Ways to get more natural light in the office

Momenta Rusticana - commercial flooring in office

Improve natural light getting into your office design with these simple changes. Everything from building designs to how furniture is arranged is covered.


Natural lighting into an office space offers numerous benefits to workers and employers. More than a third of employees identify a lack of natural light with negative emotions in the workplace. Yet those companies that use natural light in their design will benefit from an increase in productivity by up to 40%, and creativity can be improved by up to 15%. We found some fascinating facts and a great graphic in this article.

Staff also tend to be in a better mood when they’re exposed to more natural light. This has helped with better sleep regulation that can improve the quality of work.

In addition, the number one demand for office design tends to be more natural light. This is not just because of the benefit to employees either. More natural light can reduce lighting costs and absence rates by about 6.5%.

There are several ways that you can increase natural light in office designs. Here are some of the easiest and most efficient.

1. Use transom windows

Transom windows are extra windows that are sited above a door frame or window already installed. This style was initially introduced to add windows into buildings where natural light was desired, but for the window to be at a height so that passers by couldn’t see in. Now they can be used to increase the amount of light getting into an office. The more windows the more light.

2. Use mirrors in your office design

Mirrors help to reflect natural light so that the same amount of sunshine can enter the building but it counts for twice as much. This is a cheap and effective way to improve natural light within any room, however, mirrors can sometimes cause eye strain if the light is reflected towards certain people, so designs have to be carefully thought out.

3. Consider colour schemes for the office

The colours in your office design can make a significant difference in how natural light is utilised. Darker colours often absorb light. In contrast, lighter colours will reflect light, making the same amount of light fill a room more. However, you have to be careful about what colours you use. Light grey, beige and white are common place to improve lighting, but these colouring schemes can also make some workers depressed.

4. Think about the commercial flooring

Some commercial flooring, like vinyl can help to improve natural light by their colour and slight reflective attributes. Flooring is a particular element that is often forgotten, but light is always directed downwards and therefore should be an important factor in office design, especially when you’re thinking about incorporating natural light.

5. Remove obstructions

Sometimes offices have the potential for more natural light with just some simple changes in the office furniture. Moving cabinets, desks and other furniture around might improve the amount of natural light that can enter the entire room. This little cost-effective solution is often overlooked because those items are needed for work, but people often forget that moving them might make lighting a lot better for all those concerns.

 

Adding natural light into your office designs is going to offer significant benefits. People like natural light and it helps them work more and better. However, not all companies can afford Google’s running track and swimming pool on the roof. So, you have to find easier, and less expensive, ways to increase natural light in your business’ office design.

4 ways to improve office productivity

Axis natural looking wood flooring, lots of natural light

There are many options for improving staff and overall office productivity. You can improve business processes so they are more efficient, offer meaningful rewards for good performance and you can also create an inspiring office design. Here are just some of the tried and tested ways in which you can design an office to help boost the productivity of staff.


1. Utilise nature in your office design

Plants improve the humidity of a room and reduce harmful components in the air such as dust, bacteria and carbon dioxide. This can help to reduce the frequency and severity of headaches and dizziness.

Studies have shown countless times that these natural finishes within an office can improve productivity by up to 40%. You can use natural finishes like wood and stone for your office furniture, as well as considering cork partitioning and living walls.

A lot has been written about biophilic design on wellbeing, so it is no surprise it ranks as a key priority for increasing productivity.

2. Make your office bright

Natural light is known to have a positive impact on the morale and health of employees. Fluorescent lighting has been proven to cause significant eye strain and headaches that reduce productivity. At the same time, when workers are close to windows, they are found to have more restful sleep, which can help with the quality of work produced. It is important that all aspects of your office help to maximise natural lighting.

Allowing all office workers access to windows is also important. About one in five people in the UK experience seasonal defective disorder. The symptoms for this can include loss of concentration, anxiety and overeating. These symptoms can be directly linked to lower levels of productivity.

3. Use uplifting colours in the design

The colour scheme of your office will have a significant impact on staff. Some colours will make them happy, sad or creative and it is about using the right blend to bring out the emotions and work ethic you’re looking for.

To get the right mix, you want to first avoid bland colours such as white, grey and beige. These are used to make rooms appear larger when leasing office space, but they don’t offer much value in terms of productivity. In fact, these colours can cause workers to become sad and feel less able to work.

The best colours to use in your designs, according to some studies, have been green and blue. Blue and green are natural colours and they are thought to help with productivity. Another highly sought after colour is yellow as it inspires workers to be innovative and optimistic.

4. Provide space for exercise

You might be tempted to try to squeeze as many people into a space as possible, but this can often mean people have less space to move around in. Exercising during the working day, whether it is working at a standing desk, or moving around the office to stretch the legs, can help relax strained muscles and improve productivity.

You can go even further by offering spaces for staff to unwind such as games areas with table tennis, Wii games or yoga mats. Encourage staff to use these areas and you’ll see they are happier and more productive at their work stations.

Make your office look nice and productive

An office design has to look nice, but it also has to be functional and that means thinking about whether or not staff will be productive in those spaces. The design of office space has become an essential consideration in attracting talent, and from an employers perspective as well as an employees perspective, there has to be a return on investment. Some from very simple steps can make this outcome a likely reality.

2019 Colour Trends and how it transforms an office

Colourful Carpet Bright Ideas

The impact of colour on your office is far greater than you might have imagined. We look at key colour trends in 2019 and how you can use them to inspire and energise your staff.


The key colour trends of 2019 champion fun and creativity. They also feature lots of natural inspiration, which can add sophistication, calmness and wide appeal. As we understand more about colour psychology and workplace wellbeing, the importance of excellent office design becomes evident.

The colour of the tear – Living Coral

Colour experts Pantone have chosen ‘Living Coral’ as the colour of the year for 2019. This bright and cheerful colour is bold and modern, with a positive and energising effect. Though this colour may be a little too bold for your commercial flooring, touches of living coral can make your office seem vibrant, contemporary and on trend. Colours that work well with this vibrant shade include grey, navy and yellow, which can be used to create a contemporary, high-end office look.

Fun in the office

The playful and ebullient shade of the year also ties in with the recent shift in office design towards more fun and interactive office spaces. Recent research looking at fun in the office has shown that creating a bright and inspiring office can have an incredible impact on your employees. Bold shades like electric blue and ultraviolet can provide a fun and creative environment that boosts your employees’ mood and focus. If bright, primary colours don’t fit with your company’s aesthetic, then this colour scheme is also perfect for break rooms and social spaces.

Natural inspiration

Another big colour trend in 2019 is colours which are found in the natural world, like sage green, olive and sand. Biophilia – the connection between humans and nature – remains a huge design trend and it can also have a great impact on your employees’ mood. Green is obviously one of the most popular ways to introduce natural inspiration into your office space. Green can have a calming effect on workers and touches of green like plants, carpet tiles and sofas are perfect for a stressful work environment. Wood effect vinyl flooring is another great way to bring the appearance of the natural world into your office space. Wood effect vinyl flooring is a cost-effective and durable solution, perfect for channelling 2019’s love of nature, while offering a easy to maintain and sustainable solution.

Vibrant and energising colours

Offices in the past have been thought of as bland, neutral and dull, with the corporate colour palette rarely straying from a shade of grey. However, these colours are some of the worst for inspiring your employees and creating a buzzing workplace. Though these colours do have mass appeal, forward-thinking office spaces are combining colour and corporate design with some incredible results. Colour can also have a positive impact on your team’s focus and energy levels. Creating a bright and fun office environment has been shown to increase workers’ happiness, productivity and focus too. Bold commercial flooring with shades like pineapple, cayenne and comfrey is growing in popularity, with office designers being more daring when creating the perfect floor scheme.

Why good office design matters to businesses

good office design

The saying goes that “you can’t judge a book by its cover”. However, your office design will be judged by staff, clients and suppliers.  If you have damaged commercial flooring, and scuffed walls, then that will project a negative brand image.


While sometimes, having the coolest office design might get a little out of hand. You still need to ensure that you are making a good impression by having a great looking office, which reflects the need of your employees.

1. It projects a company’s brand values

Guests to your office will form an opinion on what they can expect from interactions with you, by the appearance of the office. If you have an office that has damaged commercial flooring and poor décor, they might anticipate the same lack of pride will carry through to work produced. An office which is clean and well-maintained, is likely to project a positive atmosphere around the work ethics of the business.

2. It improves staff well being and productivity

Studies have shown that those working in dark, noisy offices are more likely to suffer from high levels of stress and those in more modern offices lit by natural sunlight will be healthier. Key office design trends around flexible workspaces, Biophilic design, relaxing space etc. all support staff well being, so much so, it is almost a prerequisite to any office refurbishment project .

A well maintained and good office design can also help with productivity. In a previous blog we looked at the facts and figures that supported the idea that bad office design will actually stifle creativity. So there are plenty of arguments to support a tangible return on investment from good office design.

3. A good office design attracts key talent

When recruiting, you’re looking for the best talent.  While money is still a factor in career decisions for employees, the trend is now for a strong work-life balance. If your office is dimly lit with worn out commercial flooring, it doesn’t offer good vibes to prospective talent for your organisation.

4. Good office design is a great PR tool

Great office designs often make it into the news and while that might not be something that is easy to achieve, it is worth considering this if the project warrants it. If you can create an office design that is newsworthy, then your brand name will be marketed. This could attract new clients, as well as potential talent to your organisation.

Important factors to consider when selecting commercial flooring

Combination carpet tile and vinyl flooring

Commercial flooring has a significant impact on the functionality and the level of comfort of an office. While longevity is always a consideration when deciding on flooring materials, other factors are equally important.


4 important factors to consider when selecting commercial flooring

Not all finishes, particularly for businesses, are ideal for all spaces. Various factors come into play when selecting commercial flooring. Generally, a suitable commercial floor should be easy and fast to install as well as durable. It should also require minimum care.

1. Level and type of traffic into your office

High-traffic offices necessitate flooring that can withstand wear. Natural choices are of course Vinyl Tiles (or Planks) and Carpet Tiles but consideration should also be given to barrier tiles in entrance ways. Research proves that up to 90% of dirt in a building is ‘walked in’ or comes in via wheeled traffic. Having an entrance system and barrier matting is an effective way of ensuring longevity of all flooring types throughout the building.

We recommend choosing Carpet Tiles or Vinyl Tiles that are at least Class 32 for general commercial use and Class 33 for heavy commercial use. The standard specifies that the flooring product will last at least 10 years without presenting problems, if used in the designated room type (various domestic or commercial usage types), and on the condition that the floor has been installed according to the instructions and is used and maintained as prescribed.

There are additional requirements for carpet covering colour fastness, castor chair suitability, antistatic behaviour, acoustic properties, thermal resistance, suitability for humid conditions, suitability for use on stairs and fraying behaviour that should also be considered but having Class 33 gives a lot of reassurance.

The additional requirement for Vinyl Tiles in high traffic areas includes a consideration around slip ratings. We covered these considerations in a previous blog.

2. Flexibility in repair

An observation into office hallways shows that most activity takes place in this location and thus the floor is expected to wear out faster here than in other areas. Therefore, the flooring type selected for this area should be easy to replace and repair without inconveniencing movement within the premise. Vinyl tiles and carpet tiles are again both durable and easy to install, therefore they’re great options to consider.

3. Reusing or recycling the flooring material

Sustainability is always a key consideration. Even though this aspect does not relate directly to the durability of the flooring, if you intend to recycle or reuse your commercial flooring in future, it is better to be fully informed before making your decision.

Both Vinyl Tiles and Carpet Tiles do fit the bill, the amount of re-cycled content is a key question to be asking. The are a number of guides to the decision process but choosing reputable manufacturers is always a good start as it will be part of their environmental policies to ensure the most sustainable options.

4. Commercial factors 

While taking into consideration the above factors, you should consider the most appropriate flooring for your office depending on your needs. While some materials are appropriate, they come at a very high cost, which might be overwhelming for small businesses. On the other hand, some are very cheap but fail to serve their purpose adequately.

Apart from budget issues, you should consider the life-cycle of the commercial flooring type. In most instances, flooring that requires lower preliminary costs might turn out to be more costly in the long run than those with higher preliminary costs. Ultimately, selecting a cheap flooring plan during the initial phase may result in more repairs and replacement.

Standing in the office – the health benefits

man standing at a laptop

We discuss the health benefits of standing in the office.

Modern office working can bring benefits, but also health risks. More periods of standing can help overcome postural problems, but it needs to be interspersed with frequent sitting, and your office environment needs to help not hinder.


Many people working in an office spend a lot of their time sitting at a desk. However, this isn’t good for their health. Those who spend the most time sitting down at a desk are at a higher risk of musculoskeletal problems, deep vein thrombosis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even risk death from these causes.

According to Government statistics, our postures at work can decrease the amount of time that staff work. Every year, 30.8 million workdays are lost due to musculoskeletal problems. Research has therefore concluded that offices should be designed to allow for office staff to spend some of their time standing.

The health benefits go far beyond the minimising of risks. Those who spend a significant amount of time standing are less likely to suffer from headaches, have better posture, and experience better mental health. Those who regularly get up and use a standing desk also experience weight loss after a few months.

There are also benefits for the company. Those standing have higher energy levels and can be more productive. Their positive mood can also rub off on others in the office and impress customers which can help to improve sales.

Standing for the right amount of time

Of course, there is a balancing act here. In laboratory-controlled studies in Canada, it has been found that 50% of workers who were told to stand for too long (over two consecutive hours in the study) developed lower back pain. These participants had not experienced back pain before the study.

The actual amount of time for people to stand is challenging to determine. Health experts have stated for a long time that office workers should be standing for about 15 minutes in every hour of work. However, research from the University of Waterloo has found the health benefits aren’t experienced unless the person is standing for about half an hour in every hour of work.

The research also found that some people won’t experience any benefits of standing unless they sit for 15 minutes and stand for 45 minutes. But this has to be done in moderation.

A member of staff can’t just sit down for a couple of hours and then spend four hours standing. This is what causes back pain and bad posture. The change between sitting and standing needs to be frequent and that is why your office design needs to be such that it allows for frequent changes.

Designing the office for standing desks

To ensure that your office designs are suitable for this more mobile and active style of working, you need to consider several aspects. First, staff should be able to move between sitting desks and standing desks. This will require more hot-desking and less assigned areas for work.

Also, as more staff are going to be more mobile, you need to ensure there is enough space for their activity. This might include changes to your commercial flooring by using coloured areas or different types of flooring, where activity is expected to remind staff to keep those areas clear of obstructions.

There are many other ways you can improve standing ratios as well. Meetings could be held stood in a meeting room and not around a table, for example.

How to choose the right carpet tile

Inspecting the yarn of a carpet tile

Interior designers and end users have a range of criteria that will inform their choices when exploring carpet tile solutions for a space. Factors like dye method, weight, construction, and pile significantly affect the way carpet tiles perform and their durability under differing foot traffic demands. They should all be considered when choosing the right carpet tiles for commercial floorspace.


In addition to their ability to be custom cut and fitted to any space, there is a unique advantage to using carpet tiles over broadloom carpet: any areas that are damaged can be replaced without anyone noticing the difference. This makes them very appealing to interior designers and architects, who frequently specify them for high-traffic walkways. Here are some of the qualities to look for in a good carpet tile:

Dye method

The way a carpet tile’s fibres are coloured gives a clue as to how long the colour will last. There are a number of benefits and advantages of solution dyed carpet tiles. For instance, solution-dyed products will hold their colour through high use and sun exposure, while printed or piece-dyed carpet may not hold up so well.

Weight

Most professionals will have minimum standards for carpet weight – the more fibre per square metre, the plusher the carpet will be. Look for tiles with more weight per square metre as a sign of their quality, and how well they will hold up against wear and tear from day-to-day use.

Construction

This is where you need to consider the look and feel you want in the commercial space. They all look different, whether they are woven, loop or tip sheer products. Low, dense carpet in loop pile construction will show traffic patterns less than other types, making them a good option for high foot traffic areas. Sparser carpet construction is softer and can be more comfortable in lower traffic areas. Duraflor offer a range of options including our Freedom Collection (Rainfall, Storm, Bark, Pavement and Compound) which all a use Heavyweave™ construction which gives increased durability, resulting in a 20-year commercial wear guarantee.

Pile

The height of the pile means the measurement from the backing to the top. A lower pile height with strong, durable fibres is ideal for a high-traffic area, while thicker pile offers more comfort for less busy spaces.

 

Making the right choice involves considering all these factors, but money has to be a consideration as well. Think about the length of time the commercial space can be contracted out for, design and functionality needs and how far your budget can comfortably stretch.

Bringing nature into the workplace enhances productivity

natural environment lighting and plants

We consider some of the less expensive options and benefits of bringing natural materials, plants, lighting and nature-inspired patterns into the working environment, when it comes to enhancing productivity and well-being.


Many interior designers take advantage of the positives which nature can bring by using plant- and nature-inspired patterns and tones in their work. A natural look can transform the appearance of the workplace and make a noticeable difference to employee well-being and morale.

We consider a number of cost-effective measures which can make a demonstrable improvement to the employee environment, potentially resulting in reduced absenteeism, enhanced productivity and a more positive workplace morale.

Increase natural light

As well as it being a requirement under health and safety legislation that “where practicable” workplaces are lit using natural light, studies have shown that daylight can have a positive effect on mental health and mood. Often a considerable increase in natural light can be achieved by removing interior barriers: something as simple as replacing opaque interior screens with translucent options, for example, can make a noticeable difference to interior lighting levels without requiring radical structural change. “Natural” light bulbs can also help achieve an outdoor lighting look where there is insufficient natural light.

Add plants into the working environment

Not only are plants aesthetically pleasing, they also have a selection of functional advantages: a well-placed plant can be an attractive yet effective privacy screen, for example. Plants can also counteract the effects of pollutants, potentially contributing to better internal air quality. Reasonably cheap to acquire, low-maintenance plants can often be managed in-house.

Plus, there is plenty of evidence to support the fact that plants have a positive effect on the working environment. They help reduce stress, increase productivity, reduce noise levels and improve creativity.

Using natural, or natural-look materials

Timber and stone look fantastic as part of an interior scheme, and there are some excellent alternative synthetic products on the market: these replicate the look and texture of stone, trees, or water, at the same time as having the durability, ease of maintenance and versatility needed to work well in an office or similar environment.

Commercial flooring, that mimics nature can complement many of these interior choices, that focus on creating a more natural environment. The Duraflor Freedom Bark range, inspired by the texture of natural tree bark, is a good example of this.

Consider organic accessories and furniture

As well as opting for a natural colour scheme (greens, greys and browns work well), adding furniture or accessories that enhance the natural theme can also help to create the required ambiance, without a full makeover being required. With organic, natural interiors always on-trend, the time could well be right to invest in the appearance of the workplace and enjoy the difference it makes.

5 unique ways to improve productivity in your office

Dog resting on office floor

Designing an office involves multiple considerations. You need to ensure that it is functional, welcoming and offers maximum productivity. Here are some unique ways to improve productivity in your office.


There are many ways you can help increase productivity in your office. Most of the options for improving productivity are based on the placement of equipment in relation to staff. Another common trend is to offer employee well-being solutions. These are all good ways to help you increase office output, but they aren’t the only options to consider.

1. Colour co-ordination

There are many ways that colour helps improve productivity in offices. It isn’t just about one colour for the whole office either. Every colour has a different impact on your workers’ emotions. The best colours can also be very specific to the type of work you need doing. For example, red is very good for those undertaking physical work and yellow is great for creative work.

With this philosophy, you can use different colours depending on the purpose of the room. Any staff rest areas should have a blue tint to them, while heavy, physical areas should have strong red decoration. This is a subject we recently touched on in another blog Office Design Colours for Employee Well-being and Productivity.

2. Commercial flooring

Commercial flooring is an important part of your productivity. The right flooring must be easy to care for as well as easy to move around on. The wrong flooring options can increase noise in an office, which is very disruptive to your employees’ performance.

In addition, while not often thought of, the right commercial flooring can be used staff to make staff feel comfortable as well as reduce workplace accidents that can lead to injury related absence.

3. Television

Televisions in the office have been found to help increase productivity. This is because the television can be another way to display information vital to the business. This could include information about business operations (e.g. sales goals) or general information to instil teamwork and collaboration.

A television can also be a good way to entertain staff when productivity levels are low. By having the television on at these times you can reset the minds of your staff and this can increase productivity in the long-term. Of course having a TV permanently on showing non-company information, or using it as background noise is a tough decision for executives – it has been shown to have negative effects but there are articles out there that dispute this.

4. Office pets

Pets have a wide range of benefits for those who keep them. This can include relieving stress and improving well-being. Offices with pets often experience higher levels of job satisfaction, lower absenteeism and higher productivity. An office pet doesn’t need to be a dog or cat. It could be a reptile, fish or a bird.

The concern here is that pets can mean more work, but they can also become an important office mascot that unites the team.

5. Free coffee

Lastly we suggest – ensure that your office is offering free coffee. Coffee is a known stimulant that will increase productivity and sharpen focus.

Why use a raised access floor

raised access floor installation image

Renovating your office space? This could be a great time to consider opting for a raised access floor if you haven’t before. Experience a tidier workplace with fewer potential accidents.


Although it initially might seem like a lot of work to install, raised floors are actually fairly simple to implement and even easier to maintain. Here are some of the main benefits you could enjoy from choosing this new flooring system:

A tidier aesthetic

One of the main reasons businesses opt for a raised access floor is to keep cords and wires out of the way. Lots of companies are maintaining their minimalist look by keeping all these electrical components beneath the floor. This means you won’t have wires trailing along the carpet and everything is still easily accessible when maintenance is needed.

Fewer accidents

Because wires will be tidied away, there will be fewer trip hazards, making it easier to keep your employees safe and comply with health and safety regulations. Equally, wires will be kept safely away from spills or even cleaning products, avoiding damage to your equipment.

Simple and cost-effective maintenance

If anything was to happen to your raised floor, it’s often very straightforward to repair. Because the design of the floor means it is made up of individual tiles, this often means single tiles can be swapped out and replaced if needed.

Energy saving

If you’re storing your electricals beneath the floor then you’ll want to make sure they don’t overheat. It’s possible to have a flow of air conditioning travel through the space in the floor, which is much more efficient than cooling the entire room. You’ll lose less energy and save money, all while keeping your computers in optimal condition.

If your systems above the floor are also prone to overheating, then extending the cool air to flow above the tiles is also possible and much more effective than a traditional air conditioner that might sit high up on the walls.

Improved organisation

The individual tiles effectively offer you a neat way to compartmentalise different systems. When performing maintenance, you can quickly find the areas you need if you have a labelled floor plan in place. This is especially useful for businesses that use many different servers or have had difficulties in the past with technicians accessing hard to reach areas.

Adding Vinyl Planks and Carpet Tiles

Carpet tiles and looselay vinyl planks obviously have the same modular benefits of raised access floors, so it is easy to replicate the benefits of being able to access individual sections.