The importance of wellbeing in interior design

Great office design with Momenta Argento vinyl flooring

Here at Duraflor, we’re celebrating our 100th blog post. As such, we’d like to talk about a topic so many of our posts have included as an underlying theme – office wellbeing – and how we believe interior design can improve it.


3 ways an Interior Designer can improve wellbeing

It’s well documented that a quality workspace design can lead to a less stressful and more productive atmosphere. As such, it’s essential that employers take the physical work environment of their staff into consideration. In order to produce their best work, employees need to feel calm and comfortable. Here’s just three ways interior design can improve wellbeing in an office.

1. Colour

As we’ve suggested in one of our previous blogs, certain colours are known to influence productivity and can stimulate positive emotional responses. However, how can they help improve office wellbeing? Well, take orange as an example. It is a happy colour and is believed to stimulate energy within people, ultimately improving mood and alertness. Similarly, yellow makes people feel more optimistic and confident.

Stress, which can have a massive impact on the wellbeing of employees, can also be subdued with soft greens and blues, as they soothe and increase mental concentration. Overall, although colour isn’t a cure for illness, it will help create a well-balanced environment that can have positive effects on employees’ wellbeing. As an interior designer, it is certainly worth considering which colours can have a positive effect on people before making final design choices.

2. Natural light, nature and noise

It’s also a fact that more natural light, and bringing nature into an office, can offer numerous benefits to workers and employers. More than 1/3 of employees say a lack of natural light results in negative emotions in the workplace. Beyond options to open spaces up, so that everyone benefits from windows and skylights; consider adding more mirrors to the office or using a flooring surface like vinyl, which has reflective attributes.

Incorporating natural elements into an office is reported to help employees feel less stressed and more relaxed. A great way of doing this is to introduce plants and use natural materials, or natural looking furnishings and flooring.

Finally, although some noise is to be expected in an office setting, too much of it can produce stress hormones in the body. There is plenty of evidence that too much noise in the office makes people physically ill. To prevent this, consider utilising flooring materials that reduce high levels of sound, carpet tiles certainly help and careful consideration around the placement of furniture.

3. Making work fun

A vital aspect of office wellbeing is collaboration and support. Not everyone is the same, which is why employees should have the opportunity to choose a workspace most suitable for them. This is where activity-based workplace design, can come into it own, as it encourages changing environments based on specific tasks. An interior designer can help employers create zones, which allow staff to work in peace and quiet, as well as areas where they can collaborate and enjoy each other’s company during break times. Not only will this empower employees to make their own decisions, but it’s also likely to lower their stress levels as they can get more work done, ultimately improving their wellbeing.

Wellbeing will continue to be a factor in all aspects of design, so don’t be too surprised if we make a few more references to it in future blogs.

6 common causes of office injuries and how to avoid them

man on floor tripped on cables

Careful planning mitigates office injuries.

The office might not be considered one of the most dangerous places to work, but there are still some risks that are inherent to the office environment. In most cases, these risks can be mitigated through careful planning and proper risk assessment, and through the implementation of safe working practices. Below are six of the most common causes of injuries in the office, as well as information on how you can prevent or minimise the risk of these injuries.


1 – Trips

Trips and falls are the most common type of office accident. They can be caused by hazards that are left out in hallways and walkways. Another cause of trips in the office is damaged, worn, or poorly fitted carpets. Choosing Class 33 carpet tiles for heavy commercial use and ensuring they are fitted properly is essential.

2 – Slips

Trip hazards aren’t the only floor-bound hazards. Spills can cause employees, customers, and other visitors to slip and injure themselves. It is important to understand slip ratings and choose the most appropriate product for likely usage. Our blog on slip ratings should help.

3 – Lifting and handling

Office work does not usually require any heavy lifting, but if not done properly, even lifting relatively light weights can lead to injury and strain on the body. Ensure that employees know how to lift properly and safely, which means bending at the knees rather than the back, or using a lifting aid for heavier objects.

4 – Falling objects

Falling objects are a hazard in almost any work place, including in offices. Boxes that are piled too high, items placed on top of cupboards, and incorrectly placed items, are all possible causes of this type of accident. Ensure that the heaviest items are placed on the bottom of shelves and that objects are not stored on top of cabinets and cupboards. Invest in additional storage room if necessary.

5 – Repetitive strain

Repetitive strain comes from performing a repetitive task over and over again. Typically, it means that employees are not using items properly, or they have not received training in how to prevent repetitive strain. Invest in ergonomic wrist rests for computers, and make sure that all of your employees have the proper chairs, foot stools, and other items of furniture. Encourage your team to take regular breaks, and ensure that they have proper training on how to perform their daily tasks without risking this type of debilitating injury.

6 – Workstation injuries

The workstation is the area of an office where a person conducts their work. Typically, it consists of a desk and chair, and everything on that desk. Workstation injuries can include repetitive injuries, but also one-off accidents. All electrical equipment should be regularly tested, wiring kept out of the way and secure, and there should be ample room between, underneath, and behind workstations to ensure the safety of your employees.

 

You should always conduct a health and safety risk assessment in any building type, including offices. They may not seem like the most hazardous premises but, in truth, there are still many accidents waiting to happen.

6 essential considerations when purchasing office carpet tiles

Freedom Storm on floor at London Office

Carpet tiles are an excellent flooring option for any office, thanks to their ability to provide insulation, absorb noise, and their ease of maintenance. The main considerations are highlighted below.


Durability

Commercial flooring should be able to withstand the demands of a business, a Class 33 rating is for heavy commercial use and Class 32 moderate commercial use. The standard specifies that the flooring product will serve at least 10 years without presenting problems if used in the designated room type, providing that the floor has been installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions and is used and maintained as prescribed. When looking for durable commercial carpet tiles, it is important to consider where they will be placed, and the amount of traffic they will see.

Impact on health and well-being

Full-time office workers spend a large portion of their week in the office, so your design needs to prioritise their health needs. In addition to circumstance that might demand additional noise reduction properties, and extra comfort under foot, it is worth considering how different materials might help mitigate allergies. Nylon carpets tile resist dirt, moisture and mildew, this can make it a good flooring option for some allergy sufferers especially, if you choose a quality yarn such as Antron® 6.6 found in our Freedom Ranges of which Freedom Bark is a great example. The minute scales on the fibre’s surface will hold airborne particles until vacuumed, which helps to improve indoor air quality..

Maintenance

Maintenance is key, particularly if the building you are fitting out doesn’t come with facilities management. Clients are busy people and most will not want to have to spend time and money considering maintenance for niche carpet materials. Carpet tiles are easy to maintain but some will have greater soil hiding properties than others, and can even incorporate technology that helps ensure cleaning is easier, again Antron® 6.6 is a good example.

Style

Choosing a style (or design) for commercial carpet tiles is a key considerations, as it is this which will communicate a company’s brand, ethos and its corporate culture. Does the client want their environment to be welcoming and warm or energetic and vibrant? We offer a range of popular design to choose from. Design can also involves choices around sustainability. Some great example of a carpet tile ranges that incorporates a modern style with significant sustainability credentials are our previously mentioned Freedom Collection and also our new Cubism range.

Colour

This feature is yet another critical factor when purchasing carpet tiles. Colour doesn’t just help represent a brand but it can also be utilised to influence the psychology of the workers. Bright colours such as yellow and green promote optimism and energy, while cooler tones such as blue promote calmness. You may even choose to use different colours to demarcate areas of the layout for specific uses, or to encourage traffic flow.

Cost

Budgetary constraints will clearly play a primary role in choosing carpet tiles for a fit out. We offer a wide range to suit all budgets. It is worth noting however, the cost of your choice of flooring material should be weighed up against ease of maintenance and life expectancy; cheapest is not necessarily the most cost-effective in the long run.

Make your next carpet tile hexagonal

Freedom and Hexxtile carpet tiles in office

Carpet Tiles don’t have to be square.

 
Companies are still embracing geometric trends when it comes to flooring, and as a result hexagonal carpet tiles continue to gain in popularity. They are great for creating colour and texture; thereby livening up offices and commercial spaces, as well as providing a more original cost-effective flooring solution.


A Touch of Sophistication
 
The hexagonal carpet tile is an innovative way of bringing sophisticated design elements and colour into a commercial environment. Hexagonal carpet tiles can be used to create a more impactful designs across the floor. Our Hexxtile range has been carefully created using the popular textured-greys and solids from our Progression range with pops of colour from our Bright Ideas range, this means you can create a dynamic yet stylish floor-scape.

Against a plain background of office furniture and neutral colours, the hexagonal tile truly stands alone and creates a lively interior environment – you can also transition from square carpet tiles or planks to create zones for activities.

Cost Effective
 
Up until now, traditional hexagonal tiles have often been priced out of reach of regular commercial environments. Often, projects have one thing in common – a tight budget and fast turnaround time. This is why the hexagonal tiles Duraflor offer are such good value for money.

Practical Yet Stylish
 
Duraflor’s over 10-year guarantee on both the Progression and Bright Ideas ranges and the heavy contact rating assigned to the tile makes Hexxtile a solid investment in the future of your business. Each tile is a sizeable 433mm x 500mm.

The most important things to any redesign is to find a floor design that remains fashionable as well as practical and long-lasting. The Hexxtile is all of these and more, creating a sophisticated look that lasts for years and states a bold creative intention. When you find yourself next choosing carpet tiles, think outside the box and go hexagonal.

How to maintain your office vinyl flooring

Axis LVT Rustico Washed

 

A guide to regular vinyl flooring maintenance.

 
You can retain vinyl floor quality through regular cleaning, including daily sweeping and weekly mopping. We give you some guidance on best practice and products to avoid.


Vinyl flooring is less expensive than a lot of flooring options. It is also relatively easy to maintain, and it comes in a huge variety of finishes, designs, styles, and colours. While it is designed to last for years and withstand a high footfall, some general care and maintenance will help you prolong the life the floor, and allow it to retain its great looks.

Daily cleaning

 
Use a brush or vacuum cleaner to pick up any solid dirt and debris that gathers over the day. If wet cleaning do so manually or with a mono-disc machine with white pad. Although most vinyl floors do not require daily cleaning, doing so will help you maintain its looks and will prevent dirt from becoming ingrained and more difficult to deal with.

Weekly schedule or periodic cleaning

 
A cleaning regime will partly depend on footfall. Sweep or vacuum the floor first, and then mop it with a damp mop (microfibre mobs are the best) or for mechanical cleaning, a mono-disc machine. Use a neutral or light alkaline detergent, and only use warm water rather than boiling. This will help prevent any unnecessary damage to the material, while the damp mop will help pick up any dirt and mild stains that have gathered over the past week. Manufacturer’s directions should be followed but as a guide, cleaning solution should be dispersed on a surface of 5-10 m2 and should be scrubbed after 10-15 minutes, allowing the cleaning agent time to absorb. This should then be rinse thoroughly with clean water. Do not use fluids or agents containing pine oil.

Some important tips

 
To assist in regular cleaning and to ensure that your floor continues to look great, use foam pads under the feet and corners of any furniture. This will prevent the sharp corners from potentially scratching and scraping the vinyl. Only use foam, however, as rubber and other materials can leave stains of their own on the floor, especially when moved.

Only use neutral detergents, other options can do more harm than good, eventually leading to damage to floor materials. Do not use abrasive powders, black soap, or oil based products, and don’t try treating the floor with varnish or wax because this will reduce the quality and strength of the material. Use two compartment buckets to avoid mixing clean and dirty water.

Some materials are known to stain vinyl floors (included but not limited to): asphalt, bitumen, wet cardboard, dyes from literature or packaging print, wet hardboard, rubber backed mats, and some chemicals used in cleaning products including pine oil.

Preventative measures are of course the key to good floor maintenance and entrance matting and barrier tiles provide both a safety element and cost saving one. These collect dirt and debris before it is walked into the building and trodden into the floor. This is the single quickest way to reduce the amount of maintenance that your new flooring requires. Being aware of what will stain the floor and avoiding this is also a key consideration when advising employees and maintenance staff on how to keep the vinyl flooring in a commercial building looking its best at all time.

 

The feature image is from a recent case study and shows just how stunning a luxury vinyl tile looks when first installed. AXIS used here has a 10 year guarantee when properly maintained.

The benefits of vinyl flooring

Vinyl flooring in breakout area

Have you considered all the benefits of vinyl flooring?

 
Flooring is a key consideration when it comes to an office refurbishment, and for that reason it needs to be hard-wearing, presentable and easily maintained. Vinyl is highly innovative and brings a range of benefits to any business, it is no surprise it continues to go from strength to strength each year as a commercial floor covering of choice.


Versatility

Vinyl manufacturing processes mean that you can find sheet vinyl or vinyl floor tiles with a range of designs and structural characteristics. There are various cell foam backing for vinyl flooring that mimic specific performance characteristics, for example those of a sprung floor or a wood or laminate flooring system. Comfort underfoot is also possible without the need for additional underlay and newer designs can mimic the acoustic benefits of carpet.

This means that you can readily tailor your choice of vinyl flooring to be in complete harmony with the functionality of your workspace.

Durable

Vinyl is an excellent hard-wearing flooring choice. One of its primary benefits is its moisture resistance which greatly contributes to its longevity. The quality, thickness and manufacturing of vinyl will greatly affect the durability of a vinyl floor. Sheet vinyl is generally of lesser durability than vinyl planks and tiles. Both however are designed to withstand the wear of high traffic and are a great choice for retail, hospitality and service environments where there is a lot of footfall.

Easy to clean and maintain

Maintenance of your vinyl flooring is often more simple and cost effective than carpet, which may require periodic professional extraction cleaning. If you opt for a tile flooring system, damaged vinyl floor tiles can be readily replaced.

A broad range of designs

Vinyl flooring offers a wide variety of styles, patterns and textures which can really enhance your office environment. Luxury Vinyl Tiles easily replicate the appearance of wood or stone and are available in a variety of patterns and colours. With the ability to be integrated with other flooring options such as carpet as part of your final office design, vinyl stands out as a great investment for reliable and attractive commercial flooring.

How to integrate branding with office design

Company using orange and black its brand colours in breakout area.

There are several ways to integrate branding within office design. With careful consideration, designs can also reflect a company’s ethos and unify employees.


How to integrate branding with office design

An office is a statement about a business’ values and branding. Visitors will pick up on the subconscious messages that you’ve weaved, intentionally or not, into the office design.

This is why in the past, companies would go to great lengths to implement branding within entrance and exit ways. However, there was very little attention paid to the internal working areas of the office. There are however ways that you can combine both functional office designs and corporate branding throughout a building.

1. Commercial flooring aligned with the brand 

For some, the colour of the floor is not the first thing they notice. However, even if people don’t pay active attention to it, they will notice it subconsciously. Using brand colours in commercial flooring choices shows great attention to detail and is likely to have greater stand-out.

2. Plan your office based on the journey

Whenever you’re looking at office design, you should think about how a veteran employee would give a tour of the building. Where would they start, what are the points of interest and what paths would they take? The natural stop points and typical pathways are key areas where branding should be.

3. Think about key messages you want to communicate

Branding isn’t just about colour it is also about the messages and concepts the business wants to convey. When designing an office, it is worth thinking about the main message that you want the business to communicate. Is it about inspiration or customer service? These important messages should be at key points in the office which see high traffic. You can also segregate messages for staff and those for visitors.

Angelist used a mural of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak to inspire and connect their love of innovation and startups to two of the most successful tech entrepreneurs. This reflects their mission to help startups find their funding and talent for success.

Conclusion

While many businesses spend budgets on leaflets and other publications, there is one area that is often missed out – the office design. Yet by getting everything from commercial flooring to wall murals matching corporate branding, an office can become a way to advertise a business. More importantly it can also help unify the team around a company’s brand values.

How to save money as a facilities manager

Facilities manager at computer

To be an effective facilities manager, you need to always be learning on the job. Adaptability is key because by making even some of the smallest changes, you can not only increase the productivity and well-being of those working in your property, but also save yourself money.


Maintenance

Maintenance is a big concern for any facilities manager, not only because of the setbacks it can create but also because of the cost. Breakdowns deplete asset life and can require costly replacements. Implementing predictive testing and inspections is a good way to combat repair costs, as it keeps you aware of the condition, as well as detecting trends which suggest impending failure. We found an article that discusses many of the advantages of a good maintenance programme and provides a few warnings as well.

Energy consumption

Vigilant energy consumption monitoring is also a big step when it comes to cutting down on costs. This doesn’t just mean efficient energy use in terms of light and machine usage, but in other, more subtle ways too. Insulation is a good example, as while every commercial building will have it in some form, there are always improvements that can be made which will save you money in the long run. Energy efficient windows make for a simple way to increase insulation, reduce energy costs and improve the well-being of the building’s occupants, as well as looking at the roofing, which can be bolstered to minimise the overall solar impact. Many floor coverings, especially carpet tiles provide additional installation, as well as being a practical maintenance solution.

Redesign

If you’re looking to make a difference which lasts years, sustainable facilities design is not only more attainable but more affordable than it’s ever been. Sustainable design also does wonders for your image amongst the public, cementing your reputation as both socially and environmentally conscious. What also works to your advantage is that many reputable design companies will work with you closely to match your specifications and needs. As a facilities manager, you know how space is used; what works and what doesn’t.

A new design offers a great opportunity for any facilities manager, as not only can it set up what you need to drive a business forward but also enables you to install measures to help you maintain that drive. Furniture, waste management, equipment, health and well-being are all things to be considered during the design process. The UKGBC provides plenty advice on sustainable design and how it increases productivity.

Choosing a more reputable designer might seem like a large cost, but their understanding of your needs will go a long way in saving you money in the long run. Their goal isn’t just about aesthetics, it’ll also be about working with you to overcome any potential issues early on. It also means that with all the data you have to hand, the entire design plan is based on your specifications, so all of your long-term ambitions can be uniquely worked into your new design.

The psychology of shapes and colour in flooring

A hexagon shape tile - mixed colours

The colour, shape pattern and even layout of commercial flooring can have a high impact in the workplace. Whether it’s an open office or a relaxed leisure environment, the right feel is key.


Commercial flooring options are varied, and there’s so much more to flooring than just picking a complementary colour or selecting a standard layout. Different shapes incite different feelings and moods, as do the colours that create them. Depending on your business and the room function, you’ll want to make sure that you pick flooring or carpet tiling that speaks the right tone. Using flooring design in the right way can change the spatial perceptions of the room as well as affect the mood of the people who enter it.

Shape psychology

A lot of the time, the focus of flooring and it’s psychology are centred around colour. Whilst it does have a great impact, the pattern and shapes used can have tremendous effects too.

Squares and rectangles are used as a standard layout for most commercial floors. Used either to create rectangular block areas, a brick-like pattern or stripes, it’s a staple choice. Due to the fact that many things around us are squared with straight edges, it’s clear to see that it represents stability. Square shapes create a trusting and safe environment. Using large squared block areas, you can break up a large open plan office into areas and use colours to imply the use of that area. You can also create a block walkway effect from your entrance to help guide workers or customers, again adding to the feeling of safety. Using stripes in the right way can make a smaller square room feel longer as proven by the Helmholtz illusion.

Triangles utilise the familiar safe straight edges of a square but have a more modern twist. It’s a unique dynamic shape, that exudes a sense of power and energy. Due to their peak like shape, triangles also represent success  so they are great for sales rooms, boardrooms or gym floors, where the shapes can energise and invigorate.

Hexagons illicit thoughts of harmony. Although geometric, it is a shape existing in nature in bee hives so it makes sense that it would create a feeling of togetherness. Hexagon tiles (such as our Hexxtile range also embody strength due to their structure and can make spaces seem infinitely larger than they are. This shape would work well in communal rooms where you want people to be open and interact.

Pattern psychology

The psychology of flooring can sometimes reach deeper than the layout, as even the flooring pattern can affect a space. The most popular patterns are natural ones. They geo-mimic in a unique way that creates a sense of calm and groundedness. From washed stone patterns through to replicated grainy wood (such as our Bark range ) these can bring the calmness of the outside world inside whilst boosting productivity.

Colour psychology with shape form

When you look to create your pattern, you do also need to consider the colours you want to use. If you are using multi tones, you’ll need to think about whether to use contrasting or complementary colours depending on the requirements of the room or building.

Warm, neutral shades suggest comfort and safety so would work well combined with square and rectangular flooring. Bright and bold colours can be overwhelming, but when used correctly they can promote productivity and ignite a creative mind. Combining these colours with more modern, invigorating shapes such as triangles would be great for use in motivational areas.

With a well thought out layout using patterns or inspiring colours, you can create a dynamic working environment, with your workforce or clients working with the design in a positive and responsive way.

How to reduce stress in the office

Man hands on head looking stressed in office

Stress costs UK businesses around £6.5 billion every year. But there are simple ways your office design can reduce this. Here are some suggestions.


Stress is one of the largest costs to businesses in the UK. According to research, around 10.4 million work days and £6.5 billion are lost every year due to employees being off sick with stress. There is also the hidden cost of poorer productivity and incomplete or low-quality work that is harder to measure.

Reducing stress in the office should be a priority for any business and there are numerous ways that your office design can contribute. Here are some of the top ways to factor in stress-reducing elements in your next office design project.

1. Encourage good posture

Bad posture is linked to several physical and mental illnesses. There are several ways to encourage good posture including designing offices that encourage standing work from time to time and ensuring desks and chairs are set up at the optimal height and distance from the user. By encouraging good posture, physical stress on the body is reduced, which in turn can lead to less emotional stress.

2. Noise reduction

Some noise is expected in an office setting, but too much noise can produce stress hormones in the body. Creating an office environment which reduces noise requires a lot of different elements. Commercial flooring is part of this equation, with carpet tiles being an excellent way of reducing high levels of office noise.

Impact sound considers the noise made on one floor to the rooms below. The level of impact sound reduction is often found on flooring specifications sheets. It measures in decibels the difference between a hammer machine being used directly on to a concrete floor and then on the tested floor covering. In-Room Impact Noise is also a consideration, the best performing floor coverings are Class A. However, where design comes in here is also essential – soft furnishings, partitioning and feature walls all contribute to reducing noise levels.

3. Use natural lighting

Natural light is an important part of our health. Without natural light, workers can suffer from reduced mental alertness, bad sleeping patterns and poor job performance. Mental health conditions can also cause anxiety, stress and depression. Therefore, you should always seek to increase the amount of natural light able to enter a room. If this isn’t possible, offer your clients the option to turn lights up to full spectrum light or to use artificial daylight bulbs.

4. Add nature to your office

Nature can be a powerful element in a business’s productivity. It stimulates workers and helps them feel more relaxed and less stressed. There are several ways that you can improve the biophilic elements of an office. Using natural materials like stone and wood within your office design is one way. Another option is to introduce plants through a living feature wall, or even encouraging your clients to bring a pet to the workplace. Pets have been proven to reduce stress and improve creativity within the office.

5. Exercise areas

Another key aspect of workplace stress is lack of exercise. Workers who don’t exercise often experience high levels of physical and mental stress. In order to encourage staff to get up from their desks and move around a bit, ensure you factor in the additional space in your layout, perhaps with specific areas for lunchtime yoga or other forms of exercise. Additionally, standing desks are one way to increase the amount of exercise for employees. By factoring in their physical needs, you can help workers to break the monotony of their regular working day. Accommodating activity based workspace is another consideration as that encourage take up of different tasks in different office locations. Thinking carefully about relaxation, bringing an element of fun in the office, including table tennis tables etc. all help staff take breaks and this can be even more important where going for a walk isn’t an option.

6. Use a splash of colour

Incorporating colour in the office is very important. Dull colours like white and beige are known to trigger depressive feelings and stress among female workers. Colours like purple have the same impact on male workers. Using natural colours in your room, like blue and green, are the best colours to help.

Designing a stress-reducing office space

Stress is a massive problem for employers. However, by incorporating some clever features into your office design, you can help reduce stress and improve productivity for clients and their staff.