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!

4 Tips to Keeping Happy Employees

While you might think that higher wages will keep your staff happy – it won’t.

Research shows there are many other (cheaper) ways to keep happy employees. It’s about using your dollars to improve the time people spend at work: build a better work culture and make staff feel appreciated.

How to do it? Below we give some tips that are sure to surprise you!

1. Improve the physical environment

Spoil your staff with quality office furniture. Well-designed workstations, sit-to-stand desks, office chairs that encourage good posture and open-office workstations achieve an enormous return on investment. Your staff will have better posture, have a lower risk of repetitive strain injuries (your insurance guy will like that), and be better placed to put their best into your business.

Well-designed office spaces can also encourage productivity and better work culture through encouraging collaboration and teamwork. Best of all, quality furniture tells your staff you value them, and gives a better image of your business to visiting guests.

2. Let them eat cake!

Actually, better yet, provide a big fruit bowl and good quality tea and coffee. This tells them you care, costs you very little, and promotes good health. What’s not to like? You’ll be surprised at the opportunities for cross-pollination of work ideas as people cluster around the coffee machine work-shopping issues.

Before you know it Jim from IT has created a custom solution for Halima in HR so she can get her tax receipts into the system the right way. In return, she found him an intern to assist with his office-wide software updates. Problems (and possible solutions) they would never have known about if they weren’t making their morning macchiato at the same time.

3. Creative Rewards for Hard Work and Happy Employees

It costs very little to demonstrate your appreciation, to thank staff for a big job done well. Some workplaces have implemented a ‘lucky-dip’ of rewards, where staff chose a card from a pot and written on the card is their reward. The cards can have any number of ideas, from massage vouchers and sports event or cinema tickets to a free dinner-for-two.

You can offer car-washes, gym memberships, or even a pass for a day off work on the cards in your office ‘lucky-dip’. The sky is the limit!

4. Fuse-Ball, Ping-Pong or Board Games

Big companies in Palo Alto competing for technology and employees have known this for a while – creative workplace experiences attract and motivate staff. Putting in a Ping-Pong table, Fuse Ball or supplying Board Games in a common area gives staff a place to relax.

Psychologists tell us that when you distract yourself from a problem, you free up your subconscious to busily work away at it. Don’t believe it? Think about how often have you had your ‘aha moment’ in the shower, at 3 am, or while out on a jog?

Like all the tips here, this gives your happy employees as well as better productivity. Think about where you can free up some space and build creativity and fun into your workplace.

Happy Staff, Happy Work Environment

So there you have it – some research-backed fun and creative tips for happy employees that won’t break the bank.

What are you waiting for? Time to prep the office announcement!

The Pros and Cons of Romance at Work

Have you been considering asking out that cute or handsome coworker of yours?

Are you concerned how dating might affect your professional relationship and standing in the company?

It’s important to assess the situation before making decisions on dating a coworker. This article will outline the pros and cons of sparking up a romance at work.

Pro: Common Ground

The best relationships are built on common experiences or interests.

The sheer fact that the two of you are working together indicates that you have common experiences. You share new experiences every day, always giving you something to talk about.

The mere fact that you sit near each other in the same office is bound to build up attraction. People tend to be more attracted to people who are in close proximity to them more often.

You will also know the same people and likely have the same work social circle. This again gives you more things to talk about and can keep conversations lively.

Con: Office Gossip

If you’re just starting out at a company or trying to work your way up, it might be best to keep romance out of work.

When you date a coworker, the two of you automatically become the latest source for office gossip.

People will inevitably be talking about the status of your relationship, if it’s going well, and even when it’s going to end.

Having this buzz happening around you at work could distract you from the real reason you’re there- to advance your career.

Pro: Similar Schedules

One advantage of dating someone you work with is that you likely have similar schedules.

This can make planning after work dates super easy. Often times in adult life you meet someone really great but they work different hours from you or have other commitments and you hardly get to see them.

When you work in the same place you pretty much know where your romantic partner is 40 hours a week, and you can therefore easily plan romantic outings.

Con: Breaking Up Is Rough

One of the main disadvantages of a romance at work is the break-up.

Consider the fact that you will be trapped in a confined space with this person all week long even after you break up.

If things end badly, you’ll have to constantly see them by the water cooler, or bump into them in the break room. The awkwardness that is sure to ensue when you break up is enough to keep many people running away from an office romance.

Consider These Pros and Cons Before Sparking a Romance at Work

Keep this list of pros and cons in mind before you start an office romance.

Office romances can be incredible and turn into lifelong partners, but they can also end terribly and making working together uncomfortable.

Be sure to assess where you’re at in your career and with your company before taking the risk on an office romance.

Like this article? Want to read more about life in the office? Check out our article on deciding between an open office and a closed one.

Remodeling Your Conference Room? Here Are Some Ideas

conference room

Is your conference room in dire need of an update?

When it comes to doing business, the layout, and design of your conference room matters. It’s where you make big decisions and business relationships, so it needs to be top-notch. Do you know that you need to remodel your space, but not sure what to do or how to start?

We’re here to share some conference room layout and design ideas to help you design your dream workspace.

Design Tips for Remodeling Your Conference Room

Redoing a conference space isn’t easy, but it’s important! Here are some tips for creating a conference room that truly rocks.

Embrace Natural Lighting

Lighting can make all the difference when it comes to workplace productivity and the quality of life of employees. Studies even show that there is a strong relationship between daylight exposure and how employees sleep and perform.

When redoing your conference space, focus on adding more natural lighting. Add lamps and lighting systems that come with dimmers, so you can adjust the lighting if need be. And don’t forget to add curtains and blinds to help on days that are ultra-bright or gloomy.

Extra tip: If you don’t have natural lighting, try to cut back on fluorescent lighting by incorporating floor and desk lamps.

Update Any Technology

Conference rooms need to have the latest technology to be effective workspaces. That’s why you should install any technology that will help run presentations and meetings. You should also have good audio equipment and microphones.

When buying technology, try to buy large screens or multiple screens, so you can run video chats and show work presentations. These screens are also great for wowing clients.

Tip: If your conference room is short on space, design a built-in unit to house any multimedia or technology to keep the room clutter free. This will also make the room feel bigger.

Design a Space That is Comfortable for Employees & Clients

When it comes to your conference space, you should focus on creating a space that fosters equality and collaboration. A roundtable is a great way to encourage collaboration and make everyone feel included. Just make sure to avoid any kind of tiered seating that blocks people’s views or makes some people not feel included.

Your conference room should have many seats and plenty of room so people can move around and have smaller conversations. You should also buy ergonomic furniture so everyone will be comfortable.

Tip: If you’re not working with a big budget, consider buying used office furniture.

Final Thoughts on Conference Spaces

As long as people need to meet and business needs to be done, conference spaces are an essential part of any office. If you follow these design tips and layout ideas, you can create a conference space that offers collaboration, positive work culture, open communication, and comfort.

Are you currently redoing your office spaces? Contact workspace solutions today and let us help!

5 Tips to Increase Productivity in 2018

increase productivity

As the new year begins, now is the perfect time to analyze your company’s productivity. There are a number of steps that your company can take to increase productivity.

Did you know that the United States has the most productive employees in the entire world? American workers produce more per year than any other nation. Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement and your company can still produce more.

Read on to learn 5 tips to increase productivity for your company’s employees.

1) Deploy Mobile Apps to Increase Productivity

Widespread use of mobile technology is a great way to increase productivity. There are a number of apps that can take your company to the next level.

One effective mobile app is Connecteam. This program does it all from connecting remote employees, training, and time management.

Another good example is WorkflowMax, which is a scheduling and invoicing tool. The app catalogs time spent working and generates instant quotes. WorkflowMax is so effective that it reduces labor expenses by an estimated $22K per year.

2) Incentivize Employees to Work Harder

Nothing optimizes productivity like a financial bonus. The vast majority of employees have slack time in their workday. It may be a lengthy coffee break or browsing social media for too long. A great way to focus your employees’ efforts is an incentive.

Hold a contest to reward the employee that produces the most output or generates the most sales. You will be pleasantly surprised at the ramped up performance of the entire team.

3) Emphasize Continuous Training

Simply put, well-trained employees perform better. If employees do not know how to adequately do their job, productivity suffers as a result. Even seasoned veterans benefit from continuing education. This is especially true in fields that employ technology. Employees should be cognizant of all the tools at their disposal. Hold short training programs to keep employees handy with ever-changing technological tools.

4) Encourage Communication With Company Executives

In order to feel motivated and empowered, the company must facilitate communication between employees at all levels. This means that a secretary feels comfortable talking to the chief executive officer. This is important to employee satisfaction. Employees become unmotivated and unproductive if they are barriers to communication.

5) Support the Workforce

Sometimes, the workplace has to be more about output and metrics. There has to be a human element to the workplace as well. Show your employees that you respect them and care about their personal well-being. This means supporting your employees as they pursue a healthy work-life balance. Throw a decorating competition for the holidays to make work more enjoyable.

Provide employees with good office furniture that is ergonomic. While these things do not directly contribute to gross output, they do ultimately increase productivity.

These tactics help the company retain high-quality employees. Satisfied and content employees are more likely to work harder and achieve company goals.

Wrapping It Up

Employee productivity is critical to accomplishing the company’s objectives. Only with a motivated and energetic workforce will the company reach its desired bottom line. A small deed like a new office chair can work wonders for employee satisfaction and motivation.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you enhance your company’s work environment and increase productivity.

Tips for Productive Office Furniture Layout

office furniture layout

A bad office furniture layout will cost your company big time. Ineffective office designs cost companies 330 billion dollars every year in reduced productivity. Your office layout affects your staff’s performance. Minimal, clutter-free workspaces are important for focus. And attractive spaces help with mood and morale.

There is no standard office furniture layout that is perfect for every company. Every office has different design needs. Because office spaces should reflect the goals and needs of your company.

We have a few design tips will improve your team’s productivity. Keep reading for improvements to make your office more effective.

Rethink Your Lighting

Lighting impacts mood and productivity.

Avoid fluorescent lighting. These lights cause migraines, eye strain, and anxiety. Choose incandescent bulbs when natural light isn’t an option. Lightbulbs should be cool colored, and not too bright. Cold lighting promotes productivity. And bright lights can be distracting for many employees.

But, natural light is always best.

Natural light is a mood-booster that increases productivity. Installing more windows will increase natural light. Also, glass partitions can brighten your office and make it appear bigger.

Invest in Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the study of workplace efficiency. Typical office furniture causes stress and fatigue. But, ergonomic design values employee comfort and health. Ergonomic designs keep your employees healthy. Specialty mouses and keyboards prevent repetitive motion injuries. And ergonomic office chairs decrease fatigue and improve focus.

Adjustable sit to stand desks are another great addition to your office. Standing desks improve focus.

Ergonomic design shows your employees you care about their health and well-being. And happy, valued employees are productive employees

Privacy is Productive

Many employees need time alone to be productive. Cubicle-based office furniture layouts are great for focus and privacy. Privacy can also be incorporated into open offices. Business owners embraced open offices to improve teamwork and morale. And many open offices have started integrating private workspaces into their designs.

Private workspaces are great for hunkering down and finishing a difficult task. Private workstations also give employees an opportunity to recharge and process collaborations. Collaboration is more successful when people can have time alone as well.

Noise is Distracting

Open offices are excellent for collaborative work and they encourage camaraderie. However, all the free communication can be loud or distracting for some employees. Adding a few walls or partitions to your open office will help with noise. And, you can install thicker carpeting to help absorb sound.

It’s also important to have spaces for silent work. A combination of silent and collaborative spaces helps productivity. Private, sound-proof work areas are a popular addition to many open offices.

Personalize Your Office Furniture Layout

Your office’s layout effects employee mood and performance. A better workday can be as easy as rearranging your furniture. Everyone thrives under different conditions. Consider what will work best for your team when redesigning your office.

Understand your employees so you can meet their needs and increase productivity. Then, combine employee input with company goals to design the perfect workspace.

Contact us to learn how you can make the most of your office space.

The Importance of Quality Filing Cabinets for Your Office

filing cabinets

Though electronic records have an undeniable convenience, for many businesses there is a value in maintaining a hard copy filing system as well.

Hard copy records can be more secure, as they are not vulnerable to computer crashes or Internet hackers. It’s also usually easy to store historical records in hard copy, rather than scanning thousands of documents onto the computer.

Filing cabinets have always been considered the best way to organize and store physical documents. The right filing cabinet makes it easy for you to create a file system that makes sense for your specific needs.

Old filing cabinets are susceptible to wear and tear over time, and as yours start to fall apart, you should begin shopping for an upgrade.

Read on to learn more about what to look for in a filing cabinet system, and the importance of having high-quality cabinets in your office.

1. Why do You Need a Filing Cabinet?

If you work in an industry where you need quick access to important documents, filing cabinets are the best storage solution. The right filing cabinet will provide a level of security and privacy that a computer can’t. Once you’ve developed a filing system, the right storage solution makes it easy for you to stay organized and keep your physical office space clear of clutter.

2. Types of Filing Cabinets

There are four main types of filing cabinets:

Lateral

  • Drawers extend from the longest side of the cabinet
  • Drawers are wide and shallow
  • Ideal for spaces with lower ceilings
  • Easy to sort through drawers while seated

Vertical

  • Drawers extend from the short side of the cabinets
  • Drawers are narrow and deep
  • Taller than lateral cabinets, and ideal for rooms with limited floor space

Flat

  • Designed to accommodate large and oversized documents
  • Short, spacious drawers
  • Ideal for canvases and blueprints

Mobile

  • Similar to vertical cabinets in construction
  • On wheels or casters and can be easily moved around the office

3. What to Consider When Shopping

Whether you’re upgrading all the cabinets in your workplace or just purchasing one unit for a home office, you want to consider how much space you have available and how many documents you need to store. That will help you narrow down what type of filing cabinet you should purchase.

You should also look at the materials that make up the filing cabinet. Aluminum and steel are the most durable and longest lasting. Plastic is typically a more affordable solution, and wood filing cabinets have a unique aesthetic that may be pleasing in your space.

One last thing to consider is whether or not you want cabinets that lock, which will depend on the nature of your documents and how secure you need them to be.

Looking for Filing Cabinets in Fort Wayne?

When you have physical documents and hard copy records, a filing cabinet system is the best way of keeping them organized and secure. Different types and materials can provide different advantages, so make sure you consider your specific needs before shopping.

For more information about the right filing cabinet solution for your office, please contact us at any time or visit our office furniture store in Fort Wayne.

Stress-Free Office Party Ideas for the Holidays

office christmas party ideas

Are you looking for a fun holiday party idea for you and your employees? Are you looking for something that doesn’t involve extra stress? If so you’ve come to the right place. The holidays are supposed to be a time of celebration and fun but they can also be very stressful. You can take some of the pressure off your employees by having a low-key holiday office party.

This article will break down the top office party ideas for a stress-free season.

1) Escape Room Party

Escape rooms are fantastic for a team building holiday activity. Escape rooms are a fun way to bond with your employees. During an escape room experience, you discover new skills you didn’t even know your employees had. You’re locked in a room for one hour and must solve puzzles and word games in order to “escape”.

This is great fun and a chance to get out of the office. Your employees won’t have to worry about bringing food or showing up to a lengthy office party.

2) White Elephant Gift Exchange

Host a white elephant gift exchange immediately after work. Put a price limit on the gifts so that your employees don’t feel obligated to spend lots of money. Have everyone bring in one gift and put it in the middle of the circle. Each employee takes turns either taking a new gift or “stealing” a gift that has already been taken. Eventually, each person will go home with a gift.

This is a chance for your employees to show off their gift-giving creativity and is less pressure than a traditional Secret Santa exchange.

In a Secret Santa gift exchange, everyone has to pick a gift for a specific person and there is fear that their assigned person won’t like the gift. In white elephant, everyone buys a neutral gift and the playing field is open.

3) Potluck Dinner

Instead of spending a fortune on catering or going out to a fancy dinner, have a potluck dinner. Ask each of your employees to bring in their favorite dinner dish or dessert. Assure them that store bought is fine if they aren’t the finest chefs. Potlucks are minimal stress and they allow everyone to enjoy a variety of delicious foods.

You can host the potluck at lunch or right after work so as to not take up too much of your employee’s time. Most people will be grateful for the extra time they could spend with their families during the holidays.

Follow This Guide for Stress-Free Office Party Ideas

We hope you utilize one of these office party ideas this holiday season.

We are confident that each of these three ideas will bring happiness and levity to your office celebration. The holidays can be celebrated simply, there doesn’t always need to be a giant holiday office party.

Have employees who are distracted during the holidays? Check out this article on how to keep your employees focused through all the excitement.