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Why Office Cubicles Still Have Their Advantages

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Are you considering ditching office cubicles all together? You may want to think again.

When office cubicles hit the market back in 1967 they were touted as being revolutionary and changed the landscape of the work environment.

Less than 20 years later however, office cubicles were blamed for being stifling and were linked to workplace dissatisfaction, reducing creativity and limiting interactions amongst employees.

Today, workplace cubicles are often rejected in place of collaborative, open floor plans but could they still have their advantages?

Many office spaces choose to still use cubicles, and for good reason. While they may not work for every workplace environment, here are 3 key advantages of the cubicle that are important to consider-

1.) They Enhance Focus

While an open office space is the hottest trend right now, cubicles have been shown to be far superior when it comes to promoting focus and productivity.

In an open office there are often many distractions such as phone conversations, footsteps and so on, whereas the cubicle offers a place of retreat.

Being in a cubicle also offers a certain degree of privacy without walls or doors, which helps to enhance concentration but also leaves the opportunity for communication amongst other team members.

In a way, cubicles offer a happy medium between having an open workspace and also having privacy.

2.) They Promote Purposeful Communication

Open offices are often believed to be the best design choice for improving work place communication and collaboration, but one study found that office cubicles are actually just as effective, but in a different way.

According to the study which was published in the Sage Journal, office cubicles were shown to support “more intense patterns of interaction and smoother flows of information, while reducing interaction time amongst colleagues”.

In other words, cubicles were found to promote communication amongst employees, however the interactions were found to be shorter and more purposeful.

It seems that in an open office space, people are more likely to idly chat, whereas the idea of approaching your co-worker in a cubicle creates a greater sense of purpose when it comes to communication.

3.) They Reduce Clutter

Cubicles are often small and are sized to fit a computer, some desk space and not much else. This means that there is often no room for clutter when it comes to cubicles.

We all know that cluttered workspaces can reduce productivity, increase employee dissatisfaction and promote stress, and it seems that cubicles can definitely help to counteract this.

Due to the easily accessible nature of cubicles, employees are also less likely to leave personal things or sensitive documents laying around, which can also help to curb the build-up of clutter.

Cubicles have come a long way since the 60’s and they no longer need to be drab and uninspiring. Today, there are many modern cubicle designs that are flexible and come in an array of colours and shapes.

So, while cubicles may not be everyone’s favourite they still have many benefits to consider and may be a surprising solution for your office environment.

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4 Warning Signs Your Office Needs an Update

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We would all like our offices to have the latest and greatest in furniture and design, but of course, this is not always possible.

Office redesigns can be disruptive to the workplace and not to mention, they can be costly. But when does an office design become necessary?

It is easy to think that your office can get by looking the way it does year after year, but the truth is that eventually a poor office design can impact on productivity and can leave your employees feeling uninspired. Customers and clients are also likely to be affected, and may feel “put off” by old, outdated office spaces.

Eventually, over time your poor office design can cost you your business, which is why it’s so important to pay attention to these warning signs and to take action-

4 Warning Signs Your Business Needs an Update

1.) Your Office Space Looks Out of Date

If your office has drab walls and desks or furniture that is more than 5-10 years old, it could be seriously harming your business. When your office looks out of date, it sends the message to your clients and employees that your business is behind the times and not up to date on the latest in the industry.

The good news is that updating your office doesn’t have to be complicated. A few coats of paint, a bold accent wall and some updated desks and chairs can make a world of difference to your space.

2.) There is a lot of “Stuff” Everywhere

Over the years your office can collect a lot of stuff that becomes redundant, such as mismatched stationary, old printers and so on. This can not only create a cluttered workspace and hamper productivity, but it can also make your office feel smaller and less open.

To counteract this, every year plan a big clean out of your office space where you remove things that are no longer in use. This helps your office to stay clean and can also free up more space. Offices that regularly clear away stuff that is no longer needed also look more inviting.

3.) Your Office is Too Crowded

In Australia, it is recommended that an office environment should offer each person 6-10 square meters of space. However, this number may be more depending on the type of work that your company does. If your office space is offering less than this, it is a clear sign that it is time to upgrade to a new and bigger location.

4.) Having Unused Space

Having unused space in your office is also a clear sign that you need to work out a better flow or order of events in your environment. Unused space is a waste and may mean that other areas of your office are cluttered or being overused.

While every office environment will be different, work out how you can turn your unused space into something practical and useful. This in turn, will help to improve productivity and will also give your clients and employees more space to get things done.

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How Your Office Design Can Communicate Power and Strength

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The layout and design of your office speaks volumes about your brand and the type of business that you run.

Even though we know we should never judge a book by its cover, the minute your customers, clients or employees walk through your office doors they are making observations about the type of business that you run.

No matter what accolades you have or trophies you have acquired, if your office is cluttered, messy and disorganised, it is likely that you are going to turn prospective customers and employees away.

While keeping your office clean is fairly obvious, did you know that you can also use the layout and design of your space to convey emotions like power and strength?

Just like a massage parlour may convey feelings of serenity and peace with water fountains and relaxing music, your office environment can adopt this same concept to instil a feeling of strength and power.

Here’s how-

1.) Favour Industrial Design
Industrial design is a huge trend in office design right now and includes high, open ceilings, exposed brick and a combination of metal and wood. This style is not only fashionable, but it also helps to convey feelings of power and strength. Psychologically, seeing exposed building materials conveys the message of “hardwork” and helps to portray that your office is honest and down to earth.

2.) Allow Natural Light
Having natural light in a workplace has been shown to enhance feelings of productivity and happiness. And of course, there is nothing more powerful than seeing a productive and happy work place environment.

Artificial and fluorescent lights can also be very draining and can convey a “stuffy” feeling. If your building doesn’t receive a lot of natural light, placing plants and other greenery in the space can help to counteract this. Just make sure to keep the plants alive and healthy looking, as dying plants definitely do not help to indicate strength and power!

3.) Present Accolades/Certificates-
If your business has won awards, trophies or certificates, consider making a stylish display cabinet that is visible for clients and customers when they enter your office space. By showcasing your many successes, it helps to promote the strength and power of your brand. It can also help potential customers and clients to get excited about working with your company as well.

Many doctors and medical professionals use this technique, and seeing their certificates on the wall definitely helps to put the patients mind at ease.

4.) Use Strong Colours
Colour can have a powerful effect on our mood and the way we think. Using strong colours like grey, dark green, red, orange and even gold helps to convey power and strength in the office space.

Choose a colour palette that works the best for your brand and compliments your logo. By doing so, you can help to create an organised and professional looking office space that instantly conveys the feeling of confidence, power and strength.

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5 Affordable Design Hacks for Small Retail Spaces

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Small retail spaces can be cosy and exclusive but they can also be difficult to organise.

When it comes to your retail space, your layout is everything and can heavily impact on your sales, customer satisfaction rates and so much more.

If you are struggling to organise your small retail space, here are 5 affordable hacks that you can implement –

Hack #1 Have an Accent Wall

When you have a small retail space, the last thing you want to do is use a lot of bold colours along the walls. This can create a “boxed-in” feeling and can make your retail space feel cramped. Instead, consider using white, neutral colours on all of the walls except one. By having one accent wall in a bold colour, it can create the illusion of more space and it can become an eye catching feature of your store. While paint is a great and affordable option, using coloured wallpaper with different textures can also create the same affect.

Hack #2 Display Items Vertically

If you don’t have a lot of room to work with, displaying items vertically and along the walls can be a great way to get around this. The best way to achieve this look without creating a cluttered appearance is to hang shelving at different height levels. This not only allows you more display space but it also creates a visually appealing look.

Hack #3 Have Organised Storage Space

In a small space it can be tempting to crowd all of your merchandise onto one shelf, but this can detract your customers and make your space look even smaller. To counteract this, consider limiting the number of items you keep on display and only refill your stock when you need to. If your store doesn’t have a storeroom, keeping a small organised storage unit under the register is also a good solution. By having an effective storage system, it can help your store to remain clutter free and organised.

Hack #4 Make Use of Lighting

Lighting is a great way to create the illusion of more space and can instantly add an open, airy feel to your store. For the best results, consider using a combination of different lighting such as natural light, lamps, track lights and sconces. By varying the lighting in your store, it can help to create a spacious feeling and as a bonus, it also provides a nice decorative touch.

Hack #5 Use Open Bookcases as Dividers

Dividers may seem like a great way to organise your store but they can also make your smaller space feel even smaller. To work around this, consider using open bookcases as dividers instead. These not only allow you more storage space, but they also create a more open and expansive feel. Using bookcases instead of permanent dividers is also much more affordable and allows for greater flexibility as well.

These 5 hacks are simple, yet they can have a profound impact when it comes to creating more space in your retail store.

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Opening a Restaurant? Here are 4 Money Saving Tips

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Opening a new restaurant can be daunting. There are many factors to consider from the layout to the menu and so much more.

If you are looking for budget friendly ideas when it comes to the design and overall aesthetics of your restaurant, here are 4 top tips to consider-

1) Choose Your Tables Wisely 

You may think it is more economical to purchase cheap tables and cover them with fresh linen table cloths but you may want to think again. Table cloths can be expensive to maintain and require constant washing and replacing.

A good tip when it comes to saving money at your restaurant is to choose tables that look great without a table cloth.

By choosing nice tables that fit the décor and theme of your restaurant, you can save on the cost of the table cloths and the labour fees, such as the washing and the pressing.

If you like the idea of having fresh linens in your restaurant, a good substitute instead is to use cloth napkins. Napkins are much easier to maintain, and don’t require pressing. Napkins are also much cheaper to replace and can add a touch of class to your restaurant.

2) Protect your Menus

Giving your customers a menu printed on thick card may seem like the cheapest option however, this is not always the case.

Paper menus without protective coverings can easily get dirty, ripped and crumpled. This is not a good look for your restaurant and can end up costing you time and money in reprinting fees. Furthermore, constantly reprinting menus is not environmentally friendly.

In order to ensure your menus stand the test of time, consider placing them in a protective sleeve or folder. This not only adds a touch of class to your restaurant but it also ensures that your menu stays free of rips, tears and food spills.

3) Try Second-hand Restaurant Equipment

The kitchen in your restaurant is the most important part, but it can also be the most expensive. Chances are your kitchen will need many gadgets and appliances from storage fridges to grills, ice-machines and so much more.

While you may not be able to buy everything second hand, looking into gently used kitchen equipment can potentially save you thousands.

You can also look into leasing kitchen equipment in order to save money as well, especially in the beginning when your set up costs may be high.

4) Skip the Uniforms 

Uniforms with your restaurant logo embossed on them may look neat and professional, but they can also be expensive.

In order to keep costs down, consider having your staff wear their own clothes. A simple white shirt and black pants is a classic look that most wait staff would be happy to provide.

If you want to create a uniform of some kind, consider giving your staff aprons instead. Aprons are much more affordable than an entire outfit and will give your staff that professional feel you are looking for.

These 4 money saving tips are simple, yet they can go a long way when it comes to keeping costs down in your restaurant.

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4 Office Fit-Out Ideas for Small Workspaces

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Is your office space feeling cramped, cluttered or small?

If you have a small office space however and are looking to maximise every square inch, having an office fit out can be an excellent option, especially if moving or upsizing is not in the budget just yet.

When it comes to planning an office fit out in a smaller space, there are some tips and tricks you can follow that can help to not only maximise every inch but also create the illusion of more space.

Here are 4 office fit out ideas to consider when dealing with a small space-

1) Choose Light Neutral Colours

One of the easiest ways to create the illusion of more space is to use lighter colours that are clean, cool and crisp. These include neutrals, whites and pale blues or greens. Darker or warmer colours can give spaces more of a cosy feel, which can be great in a larger space but not so great in a smaller space. Darker colours can also create more of a cramped feel, so they are best to be avoided when choosing your colour scheme. Textured walls and patterns can also create a more “cosy” feel so these are also best avoided when dealing with a small space.

2) Clear the Clutter  
One of the most important things to consider before staging your office fit out is what is truly necessary in your space. Over the years it is likely that your business has collected files, paperwork and other things that are really no longer necessary. A good way to start with the decluttering process is to work out what you really need in your space. Once you have established what is truly important, it will be easier to clear away what is no longer necessary.  When planning your office fit out, having a list of what is needed will also help you to prioritise the layout and design of your space.

3) Choose Multifunctional Furniture 

When space is of the essence, having big, bulky furniture that doesn’t serve multiple purposes is best to be avoided. In order to maximise the space, it is best to use multifunctional furniture that can serve a variety of purposes and functions. Having furniture that is flexible and easy to move around the space is also a great way to maximise space.

4) Use Lighting to Limit Shadows

Another helpful tip to create the illusion of more space is through lighting. When your office space is well lit it helps to create an open, airy feel and can also make your workplace more inviting. The trick with this is to have ample lighting to limit shadows and any dark spots. To do this you need to have lighting on all three levels- eye level, floor level and table level. By doing this, it will help to keep your office space looking open and bright.

By following these 4 simple tips, your small office space will not only be functional and practical but also extremely spacious.

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Can the Layout of Your Office Promote Employee Wellbeing?

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Our environment has a huge impact on our feelings of wellbeing and happiness. In fact, new research has found that a well-designed office can drastically boost the moods of employees and even customers and clients.

When it comes to determining how to design your office space, it is becoming increasingly important to put an emphasis on employee wellbeing. This is because everyone knows that happy and healthy employees lead to higher productivity rates and higher profits. 

In one study, it was found that happiness in the office space boosted productivity by 12 percent and this number continued to increase as the years went on.

Of course, thinking about the wellbeing of all of your employees when it comes to your office fit out can be tricky. Where do you even begin?

Here are some steps to help you get started- 

1) Create a Flexible Work Place

Creating a flexible workplace is about offering functional spaces that can be easily changed or adapted depending on the tasks that need to be completed. Having a flexible workplace allows you to accommodate to the many needs and desires of your staff, even if your office space is small. 

For example, you may choose to use furniture that you can easily move around and reconfigure. Or you may design one area of your office to be a quiet, relaxing space and another area to be focused on communal tasks or socialising. 

By keeping your layout flexible, it also allows you to accommodate for new employees and for changing trends. 

2) Reflect Company Culture in Your Design  

Before you select the layout of your office space, the most important factor to consider is your company culture. What does your company culture stand for?

If you have a company culture that is focused on mindfulness for example, then it is going to make sense to include soft muted colours, Zen furniture and maybe even exercise equipment.

On the other hand, if you have a fast paced office environment and a highly motivated company culture, you may want to favour bold colours and bright furniture. 

By taking into account your company culture in your office design, it will also help you to attract the right kind of employees. 

3) Keep Noise Distractions to a Minimum

Loud noises or distracting noises is one of the most common complaints for employees. 

When planning your office fit out, consider the nosiest areas of your work environment and then try to keep those areas in one section of your office space. 

You may also what to consider installing sound absorbent materials such as carpeting and sound proofing. Having closed cubicles that workers can have access to when they are looking for complete peace and quiet is also a good idea. 

Every company is unique, which is why no two office fit outs are ever the same. 

Before planning your office fit out, take a moment to consider the needs of your employees and what is going to work best for the majority. 

You may not be able to cater to everyone, but with some strategic thinking and planning you can get pretty close.

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4 Budget Friendly Restaurant Design Ideas

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Getting people through the door of your restaurant can be challenging. One thing that can help however, is having an inviting and appealing restaurant design.

When it comes to your restaurant, the overall design and layout is super important and can mean the difference between a dining room full of customers and a dining room that is empty.

The good news is that you don’t have to spend millions upgrading the look of your restaurant. In fact, with just a few simple changes you can bring new life into your restaurant.

Here are 4 budget friendly ways you can update the design of your restaurant-

1) Funky Lighting Fixtures
Changing the lighting in your restaurant can be extremely costly, but simply replacing your lighting fixtures can make a world of difference for much less cost. Choose lighting fixtures that reflect the overall style and theme of your brand, but don’t be afraid to also try something daring. Funky lighting fixtures can make your space look modern and trendy. They can also add dimension and change the overall feel of your dining room. Lighting fixtures are also cheap enough that they can be updated through the years so your restaurant will always be on trend.

2) Low Maintenance Plants
Adding greenery to your restaurant can instantly bring new life into your space and create a vibrant and modern feel. While you definitely don’t want to be bothering with fiddly or hard to keep indoor plants, succulents and other low maintenance plants are a good choice. You can also get creative with the positioning of your plants by hanging them from the ceiling or creating a wall of greenery. You can also place the plants in decorative pots to add more colour and style.

3) Modern Seating
Another quick and easy way to update the look of your restaurant is to change the seats to something more modern and plush. Depending on the style of your restaurant, choose seating that is comfortable and in a matching colour scheme. You can also make a bold choice and go for brightly coloured seats or even stools that stand out from the crowd. If changing your seating is too costly, you can also experiment with adding new seat cushions in an array of matching colours.

4) Local Art
One of the most cost effective ways to decorate your restaurant is to showcase local art. Often artists are happy to lend you their work for free in the hopes that a restaurant customer decides to purchase it. Consider sourcing artists that create work that is aligned with the overall feel and tone of your brand. You can also periodically change up the artwork that you are showcasing to bring a new look to your space.

These 4 affordable and simple changes can make a world of difference to the overall design of your restaurant. Why not give them a try and see how they can help to attract more customers.

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3 Cost Effective Ways to Update the Look of your Office

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Want to update the look of your office but can’t afford a complete revamp?

Having an office that feel fresh, bright and clean is super important to the functioning of your business. Not only does it help to create a more pleasant environment for your clients and customers, but it also helps your employees to stay motivated and energised.

Making your office space feel welcoming is definitely important, but with budget restraints this can be hard to achieve. Especially if you are a small business or start-up, it can feel hard to justify spending huge amounts of money on the layout and design of your office.

While effective office design can improve your business overall, if you can’t quite afford the expense just yet, here are some highly cost effective ways to update the overall look and feel of your office-

  1. Add a Burst of Colour
    It is amazing what adding colour can do to a space. We have seen dreary and drab office spaces completely transformed by the right touch of colour.Colour plays a big role in setting the mood and tone of a room, it has also been shown to influence emotions such as motivation and creativity.

    To bring colour to your office space, think about what mood you would like to create and then choose the corresponding colour. Here is a simple list to get you started-

    Blue-Greys: helps to evoke a feeling of calmness, trust and peacefulness
    Green: helps to evoke feelings of relaxation and motivation
    Yellow: helps to evoke feelings of positivity
    Orange: helps to evoke learning and taking action
    Purple: helps to evoke feelings of luxury

    Once you have decided on the colour that will work best for your company, consider incorporating it into your overall design. This could include-
    • Painting a feature wall
    • Adding desk accessories in your chosen colour
    • Adding office furniture in your chosen colour

  1. Reduce Clutter
    Before you think of adding anything new, first consider clearing the clutter.

    One of the best ways to make your office look clean and modern is to remove all the unnecessary clutter.

    Clutter can instantly make your space feel smaller and can even disrupt productivity. It can also ruin the overall aesthetic of your work space.

    In fact, it is amazing how clearing the clutter can bring new life and energy into your work environment.

    To work out what needs to stay and what needs to go, perhaps make a list of all the main items in your office and their frequency of use. If items are not used that frequently and don’t serve any particular purpose, consider getting rid of them.

    More and more offices are also removing their reception desk and creating inviting waiting areas instead.

  1. Add Real Plants
    Adding plants to your office is a great way to clean the air and bring a liveliness to your space.

    Consider choosing indoor plants that are easy to care for and bring colour and vibrancy to your space.

    A good tip when it comes to placing plants in your office space is to try to create a feeling of symmetry. This will help your office to look more coordinated and organized as well.

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Why Your Office Design Needs to Reflect Your Company Culture

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When it comes to designing your office space, your company culture is extremely important.

You could have the best and latest in office design materials and the most fashionable furniture, but if your office is not a reflection of your brand and the people that work there, it is not likely to leave a very memorable or lasting impression.

Whether your business is big or small, your office design matters, not only for your customers but also for your staff as well.

When you surround your team in an environment that reflects their personality and the personality of your brand, that is when your company can truly thrive.

Just take Google for example, their offices are famous around the world because they include everything from sleep pods to an indoor slide and company bicycles. Facebook is also known for incorporating their company culture into their office space and offer everything from DJ booths to roller skating and lunchtime yoga.

While your company may not have the glamorous budgets of these tech giants, there is something that you can learn from how they have created and built up a solid company culture.

If you are looking to bring more of your company culture into your office design, here are five top questions to consider-

  1. Reflect on the values of your team and your brand. What type of employees, customer or client are you trying to attract? This will help you to determine the overall design and theme of your space.
  1. How do you intend to use your office space? Are meetings and group communication extremely important, or do your employees need space and privacy? This will help you to determine what is most needed in the space and how things should flow.
  1. What overall feel are you looking to create for customers when they walk through the door? See if you can summarise this into 3-5 words. This will help in determining the aesthetic appeal of your space from your customers point of view.
  1. What overall feel are you looking to create for employees when they come to work every day? Again, see if you can summarise this into just 3-5 words. This will help you to cater to the needs of your employees and offer an environment that they feel happy to be a part of.
  1. What does your brand want to be known for or recognised for? How can you incorporate this into the overall look, design and feel of your space? This will help your space to stand out from the crowd and be a true reflection of your company values.

By answering these simple questions, it will help you or your office fit out company, to have a clearer understanding of how to incorporate the overall culture of your brand into your office design plans.

Many businesses that focus on bringing company culture into their office space find that their employees feel more satisfied, and that their brand is more memorable to the customers and clients who stop by.

Design trends are always changing, but if you can focus on your company culture instead, and use this as the main catalyst when designing your space, your office is always going to be in style.