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Lessons on How to Add Character to Your Office Space

An office or workplace with personality has been proven to boost productivity and creativity among employees. Here are some tricks on how to add character to your office space, from modern office chairs and contemporary executive seating to more creative ideas that are sure to keep employees motivated to give their best. 

Introduce New Rooms (H2)

There are many corporate offices taking a different approach in terms of designing a specific area keeping the brand image in their mind. For example, many brands showcase playful essence, their office designers opted to create innovative recreational areas including a special room for video games, an aquarium equipped with comfortable napping pods, and a specific space where employees can get some exercise. 

 These rooms should not be regarded as rest areas or ‘break rooms’. On the contrary, they are integral parts of your operations and a spur to productivity. They act as catalysts for ideation and co-creation among co-workers and are also wonderful when employees need to de-stress, mull things over or simply replenish. They make for happier employees who cannot wait to come to work every morning! 

 When furnishing these rooms, we approach them as specialized work areas. Collaborative furniture, couches, and pods in trendy, modern designs set the right tone.

Welcome Pets 

According to Marie-José Enders, who studies the relationship between animals and humans, office pets can help lower cortisol levels. “Not only does your cortisol level drop when you stroke a dog; you also produce more of the hormone oxytocin, which makes you feel more relaxed and happy,” she says. It is no wonder then that countless offices across the globe allow pets to be brought to the office. They are great for productivity – and they do certainly add personality to any workplace!

 An office that is open to pets will need to be adjusted for animal-friendliness. Your choice of flooring, as well as the kind of upholstery you would want on your office furniture, will need to take the presence of your furry friends into account. There are many materials that will be attractive and inviting, as well as having a professional experience and being easy to clean. Our modern office designs can easily be customized to accommodate your pets.

Quirky and Comfortable 

When it comes to selecting contemporary office furniture, remember to balance the need for creativity with comfort. Ultimately, no matter how creative and quirky your office furniture is if it is not comfortable, it defeats the whole purpose! 

 The key is to balance trendy design with ergonomics, which is the primary hallmark of both our furniture and our design approach. Whether it’s a unique desking system, a relaxed arrangement of single-seat couches or a beanbag workstation, we create office spaces that are not only striking to the eye but also pleasant to work in and conducive to creativity.

 Here at BE Furniture, we specialize in office design and the sale of high-quality contemporary office furniture, including modern office chairs, tables, and workstations. For more information, be sure to contact us today. 

Your Office Remodeling Checklist

The time has finally come for that major office remodel you’ve been considering for ages. As the time comes to get down to the actual work of redesigning your workspace, you may find yourself a little daunted by the process that’s ahead of you. Where do you start? In what order should everything be done? What do I do with my old furniture? Here is our handy office remodeling procedure checklist to help you organize everything into manageable steps and get the job done as quickly and efficiently possible:

  • Establish your office remodeling objectives and make sure the entire team is clear and agreed on them.

Why are you remodeling? Chances are it’s about more than just wanting a change. Do you need more space? Do you want to harness new office designs to make your team more comfortable and efficient? Are you unhappy with your current available meeting space? Does your office space reflect poorly on your company and your company culture? It could be one or all of these and more. Whatever is motivating you to get into this undertaking, get clear on it and communicate it clearly to your employees, as well as your office designer/ renovators. This clarity will really help you to make all the necessary decisions going forward. It will also ensure that you have your team’s buy-in and that you are creating a space that furthers your business and personal objectives.

  • What Do You Need? 

With your objectives in mind, it’s time to devise a strategy to carry out the remodel, while also making a complete list of everything you will need in the process. Building on your overall goals, you can set measurable strategies that can break everything up into more easily accomplished steps. If it’s more space you need, decide how you can best rearrange or refurnish your area to maximize the available room. What needs to move where? What furniture can stay and what needs to go? What arrangements need to be made for the removal of the old furniture? What new furniture do you actually need, and in what quantities? Can you manage the remodel on your own or will you need the services of a professional office designer?

  • Get Input from Employees

Nobody understands the needs of your office space better than those who occupy it and work in it every day. Your staff probably have very strong ideas about what would make their working experience better and more efficient but they may not voice their opinions because they don’t feel it’s their place to do so or they may think their opinions are not needed. Open up the discussion to them. Not everyone will have something useful to say, but those who do may be able to offer some valuable ideas.

  • Budget 

Now match your objectives and strategies to your available resources. Speak to the finance department and get a detailed and specific budget for the project. You may have to prioritize some aspects over others: perhaps a new conference room is more important than a revamp of the open-plan working area. Then again, your office designers could work with your budget to help you do both – or create a cutting-edge, ultra-modern space that combines both into a single space. Don’t let your budget be a hindrance; rather let it work in tandem with your tastes and requirements to build the best possible space with the money you have to hand.

  • Find Your Team

You could buy the furniture you need and carry out the remodel yourself but you surely have all kinds of other priorities in your business. That is why a true office design partner who actively manages all elements of your build is so important. Bring in some experts who partner with your team but dedicate themselves to the job while you get on with your actual billable work. For the most painless, professional office build-out you should consider a team like BE furniture who will handle all aspects from culture and brand discussions, to color and furniture selection, layout and design of all spaces, supervision of construction and scheduling, and finally removal and disposition of your old furniture, even office cleaning

  • Coordinate your team and space for the remodel

Once all the decisions have been made, you’ve devised your strategies, you have a redesign team in place and the furniture has been ordered, you now need to coordinate the process to ensure that the remodel happens as efficiently as possible with minimum effect on your productivity. Work out a plan that divides the project into logically sequenced, bite-sized chunks. You can minimize downtime by working on a department-by-department or room-by-room plan, and always having a temporary workspace that your staff can go to while their primary spaces are being worked on. Your project coordinator will work in line with your priorities and procedures to ensure the smoothest possible transition. 

Unlike most office furniture distributors, BE is a full-service office design firm. With a highly experienced staff of both creative professionals and project management professionals, we can design and coordinate your office remodeling project and oversee it through to completion. Whether your project is large or small, you will be glad you put BE furniture on the shortlist of modern office design consultants and distributors to contact.

Please contact our Office Buildout Consultants today!

Your Checklist for Finding the Right Office Design and Fit-Out Partner

Before you can even think about investing in cubicle desk systems, modern office chairs or ergonomic desks, you will need to find the right office design and fit-out partner. This partner will be equipped to advise you in terms of what kind of office set-up will be best for your business and your company culture, from modern office cubicles, stunning conference and collaborative areas, to open-plan workplaces.

Here are our top tips for choosing the right office design company to assist you in this all-important journey:

Vision and Cultural Integration – Anybody can pick out ten cubicles for ten people and put them in a layout. But a serious office design partner won’t even start talking about furniture until they know the soul of your company, and what kind of culture you are trying to achieve. The discussion of company culture and values is the soul of good office design.

Experience
Most companies have good experience but what kind of experience is a better question. Do they simply make nice layouts of desks or do they partner with you for a soup to nuts solution to your company’s buildout? Do they understand how to choose design elements and use color to create unique and compelling workspaces? Experience is more than how long they’ve been in business, its how they’ve chosen to focus that time.

Facilities and Showroom
Visiting an office design company’s facility and/or showroom can provide you with greater insight into the type of work that they do, the quality of the manufacturers they represent, as well as whether it is in line with your company’s aesthetic vision..

Design Process
Design competence can be evaluated by looking at other company offices they have created and the discussion of how they will approach the unique build out of your new company culture. Consider the following:
Does the company have an in-house design team?
Do they offer concept visuals and unlimited layout revisions?
Do they have a dedicated in-house advisor that you can work with face-to-face on your project?

Comprehensive Project Management
Your little office furniture project will quickly become a monster, and seem like a second full time job if you partner with the wrong company. Who will track and manage furniture delivery? Who disposes of the old furniture? Will the office be properly prepped before arrival of new items? What do the employee’s do in the meantime? What about permits and inspections, who handles that? A proper office design partner will handle most of this for you if you want them to, right down to cleaning the office and immediately responding to requests for repair or adjustment of furniture.

BE Extraordinary, We Can Help
Whether your new office buildout is large or small, it is an exciting project for company that affect its employee’s a great deal and will for years to come. Your choice of an office design partner needs to be based on much more than the lowest bid. BE strives to represent that balance between value, and a truly collaborative, forward looking experience.

Give us a call today to discuss your office design needs or contact us.

Co-Creation – The Future of Collaborative Working Spaces

For a while now, there has been a big shift from segregated, cubicle type offices to open-plan, collaborative work spaces. This change has shown positive results, often leading to improved workplace culture, improved teamwork and, in many cases, increased productivity as a result of a free-flow of ideas and the increased likelihood of communicating better and more frequently with one’s co-workers.   

However, most open-plan office set-ups and modern office design principles are still based on old ideas of sorting staff into departmental boxes, keeping certain departments within a business together, and separating ‘unrelated’ departments away from one another. The persistence of this method prevents a true culture of co-creation, which we believe will be the future of work and office design. 

What Is Co-creation and Why Is it So Important?  

Co-creation is a way in which to foster unity within an organization. It is a way of bringing each and every employee onto ‘the same page’ when it comes to your vision, mission, and goals. It is a way in which to work together to generate ideas and solutions that benefit the company as a whole, rather than only taking certain departments into consideration. Essentially, it is about transforming your business into a living, breathing entity that thinks and acts as one, rather than a loose collective of individuals on their own mission. It is about bringing your employees together and fostering the same passion for success within each and every one of them and encouraging everybody to work in the same direction.   

How can you create a workspace that fosters co-creation? 

The first step in putting together a collaborative workspace is to throw out any of your existing preconceptions about what an office should look like. The old approach, with its partitions, compartments and wall-facing desks, is a thing of the past. Ultimately, in order to ensure co-creation, you will need the right collaborative furniture to assist you in building the perfect office set-up, along with an innovative layout design that will break through barriers and draw your staff together. In order to do so, you could use the skills of professional office designers – and constructive input from your employees would help too.

 Once the old furniture has been removed, the new, modernized version of your workspace will include a variety of open, welcoming spaces that encourage colleagues to face each other and interact. Where there were once tiny, pigeonhole-like workstations, separated by partitions that prevented workers even seeing each other – although they were sitting only a few feet apart – you could now have circles of comfortable seating, informally arranged, facilitating both discussion and productivity. Single desks give way to shared work tables on which colleagues can easily involve themselves in one another’s tasks, but also work on their own when necessary. The overall feel is one that your team will find more inviting and be happy spending their time in for several hours a day. In turn, happier, collaborative, more creatively stimulated staff will lead to better business results too. 

BE Furniture Can help you Design for Co-Creation

We can offer all the necessary furniture, as well the design know-how, to help you turn your office into a modern co-creation site. For information about collaborative furniture, contemporary office furniture, and co-creation workplaces in general, do not hesitate to get in touch with us at BE Furniture today!

An Agile Working Checklist for Your Office

Agile working spaces are becoming a common feature in the corporate world. No longer are workers content to stay tied to a single desk for eight hours a day. They demand working environments with greater flow and adaptability. What’s more, they tend to respond to these with increased productivity and decreased absenteeism. So, what do you need to create an agile workspace? Here’s a checklist to help you answer that question.

  • Get Rid of Unnecessary Office Furniture

Start by moving out your unnecessary, traditional office furniture. You’ll find that a good portion of it can go. You may even be able to downsize your floor space and save on rent.

  • Cloud Services and Completely Mobile IT: 

Forget about desktops, base everything in the Cloud and issue laptops, tablets, and handsets to your staff. Since staff will be constantly on the move, fixed workstations will be redundant.

  • Video Communication Provisions: 

Nothing makes your team less agile than fixed meeting locations and travel commitments. Set up screens for the use of Skype, FaceTime, and other apps. Your finance department will thank you in the long run.

  • Fast Connectivity: 

Rapid, high-quality internet connection is no longer negotiable. It’s essential to your operations. Set up Ethernet if you have to. But, a better option is good WiFi, keeping in mind the mobility factor.

  • Demountable Pods: 

Instead of fixed workstations, opt for demountable pods which can be set up and struck down and moved in a short time and still provide relative quiet and privacy when staff needs it.

  • Soft Seating: 

Out with the old-fashioned office chairs! And in with the couches! There is nothing wrong with your staff being comfortable and relaxed while they work. In fact, they will reward you for providing that comfort.

  • Benches: 

Teams will always need to come together to discuss and work collaboratively. Set up long benches in a relaxed, “desk-like” space to give them what they need.

  • Café Seating: 

Provide a place for breaks and small meetings. Set it up in such a way that it doesn’t too closely resemble the formal break room of old.

  • Conference Furniture: 

You need meeting areas that will impress clients and be welcoming to staff, while it still forms part of your overall agile and adaptable set-up.

We have all the great new office design ideas you need. Contact us for help in designing the perfect agile office space.

Open Ceilings Vs. Drop Ceilings in the Workplace

Open ceilings have become increasingly popular in office design over the past decade or so. The taste for deconstructed, industrial spaces doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, and open ceilings are an integral part of that aesthetic. However, before you decide on an open ceiling look for your office, you should consider its pros and cons versus those of drop ceilings. Take a look at these points as you weigh your options:

  • Cost

The general perception is that open ceilings must be cheaper, since they eliminate the need for any additional materials such as ceiling boards and joists, and the labor required to install them. This is only partially true. While it may be true that the initial cost of an open ceiling is somewhat cheaper – about 25 % – you may often find that, once you strip away the old ceiling boards or tiles, there is far more work and hidden problems underneath than you initially anticipated. One of the main features of open ceilings is the exposed ducts and wiring. If you are working with an existing building that has not been built with open ceilings in mind, you may very well find that the pipes and wiring are an absolute eyesore. You will then need to fix, replace and dress them up, doing a lot of work and construction to make your ceiling look casually deconstructed. That will cost more time and money.

  • Aesthetics

As mentioned above, the deconstructed look of an open ceiling is not always as simple as it appears. That ‘deconstructed’ look needs to be ‘constructed’. With a closed ceiling, at least you know what you’re getting: a neat grid of tiles which may look cold and clinical but, at least, they are presentable. 

If you are willing to take on the cost of open ceilings, then you need to consider whether it will really suit the culture and purpose of your business. You may find that a tidy drop ceiling suits you better. Don’t just follow the trends, go with what works for you.

Think carefully about the image you want to present to your external stakeholders too, especially in reception areas and meeting rooms. When planning a conference room with open ceilings, for example, consider your furniture options, and what would work best in that communal, often public-facing space.  

  • Sound

The tiles used in suspended ceilings are designed to absorb ambient sound and keep noise levels down in your office space. With an open ceiling, you lose that acoustic protection. Ambient noise comes through easily, which means that people then have to raise their voices to be heard. This could disrupt your work. It’s a problem that you can get around with adequate planning and a good structural designer. But, you need to take the higher costs into account.

We have all the great new office design ideas you need. Contact us for help in designing a beautiful and cost-effective office space.