5 Best Office Tools That Help Boost Productivity

Did you know that in an eight-hour day, the average worker gets just under three hours of work done? As a business owner or manager, you can’t afford to ignore this statistic.

Sure, in today’s modern office environment, there are a lot of distractions. Social media, texting, and general internet searching is bound to divert an employee’s attention. However, the office tools they have (or don’t have) drastically affect your employee’s productivity as well. To help boost productivity and reduce distractions, it may be time to give your office space an overhaul.

Let’s go over five tools that will help increase productivity in your office.

1. An Interactive Conference Room

If conferences are becoming a waste of time, adding some interactive features will help. After all, this is where you put projects into motion and discuss business initiatives.

First, make sure you have adequate office furniture needed to facilitate large meetings. You could also add some tech features that will help streamline things. Tools like the Interactive Markerboards make presentations and training much easier. You’ll save time by not having to mess with wires and your presentation will come across much clearer.

2. Open Work Spaces

If your team does creative work, the layout of your office should promote collaboration. You may want to consider switching to an open workspace. Taking away individual offices makes communication much easier and faster. It also prevents employees from feeling isolated, which can zap their productivity.

If only one department does collaborative work, only transform one section of the office to an open workspace. This allows other employees to maintain their privacy.

3. Standing Desks

If your employees don’t feel good, their productivity will drop. It turns out that standing desks come with a number of health benefits, including reduced back pain and higher energy levels. It may seem strange to have your employees stand while working on their computers, but it’s becoming much more common. Ask your staff if they’d like to give standing desks a try. Add a few at first and see how people like them.

Adjustible-height desks allow the user to go from sitting to standing with the push of a button giving them control throughout the day. 

4. Allsteel Power Hub

This is another great tool for a collaborative space. The Allsteel Power Hub acts as stand-alone data and power terminal. Incorporating this tool into your office setup frees up previous space limitations. Employees can plug into it and work alone or in a group.

Try adding some comfortable office furniture around the hub. Providing another space for employees to work is a great way to give them a break from their desks without sacrificing productivity.

5. Effective Storage Solutions

A cluttered office is horrible for productivity. It encroaches on your employee’s space and makes finding important documents difficult. If this is a problem, investing in high-quality storage and file cabinets is an easy solution. You’ll improve the look and feel of your office and also have a way to catalog crucial information.

Get the Right Office Tools and Boost Productivity

Simply by adding a few important components, you can kick your office productivity up a notch. There’s a good chance you’ll see the effect on your bottom line right away.

Try incorporation the office tools discussed above and see the difference in your employees’ performance.

Need help? We provide a wide range of solutions, such as office furniture, layouts, and design. Contact us to learn more.  

Safer Office: 4 Wise But Rational Ways to Prevent Workspace Accidents

office safety

How does your office prevent slips, trips, and falls? What about equipment and tool accidents? Every office has hazards; even if you have the best health and safety training around. The key is knowing how to predict problems and prevent them. Although workplace accidents happen far too often, 99 percent of them are preventable, you can keep your office safer by knowing how to prevent these accidents.

Keep reading for four office safety tips you need to know.

1. Check Your Electrical Cords

Office fires occur when devices aren’t turned off or cords aren’t maintained. You can prevent these hazards by checking on your electrical equipment regularly. Either you or your health and safety coordinator should inspect all cords. Many offices use extension cords when plugs are few and far between.

Extension cords can easily start a fire if they’re placed under carpets. Or, if they’re connected to too many different devices. Check that the outlets are working and not causing shocks. Don’t put too many plugs into extension cords. Unplug all electrical devices for when the office isn’t open, like on the weekends.

2. Declutter Space

Slips, trips, and falls occur when the office is messy. Clutter in the walkways, cubicles, and open spaces is a hazard. By having a disorganized office, you’re asking for accidents to happen. Make an effort to keep your office clean. Walkways need to be clear. Encourage your employees to put away boxes when they’re done with them.

It’s especially important not to let clutter pile up near fire exits. Evacuation routes need to be clear at all times.

3. Don’t Rush

The pressure to complete all the tasks you need done causes employees to rush. When they’re rushing, they aren’t paying attention to safety hazards around them. This is when they might trip over a box or slice their hand open with a letter-opener.

You need to create a calm yet productive atmosphere in the office. Work is important, but nothing’s more important than your employees’ safety.

4. Use Caution Signs

Your office should already have safety hazard signs ready for use. For example, caution signs for wet floors are common for office staff rooms. Drinks spill and make the floor slippery. Make sure your office has plenty of hazard signs for different situations.

If there’s a bookshelf that has boxes on the tallest shelf, employees must beware of falling objects. Open drawers of filing cabinets can cause trips. Place signs to remind employees of their safety, like “look up” and “please close drawers”.

Want More Office Safety Tips?

Accidents happen, especially in the workplace. But, the majority of them are preventable. It’s the employer’s job to make sure the office is safe from potential accidents. Follow the office safety tips above to accident-proof your office. Encourage your employees to take workplace safety seriously. Place their safety above productivity.

It’s also important to make sure your office’s layout can prevent accidents. Use comfortable and ergonomic furniture and keep walkways clear. If you follow these tips you’re bound to see a decrease in workplace accidents.

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!

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.

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.