The sustainable office

Freedom Storm carpet tile a sustainable office solution

How to create a sustainable office

Here we explore measures to create the sustainable office, including reducing waste, increasing recycling, improving energy efficiency, and purchasing sustainable office furniture and supplies. Plus, we take a look at what the experts recommend for the design and build community.

A changing world
Back in 2016 Morgan Lovell found that 72% of workers said it was important to them to work in a sustainable environment and with sustainability needs heightened in 2020, that number is certain to be higher.

The world is in a race against time to try and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius – the amount of warming deemed acceptable by the United Nations. Recent flooding events in the UK and bush fires in Australia have increased the sense of urgency. In addition, David Attenborough’s coverage of plastic pollution in our oceans in the last few years has meant a greater number of people are thinking about how their behaviours are impacting the natural world.

The world of office design and management are not immune to these forces, and as awareness of the climate emergency and the environmental impact of pollution grows, more and more companies are looking to make their offices more sustainable.

The target brief set by the UK Green Building Council can act as a template for other refurbishment projects:

The brief aimed to balance the health, wellbeing and productivity of the twenty-five regular office users with outstanding resource and energy efficiency and a low carbon approach.

Targets included:

  • The carbon cost (£/m2) meeting or exceeding the standard achieved by other comparable fit-out projects, with an aspiration to achieve the lowest measured fit-out carbon footprint in UK

  • 98% of the current fit out to be reused, repurposed or recycled, and a strong emphasis on new materials that are locally sourced with high recycled content and recyclability, each with an ‘end of life’ plan

  • Air quality maximised in line with the relevant WELL Standard requirements, including the minimisation of VOCs from materials used, and the provision of ample fresh air

  • Reducing energy used per employee for lighting and small power by 40% by 2020 compared to a 2013 baseline, with the overall performance (including HVAC) should equal or better the REEB best practice benchmark

At least a 10% improvement in staff satisfaction with the office environment.
Even if you are not doing a major refurbishment project there are some simple ways to help.

Just like households, offices can produce large amounts of waste. From food waste to plastics and paper, there are ways to reduce the amount of waste and dispose of it in the most environmentally friendly way.

Ensuring that waste is separated into different types is key, aligning with the local council’s waste processing capabilities. This could include separate containers for organic waste e.g. food, recyclables and rubbish for landfill.

Water dispensers can create a lot of plastic waste too through disposable plastic cups. Asking staff to bring in their own porcelain cups or providing them with glasses can help to reduce this.

Electrical lighting can form a significant part of an office’s energy usage. Reducing consumption will help to decrease Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and also save the company on electricity bills.

A combination of installing the most energy-efficient LED lights, and sensors that will only turn on lights when staff are in a particular area, are the most popular measures. Although there might be a greater upfront cost when compared with older systems, over time the benefits will accrue.

Office supplies and furniture

Office managers purchase many items regularly to help with the functioning of the workplace. These can include coffee, tea, milk, sugar, fruit, paper, cleaning equipment, mugs, cutlery and plates.

Ensuring the most sustainable products are procured is essential to boosting the green credentials of the company. There are many office suppliers who focus on sustainability. They can help source environmentally friendly items that have been certified in areas such as renewable energy use in their production, water conservation and reuse of materials.

Similar certifications can be sought for office furniture such as tables and chairs, to ensure those products haven’t harmed the environment across their supply chain.

Energy efficiency
Heating and cooling the office, as well as powering electronic office equipment, are prime sources of energy usage.

It is worth noting that carpet tiles have excellent insulation properties compared to many other floor coverings. It means that less heat will leak out in the winter and leak in during the summer, reducing GHGs and energy bills.

We pride ourselves on our ability to offer sustainable floor covering options and when it comes to sustainability credentials the Freedom Storm range featured above has it all.

Reasons to update office décor

Office with pops of colour on desks

There are some really good reasons to update office décor

Replacing office décor can be expensive. And most office furniture and décor can last for years. However, there are times when you might want to replace office furniture and flooring before the end of its natural life. The good reasons to update office décor could well include:

1. Wear and tear
One obvious reason is safety, this should always be at the forefront of decisions. A dangerous floor or damage to furniture could result in an accident that makes your company liable for compensation. 

2. New branding
Office décor can be matched to the colour scheme of your brand. This can be a great way to align ethics within a business and ensure that everyone knows the core values of the brand.

3. To improve productivity
Sometimes it can be tempting to leave old décor in your current building because of the costs associated with installing new flooring and painting a room. Not to mention it can take up days of lost productivity.

However, the benefits might be worthwhile. Several studies have shown that using the right carpet in your office can reduce fatigue (by up to 24%) and muscle tiredness, as well as improve concentration and creativity. Replacing core furniture has similar benefits.

Certain colours within an office can also have an impact on employee performance. The right colour for productivity will depend heavily on the industry you’re in and what you want from employees. There are also many ways flooring can increase productivity.

4. To improve the opinions of guests 
You only get one chance to make a good impression. If you have old decor that has been poorly maintained, it will reflect badly on you when guests visit. At the same time, by replacing furniture in an office, you can find that morale within the office will improve. Better morale can lead to increased productivity and less staff turnover which yields greater profits in the long-term.

Colour trends classic blue and the power of play

Colour trends interior design classic blue

Create workplace joy with Pantone Classic Blue 2020, playful use of colour, and hints of the outdoors

It’s official! Playful use of colour, texture and the addition of the Pantone Colour of the Year (Classic Blue) will be prominent features of commercial office layout upgrades for 2020. Plus, add hints of the natural world to any workplace setting in 2020 and you’re certainly onto a winner.

How can the use of colour create a happier workforce?
The use of statement colours within striking combinations can recreate that childlike joy in adults (referenced in the Antron colour trends report 2019/20). Duraflor Trend carpet tile range meets a two-fold need, pops of colour yet an element of subtle sophistication. Getting just the right contrast to make the statement, and simulate the senses, yet be tonally quite subtle and playful is exactly what the latest trends are indicating .

The role of Pantone Classic Blue 2020 Colour of the Year 
One of the reasons Classic Blue tones help build levels of workplace happiness is down to the everlasting natural appeal of blue. Opting for the deepest shades of Classic Blue adds hints of twilight to the workplace, which is sure to create positive, yet tranquil vibes. Using different tones of blue to add decorative accents is even more of a dramatic style statement for 2020 office spaces, and could even build productivity by awakening heightened creativity.

Our Trend carpet tiles offer lots of ways to add texture and a pop of colour to the office, and we predict the Duraflor Celestial Blue will be very popular in 2020. This range has a contrasting darker stripe which helps reduce levels of soiling, and the different colours combine perfectly to add a playful, zesty pop to any workplace.

Seek inspiration from the colours and textures of the natural world
Office layouts of today are far more flexible than ever before. Creating a layout that manages to bring the outside world into the office is increasingly popular. Of course, natural materials and colours are the other big decorative style statements for the year, and our Natural Terrain Collection of carpet tiles or maybe Freedom Bark could be the perfect complement to any living wall or biophilic layout you plan to create.

Check out more of our recent posts on the use of colour in commercial settings, or get in touch with the experts at Duraflor today. We’ll be happy to share our expertise or discuss any commercial flooring concerns/office layout issues that may be concerning you.

Best floor coverings for raised access floors

Freedom Storm using antron yarn

Which coverings are best for raised access floors?

In truth we have already covered this off in a previous article on the benefits of raised access floors. It is however worth revisiting the subject, when considering how the need for raised access flooring fits with 2020 office trends and how perfectly the type of floor coverings offered by Duraflor satisfy the trend in both a practical and design-focussed manner.

A key trend of 2020 and something we have seen develop for a good many years is ‘Dynamic Flexibility‘. While multi-purpose spaces is the new norm – Dynamic Flexibility incorporates an entirely new generation of moveable, multi-functional, lightweight, and ergonomic elements designed to fit any space and purpose. With that in mind, the need to keep cables under the floor and make sure that technology access is both hidden and available through the office becomes a prerequisite.

Raised floors are the popular solution for open plan office layouts, particularly call centres and customer service environments. This can make office upgrades easier for organisations planning major layout changes, as moving floor boxes is simpler than adding extra sockets. But the trend demands more than that the flooring needs to withstand constant movement of fixtures and fittings and have the potential to be swapped in and out of areas.

One popular option is a looselay vinyl as it is not stock down it can be quickly lifted and moved around if required but most importantly it is heavy contract rated for business environments that might be constantly changing. Take a look at both our AXIS range and  Espressa range of designs that meet the brief. They are also stylish and easy to maintain.

While looslay luxury vinyl tiles are one option, we must not forget that one of the key benefits to having carpet tiles is to accommodate raised access floors. Some floors are even raised sufficiently to enable engineers to crawl through when major works are required. So, fitting carpet tiles of course means the flooring can be taken up when remedial works or additional utility supplies are required. But again we can look beyond that, and to the need for a flexible office environment, while switching stained or damaged carpet tiles is something worth considering, having a carpet tile that is exceptionally hard wearing and doesn’t show indentations from continually moving furniture may also be an important consideration. For this the Freedom Collection is the perfect solution. We particularly recommend Freedom Storm – its heavy weave construction means it is perfect for environments that are regularly transformed. It comes with a 20 year commercial wear guarantee, so it will look stunning for a very long time. It is also a random lay product with inbuilt soil resistant technology.

As modern offices create new challenges for furniture manufacturer’s, lighting suppliers and partitioning and technology providers, it is good to know that traditional commercial flooring covering concepts can still meet the demands placed upon them.


4 ways to increase office productivity

Good office design can increase productivity

Looking at ways to increase office productivity


Productivity is one of the buzzwords for any office manager, but could the layout and design of your office be affecting how much work gets done?

Office layout can have a huge impact on the amount and the quality of the work that gets done. It is therefore worth considering the following design elements of your office and how they might be impacting your employees’ work. We look at 4 ways to increase office productivity.

1. Choice of flooring

One of the most overlooked factors in the design of an office is the flooring. Your choice of flooring can have some significant effects on those who work in the office, impacting their levels of stress, moral and general enthusiasm for work.

Noise is perhaps one of the biggest threats to any office’s productivity level, with employees losing the ability to focus on tasks with high levels of noise. Yet the right flooring may just offer the solution. Certain types of flooring, particularly carpet tiling, can drastically reduce the amount of noise that filters through an office. This is due to the large surface areas in the fibres in this particular type of tiling, which absorbs sound energy instead of reflecting it back out into the environment.

For more information on the ways commercial flooring can have an direct impact on office productivity, check out our previous article.

2. Individualised workspaces

An office can contain many different types of personalities, all with their own preferred type of work space. This can present a certain challenge when it comes to designing the most effective office as while an open, uncluttered layout may work for one person, it can have a negative effect on another person’s work ethic.

Interestingly a messy desks can be sign of a genius, it is worth considering the degree to which clean and tidy office design could inhibit creativity.

It is therefore extremely important to create a balance in the design of your office, with some open plan areas for those who prefer communal working, and quieter areas for those who have a more quiet approach, and find ways to help those who aren’t naturally tidy to thrive.

3. Air flow

While the temperature of an office is widely accepted as having a direct effect on productivity, the quality of air is also just as important.

Scientific studies have found that the amount of air pollution, and the overall quality of the air in an office can have a huge impact on both employees level of productivity, their general level of stress, and their health.

In the worst cases, air quality can lead to offices developing what is known as ‘sick building syndrome’. This condition can have a huge detrimental effect on a workplace, with large numbers of employees developing headaches, respiratory problems and allergy-like symptoms.

While medical experts do not fully understand the causes of sick building syndrome, it has been linked to the quality of air and the flow of air through an office. It is therefore important to design an office where air can freely flow through the building with no restrictions.

4. Colour

The effects colour can play in an office are wide and numerous. It can affect employees mood, level of stress and their general career satisfaction.

For instance, warm colours typically stimulate employees, causing them to complete their work with a higher sense of urgency. Meanwhile, restful colours such as blue promote intelligent thinking, as well as creativity. These restful colours also help encourage a calm mood in an office.

We previously wrote a detailed article on the many different effects colours can have on an office.


The layout and design of an office can have a huge impact on the productivity levels of your employees. Keeping these considerations in mind when designing an office will help promote both productivity and employee job satisfaction.

Nature inspired flooring to enhance productivity

nature inspired flooring

Nature inspired flooring – the benefits to office productivity

The wonder of nature is around us in urban green spaces, as well as the English countryside. Bringing themes linked to nature into the office environment has many proven benefits. So, nature inspired flooring to enhance productivity could be another design consideration, when determining which patterns will work best on your floor.

Employee benefits

Bringing nature into the office can help employees to feel refreshed, relaxed and ultimately more creative.

Nature-inspired patterns are becoming more and more popular in offices and workplaces. Commercial carpets, that mimic nature  can therefore bring harmony into any office, break-out space or reception area. Freedom Bark is just one example of a nature inspired design.

A relaxed environment facilitates improves productivity

Bringing a reminder of the extraordinary range of textures and colours that Mother Nature provides in the outside world, inside, is a subtle way of helping your employees to feel more comfortable in their working environment.

It is surprising what influences people’s mood in the workplace. Adding indoor gardens, potted plants and living walls are all cited as being initiatives that help to settle employee’s stress levels and well-being.

While commercial carpets and carpet tiles whose design stems from tree bark may not have such an obvious influence, it can still help to lift the mood in a more understated way and research has shown how the mood of staff can affect overall productivity. There are 3 nature inspired designs in our Freedom Collection but it would be fair to say that both Freedom Storm and Freedom Bark are the ones that create the strongest feeling of bringing the outside in.

Freedom collection profile

The Freedom range of commercial carpets comes in eight different colours with five differing designs. It means that you can mix and match throughout the workplace keeping the same attractive nature-based theme.

Incorporating 35% more yarn per square metre than many competitive products, the Heavyweave™ construction also contains a tuft density that is 30% greater than rival commercial carpets. Thanks to the Antron polyamide yarn, the Freedom range is made with DuraTech® soil resistance for easier cleaning. The collection also comes with a 20-year guarantee.

Vinyl flooring trends to expect in 2020

Vinyl Flooring Trends variant tones

Vinyl flooring developments


The technical advances in vinyl flooring in recent years have resulted in highly realistic wood and stone vinyl flooring designs. This has significantly contributed to the continued increase in the popularity of LVT both in commercial environments, as well as domestic ones.

So are there any key vinyl flooring trends to expect  for 2020?

Popular tones

Earthy tones create a mindful and restful space, but they’re also elegant and sophisticated. The best thing about vinyl is that there are so many options available, so no matter if you want a warm earthy tone (think deep brown) or a light finish (think grey and white), there is an option to perfectly match your aesthetic.

Going into 2020, we’re moving towards light, airy colours, with a few warm tones thrown into the mix. In fact, the lights are getting even more extreme, with a trend towards more white-washed looks.

Equally creativity is coming to the fore with a ‘high variation’ look, mixing different colour wood planks to create a multi-variant style on the floor, yet with a knocked back sophistication (as show with our new Espressa range above).

Stronger patterns and shapes

There are some impressive wood looks (including hand-scraped and distressed looks), natural stone looks, woven patterns, metallic looks and more. The options provided in the Duraflor Momenta  and AXIS ranges reflect this.

Herringbone is still proving popular and you should look out for large format wide planks too, which are great especially when paired with solid colours. It really is the perfect combination.

2020 is more about getting creative with your flooring and that isn’t just the domain of carpet tiles.

Ways to improve your company image

Trend carpet tiles case study

Considering all factors.


Attracting and retaining clients or customers to your business is tough. With so many aspects to consider, many owners miss the finer details that can have a huge impact on the image of their company. Company image and reputation can harm sales figures. We consider a few ‘finer detail points’ that could help when considering ways to improve your company image.

1. Promote eco-friendly practices
Whatever sector your business belongs to, there will be ways you can promote environmentally friendly practices. With increased awareness around environmental issues becoming commonplace, many customers and clients are now looking to give their custom to companies that make responsible environmental choices. If your company manufactures products, then using sustainable materials in production can be a way to incorporate this ideology into your company ethos. If you are a retailer, on the other hand, stocking products of this nature can be the way to go. For companies that offer services, however, it can be difficult to find ways to improve your image regarding responsible and sustainable methods. However, using renewable energy suppliers or recyclable materials is an ideal way to incorporate a sense of environmental awareness. Making sure you consider the sustainability aspects of all your furnishings, including flooring also reflects your ethos.

2. Ensuring your branding is consistently used
Your company likely has a logo and colour scheme that you want to be easily identifiable and recognisable among your target market. Keeping your colour scheme fonts and voice consistent in your online content and across your social media channels is key to promoting a professional image. Many businesses will take this side of marketing seriously in regards to their online presence but neglect this when adding decor to their company premises. Your office or business premises should reflect your brand, so incorporating the colours and any other identifiable features that relate to your brand should be considered.

3. Refurnishing your business premises
If you rely on foot traffic or have customers or clients visit your premises, then you’ll want the space to be inviting. A minimalist approach can make spaces appear cleaner and more inviting, so clearing out any unnecessary junk or furniture can help to do this. Naturally, we believe investing in high-quality commercial flooring can greatly enhance your premises’ appearance.

Flooring and wellbeing

Flooring and wellbeing - word and breath on bed of green leaves

4 ways employee health & wellbeing is linked to commercial flooring.

This article shares some ways that your office flooring choice is linked to the health and wellbeing of your employees, and how making the right selection is good for your business.

There are so many unexpected ways that employee health and wellbeing can be affected negatively or positively by the job they do and the environment they work in. And when it comes to flooring and wellbeing, both design and safety are important for the overall welfare of your staff.

1. Allergies
Currently, the UK is one of the top three countries in the world for allergies. Over 21 million adults suffer from some kind of allergy, meaning every single workspace has the responsibility of keeping their flooring and other furnishings clean enough so that dust doesn’t build up.

Offices ideally should be cleaned daily to prevent dust mites, common causes of asthma and other allergies, from accumulating. So you want to choose a floor that is made from an easy-to clean material. Ultimately the floor of an office can easily affect the quality of that space’s air. We have provided tips on cleaning vinyl flooring and carpet tiles in our previous practical design articles.

2. Feeling safe
There’s also the physical safety of your employees. You need to choose the right material for the amount of footfall you will be getting in the office. Whether you go for vinyl flooring or carpet tiles your priority must be safety and you must be committed to maintaining the flooring you choose.

We have written a detailed article on the subject of commercial flooring for high-traffic areas. It is worth considering Carpet tiles are ideal for businesses that require noise insulation, and they can help to keep workspaces warm as well. Certain areas may demand the use of safety flooring, if you need advice on how to assess the risk this article might help.

3. Mental health
While you should never simplify mental health, its causes and its triggers, it’s worth thinking about how the office environment impacts the people who work there.

With the UK expecting to pay £8.4 billion a year due to mental health-related absences, it’s a huge issue affecting both people and businesses. It means companies are adapting their attitude towards mental illness and looking for ways to help their employees.

The feel of the environment may seem small but it can have positive and negative impacts on our moods and our mental health. So think carefully about the design, colour and material of the flooring you use from this perspective. We have mentioned it before but colour has an immense effect on productivity and wellbeing in the office.

4. Productivity
On the subject of productivity – do you ever hear someone say they ‘can’t work from home’. This probably has to do with their environment. Perhaps their house is very cosy, making it harder to get into the work mindset. A clean, bright and fuss-free office or workspace will certainly foster a positive working environment that can lead to increased productivity and improved staff morale, which again is directly linked to wellbeing.

Going beyond that and considering how different people work within a specific environment or even considering Activity Based Workspaces is where flooring can really come into its own here. It shows consideration, which should positively effect how staff feel about an organisation.

Make a statement with flooring

Make a statement with your flooring

Why commercial flooring should not be overlooked

Commercial flooring is a detail that’s often overlooked, but there is an opportunity to make a statement with flooring – it might mean more for your business than you think. Is your office floor giving off the right vibes, or is it time for a refresh?

An old adage states that first impressions mean everything, and that’s as true today as when it was first uttered. Whether you’re on a date, at a job interview or looking around an apartment, you tend to come to a decision incredibly quickly.

In fact, research has shown that within one-tenth of a second, most of us will have decided whether a person or business is trustworthy. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for error, and so when it comes to making your business appear dependable and professional, you need to do all you can to get people on your side from the outset.

Every company worth its salt has a personality, a unique approach and a desired set of customers. Without having these three things embedded within the business’ structure, it will be almost impossible to differentiate yourself, and you will subsequently struggle to stand out when being compared to your competitors.

With that in mind, you need to ensure that everything about your business is in keeping with how you want it to operate, yet simultaneously showcases the very best of what you can offer. That means a classy website, reliable employees, great products, and an office space that will not only appeal to customers but will make valuable members of staff want to stay for the long term.

So, what does your current office flooring say about your business? Is it time for a rethink?

Scuffed and stains
How long has it been since the floor-covering was replaced? Was quality flooring installed with a minimum of a 10 year guarantee for heavy commercial use? Was the choice of floor covering the right one? Is it too late to introduce a proper cleaning and maintenance regime? If the answers are all in the negative, consider the benefits of a refresh on productivity, staff engagement and that all important first impressions. We can advise you on how to resolve the questions raised.

Colour schemes
If your company is ambitious in its wider goals and aspirations, this message should be conveyed across everything that you do, and that includes interior design. If your office space looks dull and boring, it will not showcase the dynamic environment you want to present. Studies have shown that using certain colours – predominantly blues and greens – can massively enhance levels of employee concentration and can also decrease levels of eye fatigue. Such benefits are not immediately obvious, nor are they something that many people will actually be aware of on a daily basis, but it will make a significant difference to long-term productivity.

Type of business
Are you the type of business that will see a lot of labourers come through the door each day? If so, you will need an appropriate type of commercial flooring – entrance matting and barrier tiles, for example – that ensures mud and dirt doesn’t get trampled through the entire building. The importance of keep entrances fresh and clean can’t be emphasised enough – think one-tenth of a second!