Simple Steps To Make Your Office Greener

People are more environmentally aware than ever and employing  a business that has a good green ethic has become increasingly important so don’t get left behind. There are major changes you can implement but to get you started some simple changes can make all the difference and it can save you money.

Firstly get everyone involved. Communicate with staff your aims and plans to create a more environmentally friendly office then hold regular meetings so your staff can share their ideas. Designate responsibility between team members to implement the ideas and to encourage involvement and have goals! An action plan showing how you’re achieving these goals will create enthusiasm amongst your staff.

It may seem obvious but reuse and recycle. Before you recycle think, are you able to reuse the office materials first? Think about using both sides of paper when printing and taking notes. Look into local recycling schemes for kitchen waste, printer ink cartridges, cardboard and more.

Take a look at what you are spending on office stationary. Encourage staff to share stationary and order refills rather than brand new items. If convenient, provide shared printers and other IT equipment which can save the amount of energy being used. Do lights need to switched on in all areas of the office? Encourage staff to turn off monitors when they’re away from their desks and switch off plug sockets.

Discuss with your staff greener ways of commuting to work, including car shares, public transport, cycling and walking. Try offering an incentive for anyone who tries new options, for example a train season ticket.

Finally do a bit of research on your suppliers and products. Aim to favour eco-friendly ones. Using locally sourced suppliers will also reduce the carbon footprint of your deliveries.

If you start to implement these simple eco-friendly initiatives you’ll be socially responsible, saving money and more attractive to your customers. What’s not to like?

For more office environmentally friendly ideas take a look at the sustainable business toolkit.

Light For Health

Lighting is often just seen as a necessity to enable us to see, but in fact it has many more qualities than the obvious ones. We should move away from just thinking of lighting for tasks and focus on creating light settings for people. Today, most people work indoors, and spends almost the entire day inside, in an unnaturally dark setting. Our light intake is responsible for sleeping and feeling well, and affects our productivity. When there is a lack of natural light to help us tell the time of day, then our body clock loses its pace, with tiredness and listlessness as a result.

Investing in the correct lighting for your office is important for the well being of your staff.  Artificial light sources cause glare or flicker on computer screens which is linked to many ocular-related complaints such as eyestrain, blurred vision, dry eyes and headaches. Health issues caused by inadequate lighting are not restricted to the eye. It can also contribute to spinal complaints and other musculoskeletal injuries which occur when people adopt awkward postures while straining to read something under poor lighting conditions.

Symptoms of bad lighting could be related to what is known as Sick building syndrome (SBS) which includes a wide range of symptoms thought to be linked to spending time in an office environment. The most common symptoms include headache, nausea, respiratory problems, skin irritation and fatigue. It is important to get the balance of light right in order to avoid employees developing health complaints and ultimately being absent from work. Lighting should provide enough illumination so that staff can clearly read printed or handwritten documents but not be so bright that it causes glare.

It is also advisable to maximise natural light which is more feasible in open plan offices to avoid headaches and eyestrain caused by artificial sources. If you are in the process of looking for office space there are things to look out for in order to avoid your staff becoming a victim of SBS. Choose a serviced office that boasts excellent natural light. This will help improve working conditions for your staff, and the large windows will improve ventilation.

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The five points below should all be considered when fitting new lighting in your office.

1. Don’t Go Too Dim or Too Bright

Office lighting that’s too dim will cause your employees to squint and strain to see the screen. Not only is this inefficient, but it could also lead to a deterioration in vision over time. Bright lights cause similar problems, especially as they wash out computer screens. Ideally, you want employees to be able to read what’s on their screens without any straining at all. For dim rooms, add supplemental table lighting to increase the brightness. For bright rooms, especially those that use fluorescent lighting, consider taking out a row or two of bulbs to take the brightness down a notch.

2. Go for a Soft Yellow Light

Lights with more yellow tones are easier on the eyes. They’re also just more psychologically pleasing, especially as they lack the awful buzz of a fluorescent light. Of course, there’s a reason many workplaces go fluorescent: energy savings. To address this issue, go for the newest generation incandescents. While they won’t be quite as efficient as fluorescents, they’ll certainly get you close.

3. Watch the Placement of Your Lighting

No matter what kind of light you choose, glare is always a big area of concern, especially when it comes to computer screens. That’s why it’s best to go for indirect lighting; never, ever position lights so that their light bounces off of the screen. You might also consider a glare filter for all computer screens, and glare shields for any immovable lights that are too bright.

4. Don’t Position Monitors Near Windows

Of course, screens that are near windows are also at high risk for glare. What’s more, if there is a window placed directly behind a screen, it can create a situation in which there is too high of a contrast between the brightness of the screen and that of the window, making it extremely difficult for employees to see what’s on the screen. If you can’t place screens in any other position, blinds and drapes are an essential mitigation strategy, as can be window tinting.

5. Adjust Lighting With the Time of Day

Staring at a bright screen all day can wreak serious havoc on your body’s rhythms and interrupt sleep. To prevent this, install an app like F.lux on all computers to automatically brighten and dim screens throughout the day.

While all of these measures will help enormously in increasing the light ergonomics of your workplace, it’s also important to have employees adhere to the 20-20-20 rule: for every 20 minutes spent staring at the screen, stop and look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds to help the eye refocus and prevent eye strain.

Workplace Wellbeing

Workplace Wellbeing

 

A full time employee  you will spend approximately 25 to 30 years of their life at work. An employee is your most prized asset so it is vital that you should invest in their health to ensure their well being in the office, keeping them healthy, happy and motivated. Too often employees don’t take enough care until it’s too late then an employee isn’t at work and rather than being a contributor to profits, they become a drain.

For architects and designers, the idea that buildings influence the health, wellbeing and productivity of their occupants is not new. But this type of thinking is still not influencing most design, financing and leasing decisions.

In 2014 the World Green Building Council convened 60 experts from 40 businesses and academic institutions, across 20 countries, to try to bring this issue into the mainstream. There is evidence that demonstrates the physical work environment has an impact on the health and productivity of the office worker. Of course, the terms health, wellbeing and productivity encompass a whole range of related and complex issues. Health encapsulates physical and mental health, wellbeing suggests feelings of satisfaction and happiness.

Good indoor air quality, thermal comfort, high quality views, daylight, good acoustics and indeed location and amenities – all play a crucial role in creating a healthy, productive workplace. Short term sick leave has also been found to be 35% lower in offices ventilated with greater supply rates of outdoor air. It has also been shown that  temperatures too high or too low can result in a 10% reduction in performance compared with the 21C to 23C baseline.  Lighting can also have an effect, with offices that have better daylight views taking 6.5% less sick days.

Jane Henley, chief executive of the World Green Building Council, said: “The evidence linking good office design and improved health, wellbeing and productivity of their staff is now overwhelming.

“There is unquestionably a clear business case for investing in, developing and occupying healthier, greener buildings.”

Academics from a handful of universities examined the impact of ‘lean’ and ‘green’ offices on staff’s perceptions of air quality, concentration, and workplace satisfaction, and monitored productivity levels over subsequent months in two large commercial offices in the UK and The Netherlands.

Lead researcher Marlon Nieuwenhuis from Cardiff University’s School of Psychology said: “Our research suggests that investing in landscaping the office with plants will pay off through an increase in office workers’ quality of life and productivity.

“Although previous laboratory research pointed in this direction, our research is, to our knowledge, the first to examine this in real offices, showing benefits over the long term. It directly challenges the widely accepted business philosophy that a lean office with clean desks is more productive.”

The research showed plants in the office significantly increased workplace satisfaction, self-reported levels of concentration, and perceived air quality. Analysis into the reasons why plants are beneficial suggests that a green office increases employees’ work engagement by making them more physically, cognitively, and emotionally involved in their work.

Many businesses are acutely aware of the importance of its staff remaining active, healthy and balanced within the workplace, and aim to develop work environments that not only attract new talent, but also nurture current staff while they are at work.

This is partly due to the diversification of working models; the term “agile working” is indicative of flexibility in more ways than one. Providing more options for staff means that employers can stimulate fitness, health and general mental wellbeing. This can mean offering anything from brighter spaces with bigger windows and open-plan offices with room to move around, or encouraging remote working.

Employers and developers are also increasingly locating leisure amenities in close proximity to office spaces, making sure that employees have improved access to gyms, entertainment, good food and green spaces, all of which can promote positivity and productivity at work. The challenge for employers is to create workplaces that slot easily into lives, accommodating family and home life, as well as entertainment and fitness activities.

As it becomes more and more evident that office wellbeing plays a vital role in staff productivity, many employers are making impressive headway into creating office environments that nurture and motivate. Make sure you’re one of those employers.

 

 

 

 

Reading, Move To Where Business Is Thriving.

Reading in Berkshire didn’t used to have a great reputation, one that it has worked hard to shake. But shake it has, and now Reading is thriving. Business is not just looking extremely good, the investment in business property and office space in the town has been phenomenal.  Reading is one of the UK’s fastest growing cities and one of Europe’s fastest growing investment destinations earning a reputation as an international centre of excellence for technology, innovation, research and development. Most recently at the end of April, the green light was lit for the development of Royal Elm Park, a £500 million landmark development.  The centrepiece of the 15.5 ha scheme will be a new landmark 28,000sq m convention centre, intended to provide a powerful attraction for future inward investment.  Known as The International, the centre will play host to a wide range of events, concerts, conferences, leisure pursuits and community uses, and will become the largest dedicated conference venue in the south of England. With a capacity of 6,000, The International will enable Reading to compete on a world stage, enabling it to host larger events than ever before, and will serve as a powerful catalyst for growth in Reading and Berkshire more widely. It will also deliver a new ice rink, which will be made available for both leisure use and competitive sport.

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The town has also seen a number of new office space developments attracting international businesses. Reading Bridge is a nine storey office building, remodelled to accommodate modern office living. Forbury Place Estate is comprises of two new office buildings and an upgrade to Three Forbury Place to create a new estate alongside Reading Station. One Forbury Place will be the new UK headquarters for SSE in 2017.  The list goes on, with new office space or refurbished office space in Reading at The Blade, Phoenix House, Station Hill, Apex Plaza and Thames Tower. There are also numerous business parks attracting the likes of businesses such as Cisco Systems, Symantec Software and Logica, and widely recognised names such as Regus and HSBC.

Reading is an opportunity not to be missed for your business and Ozone Interiors is perfectly placed as a commercial office fit out and refurbishment company to assist you in your office move or refurbishment. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.

Ortopaedica Office Furniture Collection

Newly launched from our furniture supplier is the Ortopaedica office furniture collection which offers a comprehensive ergonomically designed solution including seat-slide, inflatable lumbar, inflatable thorax coccyx cut out and Airtech technology. If you wish to experience Ortopaedica in more detail we would be delighted to arrange for the Ortopaedica mobile showroom to visit you. The mobile showroom shows all models fitted with a selection of features and benefits to aid postural support.

Orthopaedica_OC94HA_Black_SynergySerendipity_Synergy_Chemistry_R1 The range is designed to meet the challenging conditions found in today’s commercial environment. Ortopaedica provides the user with the ultimate level of postural support. sculptured seat and back cushions make it an ideal choice for those with back problems. A simple push of a button allows air to flow through a two-way valve, this enables the seat to adjust to the fit of your natural shape and deliver a unique, tailor made seat just for you.

Click here for details of the full range and if you would like a demonstration from the mobile showroom please contact us .