TransferWise Transforms Office Design

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Biophilic Design | Bringing Nature into The Office

 

DIRTT

 “The relationships between nature, human biology and the design of the built environment.” 

 

Bill Browning’s 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design

Biophilia, not a new concept, has been gaining a lot of traction among proponents of sustainable design. The premise behind the biophilic design is to incorporate aspects of nature into products and built environments to enhance our health, well-being, and productivity.

 

What is Biophilia and Biophilic Design?

 

Biophilia suggests that there is a natural bond between human beings and other living systems. Biophilic Design takes that bond and aims to bring it into spaces where there is a separation between humans and nature. How can you bring that alliance into your office space? We all at some point have worked in a barren office space with no windows, filled with fluorescent light and no living plants in sight. In this article, we want to bring you some ideas that could help you in creating an office space that will help you connect with nature and enjoy your work experience

 

Let’s take a look at 3 ideas that you can implement:

 

 1. ADD A LIVING WALL

Sometimes bringing natural light through regular windows might not be possible but a skylight might help you bring the illusion of nature into your space. There is a company called Skyfactory that provides affordable ceiling and wall installations.

Choose soft furnishings, like the one shown above by Kimball Office, with patterns inspired by nature. Incorporate more diverse colours and textures and tone when selecting carpets, rugs, wallpaper and wall paint. Interface flooring is one company that is currently offering some terrific options to help you create a nature-inspired space.

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Living plants are always a great way to bring nature inside your office. Not only do they provide a natural element to the environment and enhance the aesthetic value of the office, interior plants can also provide sound absorption, have air filtering qualities, absorb toxins in the atmosphere and can improve humidity. One company you need to check out is DIRTT Walls. They provide beautiful living wall solutions.

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AP+I Design

 2. BUILD A SKYVIEW

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 3. UPDATE YOUR FURNITURE AND INTERIOR MATERIAL ELEMENTS

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To read more about Biophilic design, we have compiled some good resources for you:

 

Terrapin Bright Green

Human Scapes

Interface Blog

 

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Photo by Interface 

Photo by Interface 

Photo by Kimbal Office

Photo by Kimbal Office

 

Collaborative Spaces

COLLABORATIVE OFFICES are working environments that allows people to work in multiple ways. Collaborative spaces are not built simply by putting people next to one another – but are instead an intentional space with the tools necessary for collaborative activities.

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The most common types of collaborative spaces include large monitors to display information, video conferencing technology, wall-sized whiteboards, shelves and tables where materials can be displayed and casual lounge seating.

Power Up The Conference Room The Cool Way

 

How many times have we been at a meeting, proceed to check your emails on your favorite electronic device and What?! We see that we are just running out of juice!You do not want to get up to plug your device and interrupt your boss for sure…So here something to consider a solution:

There is this product called Trace Power by OFS Brands. It is an aluminum rail mounted around the perimeter of a table top that delivers power and A/V connections in a minimal and seamless way. Love it.

The best part: Every seat at the table has access to power at the edge of the surface. We hear angels singing!

Check it out: http://www.ofs.com/produc…/tables_technology_reception/trace

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Simple Steps To Turn Employee Learning Into Real Value

Interview with Larry MohlFor every employee that attends a workshop, seminar or conference there is a manager that’s skeptical that the company will ever harness value from the new knowledge gained.  While everyone’s intentions are optimistic, the realities of the workforce often squelch the knowledge and prevent it from being implemented.

But as a manager, there are a few subtle steps you can that can yield big benefits, transforming that new learning into an employee development opportunity. In a video interview conducted by Kelly Services, Larry Mohl, Chief Innovation Officer at Performance Inspired, Inc., says the first step is for managers to make a commitment to embracing employee development as a continuous process. Mohl says that, fundamentally, every human wants to develop and grow and managers need to support that.

He says that a manager just needs to show some interest by meeting with the employee up front to set expectations for when they get back. Then he says, “The critical step is to ACTUALLY schedule some time with the employee afterward.”  In that meeting he suggests discussing:

  • What did you learn?
  • How can we apply it here?
  • How can I support you?
  • What other help do you need to be successful?

“It’s these little things that have a powerful effect on people’s sense that you care, that there’s purpose behind the learning and that it wasn’t a waste of their time.” Mohl says that by following these simple steps, your company can receive much more value from employee learning opportunities.

 

Business or Pleasure? Can Social Media Coexist In The Workplace?

BUSINESS OR PLEASURE?

The groundswell of social media has created new options for personal interactions and raised some new challenges, especially in the workplace. Understanding and managing social media issues in the workplace is a fast moving target. Some of these issues pose challenges to the divide between work and personal life, such as freedom of expression, privacy, and dissemination of sensitive information. A recent study (The 2012 Kelly Global Workforce Index) looks for an answer to the fundamental question:

Is there a place that social media should occupy for individuals in the contemporary workplace? (View these results as an info-graphic at the bottom of the page)

 

PRODUCTIVITY IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Among the different workplace generations, Baby Boomers are most skeptical, with almost half (49%) believing it negatively impacts productivity. But even among younger workers, there is still a significant level of concern—40% of Gen Y and 44% of Gen X. There is a clear understanding of the potential dangers that exist as a result of failing to draw a distinction between the personal and professional use of social media.

MIXING PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL CONNECTIONS

Baby Boomers are more likely to have this concern (50%) compared to the younger generations (46% for both Gen Y and Gen X). For many, social media has become something of a necessary evil; it is a central feature of the contemporary communications toolkit, but many workers see potential hazards that could significantly impact their careers.

SHARING OPINIONS ABOUT WORK ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Younger workers, notably Gen Y (28%) and Gen X (22%), are most likely to feel such communications are acceptable in contrast to Baby Boomers (16%).

BANNING SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE AT WORK

As social media occupies an increasing place in both personal and professional life, there is resistance from some employers. Within the Americas, as few as 6% have been told to stop using social media at work. Significantly more workers in the younger generations (Gen Y 16%, Gen X 12%) have been told to stop using social media at work as compared to those in the older generation (Baby Boomers 5%).

CURRENT EMPLOYER RIGHTS

On the question of employer access to an employee’s social networking pages, the majority believes this content should remain private. Across the generations, the most reluctant to share their content are Gen X, with 58% opposed to employers having access to their social media pages. A total of 56% of Gen Y are against employer access to personal social media content, while 53% of Baby Boomers are also opposed.

INCLINATION TO SEARCH FOR JOBS VIA SOCIAL MEDIA

More individuals are now utilizing various social media platforms as part of their job search. Overall, more than one-quarter (30%) are more inclined to search for jobs via social media rather than through traditional methods such as newspapers, online job boards and recruitment firms. The younger generations, Gen Y (32%) and Gen X (30%), are more likely to do so, as compared to the older generations (Baby Boomers 26%)

WORLDS DIVIDING OR COLLIDING?

Overall, workers see social media as something personal, with some feeling it’s a personal ‘right’ and most agreeing that current and potential employers shouldn’t have the right to get too close.

Many are using their networks to make career decisions, and increasingly, are using it to search for jobs. Employees can see potential problems ahead if their two worlds intermingle. It’s also clear that geographic location has a large effect on the way in which social media is adopted as part of workplace culture. It’s also important to note that a significant share of people acknowledge the negative productivity that flows from social media in the workplace. This illustrates the substantial challenge for employers and for employees trying to maintain some level of balance to the public and private worlds of social media.

 INFOGRAPHIC: Business or Pleasure

10 Digital Tools and Apps To Make Your Office More Productive

Finding the balance of productivity is getting more difficult as Internet and social technology continue to invade the workplace. But the good news is this same technology offers several innovative apps and digital tools designed to actually improve productivity.

From ways to back-up and store files to simple to-do lists and expense reports, making it faster and easier is better. Check out a few of our favorites below.

 

 


DROPBOX
– If you need to store files in the cloud, share documents with co-workers, or send clients links to large files that can’t be sent via email, this app is a no-brainer.

 

 


PAYTRUST
– This service from Intuit scans your bills, emails you electronic versions and keeps junk mail from piling up on your desk. You can automate payments or pay in one click.

 

 

 

BACKBLAZE – Save your IT department some trouble. You can keep all your files backed up in the cloud with unlimited storage, on the cheap. And a new feature allows you to locate your laptop if it’s ever lost or stolen.

 

 

 

1 PASSWORD – Who doesn’t have too many passwords to remember? With this app, your team can keep track of all those logins from any device.

 

 

 

LOG ME IN – So many devices, so little time. Remotely login and control your computer from your phone or the web with this handy little app.

 

 

 

 

 

EXPENSIFY and ABUKAI – Check out these useful alternatives to stodgy old expense reports.

 

 

 

 

 

 

OFFICE TIME and RESCUE TIME – Both are time-tracking software designed to help make your office time more productive.

 

 

 

EVERNOTE – Starting as a simple to-do list, it evolves into a way to keep track of your notes, thoughts, images, and web clippings across several devices.

 

What are some of your favorite digital  tools for office productivity?

 

 

Ergonomic, Schmergonomic. Can The Way You Sit Really Affect Productivity?

You bet it can.

We’ve all heard the term ‘ergonomics’. But what does it really mean? By definition ergonomics is “the applied science of equipment design, as for the workplace, intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort.” This means providing furniture that adapts to people, so they can spend more time on tasks comfortably and less time away from their workstations.

Ergonomics does indeed have an impact on the bottom line. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association surveyed roughly 29,000 computer users and found that 52.7 % were working with at least one form of daily musculoskeletal discomfort. The average lost productive time among those experiencing discomfort was more than 5.2 hours per week.

“Musculoskeletal discomfort” can mean any of the following conditions: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Raynaud’s Phenomenon, Trigger Finger, Rotator Cuff Syndrome, Epicondylitis, Herniated spinal disc, Sciatica or Tension Neck Syndrome. Considering how common they are, you probably know someone who is suffering from one of these conditions.

So, what can be done to ensure employees a more comfortable/efficient work experience?

Ergonomics can actually be boiled down to four key challenges we all encounter at our desk.

  • Hand & Wrist Posture
  • Task Seating
  • Monitor Positioning
  • Task Lighting

Everything from the way you hold your mouse to the way you sit or even the available light at your desk have an impact on your overall comfort at work. This in turn, affects productivity.

4 QUICK TIPS TO IMPROVE ERGONOMICS IN YOUR OFFICE:

1. Don’t assume it’s ergonomic.
The purpose of ergonomics is to ensure health and safety, but just because a product says it’s ‘ergonomic’ doesn’t mean it’s safe to use. There’s currently no regulatory oversight to keep companies from labeling products in this manner or marketing something as the Ergo-Chair, for example. And forget what your mother told you about it always being best to sit up straight – it’s simply not true. Studies have shown that it’s best to recline slightly, to put less stress on your spine.
2. There can be too much of a good thing
A popular misconception is that the more adjustable a piece of equipment is, the more ergonomic it is. Yet every chair and every person is different. It’s actually dangerous to have too much control if it means that a chair or workstation is configured in a way that’s unhealthy. The sad reality is that most people don’t adjust their chair, even if the option is available.
3. Don’t forget the lighting
Lighting is the most important element for maintaining good eyesight and the type of lighting is just as important as your ability to adjust its position. Reading on-screen and reading on-paper have different requirements for minimizing eye strain. There’s also the issue of glare and the need to minimize it. All this, plus there’s an emotional benefit to having good light while you’re working.
4. Educating with ergonomics
It’s not enough to buy the right furniture. You should promote ergonomic safety as well. Make sure that your monitor height is correct, that you minimize glare and be sure to take breaks from repetitive motions and tasks. Having ergonomic furniture and helping others adjust it appropriately is the best way to ensure that your co-workers and employees stay healthy and productive at work.

For more research and ideas, you can read the Office Ergonomics Handbook by Knoll. Does  your office think “ergonomically?”