Category

Office Design

The importance of flexible workspace

By Chameleon, News, Office Design, Uncategorised

Now more than ever it is important to have flexibility in the workspace. Whether the need for flexibility comes in the form of areas for staff to collaborative or the ability to efficiently socially distance, workspace proxemics are an important element to consider when designing an office space that can adapt to the demands of its users.

Proxemics is the study of human use of space and the effects that population density has on behaviour, communication, and social interaction. It goes without saying that a loud overcrowded office isn’t the ideal environment for communication and productivity! Since the outbreak of COVID-19 back in March many of us have seen the way we work drastically change, and with social distancing measures becoming mandatory we have all had to adjust. For many organisations, the number of employees safely allowed in their office drastically reduced overnight leading to staff working remotely from home. But global pandemic or not, the priority of a space should always remain the same, the people who work there.

At Chameleon we believe in designing for people, not a pandemic, and have been designing flexible people inspired workspaces for over 20 years. Each space we design takes proxemics into account and is tailored around our clients’ company culture and the well-being of the employees that work within it. By working to this mantra, we have created spaces that have enabled our clients to successfully adapt to the ever-changing guidelines relating to COVID-19 and allow for vital human interaction to continue safely.

Our designers Kev and Fiona have shared some top tips for designing a flexible space:

Multi-purpose Furniture

By introducing multi-purpose furniture you’re able to give a space a variety of uses, booths are a great example of this.  Booths not only provide the perfect space for a meeting or to take a break but they can also be used as an alternative working area should desk space become limited.  Booths also permit a natural, physical separation for social distancing providing the short-term solution for social distancing instead of acrylic screens. Our designers recently used the JDD Bob booth in a project we completed in Sheffield for First Group to add flexibility to their workspace, check it out…

Modern technology to provide better connectivity

Providing ample connection points throughout the space allows staff to work from a variety of locations, rather than just their nominated desk. By including sockets, USB points, server connections and additional WAP points in communal areas, staff can move freely and you can get more use out of the space. This also applies to AV hook-ups, providing these in areas other than your designated meeting areas you can create more space appropriate for presentations or larger meetings. having the right connections and technology available such as a Smart TV or Apple AirPlay for your staff enables you to transform breakout areas or communal spaces into flexible spaces perfect for collaboration and increased productivity.

Separate space with moveable dividers

Space dividers such as moveable walls and screens on wheels enable a space to be transformed. These are a particularly great addition to meeting rooms so that they can be divided into smaller areas or opened to create a large area for staff to collaborate. In July of this year, we handed over Victory Leisure’s new customer experience centre. Their team were looking for somewhere they could bring clients to impress, but also somewhere their team could collaborate and brainstorm ideas. Check out the flexible space we created for them…

Utilise all your space – even if it’s outdoors

Outdoor areas can not only be a great way to boost staff morale (especially on a sunny day when no one wants to be stuck indoors!) but also allow staff to effectively social distance due to being able to maintain closer working proximity in open-air. Whether you have land around your building or an unused roof space there are so many options for transforming it into a brilliant extension to your workspace. Check out this space we created for Hugh Rice

If you’re interested in transforming your workspace into a flexible hub for collaboration and productivity – get in touch with our team here

 

 

A call centre with a difference

By Chameleon, News, Office Design, Uncategorised

We have recently completed the design and fit-out of FirstGroup’s newly refurbished national call centre. But this is no ordinary call centre, we have redefined the traditional ‘call centre’ look and feel using contemporary features throughout, giving the new workspace a modern and minimal feel.

Kevin McIntosh, head of design said: “The refurbishment and fit-out of the new space was extensive – it started life as a completely empty shell! We worked with FirstGroup to put a fresh, creative stamp on the new area.

“Yes, a call centre needs banks of desks, but we knew that there was the potential to do more and challenge the outdated ‘call centre’ model with new concepts that would inspire and uplift staff. It’s a call centre; but not as you know it.

“The space has been rationalised, to create a free-flowing, flexible working environment for FirstGroup’s 119 staff.

“There’s a designated collaboration space in the heart of the building, which will allow First Group’s team to take a step away from the hustle and bustle of the busy call centre to recharge and refresh.

“A variety of different seating and lighting has been incorporated into the kitchen and breakout area, creating a light and interesting break out space. It’s so much more than a ‘call centre’.

“We’ve negotiated all manner of challenges relating to lockdown to get to this point. But it’s all been completely worth it. We’ve completed a number of projects for FirstGroup, and this is certainly our most exciting. The finished result is absolutely fantastic!”

Rebecca Bebbington, Director of Operations, First Customer Contact, said: “Our new call centre is not only functional and suits our team’s needs, it is dynamic and presents a refreshing new take on what a call centre ‘should’ look like. Chameleon has done a great job, presenting a creative solution which certainly fulfilled the brief we set for them.”

Check it out here: First Group Sheffield

 

How to make the most of a small or awkward office space

By Office Design, Office Interiors, Uncategorised

Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple are amongst some of the business giants that started life working in a small, awkward office space (in garages, to be exact). For start-up businesses, it’s pretty rare to move straight into your dream office; or so you may think.

The term “Open Office” has been a pretty hot topic in the world of business interiors. Initially, the concept of a large, open-plan space had connotations of creativity, freedom, and cross-functional working, but the concept has come under recent scrutiny over how it can cause distraction. The truth is, a balance between a collaborative space and a quiet retreat can be established in any working environment, suiting the needs of colleagues who thrive in either.

The things that make you tick in your working environment, from creative spaces to interior décor, can be accomplished in any space. So, embrace your awkward, or should we say unique, office space. Take a step back and have a think if any of the following could help you make the most of your space.

Natural Light

It’s the cheapest form of energy out there, so how can we make it work for your office space? Psychology Today’s studies show that employees exposed to more daylight report better quality sleep, less daytime dysfunction, and a better quality of life. Draw your blinds and let the light in, it really can help open a space up.

If you find that natural light doesn’t reach all corners of your space, try a layout reshuffle, or look at more natural styles of artificial light.

Glass

If your office space is less than conventional, glass walls or doors can be used to open the space up, as well as create additional rooms. Glass will also help that natural light reach as far as the sun’s rays will carry it.

Storage

Whether you’re battling with lack of space or are unsure how to fill that crevice in the wall, clever storage solutions are a must. Not only can a funky design liven up your office, but it can be functional and space-saving, too. Storage units can be slotted neatly under windows or in corners. They can also host some office decorations such as plants and photographs.

Layout

Don’t be fixed by your desk all day. Look at optimising your office design to create both agile working spaces and breakout zones. An awkward layout may just be a blessing, as a simple re-jig could help you section off your office. A common, functional area doesn’t require a lot of space. Don’t fill it with big, clunky furniture; think light, practical, multi-functional, and spacious.

Our team have fitted out offices of all shapes and sizes. To find a solution that works for you, contact one of our team today.

5 ways to make your office design more sustainable

By Office Design, Uncategorised

With the current global climate crisis, it’s important we not only consider our personal impact on the environment but also our impact as businesses and communities. In the UK, the service and industry sectors are responsible for 30% of the UK’s energy consumption. Changes made by UK businesses can go a long way to improving sustainability and helping tackle climate change, while also creating opportunities for cost-saving and boosted employee wellbeing.

Here are our tips for creating a more sustainable office that enables teams to make ethical decisions in their day-to-day working lives.

Energy Usage

Before any office re-design, think about typical energy usage and what can be done to keep this as low as possible. Make sure the office space is properly insulated, and temperature controls are appropriate for your team, it can make a big difference in reducing your environmental impact.

To make sure energy isn’t wasted while the office is empty, heating and cooling systems can be set on timers and automatically turned off during evenings and weekends. Programmable thermostats give you the ability to adjust temperatures of different sections of the office, letting employees set the temperature that suits them, and turn the systems off when rooms aren’t in use.

Suppliers

Where you source furniture and supplies for an office re-design can have a huge impact on your carbon footprint. Think about every item you will need, what materials are used in production, and how far each piece needs to travel before arriving at your office.

Do your research and make sure you agree with the values of the suppliers you choose, that you understand what their products are made from, and know how they are getting to you. This is an opportunity to support local business and ensure your air miles are kept as low as possible.

Lighting

Lighting choices can have a huge effect on both your carbon footprint and your employees’ wellbeing. According to Finder, lighting takes up 26% of the average business’ electricity bill. Switching to more sustainable lighting solutions can save energy and reduce costs.

Making use of natural sunlight is the cheapest and most effective way to reduce energy consumption. Ensure your office design makes the most effective use of natural sunlight according to the space available, this can greatly reduce energy bills and is proven to improve productivity and lift employee’s mood. Win win!

Where it isn’t possible to use natural lighting, LED bulbs are up to 80% more efficient than traditional fluorescent lighting. Additionally, smart lighting solutions such as timers and motion sensors are effective at making sure lights are never left on overnight or during weekends.

Furniture

There are so many options when it comes to office furniture. Before making the investment in brand-new furniture, it’s worth considering the value of what you already use. Are there items in your office currently that you can re-use in your new office design? Can pieces be painted, modified, or re-upholstered to fit with the new interiors?

To save your furniture from landfill, donate anything you don’t want to local shops, charities, or start-ups.

When buying new furniture, look for sustainable materials such as wood that has been reclaimed or FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified. Also look for natural fabrics such as wool, silk, and hemp, or make use of recycled fabrics like recycled polyester.

Employee Habits

Every office operates in its own unique way and it is vital that employees’ habits are considered when an office is re-designed. Try to create an environment where it’s easy for employees to make sustainable choices in their everyday lives.

Make sure there are facilities available for employees to cook or reheat food, cutting down the need to buy lunches and reducing food waste and single-use plastic. Encourage recycling by ensuring bins are readily available and easy to make use of. Accessible bike storage also encourages team-members to cycle to work and cut down the environmental impact of their commute.

We work closely with our clients to ensure their new office interiors tick every box, from beautiful designs, specific functionality, and a sustainable approach.

For an example of how we can to create an eco-friendly working environment, see our design and re-fit plans for the University of Hull.

5 ways to encourage office productivity

By Office Design, Uncategorised

Productivity in the workplace is a priority for most, if not all, businesses. It’s the key driver behind your success and can make or break a company.

When this productivity slips, the cracks can very quickly begin to show, so it’s important to invest in everything that might affect it.

Here are five science-backed ways to boost productivity in your workplace.

Incorporate some colour

Colours are more than just nice to look at. They can stimulate or soothe us, and different colours affect us in different ways.

Blue is linked to the mind, yellow is linked to emotion, red is linked to our body, and green is linked to balance.

While giving your workplace a lick of paint can have a huge impact on productivity, the colour to choose depends entirely on your industry.

Blue is great for stimulating the mind and would work well for accountants, contact centres, and the legal sector, whereas yellow is better for those in a more creative role.

Introduce new tools

With lots to do in little time, your staff can become quickly overwhelmed, which might be detrimental to productivity. When people do become overwhelmed, they usually try to deal with it by procrastinating.

To stop that before it happens, equip your workforce with the right tools for managing their time.

There are plenty of online tools that can make a day’s work seem much more manageable. Some of the Chameleon team’s favourites are Trello (free to use), Asana, and ProofHub.

Focus on communication

It’s true what they say – communication is the key to success. Effective two-way conversation between staff members of all levels creates a more efficient, honest, and productive workplace.

If you’re struggling with where to start on this one, try introducing tools and processes to encourage communication.

The ever-popular Slack claims to ‘give your team the power and alignment you need to do your best work’, and it even links up with some of the productivity tools we mentioned earlier.

Do what you can to encourage collaboration between different team members and see how much of a positive impact it can have.

Think about your office layout

Office layout can make or break productivity in your workplace. Thankfully, a lot has changed since the days of grey-walled cubicles and giant computer screens.

The modern office is much more dynamic – and it caters for a wide range of working styles.

Research has found that, overall, employees are happier working in a more open environment. Happier employees = more productivity.

While some might argue an open-plan office can cause distraction, this can be combatted with a ‘break-out zones’ – a quiet place that employees can use when they need to focus.

Employee perks

Employee perks are a great way to incentivise your workforce. They provide a reason for people to work hard, as well as an element of self-care by helping employees de-stress.

Whether it’s extra holiday days, shopping vouchers, or a pay rise, think about how you want to reward your employees for great work and start doing it to boost productivity.

How much office space do I need?

By Office Design, Uncategorised

There’s nothing worse than working in a tiny office that feels so small you can barely think. Working in too close proximity to your colleagues can cause a number of different issues.

That being said, being so far away from your teammates that you have to take a small hike to chat to them about your latest project can make things pretty inefficient, too.

It’s easy to miscalculate how much office space your business really needs, and if you do get it wrong, it can negatively impact productivity, employee satisfaction, and your plans to expand in the future.

To make sure you get it right first time, here’s our guide on working out exactly how much space your business needs.

How much do I need per employee?

Generally, we’d recommend around 100 sq ft per employee.

This can vary, however, depending on several factors. Those factors include plans for your business’ future, the sector you’re working in, and what kind of workspace design features you want to prioritise.

Businesses in certain sectors can get away with a smaller office, whereas some will need a bit more space. If you’re working in a sector that generally does most things online, such as a digital marketing agency or solicitors, you’ll be able to cope in a workspace that isn’t so roomy. Generally, creative businesses such as architects, or those that need to file a lot of physical papers, should be looking for a larger sq ft per employee.

If you’re struggling to visualise what 100 sq ft per employee looks like, a king-size bed is approximately 40 sq ft.

What else could impact the space I need?

When choosing an office space, there are factors other than your staff that you’ll need to take into consideration.

For example, if you’re planning to grow and hire more people, it’s no good choosing somewhere that’s the perfect size for the staff you currently have. Instead, work out how much you’re planning to expand your workforce in the next couple of years, and account for that instead.

Additionally, look at the layout of the square footage you’re working with. An 18,000 sq ft open space is going to be much easier to fit your staff in than somewhere that’s an odd shape.

The extras

After you’ve figured out how much space your workforce needs, you’re going to need to add in some room for the extras.

From meeting rooms and co-working spaces to individual offices, a kitchen, and even somewhere to relax, depending on your workplace culture, you’re probably looking at including at least a couple of these features.

It’s also important to think about what furniture you might want. If you’re planning on squeezing employees into less than 80 sq. ft. per person, it’d be a good idea to think of some clever ways to save space on things like storage and meeting rooms. For some examples, take a look at our work to see how we have used space to maximise employee comfort and productivity.

If you’re planning on moving into a new workspace, let us know, and we can help you figure out how to effectively use your new office to maximise productivity and make sure your employees are happy at work!

Clerkenwell 2019 Highlights

By Chameleon, Office Design, Uncategorised

This year our Design Team attended Clerkenwell Design Week 2019. As well as hosting an abundance of furniture and interiors showrooms, Clerkenwell is also home to a variety of other creative practices including architects, branding agencies and craft studios. Clerkenwell aims to push the boundaries of design, in terms of concepts, process and material capabilities., and invites industry leading professionals to explore these possibilities. Take a look below at what we thought were the running themes of showrooms around Clerkenwell.

Living Coral…

…was a prominent theme throughout many of the showrooms this year. Mainly used in fabrics, the colour with its natural depth gave a warmth to the surrounding commercial environments. Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting work environment.

 

 

 

Biophilia…

…was a clear trend with many commercial environments incorporating the natural world into the workplace. With its obvious health and wellbeing benefits such as improved air quality and reducing stress levels, biophilic elements where typically seen in breakout spaces. This included everything from small desk plants to large moss walls.

 

 

 

Acoustic panels…

…were heavily featured this year at Clerkenwell. With the rise of open-plan office environments, and a boost in collaborative working there has also been an increase in the need for zones which offer a quiet space away from the busy office environment. This year we saw acoustic panels with equal levels of aesthetic appeal and acoustic qualities, therefore ideal for any commercial environment.

 

Palisades…

…were spotted in almost every showroom we visited this year at Clerkenwell. With undeniable benefits, the palisades allow you to create different zones instead of walls, therefore providing areas of separation within an open plan environment. Typically seen with metal frames, palisades offer a great storage solution and allows you to be creative and flexible with the design and structure.

 

 

 

Want to transform your space? Get in touch for a free consultation!

 

 

Artist Highlight: PET Lamp

By Office Design, Office Interiors, Uncategorised

Founded by designer Alvaro Catalán de Ocón, PET Lamp is a project that mixes the reuse of PET plastic bottles with selected traditional weaving techniques from different corners of the world in order to create unique handmade lampshades. The concept was first ideated due to the growing issue surrounding plastic waste, invading every corner of the planet.

 

In many places there aren’t adequate resources for the collection and recycling of this waste and in tropical zones this problem is accentuated as tropical rains wash the PET plastic bottles into the rivers which in turn wash them out to the sea. PETLAMP believe in reuse as the counterpoint to recycling, asserting that the right manipulation of the bottle would allow for its transformation into a coherent, functional and desireable product for the market, lasting beyond the few short minutes of the objects usefulness.

 

 

Their mission is to make an attractive, desirable and contemporary object by taking care of a global problem. combining artisanal techniques with mass prouced objects, resulting in a serial production of unique pieces. At the same time, as part of their mission, they increase awareness of plastic waste and contribute to preserving basketry tradition, considering waste as an opportunity to design unique pieces. PETLAMP takes a global approach to a global issue but through local activity, bringing together world-wide visual identities in the form of different weaving techniques, materials, symbolism, shapes. PETLAMP demonstrate that PET bottles can have a second life, combining one of the most produced industrial objects with one of the traditional crafts most rooted to the earth.

From their base in Madrid, their challenge as industrial designers is to transform a half-finished product, the lampshade created by artisans in Colombia, into a product ready to be sold on the market: the lamp. PETLAMP currently have projects in Columbia, Chile, Ethiopia, Japan, Australia, and Thailand. For more information visit www.petlamp.org

 

To discover how we can help transform your organisation, get in touch!