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Office Furniture Blog

5 ways to run better business meetings

Thursday, October 04, 2018



All businesses have meetings. Whether it is every day, weekly or monthly, it is important to think about how you are going to keep your employees engaged and ace them every time! Start getting creative by incorporating these five points and tick off your to-do lists faster than ever.





  1. Be exclusive: Think about who is really essential at the meeting. Everyone is busy and therefore a business meeting isn’t something employees enjoy, so if you don’t require someone's presence, don’t waste their time. They probably have a long list of other things they need to be doing. Instead, encourage the meeting attendees to share relevant learnings and decisions with other colleagues, ensuring everyone still feels engaged and aligned with the company's vision.


  2. Stick to an agenda: Have a plan, a plan leads to productivity. Without a plan, the meeting is likely to go on longer than it should. Allocate specific time slots for each point on your agenda and encourage someone to opt-in as a timekeeper to ensure you are staying on track. Additionally, it's a great idea to send the meeting agenda out prior to the meeting. This allows staff to prepare and also think about what they can contribute to the meeting.


  3. Tell stories: Stories are easier to remember than just plain facts. Get creative with how you present your meetings and get your points across. For instance, if its figures and numbers you're discussing, create a story or assign an image that sits alongside each point to help your employees retain the information.   


  4. Change the scenery: Having your meeting in the same old meeting room can become repetitive and can hinder productivity. Staff can often check out when there is nothing to stimulate them or when they feel uncomfortable. Why not try new locations around the office? Many new office layouts are incorporating numerous informal meeting and soft seating areas to allow flexibility and diversity in where they meet. Mixing things up like this can have a real impact on productivity and break up the daily routine.


  5. Stand: Alter your meetings by having a standing meeting around a bar leaner and stool. This can keep colleagues focused and also discourages meetings from running too long. Similar to changing up your scenery, this is a great alternative to your standard meeting room and think about the health benefits!












 

 

 

Changes to your workspace that could improve your productivity

Thursday, August 16, 2018

In this busy day in age, we need to ensure we are maximising our time at work and also enjoying the environment we are spending so much time in. Here are a few changes you can make to your workspace to improve your productivity:

1. Supportive Seating 

Human beings weren’t designed to sit at desks all day, but unfortunately, that’s the reality in many of our jobs, so it’s important to invest in ergonomic seating that can be adjusted to support your body shape. Some key things to look for when choosing a chair is firstly height adjustable, broad armrests that provide support for your arms whilst typing throughout the day. Another essential factor is being able to vary your seat height so you are sitting at the right height for your screen to prevent hunching and your feet should also be flat on the floor. It is recommended that your screen should be 5-8 centimetres above eye level. 

2. Screen Lighting 

The harsh glare of a computer screen can affect your circadian cycle and create a strain on the eye. To help prevent this, you can make a couple of tweaks to your settings such as the brightness of your screen and its colour temperature. Your screen should be as bright as the rest of your surrounding environment, so if it looks too bright or grey, then you may need to adjust the brightness. Along with this, blue wavelengths are often associated with eye strain, whereas longer wavelength colours such as orange and red are more pleasant for long-term usage. Your computer screen emits a lot of blue wavelengths, which can be okay during the day, but during the night it can get pretty tiring on the eyes so it is best to adjust the colour to a warmer tone.   

3. Office Lighting

Harsh fluorescent lighting is often used in workplaces which is often too bright and feels very cold. Ambient and indirect low lighting are both more comfortable and better for your eyes. Again, as with the colour temperature of a computer screen, warm “yellow” light tends to be better than “white” light. 

4. Office Noise

Often a desk is assigned to you, but if you’re lucky enough to have a choice, there are some things to consider. Work spaces will usually contain livelier spaces which can be great to discuss ideas and improve collaboration, as well as quieter corners, which allow for jobs that require certain levels of concentration. Depending on your job role, either space could hinder or enhance your productivity. Of the many things that have been shown to distract us, noise is one of the worst. So if you don't have a choice where you sit and you need a bit of quiet time, there are ways to drown out or dampen noise.  Earplugs can be used but we recommend you use some headphones (noise cancelling are the best!) with music. In fact, a number of studies have shown that classical music can actually increase productivity and even make you smarter—at least while you’re listening to it! 

5. File Organisation 

If you do not have your files and do
cuments organised in a logical and tidy way, finding them again on your computer can become quite difficult and frustrating. Taking that extra effort to give your file a proper title and putting it in the correct folder, can save you enormous amounts of time when you need to refer back to them at a later date. Backing them all up on an external storage system is also an important step in case of an unfortunate event. 

6. Notifications 

Filtering your notifications between “need to know,” “nice to know,” and “useless” will help you stay focused on what you’re doing and prevent unnecessary distractions. Choosing to receive different types of notifications via a vibration, silent pop-up or nothing at all, can easily be done through notification settings and can keep you up to speed with only what is relevant and important throughout the day. 

7. Synced Calendar

Set up a calendar system that works on all your devices, across all your necessary activities and appointments. Getting into the habit of putting all your events and deadlines onto one system will significantly reduce the chances of forgetting something, instead directing full focus towards your work.

7 exercises you can do at your desk

Wednesday, July 25, 2018


Here are 7 exercises you can do while sitting at your desk, allowing you to do a workout without leaving the office! 


Calf Raises

Raise your legs up on the very tips of your toes while remaining seated. Your calf muscles should start to burn after a few seconds. Hold for ten seconds and then repeat eight times.


Planks
Typically done on the floor, you can also perform planks at your desk.
Place your hands on the edge of your desk, walk your feet backwards and position them hip width apart. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to heels. Try holding this position for up to one minute.


Clenches

Clench your buttocks and hold for ten seconds. Do five sets of eight reps. The beauty of this exercise is that you aren't getting up and no one knows that you are secretly fitting in a workout.


Arm stretches

Many arm exercises can be preformed while seated at your desk. Stretch the muscles in your right arm by reaching as far to the left as you can with your right arm, while supporting it in the crook of your left elbow and then hold it there. Feel the stretch for five seconds. Do eight reps before switching over to your left arm.


Waist rotations

Strengthen your core by rotating at the waist while remaining seated. Rotate as far to the left as you can and hold for five seconds, then repeat on the right. Complete five sets. Grab the backrest of your chair with your hands for support.


Crunches

Move to the edge of your seat and lean back on the backrest. Straighten your legs and lift a few centimeters off the ground and raise your back a few centimeters off the backrest. Hold for ten seconds, you should feel a burn in your abdominal muscles. Do eight reps of 10 seconds.


Wall sit

Stand with your back against the wall with your feet shoulder-width apart
and about two feet in front of you. Bending your knees, slide your back down the wall and hold this position.

Being busy is no excuse to not exercise and stay healthy. Even if you don't have the time to exercise before or after work, there are many other ways you can incorporate movement into your daily routine. Doing regular desk exercises each day, along with getting up and walking around the office, can greatly improve health, muscle tone and strength.


 

6 ways to create a collaborative workspace

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Companies are constantly adapting to provide the most efficient and productive work environments for their employees.

Research has shown there is a multitude of benefits from creating a collaborative workplace, from greater employee satisfaction to increased idea generation. One of the most important outcomes is the positive effect it has on an organisation’s innovative output.

A cohesive environment is a perfect vehicle for creative thinking and idea generation. Higher levels of innovation lead to increased productivity and business growth. As a result, implementing a collaborative workplace is a must for any business looking to fully leverage the talents of its employees.

Here we share six ways you can create a collaborative workplace:

1. Encourage departments

Working with the same people day in, day out, can slow the innovation process. Having an open plan office and designing the layout to include collaboration style furniture, can help encourage engagement between teams and departments. When different departments come together, great ideas bubble to the surface with diverse strengths and perspectives working together. 

2. Lead from the top

There is nothing less motivational than a boss who remains cooped up in an office, separated from the rest of the office. It is important to remember that collaboration is not only reserved for part of the organisation. It should be adopted by every member of staff, no matter their level or job role. Visibility is key – If employees can see their managers and directors effectively collaborating then they will feel inspired to replicate this behaviour, hence improving their own productivity.

3. Positivity and rewards

Ultimately, we are only human and even the most dedicated employees need an appropriate reward if they have achieved success. Rewarding individuals can be commonplace, but don't forget to reward team efforts too. This is crucial in encouraging future collaborations, as employees will realise the benefits of working together.

4. Encourage people to socialise outside of work

We all lead busy personal lives and the thought of having a work event we are obligated to attend, can often add stress. However, socialising with co-workers outside the office is an effective way to open channels of communication, create a better understanding of each other and break down any walls of judgement or mistrust between team members. When team members learn they share common interests or challenges outside of work, they can see their team members as more human, which helps to decrease individual bias, stereotyping and false objectifying.

5. Establish a judgement-free idea-sharing culture

One obstacle that often prevents employees from putting forward their ideas, is a fear of judgement or rejection. Overcome this impediment by establishing a creative and judgement-free workplace culture, where new ideas and discussions are consistently welcome. Refrain from setting too many guidelines, as these can stifle creativity. Place an emphasis on creative freedom and valuable workplace collaborations will follow.

6. Have the right technology in place

If you are pushing to create a fully cohesive workplace culture, then you need to ensure that you have the appropriate technology in place to facilitate collaboration. Help employees do their jobs faster so they can invest more time in teamwork and innovation. Cloud-based software is increasingly popular and fast becoming the norm. Stay ahead of technological advances in order to keep your employees engaged and motivated.

Individual work will always have its place in the office, but teamwork and collaboration boost overall company success.

The Pros and Cons of Corner and Straight Desks

Wednesday, June 06, 2018
The type of desk that suits your office best depends on a variety of factors, including office size and layout, business type and individual preference. Here, we compare two of the most common desk styles in NZ offices – corner desks and straight desks – highlighting their pros and cons so you can make the best decision when fitting out or renovating your office space.

Corner Desks

Corner, or L-shaped, desks can be very convenient, especially in small spaces or home offices. Office Furniture Warehouse stocks a variety of corner desk styles, from sleek white to contemporary wooden or sophisticated charcoal.

Pros

Creates space – by bordering an office corner with an L-shaped desk, you are making use of what would otherwise be dead space. Corner desks create little pockets of space, giving you room to move around while offering plenty of desk at which to work effectively. This efficient use of space makes them especially great for small or home offices.

Separation of tasks – for workers with a variety of tasks to accomplish, having two distinct sides to one desk can help compartmentalise. A project manager might use one side for management work, and the other side of the bend for hands-on technical work.

Cons

Computer positioning – the idea with L-shaped desks is to make use of the corner by putting your computer there. In practice, some people find it awkward sitting in the crevice of your two joining surfaces, while others feel this wastes the space behind the monitor.

Difficult in certain offices – the corner desk doesn’t suit all office layouts, especially large, open spaces which look and function better with desks used along the walls or even in the centre of the room.

Straight Desks

Straight desks are the traditional desk that usually comes to mind – rectangular in shape, making them fit easily into any office space and any layout. When in doubt, we recommend straight desks – you can’t really go wrong with one of these!

Pros

Versatile – with their simple, straight design, these desks fit well into any office space, even those with odd layouts. This makes them the best and easiest choice for large, open plan rooms with plenty of employees. Put the desk against the wall or create a row in the centre of the room – it works either way and looks good.

Ergonomics – the simplicity and right angles of the straight desk makes achieving an ergonomic work environment easier.

Cons

Limited space – straight desks provide enough room for most workers, but those who find their desks constantly filling up with paperwork might prefer the additional space a corner provides.

Lacking in imagination – these desks are traditional, which isn’t a bad thing, but some modern and chic offices find they want more mould-breaking alternatives to suit their innovative style.

Office Partitioning – How to Best Utilise It

Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Office partitions are easy, quick and affordable ways to create privacy while still letting you enjoy the benefits and style of an open plan space. Office Furniture Warehouse has a variety of products that create partitions within the office, from floor standing screens to partition clamps. Here are our tips when it comes to setting up an office partition.

Talk to your staff

Your staff can be an invaluable resource when it comes to transforming your office space. If you require office partitioning, it’s a good idea to survey your employees and understand what type of work space they feel creates the most productive and positive environment. By including them on the design of office partitions, you give them ownership, boost morale and take onboard useful ideas and new perspectives.

Consider your workspace and needs

Do you need complete privacy with floor to ceiling partitions, or will desk partitions do? Do you want the partition to be a permanent fixture in the office or is a removable partition preferred? By considering your workspace, the office culture and the needs of the partition, you can figure out which one of the many available partition styles will work the best.

Home offices

More and more Kiwis are working remotely and are in need of a great home office. An office partition can be helpful to transform part of a room into your office, efficiently separating your work space from your living space. Whether you work in a main centre like Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton or Christchurch, or in small, rural towns, order a partition with free NZ wide shipping to create an effective workspace at home.

Keep aesthetics in mind

Partitions can be done very well, maintaining the overall feel and style of the office. On the other hand, if done poorly, they can be intimidating and isolating, so it is important to keep consistent within your office’s aesthetics. This can mean choosing the right colour and material, the best location for the partition, and an appropriate partition height.

Look at different partition types

Office Furniture Warehouse has several different types of office partitions on offer, from tidy Boyd partitions which are lightweight and affordable ways to create individual workspaces, to contoured desk screens for privacy and Modulink Velcro screens at various heights. Read through our description of each one or get in touch with us to discuss your particular needs. If you’re at a loss, we also offer customised solutions to fit your office to a tee.

Office Storage – Which Systems are Right for You

Sunday, May 06, 2018
For an office to function like a well-oiled machine, it needs to be tidy and organised with an efficient storage system. Office Furniture Warehouse has a wide range of cheap office storage systems to fit any office type, style, size and budget. With service in the main centres – Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton and Christchurch – as well as free shipping NZ wide, there’s no excuse for a Kiwi office to be lacking in storage.

Office Mobiles

Mobile office storage systems are perfect for modern work environments making use of hot desks, collaboration and co-working spaces. If change and mobility among staff members is common, it’s handy to have office storage units that are easy to move. There are plenty of sizes, shapes and colours to suit any office’s style and there are lockable options when privacy and confidentiality is a concern.

Examples of appropriate office types: IT offices, co-working spaces.

Credenzas

Credenzas are wonderful, discreet storage systems that maximise space and efficiency and come in a variety of sizes, styles and finishes. Their multi-drawer, waist-high design provides workers with plenty of storage space as well as a flat surface appropriate for computer monitors, paperwork and display. While today’s credenzas are modern in appearance, a credenza can be a hat-tip to older more traditional office styles of the past. Consider getting a credenza for versatility, tidy storage and efficiency. 

Examples: lawyer’s office, engineering firm. 

Tambours

Tambour cabinets offer clean lines and practical storage. They are made of solid steel and have lockable doors, useful for private documentation. If your office holds onto sensitive material, has a sleek look and limited space, a tambour is a good choice. For a modern space, a tambour with a built-in top planter combines convenient office storage systems with refreshing greenery.  

Examples: architecture firm, marketing company. 

Office Filing Cabinets

A good filing cabinet brings organisation to the home or business office. If your office has plenty of hard-copy print material like documents, notes, invoices and flyers, get a cheap yet good quality filing cabinet. Filing cabinets allows workers to file away important documents efficiently and tidily, so you can say goodbye to messy desks and chaotic paperwork.  

Examples: doctor’s surgery, home office. 

Bookcases and Cupboards

Bookcases and cupboards suit pretty much any office, offering a tidy solution to storing books and paperwork. Bookcases are great for displaying items without creating clutter, while cupboards create orderly spaces with plenty of storage hidden away behind closed doors. Office Furniture Warehouse has office cupboards in a variety of heights, sizes and finishes. 

Examples: most offices.

Office Lockers

Office lockers are starting to become appreciated for their practicality and security, but they are still an under-rated star when it comes to office storage. Our lockers are durable and high-quality, come in 1 to 4 tiers and are made of commercial grade steel. Their use extends beyond the tradition office and are finding homes in many business types, from hospitality establishments to gyms. 

Examples: offices with many employees or public access.

Standing or sitting at your desk – which is healthier?

Thursday, April 12, 2018


While standing desks – popular among Leonardo da Vinci, Ernest Hemingway and Winston Churchill – have been around for ages, they have only recently shot back into popularity. All of a sudden, office workers across New Zealand seemed to be chucking out the chair and standing while they work. 

 

This rise to popularity of the standing desk, seen most in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, has its proponents, but it also has a fair share of critics. Let’s examine the pros and cons on both sides of this hotly contested office furniture debate to determine which is the healthiest way to work.

 

Arguments for standing

 

  • Burn calories: when you’re standing as opposed to sitting, your heart beats faster and you burn more calories. It’s only a little bit higher but over 8 plus hours, it adds up.

 

  • Chronic disease: the biggest reason for office furniture that fosters standing is that sitting down for long periods of time is associated with increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. 

 

  • Good posture: stand up desks promote good posture, which is great for warding off back aches, pains and injuries.

 

Arguments for sitting

 

  • Varicose veins: studies show that sitting at your office desk results in fewer varicose veins than people who are constantly on their feet.

 

  • Back pain: remember when we said that stand up desks promote good posture? Well, that’s only true if you’re standing properly with a straight back and even pressure. Many people continually lean onto one leg which has the opposite effect, causing sciatica and lower back trouble.

 

  • Balance, comfort, efficiency: Many New Zealand office workers feel that they have active lifestyles outside of work; they don’t need office furniture to get them to stand. Plus, they feel more comfortable and efficient working while seated. 

 

Is the sit-stand desk the answer?

 

There are clearly reasons to both sit and stand while working. If you aren’t a die-hard fan of one or the other, there is a middle ground: the sit-stand desks. Popular among workers of all varieties across Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, these desks give you the best of both worlds and are likely the healthiest option of all. 

 

The evolution of the office chair

Monday, March 26, 2018
Charles Darwin is usually credited with the theory of evolution – the concept that all life on Earth came from the same ancestor. His theory can keep people in New Zealand debating until they’re blue in the face, but what’s undeniable is how the humble office chair has evolved over the years! Let’s take a look…

The Early Office Chair
As the Industrial Revolution ramped up in the early 19th century, business became the backbone of many economies. The office chair was created to accommodate workers spending long hours in the office as opposed to hours spent in the field, factory or farm.

The First Modern Office Chair
The mid-1800s saw the creation of the railways in America and along with them came a surge in clerical and management jobs. These roles needed better office chairs, so the Centripetal Spring Armchair was created. Though it was made of cast iron and velvet – far more regal than today’s office chair – it was revolutionary with many of the features that we look for today, like a swivel seat, ease of movement, suspension and a supportive headrest.

Twentieth Century Chairs
There wasn’t any rapid office chair innovation in the 19th and early 20th centuries, where chairs improved in aesthetics (giving us awesome retro chairs!) but still had many of the same features.

Ergonomics
It all happened in the ‘70s! Office workers in New Zealand and abroad wanted more out of their office chair and began to prioritise their health, noticing that back problems were rife amongst office workers. Ergonomics developed and along came comfy, healthy, supportive chairs – woohoo!

Today’s Office Chairs
Today, the culture of office worker wellbeing has improved dramatically and the modern office chair reflects that. Modern New Zealand offices appreciate that different workers have different needs based on height, lumbar support and ergonomics. There are highbacks, midbacks and kneelers. There’s fabric and leather; wide seats and long seats. What really defines today’s modern chair is choice.

The benefits of having healthy living plants in office spaces

Thursday, March 15, 2018

We caught up with Victoria Allwood, Director of Living Decor, to find out about the benefits of plants in the office, latest indoor greenery trends and ideas on how to easily incorporate greenery into office spaces.

What are the benefits of having healthy living plants in office spaces?

For many people, plants are simply an attractive decoration. However they are doing a whole lot more to make people's environment not only healthier to work in, but a more calming, pleasant place to be. Research shows that plants clean the air of toxins, reduce sickness in the work place and boost productivity.
 
What trends are you seeing at the moment in terms of office greenery?
 
Current trends are open plan offices with tambour plant units and some free-standing plants. This set-up allows for more storage but also makes full use of vertical space where floor space can often be limited.
 
We are definitely seeing a strong trend towards having living plants in offices as people begin to understand the benefits. A few years ago, designers and architects were keen to show off the features of their buildings without additional decoration, such as plants, to take the eye away. Today the opposite is true. Living plants are becoming an integral part of their office design right from the outset.
 
Interestingly, the swing back to 'retro' look plants is notable and we are often asked for plants that were popular in the 70's and 80's such as monstera deliciosa, ficus lyrata, rubber plants and climbing plants such as philodendron cordatums. Plants that we had in our home when I was growing up. Requests for macrame hangers is also fairly common and I asked my 95 year old father if he still had some of mums in our garage at home!
 
Green and leafy is the look people are after, rather than the more structural plants of the 90's such as yuccas and succulents. The growers have been scrambling to source and grow these retro plants again after moving right away from them when the demand disappeared.
 
Similarly we have installed and maintained a variety of living walls, ranging from 3 story high living structures through to living pictures which feature plants instead of a painting and look incredible.
 
What easy ideas would you suggest to incorporate greenery into office spaces?
 
The simplest way would be to include either table top or counter top plants and free-standing plants into the office spaces.
 
A beautiful free-standing plant in a stylish planter costs less per week to hire than a bottle of milk. These can be moved to where they are needed and provide a splash of greenery for people to appreciate.
 
Tambour planters are also very effective as they double as office storage.
 
Once plants are in place all people have to do is enjoy them, as all the hard work is done by us. We come in and look after them and replace and refresh them regularly. Couldn't be easier!
 
An important point to note is that plants have to be strong, healthy and pest-free in order to do their job well. Hiring a plant ensures this is guaranteed, whereas purchasing a plant and expecting it to perform without regular care and sustenance is not going to be a long-term solution. Living Decor offer affordable indoor plant solutions to fit all budgets throughout New Zealand. Find out more
 
*An example of an organisation leading by example when it comes to office plants is City of Melbourne (Council). Their building Council House 2 (built in 2006) has a key focus on the indoor environment quality with indoor plants playing a vital part in this. The most impressive thing to note is they have a policy of at least one indoor plant per person.
 
Read more about this fascinating building here