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.

Boost Your Work Place Morale With These Office Paint Colors

Did you know that the office paint colors can make a difference in workplace morale? A study by researchers at the University of Texas found that colors can have an impact on mood and productivity.

They found that gray and beige, which are found in a lot of offices tend to create feelings of depression for women. Before you go to the other end of the spectrum and brighten up the office with purple and orange, you should be aware that they induce the same feelings in men.

What are the best colors to boost productivity in your office? Keep reading to find out.

Blue Office Colors

Blue has long been considered a color to inspire focus and stability. That’s why companies like IBM and Microsoft use it in their logo. As an office color, you can use it to paint your office and use other colors as accents.

Green in the Office

Do your employees spend a lot of time at the office? If they do, then you may want to consider having green as your office color. The reason why? Green doesn’t cause the eyes to get tired, which means that your employees can focus for longer periods of time.

Yellow for Creativity

Does your company rely on creativity and innovation? You should consider using yellow office paint to influence your employees. This color would work very well for design and creative agencies and even departments who use their creativity in their daily work.

Passion and Emotion in the Workplace

Out of all of the office paint colors, red isn’t considered to be a main paint color for most offices.

If your company’s work requires a lot of physical activity, red would be a good choice. It evokes, passion and emotion and it has physiological effects as well. It can raise the heart rate and blood flow.

Keep Your Office Colors in Style

Interior designers look to the Pantone Colors of the Year to guide their color choices. Pantone is a standard that guides designers to match colors. This ensures that everyone that deals with colors, from paint manufacturers to graphic designers use the same blend of primary colors to create different colors.

Pantone is widely known for creating a color of the year, which sets the tone for designers to use in their work. The company puts a lot of resources into research to determine the best

This year, Pantone’s Color of the Year is Ultraviolet. Ultraviolet isn’t great as the main color, but it can work as an accent. For example, you can use it as an accent on flooring or furniture.

Office Paint Colors for Morale & Productivity

Besides paint colors, there are a lot of factors to consider to create an office environment that will boost productivity. The company culture, the office design, desk setups, and the office colors all play role. It’s easy to overlook the office paint colors, but choosing the right colors can impact your culture, employees’ moods, and productivity.

If you’re looking to create an office environment that inspires, we can help. At Workplace Solutions, we work with you to design and manage your office makeover that inspires your employees to thrive.

Contact us today to see how we can help transform your workspace today.

Why You Should Take Your Meetings and Work Outdoors

If you don’t live in a state where the sun is shining 90% of the time and the temperatures stay warm year-round (we’re looking at you, Indiana), spending time outside is precious.

Consider the 8 months out of the year where temperatures are frigid and that white stuff is falling from the sky, people look forward to spending some time in the sun and warm weather. However, being able to do this when you work an office job is difficult, to say the least, and two days off just doesn’t cut it.

Giving your employees a chance to rejuvenate and boost their energy by taking a quick walk or holding the weekly meeting outdoors can boost employee morale and energy.

If you haven’t considered the benefits of what working outdoors can do for your office, continue reading. We’ll show you why you should take your meetings and work outdoors.

Creative Boost

Taking a break from the confined walls and fluorescent lights of an office will boost creative thinking and problem-solving. Working outdoors gives employees some nature therapy which clears the mind and helps with de-stressing.

Improves Focus

The average person attends 62 meetings monthly at their work. While some people may take detailed notes, most will daydream or even fall asleep.

Working outdoors improves focus to help stay on task. This goes along with increasing creativity and problem-solving. Not only will you notice a change in your employee’s creativity, but you’ll also see a change in their engagement.

Open Communication

Taking a walk with your boss or employees opens makes them feel more comfortable than when sitting in an office with a desk separating them. This allows for more open communication where employees can discuss any issues or potential problems they are having on a project.

This goes hand-in-hand with a creative boost – brainstorming together while outside will give everyone a fresh perspective and help think outside the box.

Health Benefits

We know spending time outdoors helps us mentally, but it also helps us physically, and standing desks will only do so much inside an office.

Hosting a walking meeting for at least 30 minutes will boost energy, reduce the risks of heart disease, dementia, some cancers, stroke, and help lose weight. Sitting still for too long and staring at a screen all day isn’t good for your eyes and are known to cause headaches or migraines.

Taking the time to step away from the screen and get some fresh air will improve blood circulation and give your muscles a chance to stretch.

Why You Should Work Outdoors

If increasing employee engagement, open communication, and creativity aren’t enough to get you to enjoy some work outdoors, think about the health benefits alone.

Give your employees the chance to enjoy the beautiful weather outside of their days off. It will give everyone a breath of fresh air – literally – and improve focus around the office.

5 Principles of an Ergonomic Office

Injuries caused by offices not optimized for ergonomics cost businesses $15-20 billion each year in worker’s compensation expenses. These kinds of injuries also lead to more time off from work than other workplace injuries.

If you want to avoid the costs and lost productivity associated with injuries caused by poor ergonomics, you’ll need to make sure you’ve provided your workers with a proper ergonomic office. Not sure how to do that? Don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Secrets of an Ergonomic Office

Here are 5 ways to make sure you have an ergonomically correct office.

1. Proper Chairs

For employees spending many hours at a desk, having a proper chair is key to preventing injuries related to poor ergonomics.

The most important thing is to make sure the chair is fully adjustable so it can adapt to the needs of workers. Because each worker has a different body type, you’ll want to make sure they can customize the seat height, backrest height, and armrest height and position.

2. Monitor Placement

To avoid eye and neck strain, monitors must be situated properly. Workers should not have to strain their neck or squint to see the monitor. This means employees should not have to turn their neck to see the monitor. If the worker must move their neck to view the monitor it can lead to neck muscle strains.

Monitors should be placed at the worker’s eye level and at a distance where the worker can clearly see the monitor without moving their neck forward or squinting.

3. Keyboard and Mouse Position

Having a properly placed keyboard and mouse is important to maintaining the proper body position when sitting at a desk. Employees should not have to reach for the mouse and must keep their elbows and wrists parallel while using the keyboard.

Having to reach for a keyboard or mouse can lead to fatigue and even injury after an extended period. For this reason, it is important you pay attention to the placement of keyboards and mice.

Because each employee is different, the exact position of these devices will vary. Having adjustable chairs and desks can help make sure the placement can meet the needs of each employee.

4. The Right Environment

When you think about ergonomics you probably don’t think about the overall office environment. But, factors such as lighting, room temperature, and humidity matter.

Lighting should not create a glare on monitor screens or be too low for reading printed materials. Office temperature and humidity should be comfortable for employees and not require them to wear bulky sweaters and clothing to keep warm.

5. Using Ergonomic Accessories

To make sure you have an ergonomic office, you’ll want to use ergonomic accessories that help customize the workspace for each employee. For example, footrests can help shorter employees keep their legs and knees in the proper position while at their desk. Having an adjustable document holder will allow employees that need to read printed documents from straining their necks.

Some workers may even prefer a balance ball chair for their workstation.

Making the Office Ergonomic

An ergonomic office will not only cut down on injuries and loss of productivity but is also an important factor in keeping employees happy.

When it comes to making your office ergonomically sound, we’re here to help you. From ergonomic workstations to accessories, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today to find out how we can help you create an ergonomic office.

5 Benefits of an Open Office Design

At the end of 2016, there was more than 12.3 million square feet of occupied office space in the United States. Do you know how many cubicles you can fit into that much space? Luckily, the answer to that question doesn’t matter because open office design is a better choice.

While there is a need in certain office environments for partitions, halls, and walls, check out these five benefits of using an open layout, and you might change your mind!

1. Collaboration and Cross-Training

Working together toward a common goal — collaboration — is part of human nature. Instinct tells us that pooling and sharing resources can produce better outcomes than trying to go solo on a project. Employers can facilitate this natural need to connect and share by implementing an open office design.

Cross-training is critical to business sustainability. Open working spaces allow cross-training opportunities to arise organically during regular work.

2. Improved Relationship Building

Constructive, positive working relationships are better for business and morale. Open concept offices can foster natural bonds because it’s easier to chat about work and life. Plus, people can’t “hide” in offices when issues arise.

This benefit comes with a caveat. Strive for employee buy-in before tearing down walls and taking away private offices. There are many ways to keep employees happy and having strong dispute resolution practices for open environments is among them.

3. Reduced Cost

With an open office design, you save money on construction and maintenance. The savings come from more than not needing to build as many walls. Ventilation and electrical wiring are less complex to install and service. Routine office cleaning is faster.

Plus, furnishings such as whiteboards and filing cabinets in private offices are often underutilized. But when put in an open layout, fewer pieces can be used more often.

4. Flexibility

Nothing remains static in business for long. Products evolve, markets shift, people come and go. Open concept offices make it faster and easier for growing companies to accommodate new staff and reorganize teams.

Typical workstations are easy to dismantle and move. Rearranging work surfaces and project areas can take only a few hours. That not only helps contain labor cost, but it also reduces staff downtime.

Keep in mind that good open office design also includes conference rooms and small project meeting rooms. It’s a fact of life and business that some meetings and work sessions require privacy. This is another way to make workspaces flexible.

5. Flattened Hierarchy

Open work environments aren’t just for front-line staff. It’s common for managers and people higher up the chain of command to also work in shared space. It can require a shift in mindset for leaders as well as staff at first. But soon, leaders discover that issues are identified and resolved sooner than when they spend their time in an office. Stronger and more respectful bonds are other common byproducts of several layers of command sharing space.

Of course, leaders can’t fulfill all aspects of their role while in the middle of the action. This is another reason for including a few meeting rooms of different sizes in your office design.

Closing Thought About Open Office Design

Open office layouts tend to spark creativity. It’s easy to use lighting, color, and choice and placement of furnishings to add flair and efficiency.

At Workspace Solutions, we help customers plan and install innovate work environments. It’s core to our mission. We’re a locally-owned office furniture store and design center based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Our dedicated staff builds great relationships with customers across the region and from coast-to-coast.

Are you ready to explore how an open layout could benefit your business? Contact us today!

3 Office Desk Setups for Increased Productivity

According to recent statistics, workplace productivity is declining. Employees are less engaged, taking more sick days, and are increasingly turning to the internet as an escape from work. To reverse this trend, consider how important the office desk is in improving productivity.

Optimizing the Office Desk

When you think about the most important tools at your job, what comes to mind? Your computer is probably at the top of the list, followed by your phone. But what do these devices rest on during the day?

Your desk and chair represent two of the most important office components. Together, they create your work space. But what can you do to maximize this space?

Incorporate Movement and Ergonomics

Height-adjustable desks have a number of benefits. Users can sit or stand alternatively throughout the day. This not only improves comfort, but also enhances health and wellbeing.

We all know that sitting for hours on end is bad for your health. By being able to stand and continue working, employees can improve their circulation by simply moving around. This increased activity is not only good for the employee, it also improves productivity.

More movement means more blood flow. And more blood flow means more oxygen getting transported through the body. This oxygen is necessary for our mood and creativity.

Add the Right Accessories

If your workplace allows some personalization, use this to your advantage. While things like motivational posters and calendars will boost your mood, other elements may boost your productivity.

First, how’s the lighting at your office desk? If you’re not near a window, or you feel yourself squinting to see your screen, a new light might help. Something as simple as a desk lamp may improve your mood by providing light therapy. Especially during winter months, this can be a huge help.

Also, consider adding some greenery to your space. A desk plant will help purify the air around you, which is a plus. And research shows that the color green increases productivity – a major benefit!

Even if you don’t have a green thumb, there are many plants out there that do well with little care. Air plants, cacti, and succulents require very little water or attention, making them perfect for the office.

A Little Privacy Goes a Long Way

While open offices have been gaining popularity, privacy is extremely helpful for productivity.

Think about it – if you had a large project to finish, would you want to work with fewer distractions or more? When designing an office desk space, even a collaborative one should have some private stations available for important phone calls, meetings, or simply to get things done.

Noise canceling headphones go a long way, too!

Finding the Right Desk for Your Office

Designing your office all comes down to improving functionality. Think about each employee and what their role entails. If they’re at their office desk all day, the flexibility of a height-adjustable desk is important.

If employees are frequently meeting with other associates or customers, they should have a desk large enough to accommodate everyone and some privacy for important conversations.

Designing a productive workspace takes time and skill, but you don’t have to go it alone. See how we help businesses with office design and planning to improve performance.

How to Stay Productive After Daylight Savings Time Begins

Daylight savings time can throw you off your rhythm if you let it. You don’t have to be a victim, though. If you want to fight back – keep reading. Today, we’re going to share some concrete tips that’ll help you stay productive when daylight savings time starts, even if you’ve struggled in the past.

Let’s begin!

Prepare for Daylight Savings Time

If you want to avoid being thrown off your rhythm, think about preparing ahead of schedule. While this can sound a little bit silly, it is one of the best tactics you can put into action if you don’t want to be affected too heavily.

One way to prepare is by waking up one hour earlier than your currently do. This will get you ready for when the clocks do go forward and you ‘lose’ that hour of sleep in the morning.

If you’re going to be waking up one hour earlier, it can be a good idea to go to be one hour earlier too. This will help you maintain a consistent level of sleep.

Stay Hydrated

When daylight savings time does hit, you’re going to find yourself struggling with fatigue throughout the day. One thing you can do to aid productivity and help improve your fatigue is to stay hydrated.

Many people find that drinking water throughout the day helps reduce their levels of fatigue. To make sure you don’t forget, set alarms on your phone that let remind you to drink water every hour or so.

Avoid Sugar

A lot of people find that they have sugar cravings when they feel tired. If you experience this, make sure you don’t give in.

Sugar can often have the effect of giving you a short burst of energy, followed by a massive slump. If you find that you’re craving sugar, opt for a protein bar, as these can sometimes help satiate sugar cravings.

Go Easy on the Coffee

It’s tempting to use coffee as a crutch when you’re feeling tired.

However, if you’re really tired, coffee will probably make things worse. That’s because you might experience the ‘tired but wired’ feeling. This is where you feel jittery, anxious and tired at the same time – which can a worse feeling than just feeling tired.

If you feel like you need a small ‘pick me up,’ consider drinking some green tea to help you maintain focus. Green tea is generally easier on the body, and you won’t find yourself experiencing a caffeine crash when drinking it.

Time For a Nap?

Daylight savings time is one of those things that you have to deal with on a yearly basis. But, that doesn’t mean you don’t suffer each time it comes around.

Using the tips provided in this post, you should now know how to be full of energy when the time comes. All these strategies can work well, and they can help you conquer the day so that you don’t let fatigue beat you down.

Of course, if things get really bad – you can always take a short nap!