The Positive Effects Beautiful Office Environments Have on Employees

Did you know being happy at work can increase productivity by 12 percent? There are many tips and tricks designed to promote positive workplace cultures, including the office environments themselves.

A beautiful office environment has profound effects on your employees. It can influence everything from stress levels to their productivity. Here’s what you can expect with the best offices.

Office Environments Affect Performance and Motivation

We’ll start with the big one. A beautiful office environment can increase employee happiness, productivity, and even motivation. Take a quick look at your own office. Is it filled with beige and grays, or crowded with tiny cubicles? If everything appears dull and uniform, your employees probably think so too.

Bright colors can help them feel more energized. The most innovative offices use space in creative ways, stimulating employees’ minds. A beautiful office is more interesting and pleasing to look at. In turn, this can inspire employees. With more energy and inspiration, they’ll be ready to turn in great performances.

The Right Office Set Up Can Foster Collaboration

Some research suggests it’s important to have work friendships. Some people even think this could be the secret to employee happiness. The office environment impacts how employees interact with each other. If everyone feels cramped and crowded, they’re likely going to be a little testy. 

More offices are also looking at creating a collaborative working space. Instead of putting employees in cubicles, create a free-flowing layout so your employees can move and work together.

A Creative Office Environments Can Promote Health

You probably don’t think too much about how the work environment takes a toll on your employees’ health. Traditional office set-ups have been shown to increase stress. They also encourage sedentary behavior, which can increase health risks for your employees.

Creative office environments do more to promote health. A new layout can encourage your employees to get up and move. Stand-up desks and walking desks are two ideas that can promote better health. 

You should also check your lighting and computer equipment. Certain types of light can increase stress and fatigue. A simple switch could be the key to giving your employees more energy.

Foster Biophilia for Another Productivity Boost

Humans have a natural impulse to connect with nature. It’s called biophilia. Since we spend so much time indoors at work, though, we’re often deprived of it. Research has shown spending time in nature reduces stress and anxiety. It can also help boost your employees’ productivity even more.

Some creative offices are designing ways to integrate nature into the office. Even a simple action like adding a few plants can help beautify the office and decrease stress.

Is it Time to Beautify Your Office?

Many business owners and office managers think office aesthetics are niceties, not necessities. Research shows beautiful office environments are key to performance, health, and happiness.

It might be time to give your office a facelift. Discover more inspirational ideas on our blog and design a better working environment.

Top 5 Health Benefits of Ergonomic Chairs

ergonomic chair

Musculoskeletal dysfunction including repetitive strain disorders cost American employers $1.5 billion in lost productivity in one year. Not only are employees absent from work due to this, but they are also less productive at work as a result. A recent study shows that using ergonomic chairs in the workplace reduced the musculoskeletal symptoms among employees.

Read on for 5 health benefits of an ergonomic chair in the workplace.

1. Say Goodbye to Back Pain

31 million Americans suffer from back pain at any given time. It is a common reason for visiting the doctor, the chiropractor, and for taking sick days at work.

You might be surprised to learn that an ergonomic seat is one thing you can do to reduce back pain at work. An ergonomic chair provides proper lumbar and spinal support that follows the natural curve of your spine. While many office chairs only reach the height of the mid-back, ergo chairs provide full back support for both your lower and upper back. Traditional chairs force you to sit in a static position that may or may not support your spine.

With an ergo chair, you can lean back to over 90 degrees for a simple way to change your position while you sit.

2. Ergonomic Office Chairs Improve Posture

One of the best health benefits of ergonomic seating is that it ensures you have a proper seated posture. But what is good posture anyway? Proper posture means that your body parts are in the correct alignment. When you don’t have proper posture, certain muscles that should be keeping you upright aren’t. Over time, these muscles become weak from lack of use. Good posture protects your joints from wearing out. And it helps prevent muscle strain.

Ergo chairs have the necessary features like head and backrests so that you sit correctly. When you sit in an ergonomic chair with your feet flat on the floor, your hips and knees become parallel and automatically improve your sitting position.

3. Reduces Stiffness

Neck support is crucial for people who sit at desks all day. Without one, your neck and shoulders become stiff. Over time, you could develop serious conditions such as cervical spondylosis. The headrest on an ergonomic chair supports your head and neck so that you can stretch out. Imagine being able to lean back and look up when you are on a long phone call.

Your eyes will get a break from the glare of the screen and your neck will love the gentle stretch and support.

4. Supports Your Hips

Most chairs have a hard, flat and short surface for you to sit on. Sitting in these seats puts pressure on your hips. Alternately, an ergonomic chair is deep enough to give ample support to your hips.

5. Ergo Chairs are Customizable

Ergonomic chairs have adjustable backrest and seat height and adjustable arms. That means that the chair can be modified to make it comfortable for you. Your body is different than everyone else, so why should you sit in a chair that isn’t tailored to your body?

Bottom Line

We hope you found these 5 health benefits of ergonomic chairs useful.

An ergonomic office chair can reduce or eliminate your neck and back pain, support your hips and ensure you have good posture. And you can adjust the chair to be right for your body.

Good seating is a smart investment for anyone who spends a few hours sitting a day.

Next, check out these 7 tips for practical ergonomics in the workplace.

5 Tips for Great Waiting Room Design

Sitting for ages in a waiting room can help or hinder your impending appointment. If it’s something you are dreading, like a dentist or doctor, comfort is key. Anxiety can be running on high during that wait.

The waiting room design matters. Harsh lighting and hard chairs do not help put a guest at ease. Here are a few ways to really give your waiting room a boost.

Waiting Room Design Made Better

You provide a service and you want to provide the best service you can. That needs to start when your guests enter the office space, not your office.

1. Comfy Furniture

Sitting on a hard plastic chair is brutal. It’s difficult for ten minutes, double that and the results are ‘ouch’. Get softer chairs, seats or couches. Armrests, leg room, and a nice soft backrest take the pain out of waiting.

2. Visual Appeal

This includes soft or natural lighting. Pick a soft, calming color or combination of colors that will be soothing for guests. Hang art that is local, either bought or on display for a limited time.

Plants make a big difference. If you don’t have great light, use artificial plants, trees and add fresh cut flowers. Even paintings of nature will be calming. Photographs of your travels, your patients or the community are also nice.

3. Spacing

Keep seats away from the entrance and offices. You don’t want people getting jostled or knocked about. They also don’t need to be exposed to a cold blast of air every time the door opens.

Try to keep space between seating, if possible. If people are sick or blaring their phones, people need to get away. it’s uncomfortable to have people stacked up on top of each other, so try grouping seating so everyone isn’t facing each other.

4. Refreshments

No one expects you to set up a wet bar or ‘make your own omelet’, but providing water and coffee or tea is an inexpensive way to show you care. This can be done with a service or an urn you make yourself.

You could have a vending machine, with drinks and healthy snacks.

5. Activities

While the well-thumbed magazines are okay, you need activities for kids. Games, puzzles, and books work well. Try to avoid the noisier types of toys.

The parents want entertaining, as well. Have a few TVs mounted on the walls, provide channels suitable for kids and offer free wifi. A selection of reading material other than movie star mags is nice.

Another Ten Minutes

An uncomfortable waiting room is an uncomfortable guest. In many cases, they spend just as much, if not more time waiting. People get antsy when they are uncomfortable or don’t know where to look.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money on waiting room design, but you don’t want the bare bones, either. Making your guests comfortable both physically and mentally is very important.

A happy guest will keep coming back. If you need some ideas or more information, please continue reading here.

5 Items of Conference Room AV Equipment You Shouldn’t Be Without

These days, finding appropriate conference room AV solutions is not an easy task.

In the days of conference rooms of old, you didn’t need much. Most of the time, all you needed to hold a meeting were an overhead projector and a pull-down screen. Well, you also needed a way to make a room completely dark.

Nowadays, things are much different. Thanks to modern technology, we have plenty of tools for organization and communication. The only problem is, how do you know which ones to get?

If you need some help on this, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll go over five pieces of conference room equipment you shouldn’t go without.

1. Interactive Whiteboard

At first glance, an interactive whiteboard looks like any other whiteboard.

Dig a little deeper, and you’ll discover a multi-touch display. With this, up to four people can write, manipulate objects and perform mouse functions at once. All you need are your fingers.

Also, you can connect an interactive whiteboard to printers and computers. This allows you to print your notes and share them with other participants.

2. Digital Virtual Presenter

Remember those old overhead projectors? Well, digital virtual presenters (or DVPs) are their modern equivalent.

As you may recall, overhead projectors used Fresnel lenses to collimate light. Well, DVPs use a video camera to project documents and 3D objects onto a screen. This makes it much easier for participants to notice these visual aids.

3. Video Conferencing System

With the rise of video conferencing, travel costs are no longer an issue for many companies.

The reason is simple: you no longer need to fly around the world to get to a meeting. Thanks to the various video conferencing systems, you can hold any meeting in the comfort of your own conference room.

Not sure which system to get? Look for one that has the iPanel system, which lets you chat and share documents at the same time. The iPanel also allows you to access the Internet during the conference.

4. Speakerphone

A speakerphone is a key piece of conference room AV equipment. If you make a phone call during a conference, you want all the participants to hear the conversation.

Most conference speakerphones come with a 360-degree microphone and have great sound quality. This can make it seem as if the speaker is right there in the conference room.

5. Collaboration Solution

When it comes to conference room presentation systems, nothing beats a collaboration solution.

What do these devices do? As the name implies, they enable multi-screen and multi-application collaboration. Anyone can use their own device and share content with anyone else in the world.

Needless to say, this is a perfect solution for conferences. After all, what other device allows you to combine presentation display, file sharing and video conferencing? And you can work on them all in real time!

More on Conference Room AV

Conferences have an important role in today’s work environment. That’s why having a well-equipped conference room is essential in fostering decision making. Plus, it’s always good to leave an impression on your visitors.

Not sure where to find affordable conference room AV solutions? We can help you out! Contact us right here, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

5 Incredible Benefits of Having Desk Plants in Your Office

Does your office space need an infusion of life and energy? Office desk plants are a classic method for improving a workplace environment. Along with looking nice, plants actually have several scientifically supported benefits for indoor spaces.

Here are 5 of the incredible benefits that desk plants can bring to your office.

Relieve Stress

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of desk plants is the potential for stress relief. Several studies have shown that employees in offices with plants have reduced levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Plants contribute to stress relief in a variety of ways. One way is through color. Cool colors such as green are known to produce a calming effect in the brain.

Certain plants also provide aromatherapy. Some species such as lavender or lemon balm give off scents that can relax employees.

Improve Air Quality and Reduce Sickness

Working inside an enclosed space like an office is bound to lead to sickness. Pollutants, germs, and other harmful particles in the air can get trapped and continue circulating. Luckily, plants serve as natural air filters. Studies show that plants are great at removing air pollutants. Plants also remove carbon dioxide and replace it with more oxygen.

Better air quality means your employees will have to take sick days less often and generally be healthier. A 2015 study showed that natural elements can improve well being by 15%.

Boost Productivity and Energy

An office full of plants tends to be a more productive work environment. The stress reduction helps employees concentrate more on their work. The better air quality and improved health means your workers are in the office and doing their jobs more consistently.

The lower levels of CO2, higher levels of oxygen, and pops of bright color will also give your employees more energy. With less drowsy eyes and more brain power, your employees can do better work faster.

Plants also help to dampen and reduce noise throughout the office. For those who need some peace and quiet to work, plants are a big help.

Stimulate Creativity

Plants and nature in general, as shown by several studies, can increase the production of new ideas and creativity. Some speculate the creativity boost comes from instincts carried over from the hunter/gatherer stage of humanity, as greenery meant food and shelter.

The vibrant color green and some of the other colors seen on flowers and plants might also provide a creative spark.

Impress Office Visitors

Office plants simply make your office look nice. It brightens a room, adds a pop of color, and shows you care about the design of your office. An eye-catching workspace leaves a good impression for visitors. This can include clients and partners, job candidates, and even media members. That means desk plants can help you nail down some extra sales, hire great workers, and maybe get some positive PR.

Improve Your Office With Desk Plants

With so many proven benefits, desk plants should be a staple in every office.

To learn more about improving your workspace, check out our blog.

Natural Light and Productivity: How an Office with No Windows is Damaging Your Business

We’ve heard of offices with sleep pods, ping pong tables, or even beer kegs on tap. It’s a dream to work in a place like that, but we’re not all so lucky.

While we’re working towards an awesome office for our employees, we have to make do with a regular office. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there is one big way you could be sabotaging your workforce and not even know it. If you have an office with no windows, you’re doing damage to yourself and your employees. Offices with natural light have tons of benefits, from improving employees’ blood pressure, communication, and more.

Once you hear about the benefits of natural light, you’re going to want to change things around. Keep reading to discover how natural life will improve your company.

Better Sleep

Natural light makes a big difference in people’s life. The simple answer is that it’s an important part of our biology. Almost all organisms have a circadian rhythm. This tells you when to wake up and when to go to sleep. Working in an office with no windows disrupts this natural sense of time.

With access to natural light, your employees’ natural rhythm works perfectly. Better sleep leads to more alert, productive employees.

Happier Employees

Studies have shown that your body’s production of vitamin D has positive effects on your mood. There are a few ways you can get vitamin D. Eating fish, mushrooms, and eggs are a few foods that help stimulate the production of vitamin D. However, the easiest way to stimulate vitamin D production is with sunshine. The natural light exposure from windows or natural lighting lamps will make your employees feel happy to be at work. That’s a big plus!

Increase Alertness

Your employees are sleeping better and they’re feeling happy. Naturally, their alertness will improve. Daylight helps your workers focus up. A bit of sunshine stimulates their creativity, too. Imagine it – no more endless coffee runs or misfired emails. Communication will improve, work will flow, and your company will run like a well-oiled machine.

Physical Benefits of Natural Light

You and your employees are well-rested, happy, and alert. Beyond those benefits, you’ll see a lot of positive physical changes, too. Employees with access to natural light have lower blood pressure. Their BMI numbers improve. With natural light, there’s a decrease in headaches and eye strain brought on by fluorescent lighting and computer screens.

What Can You Do If You Work In An Office With No Windows?

If you have to work in an office with no windows until you get your dream office, what can you do? Bring in some natural lighting lamps so that there’s some natural light in the office. Look for an office with similar rent and in a good location that has some windows.

If possible, treat your employees to a few healthy office indulgences. It can be anything from a standing desk to painting the walls a more uplifting color.

Want some ideas as to what you can do to improve your office? Talk to one of our designers today!

5 Tips for Reducing Office Noise In Your Open Workspace

Working in a loud and distracting office can be hard for any employee. When it comes to limiting office noise there are a few things employers can consider when designing their office spaces. From flooring choices, to having separate collaborative spaces, to allowing noise-canceling headphones, employers can help their staff focus.

Keep reading if you’d like to learn more!

1. Choose the Right Flooring

When designing your open office space there are a few things to consider before adding some desks and cubicles. For one thing, you have to choose the right kind of flooring.

Hard flooring may be aesthetically pleasing, but it does very little to cancel out distracting noises that may soon fill your space. When considering flooring, investigate your vinyl flooring options.

Luxury vinyl tile will give you the aesthetic you may want without sacrificing the quiet you desire.

2. Noise Canceling Headphones

Sometimes focusing on work can be a difficult thing in an open concept office. Employees may want to invest in a set of noise-canceling headphones. This gives staff the freedom to choose how much noise and interaction they may want to subject themselves too. This is especially handy for those who have no say in how an office is arranged.

Many headphone sets are wireless now, making them excellent additions to a standing desk or a mobile employee who may not like a traditional desk set-up. Prices range for most models. While they are definitely not cheap, they can be a worthwhile investment.

3. Separate Meeting Spaces

Going back to designing your office space, it’s essential to make sure your meeting rooms and conference spaces are separate from the main office floor.

Separating the rooms that will hold meetings and large groups of people multiple times a week is a great way to limit office sounds. Products like nxtwall’s demountalbe walls give you the ability to add rooms in open spaces. They’re also flexible and can be removed and reused elsewhere when your needs change.

These rooms will be the space where you discuss your company’s future. Giving it an elegant touch will do wonders in promoting your business. These spaces will also be welcoming to your staff, which allows them to meet in a quiet space without bothering their co-workers.

4. Adding Some Textiles to Your Office Space

It’s not a bad idea to invest in some curtains and other textile features in your office space. Textiles will do wonders in decreasing the noise in your office. When designing your office, consider separating sections of your open floor plan with curtains. The fabric will buffer the noise coming from your desk spaces and will give employees quiet spaces they can go to when distractions are too much.

5. Add Some Ambient Noise to Cancel Annoying Office Noise

While it’s not a good idea to play music in your office space, adding some ambient noise to the background will definitely not hurt.

Having continuous low-level sound will not distract and will actually increase focus. Consider investing in a white noise machine or finding a soundtrack full of nature sounds. Playing this quietly throughout your space will greatly decrease the distracting noises people may focus on while working.

Make Your Office Space a Zen and Calming Space

When it comes to canceling office noise, there are a few things you can do. Most of it comes down to careful designing and considerate decorating. Consider your furniture choices when you are designing your space. If you would like a professional opinion, contact us!

5 Standing Desk Exercises You Should Do to Keep Active At Work

Standing desks give workers a great alternative to sitting down all day and many companies use them to provide increased energy and productivity in the workplace. However, another benefit of standing desks is that they allow you to perform a range of exercises while you work. Instead of confining you to a chair, they give you more freedom and range of motion.

In this post, we’ll give you 5 of the best standing desk exercises you can do to stay active at work.

Standing Desk Exercises You Should Be Doing

Keep aches and pains at bay by adding these exercises to your routine.

1. Calf Raises

Even avid gym goers often forget to exercise their calves. Don’t neglect yours. Give them a good workout by performing this easy exercise at your desk.

Stand with both feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Raise your heels off the floor by standing on your toes and hold this position for a few seconds. Then, slowly bring your heels back down and repeat.

To make it more challenging, you can try doing one leg at a time.

2. Desk Push-Ups

Getting down on the office floor to do push-ups might seem a little inappropriate for the workplace. Plus, who knows how dirty that floor is. You can get a good upper body workout by doing desk push-ups while standing.

Start by placing your hands on your desk, shoulder-width apart. Stretch your legs out straight behind you, keeping your back straight and your core tight. Then, lower yourself down until your chest touches the desk, and push back up again.

3. Marching in Place

Do you want to get your heart rate up and burn off your lunch? You can burn up to 300 calories an hour just by marching in place.

As well as getting your body moving, this will also stimulate your brain. If you have trouble staying focused and getting over that mid-afternoon slump, this exercise should perk you up.

4. Shoulder Stretch

Back pain is one of the most common complaints of people who work in offices. You can ease the discomfort by performing this simple standing desk exercise as part of your routine.

Bring one arm across your chest. Use your other hand to pull your arm across, placing it just above the elbow. Hold for a few seconds and then change sides.

5. Lateral Leg Raises

This exercise will help to strengthen your adductor muscles and stabilize your core.

From a standing position, simply raise one leg out to the side. As you do so, keep your toes pointing forward. Hold it for a few seconds and then change sides.

If this is too easy, try doing it with a resistance band.

Be More Productive at Work

Standing desk exercises are a great way to keep you active, focused, and alert at work. As well as being more comfortable for employees, they’re also beneficial for a company as a whole. That’s because they make people more productive.

That’s not all you can do. To make your workplace more effective, there are several ways you can rearrange the office. To find out what they are, read our post on office setups for increased productivity.

The Healthy Chair and 4 Other Office Furniture Innovations

Large numbers of people in industrialized countries spend 90% of their day sitting down. This has serious implications for their health. However, there are office furniture designs to help reduce this threat and also to help create a more positive office environment.

If you want to provide your office workers with healthy and comfortable furniture, try the healthy chair and these 4 other office furniture innovations.

1. Healthy Chair

The healthy chair is about ergonomic design. Ergonomics is the science of designing products for optimum human use. The office chair has been transformed by ergonomic design into a highly customizable work tool.

We are all different sizes and shapes so no one shaped chair can be right for all of us. Being able to adjust the height, angle, and back support of a chair is essential for dealing with sitting back pain. This is especially important for the computer worker.

2. Stand Up Desk

Many of us find that we lead sedentary lives. Sitting down at work is followed by sitting in the car. Later in the evening, we sit for hours in front of the TV.

Being physically inactive is bad for our health. “The chair is out to kill us“, says James Levine from the Mayo School of Medicine. We are designed for walking, not sitting so it’s hardly surprising that we are damaging our bodies by sitting so much.

Stand-up desks are an innovative response to the back pain problem. The best stand-up desks are height adjustable so you can alternate between sitting and standing. Try having a stand-up meeting. The energy levels do seem to be higher.

In addition to higher energy levels, lower health risks, and increased productivity, there are other benefits to a sit-to-stand desk. You use extra calories standing rather than sitting and posture is improved.

3. Hot Desk

Having a work area where anybody can show up and plug in is an increasingly common sight in offices. A hot desk, or shared workspace, is a large desk space with facilities to connect laptops to power and the internet or intranet. Several people can use the area but nobody can claim the space for exclusive use.

This is great for a mobile or flexible workforce. The team-based approach of many businesses means the idea of a fixed location for your desk is redundant. People need to be able to move about, work from home, or drop into the office, as needed.

4. Color in the Workplace

There was a time when offices were bland non-descript places with little style or character. The functional space didn’t seem to need color. All that has changed.

As work environments are understood to impact productivity, color is one of the factors to consider. Furniture and the decor can offer color options to affect mood and the attractiveness of the workplace.

5. Sleep Pods

There was a time when sleeping on the job was regarded as a firing offense. Not so now. Google is incorporating sleep pods in their offices to allows staff to take short naps.

The variations on beds, chairs and specialized pods mean that staff can return to work refreshed by the power nap. Reduced stress levels and increased engagement may be the results.

Move with the Times

The world of work is changing and it’s not just the healthy chair. Technology, organizational design, and human resource management are responding to this too. The world of office design and furniture needs to adapt as well.

To learn more about the changing work environment and how you can improve your space, contact us today.

3 Ways Employees Can Stop Back Pain at Work

Are you concerned that the back pain your employees are dealing with is costing your company time, money, and productivity? Do you feel like your employees lack focus, get tired more quickly, or just seem unhappy due to the back pain caused by their desk job?

If so, you’re more right than you might want to be. Not only do the consequences of back pain from sitting require employees to take a total of about 12 days off of work, but the complications from back pain at work can end up costing your company a whopping $13,000 in productivity losses in a single year.

As a company, you should be doing everything that you can to stop back pain at work. In this post, we’ll tell you how to help your team to make it happen.

1. Get Better Office Furniture

One of the main culprits of office back pain may be your office furniture. You should invest in pieces that have the proper ergonomic design, as well as the back support and even cushions that your team needs to stay comfortable.

You also should ensure that the height of your desks and computers are at employee eye level to prevent straining and having to tilt their head upward or downward to view their screen.

You should also look into desk chairs that can be easily adjusted according to the needs of each individual.

2. Limit Screen Time

The average employee sits in front of their computer for over 5 and a half hours every day. Sitting is one of the main reasons why so many people experience computer back pain.

While sometimes, getting away from the computer for long periods of time isn’t possible, it’s up to you to do all you can to limit screen time. Encourage your employees to look up from their screens for a minimum of five minutes every hour. If possible, move meetings outside to ensure they get a break. And, discourage them from taking lunch at their desk.

This won’t just help to limit computer neck, it will also help to mitigate the impact of sitting on the heart, overall back pain, and even obesity levels.

3. Create a Corporate Wellness Program

If you want to get serious about stopping back pain at work, you may need to start a corporate wellness program. This can include things like better health coverage and chiropractic visits for your team members.

You may also want to look into things like bringing a masseuse into the office or even gifting your employees back massage gift cards after a stressful week.

You could even implement a company-wide yoga program or look into the cost of getting a gym installed in your building. Or, start doing a five-minute stretch break once every two hours. This isn’t just healthy, it’s also tons of fun!

When you prove to your team that you care about their health, they won’t just feel better. They’ll also want to work harder for you.

Stop Back Pain at Work With the Right Furniture

We hope this post has helped you to learn how to stop back pain at work.

In addition to helping you to find the best furniture, we can also create the ideal workspace for productivity and general employee comfort.

Spend some time on our website to learn more about what we offer and reach out when you’re ready to get started.