Still, how you see yourself can determine the type of workstations and storage solutions you select.

START-UP

If you’ve followed in the footsteps of the Hewlett Packard story and you’ve moved out of the garage — then congratulations! Setting up a new office is daunting and it’s tempting to buy used furniture that doesn’t cost much.  Remember that while affordable quality used office furniture is available, the price difference however, with buying new furniture is minimal.  At this stage in the game, also consider that now’s the time to invest in a layout that’s modular. Start with the most essential pieces and add as growth occurs and the budget allows.

TECH, PR, ENTERTAINMENT

In areas like Hollywood, Santa Monica and Culver City, open office layouts are widely used with technology, public relations firms and production companies. The need for collaborating on projects is high and an open office layout supports communication.  Use height-adjustable tables and desks that can meet the varying needs of individuals. Provide private spaces for employees to retreat into a quiet, brainstorming mode.  Set the open tone with reception desks that have a minimal, modern and approachable appearance.

ESTABLISHED PROFESSIONAL FIRM

A professional law or engineering firm will usually have a high need for traditional private offices. Desks and related storage with ergonomic chairs can still invite collaboration and discussion. Or, in a private space, consider comfortable chairs off to the side for inter-personal communication.

CORPORATIONS WITH DEPARTMENTAL BOUNDARIES

An established corporate office with well-staffed departments can use a variety of office layouts, or a modular approach, based on the needs of upper management and specific departments.  Cubicles can offer privacy but allow for communication and transparency with translucent or clear partitions. Departments can use pods for small groups of workers and provide for individual storage needs and equip private offices with traditional desk and storage designs.

NONPROFIT

Nonprofits in Southern California are as different as the people they serve. From health-care and after-school programs to foster care and food programs, staffing needs and the way they operate vary greatly.  Nonprofits that have program recipients coming in can invest in quality multi-purpose chairs that are durable with budget-smart chairs and conference tables for board meetings.

MANUFACTURING

Companies that turn raw materials into products for aerospace, the fashion industry, and small manufacturing firms can use a mix of public and private spacing. Make access to the production floor easy but cut down noise and distractions with private cubicle spaces.  Give labor comfortable seating options and arrangements during break times.

Staff Functions and Needs

Your office layout will be affected by how often your staff is in versus out. Think of how the behavioral needs of a real estate brokerage firm in Beverly Hills are quite different than an accounting firm in Glendale.

HEAVY USER STORAGE NEEDS VS MINIMAL

The need for file storage that’s office-wide or heavy in one department and light in another can impact layout. One central storage area that’s well-equipped may serve the needs well, or each workstation can have its own available storage.

COMPUTER USE VS CLIENT-INTERACTION IN-PERSON OR PHONE

The more work revolves around client interaction online compared to phone or in person then lean toward workstations for open office and modular designs.

OUTSIDE SALES VS DESK WORKER

Professionals like real estate agents who are mostly out seeing clients can use shared spaces quite well. Create modular conference areas when important documents need signing.

TEAM-CENTERED

A firm that’s heavily team-centered can use an open office layout with clearly designated quiet areas and open spaces for breaks.

Future Projections

Plan for the mid-term and long-term future. An established corporation in a mature industry will likely use the same layouts with only subtle changes for the future. An entrepreneurial firm that goes from boot-strapping to steady cashflow will undergo much greater changes in the same period of time.

TEMPORARY PROJECTS

Public relations firms and entertainment firms that bring in freelance talent on a project to consult and then disburse should focus on areas that serve group brainstorming and problem-solving.

GROWTH AND EXPANSION

The startup or small office intent on winning more business can use a minimalist, modular design.

MATURE COMPANIES

Provide for efficient flow of information between departments.

Getting Started on Your Best Office Layout

If you are ready to design your best office layout please don’t hesitate to ask us for help.  Our office furniture experts are here to guide you and help you every step of the way

Read also: How to Select an Open Office or Private Office Layout

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Office Communication Best Practices: Goal Setting

The Road to Better Office Communication

Setting corporate goals and showing each member of the team how their work impacts the overall direction of the company keeps employees motivated and unified. Goal setting is an important part of a successfully run business, and one of the best practices in office communication.

Goal Setting as Unifying Force

Directives can come from the top and trickle down through a company or nonprofit business. But heavy-handed top-down office communication doesn’t unify a team. Merely telling people what they have to achieve prevents them from thinking through the ways they can contribute and may stifle ideas that top management hasn’t considered.  That is why laying out the company’s main goals in a group setting is a good starting point to strengthen office communication. Choose a room or create a space that’s well-equipped for interaction with tables that enhance discussion and make it easy to focus.  Present the goals and the reasons behind them. Goals can’t be arbitrary. There has to be a reason for them. Ask the team to consider if they think the goals are doable and if changes are necessary.  Then later drill down to department and individual levels to add substance and direction.  Consulting firm McKinsey states that “employees will be more effective if they can see how their individual goals fit into the big picture.”

Goal Setting as Ownership

Depending on the company’s culture and personality, office communication will either flow well or sharing honest feedback will be awkward. In smaller departmental or team settings, ask the members to identify challenges they might face in reaching their goals.  A sales and marketing team may bring up campaigns that the competition is already doing. They may also point to a lack of focused marketing materials. An engineering or production team may reveal the need for specific components or reasons why they’ve been struggling.  Working through the challenges and then having people confirm and prioritize what they can do is a way of giving them ownership.

The setting for discussion is important. In an open office layout, have seating arrangements for focused office communication. Separate it from the nearby workstations and ask for honest feedback.  In more intimate office settings such as cubicles or private offices, have a lounge area that’s decorated with plants for a relaxed feel.  Include a white board for group discussions and notes.

Goal setting also builds trust. Ask team members individually or in a group for what their goals would be if they were the CEO. What do they see and envision that might be missed?

Goal Setting as Trouble-Shooting

Laying out corporate goals and giving departments and individuals ownership of them is a dynamic process. Meeting the goals easily and successfully can mean that everyone’s work is going well and the team is heading in one direction. Or, depending on the nature of the work and the team’s talent, it may mean that the goals weren’t robust enough.  If team members are struggling to meet their goals and deadlines, allow them to provide honest feedback and interaction. This prompts effective office communication. Bring different departments together to address problems.  Create positive interaction and incentives for getting back on track. This helps keep morale high and buy-in strong.

Your Goal: Better Office Communication

Effective office communication and goal setting is an art. If you are interested in designing an office space that’s conducive to effective office communication and goal setting, please don’t hesitate to ask us for help.  Our office furniture experts are here to guide you and help you every step of the way.

Read alsoLeveraging a Professionally Designed Workspace for Long-Term Gain

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