The benefits of LVT

The many benefits of LVT

 
Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) is more than ever a logical choice when it comes to commercial spaces. It’s a hardwearing option that will look brand new for years, with a simple maintenance regime. Resembling hardwood or stone (depending on your design preferences), the commercial space you’re designing will be decked out with a durable flooring option that it easier to install and maintain than the more natural alternatives.

Durability

 
When it comes to durability, LVT is one of the best materials on the market. It shapes up well against the stresses of everyday commercial life. It is made of PVC-based materials and will often have a longer warranty than laminate, which comprises of compressed high density fibre boards. Because LVT is PVC based it is also waterproof as a material. A tough wear layer makes LVT resistant to scratches and indents. Our AXIS LVT range and our Espressa LVT range, which are looselay so easier to install both come with a 0.7mm wearlayer which is the ideal for an area with heavy foot traffic.

Maintenance

 
When running a commercial business, time is money, so even having a floor that is easy to maintain has its own financial benefits and is a key criteria for selection. A brush and a mop as part of a normal cleaning routine are primarily all that is needed. There are a  few tips, but beyond that it couldn’t be simpler – if using a damp mop it is important to use a pH neutral cleaner and make sure staff remove stains when they happen.

Appearance

 
When a customer walks into the space, the look of the office is one of the first things that they take in. This includes the floor. Given how realistic LVT looks when trying to achieve a stone or wood environment and given the factors mentioned above, LVT is bound to generate a positive and professional atmosphere. We have 3 LVT ranges, that are a comprehensive set of wood and stone colours, that look especially authentic – take a look at our Momenta range to see the benefits of LVT in action, when it comes to design.

Hygiene

 
LVT is a natural choice when it comes to choosing a hygienic option, in fact when we surveyed our customers in 2020 they very clearly identified the continued growth would be positively impacted by the pandemic.

 

For more information on our ranges and how we can help with a project, don’t hesitate to contact the team at Duraflor today. We’d be delighted to send you LVT samples.

The positive impact of an office fit-out

Blizzard Mountain Breeze and Smoke Twist in an office environment

Don’t underestimate the positive impact of an office fit-out

 
An office fit-out can be an incredibly daunting project, that involves potential disruption and sometimes a substantial budget. The positive impact of an office fit-out cannot however be underestimated, it can boost morale, productivity and positively impact on how a company’s brand is viewed.

Boosts staff morale
 
A good fit-out can rejuvenate the interior design of an office, which in turn boosts productivity and staff morale. Creating new, dynamic working areas makes employees more creative, happy and productive as a result. This is especially the case when an office is designed with wellbeing in mind.

Improves business performance
 
A well-designed office space that has been carefully planned will invite success to a business and attract the right staff to work there. By contrast, a dimly lit office with poor furniture won’t attract new custom or inspire staff. A good fit-out is the office equivalent of dressing for the job you want, so smartening up an office can improve attitudes and how a business performs.

You may not think it, but sources show that there’s a direct link between an office’s interior décor and the productivity of those who work inside it. The gloomier the office, the slower the output. Whether you are managing a fit-out project for a client or renovating your own office, now is the perfect time to upgrade your interior to something that’s much more modern and bright. Not only can it create a better environment for employees, but it can also lead to a much greater workload output – approx. a 20% increase.

Can can create better collaborative spaces
 
When designing a new office fit-out, it is important to consider the different working styles of employees. For example, some sections of an office may be designated collaborative workspaces.  In fact the role of the office has changed for many companies in Covid-19 times. There are obvious considerations around hygiene that can be accomplished with a refit, but how the space will be used is also an important factor.  Offices provide are a chance to meet, discuss and collaborate on projects in a safe space, and these days a chance for remote workers to get together. How a new office fit-out enables this should not be underestimated.

Can help establish a proud brand identity
 
Offices are a reflection of a business and its core values, so it is important to set the right tone for an office as an interior designer. This is especially true if the office is used to speak with clients and prospects. An office space is an extension of a brand’s identity to showcase its strengths.

 

There are lots of ways a fit-out can affect the workplace, but the key is to get a fit-out right so that the positive impact of an office fit-out can be realised. From creating a more usable office environment for staff to enticing new prospects with stunning office space, a fit-out can really improve how a business functions.

Designing an office with wellbeing in mind

Momenta Herringbone White Sparkle

 

The importance of designing an office with wellbeing in mind

 

There are lots of considerations that go into a new office fit-out and a key aspect that can get overlooked is how best to incorporate wellbeing into a work environment.

A well-planned office can positively impact the mental health and wellbeing of staff, which can do wonders for productivity, absenteeism and positivity in the workplace. With 12.7% of all workplace absences in the UK attributed to mental health conditions, a few tweaks to your office can drop those numbers significantly.

In this article, we offer a few tips to help you design your office with wellbeing in mind.

Consider the lighting of your office

Our bodies, mood and well-being are affected by our senses, which is why things can feel so gloomy during the long, winter months. Lots of research points to using natural light wherever possible in office environments to promote a more positive outlook. Natural light exposure has been shown to release serotonin throughout our bodies, improving our mood and improving our wellbeing.

When designing your office, try to bring as much natural light into the space as possible. Not only will it improve moods across the office, but it will save you bills on lighting in the process.

Create a space to separate from work, but make safety a priority

Breaking up the working day can help employees find some reprieve during a long shift, so providing a comfortable area that is separate from their workspace is essential. Something as simple as a change of scenery during a break can give staff a much-needed boost of energy to get them through the rest of the day.

You should create break rooms that are versatile enough to be used for informal team meetings, coffee breaks and other activities that are separate from daily workplace activities. This ensures your office space is being used intelligently and gives staff a place to relax and avoid the risks of burnout.

Recent research carried out by the TUC among 2,100 safety reps found that nearly half of employers surveyed were yet to carry out a Covid risk assessment. The virus should have a significant impact on office layout, frequency of usage, purpose and procedures (even fire evacuation plans as recently highlighted by a fire safety campaign). Any work on creating collaborative spaces or break areas needs to take into account virus mitigation and hygiene plans.

Sanitising stations, social distancing, and increased ventilation can help control the spread of the virus. Many office specialist are however reporting that the new normal is already redefining our offices to support a more agile, smart way of working. This applies to all areas, but especially key areas that enable greater social interaction.

Cultivate an agile workplace

Try to make your workspace as flexible as possible for staff to accommodate the diverse nature of office work. Consider all staff while designing your office to empower them and support their overall health, wellbeing and productivity. A great place to start is to look at the furniture and overall layout – can everyone use the current desk arrangement, or could it be improved upon? Is there a way within current the hygiene considerations, to create an environment that encourages using different areas for different types of tasks and regularly ringing the changes to stimulate employees? We have written a number of interesting articles on the benefits of agile working and the trends associated with it.

The current climate

Designing an office with well being in mind can be an inexpensive fix, when balanced against the cost of staff absences. It is probably even more of a consideration as the pandemic continues. Wellbeing is about feeling safe these days, as well the office being a great place to work. If staff are to benefit from the interactions they have missed, for the sake of their overall wellbeing they need to believe the company is considering every aspect of the health.

3 reasons why your business needs specialist entrance matting

Specialist Entrance Matting - Entraguard and a Barrier Tile

 

Why your business needs specialist entrance matting

 

There are some very practical reasons why we recommend a specialist entrance matting system and barrier tiles for your business.

The entrance is the very first thing both your employees and your clients will see when they walk through the door, so it is important to pick the right flooring. Here are some of the main reasons for our recommendations.

Increases safety

According to a study by the Health and Safety Authority  1 in 5 slip victims are non-workers. If an incident like this happens on your premises, it could cost your business a lot of money in legal fees.

Slips like these can be caused as a result of moisture entering the entrance of the building from the outside. Specialist entrance matting reduces the amount of ‘walked-in’ moisture by soaking up any moisture that people bring in on their shoes, dramatically reducing the risks of slips and falls.

Reduces soiling

As the entrance to your building is the first thing customers will see when they walk in the door, they may be put off by dirty floors caused by foot traffic.

Specialist entrance matting will stop dirt and moisture from entering the building and messing up the floor. Customers and employees can use this matting to wipe their feet before. Not only will this make your building look much more professional and clean, but it will also reduce cleaning costs and is another way to increase the longevity of your main floor covering.

Looks attractive

The entrance is where first impressions about your business will be made, so you should take some time to think about the flooring. Specialist entrance matting can make an entrance look smart, professional and attractive. Not only will this welcome customers into your building, but it will also highlight how professional and smart your company is.

We recommend using our easy to install Entraguard Matting System at the entrance doorway, then one our barrier tile ranges before transitioning to the carpet tiles or vinyl floor covering of your choice. That way the floor covering you choose for the rest of the building, should also stay looking attractive at all times.

Install specialist entrance matting today

Entrance matting is often overlooked when it comes to office fit-outs. However, it is actually very important, and you should take some time to consider the right entrance matting for you. If you need help the team at Duraflor will be happy to discuss ideas.

How to balance functionality and aesthetics in office design

reception area open plan office furniture matching brand

Functionality and aesthetics in office design


 
It can be hard to get the balance right between functional design and great aesthetics, especially in a workplace. Here are just a few thoughts that might help.
 

Functionality versus great design


 
To properly design an office space, you need to know how the space is going to be used. Obviously. think about practical considerations like cleaning and maintenance, but you could also look to make certain spaces potentially more unique. It is worth considering which areas are customer-facing, which areas staff are most exposed to, and which areas are used less.

Think about the first impression of an office and what the space says to potential new employees or important clients. Consider areas of heavy footfall, and how imaginative heavy duty contract flooring can be used, in areas that are seen most frequently. A great example of being creative with flooring, and selecting the best type of floor covering for each area is shown in this case study.

The same goes for investing in furniture that will last, and considering visitors first impressions, as well as staff comfort. It is proven, an aesthetically pleasing office design increases morale and subsequently productivity in an office. There is however another debate on practical design versus aesthetics, not something you have to worry about with Carpet Tiles or Luxury Vinyl Tiles from Duraflor, but a key consideration when choosing the right furniture or designing the layout of a room.

Creative touches


 
No matter how heavy-duty the office space needs to be, there is always room for creative touches, like artwork from local artists or a chill-out space staff can use on their breaks. Consider feature walls in brand colours or an international background you can incorporate with bold prints. If the office is in a unique location, try and showcase it, with exposed brickwork for industrial spaces or large open windows to flood the office with natural light and make the most of the view. Functionality and aesthetics in office design don’t need to be at odds they just need practical imagination.

Commercial flooring trends 2021

Eleganza a short plank range that is on trend

Our Customers Predicted The Commercial Flooring Trends


 

With more employees starting to return to the office, it’s understandable that companies are looking to redesign or freshen up their commercial spaces to reflect changing attitudes. A survey we did at the start of year, when our customers predicted an increase in vinyl flooring sales, has proven to be correct with many recent research reports also predicting stronger growth in commercial vinyl flooring, and significant developments in the field of sustainability, unique textures, and also greater authenticity.
 

Commercial flooring trends the popularity of vinyl flooring
 

Ensuring that you have a clean and safe commercial space will continue to be a very important trend as we move out of 2021. Vinyl is synonymous with durability, it’s low-maintenance, water-resistant, cost-effective, and long-lasting. Among the convincing wood-like finishes (with distressed proving popular), you’ll also find a variety of stone and marble effects (slate has been a hot trend since 2019). In fact a number of manufacturer report the stone look is still very much in vogue. There is also a number of articles that reference the calming effect that grey has in both a domestic and commercial environment. While others talk about the fact Grey LVT works well with even the most vibrant of wall colours, creating a professional finish.

LVT tiles are just what you need to give your commercial office space a high level of luxury. Plus LVT flooring is especially ideal for high levels of foot traffic. Not only will visitors be taken in by the warming and welcoming appearance of your office, but your cleaning staff will also thank you at the end of the day. Another benefit to LVT and something which is very much on trend is the ability to mix tile designs, and the continued emergence of short planks with wider pieces that create an easy to install but highly effective herringbone effect.

For more expert guidance on commercial office flooring, contact our team at Duraflor.

Commercial Restaurant Design

Espressa Natural Grey used in a bar area

Key Trends in Commercial Restaurant Design

 

When it comes to commercial interior design, it’s essential to start from the ground up. Your flooring designs can significantly impact your restaurant’s overall finish and look, so it’s vital to consider your options carefully.
 

Why is commercial flooring important for restaurants?

 
Flooring sets the tone for your restaurant, giving the base colour and texture that informs the rest of your decor. In the hospitality industry, this is vital as it can distinguish between a sophisticated fine dining restaurant and a more casual, fun-loving bar.

Beyond aesthetics, commercial flooring is essential for the health and safety of your employees. According to the Health and Safety Executive, of the 693,000 self-reported non-fatal injuries in the workplace between 2019-2020, 29% of them were slips, falls, or trips. To minimise this risk in your establishment, you should ideally have slip-resistant protection.

1. A natural look

 
That’s right, those light oaks and darker mahoganies are back in fashion. According to style-guru Sina Sadeghpour, wooden flooring and decor are fantastic ways to bring the outside in, creating a cosy atmosphere for your guests. Plus, their neutral tones are more versatile, allowing you to switch up your decor over time.

However, wooden flooring can be expensive and difficult to maintain with heavy foot traffic, so we recommend considering wood-effect luxury vinyl tiles. They offer the same natural beauty but in an easy-to-clean, non-slip material that’s perfect for a restaurant.

2. It’s all about the entrance

 
First impressions matter, even when it comes to restaurants. Give your guests the wow factor with a stunning entranceway for your restaurant, using commercial carpets and carpet tiling to evoke a sense of home and relaxation. You can even protect the rest of your restaurant’s flooring with a robust and durable entrance mat.

3. The kitchen should look as good as the restaurant

 
Many restaurants are opting for a more open plan nowadays. Rather than hiding the kitchen in the back, designers are looking to feature the kitchen as part of the restaurant, allowing guests to see their chef freshly prepare their food and curate a more open, roomier feel to the unit.

This design trend means you need to ensure your restaurant flooring is as chic and on-brand as your main floor. You can keep the same flooring throughout or use a solid contrasting colour to draw attention to the kitchen feature.

Contact Duraflor

 
Are you looking for some high-quality commercial flooring for your restaurant? Whether you’re refitting an existing unit or starting a new design from scratch, Duraflor has an extensive flooring range for all your commercial needs.

Get in touch today to find out more.

How to ensure contractor collaboration in re-fit projects

contractor on the floor of a tall building

Contractor collaboration saves time and cost.

 

The construction industry, and particularly how contracts are set up, does not naturally encourage sub-contractors to work together. Margins are often tight and everyone is keen to protect their piece of the pie. The truth is however, that working together will eliminate downtime and potentially result in massive savings for all concerned. That can’t be the main contractors sole responsibility, it relies on everyone doing their bit. Collaboration in the construction industry has been written about before, as you’ll note in this interesting article, but it is worth reflecting on some of the key points previously raised.
 

Communication, cooperation, and stringent planning

 

One of the keys to successful working side by side with other contractors is good communication from the outset.

We found an excellent diagram that covers 3 key principles

Common Vision

Collaborative Culture

Collaborative Precesses & Tools
 

It is vital to ensure everybody is on the same page when it comes to the project. Leave things open to interpretation, means everyone will interpret the project slightly differently.  Having a clearly defined start and end dates for everyone involved and with everyone knowing what is expected from each party, will ensure many common issues simply won’t arise.

Forming a mutually satisfactory plan with clear scheduling can make the job run a lot more smoothly and avoid any potential pitfalls that might otherwise be faced.

Other advice includes avoiding duplication of roles and effort through e.g. co-location (placing many or all of the most active project team members in the same physical location to enhance their ability to perform as a team), Building Information Models and Management.
 

Health and safety considerations

 

Even before the world was plunged into a global pandemic, there were many safety concerns and considerations to take into account when working alongside multiple contractors during a commercial fit-out. COVID-19 has exacerbated the need for socially distanced work to take place, and you can follow certain guidelines.

Wearing the appropriate PPE at all times is imperative when you are working on an indoor project, such as fitting commercial flooring. Allow air to circulate whenever possible and especially if you are fitting the flooring at the same time that other work is ongoing in the same room. Ideally you can even schedule your work at a different time and in a different area to minimise the risk of infection.

Contact us if we can help you in any way with a project.

Circular Design in Office Fit Outs

Example of Circular Design Flooring Cubism in Office

 

Circular Design in Office Fit Outs – Why is it important?

 
Over an average commercial building’s life of 40 years, 42% of carbon emissions come from its fit-outs.

That’s a remarkable statistic. But perhaps not surprising if you consider that the typical UK office is refitted every eight years.

Certainly, that’s a fact that any company promoting its green credentials cannot ignore. It would simply be impossible to deliver a strategy, for example, to be carbon neutral by 2030 without considering fit-outs and commercial interior design as one of the key contributors.

While the principles of circular design are increasingly understood, the actual practical delivery of how to achieve them is not always so simple.

What are the principles of circular design?

 
There are but three key elements to circular design. Let’s recap:

Design out waste and pollution

Reuse products and materials to keep them in use

Regenerate natural systems

That’s all well and good. But if an office fit-out will require a contractor with a sledgehammer to smash out an interior wall, already those principles are becoming difficult to implement.

Re-fitting offices to circular principles

 
The conventional approach to an office fit-out is to strip everything out, dispose of it, and create an almost-bare blank canvas with modern clean-look decor, flooring and lighting.

Perhaps the simplest and biggest win when re-fitting to a circular model is to repurpose the existing furniture. That means safety checking, cleaning, fixing and re-upholstering items to effectively reuse them.

We found a great example of how an Australian Architect applied Circular Principles if you are keen to read a Case Study and download a guide. Their approach was to follow some key guidelines, they catalogued and analysed existing materials to assess their potential to be repurposed, recycled or reused. The team facilitated internal design competitions and brainstorming sessions to help find collaborative and creative solutions to the various challenges.

Considering your flooring options

 
One of the key factors of achieving a circular economy in office refits (and one that is often overlooked) is the principle of specifying and installing products that can be fully recycled at the end of their life. Many flooring manufacturers including Duraflor can assist with take-back schemes for carpet tiles and recycling schemes for sheet vinyl.

Taking care to select flooring with a high degree of recycled content is also important. Designers particularly favour our Cubism range made with Econyl that uses synthetic waste including recycled fishing nets to create nylon yarn that is the same quality as virgin nylon.

It is also important to consider product life, while we stated office fit-outs are around every 8 years if the flooring is in perfect condition and looks almost as good as it did when it was laid, then that is an extra benefit in retaining an organisations sustainability credentials. Many of our flooring products have a 15 year commercial wear guarantee and our Freedom Collection has a 20 year guarantee and the technology in the manufacture helps it retain its fresh appearance throughout its commercial life.

Guidance on office fit-outs

hand drawing a 3D image of a breakout area

 

Our Guidance on office fit-outs to minimise disruption and achieve key goals.

 
Project managing a new office fit-out can be tough work. There are so many pressing concerns to think about, such as how to stay within your assigned budget, how to comply with health and safety protocols, how to ensure employees are happy with the end result, but also how best to communicate changes, and how best to ensure that business operations continue throughout the installation process.

Let’s take a look at some of the latter considerations and how you might want to handle them.

Minimising Employee Downtime

 
Minimising employee downtime through careful planning can ensure that your company is not adversely impacted during an office fit-out.

Schedule carefully and strategically

Before you book any contractors to help with your fit-out, take a look at the timetables of all key employees. If there appears to be a time when several employees will be on holiday or undertaking remote training, and if they are not vital to the fit-out work, consider making the most of that time.

Use remote working facilities

Lots of us have become accustomed to remote working tools in recent months. Ask employees to work remotely while the fit-out takes place.
 

Ensuring You Get The Best ROI

 
A new workplace fit-out isn’t just about looking good. Studies have shown that the right workplace can actually improve employee performance and productivity! But, of course, you do have to get the fit-out right to reap the benefits. With that in mind, here are some aspects you might want to consider.

Ignoring focus on the IT comms room

The comms room needs to be at the forefront of any modern office re-fit. It will have very strong power demands, for starters, and will also have specific requirements for security, size and ventilation.

Know your contractors

One of the key practicalities of an office fit-out is to ensure you build links with contractors in all the key disciplines: IT, construction, electrics, carpentry, commercial flooring, etc.

It’s important to find contractors to handle the level of your project, knowing they have the skill and experience to deal with any potential issues that are likely to arise. Hiring the wrong contractors can lead to problems with budget and delivering on time, so it’s important to fully vet anyone you’re considering bringing into the project.

Budget with accuracy

Part of any fit-out is taking the time to iron out the specific details before the project gets going, and knowing – as accurately as you can be – the likely costs of:

• Contractors
• Supplies
• Any specific furniture requested
• Electrics
• Moving
• Any additional ‘options’ that will add to the price
• How costs will grow if there are any delays

This article aimed at office start-ups gives a great insight to how to best budget for a new fit-out.

Don’t ignore the ‘house rules’

A key piece of guidance on office fit-outs is that almost all commercial landlords will have their own specific ‘house rules’ on what is allowed and isn’t allowed in their building. These can vary substantially. For some landlords, contractors may only be permitted to work outside traditional business hours, so other tenants in the building aren’t disturbed. Other landlords might not permit contractors to use tenant lifts or to even deliver goods at certain times.

Anticipate and communicate changes

When last-minute change requests occur, they can have wide-ranging consequences. If the request is small, you may not need to do much to alter your fit-out plan. However, if the request is large and throws your plan entirely off course, it is imperative that you communicate with everyone involved to decide whether this request can be completed and how it is going to affect your fit-out plan. Our last piece of guidance on office fit outs is things are more easily overcome when communication is clear and stakeholders feel included in the loop.

 

We can provide advice on the best flooring for your flooring project, we like to think that our expertise, next day delivery service and range of products to suit all budgets, means there is one less thing to worry about when you are managing a fit-out project.