Ideas for a sustainable office

 

Designing a sustainable office

 
From packaging to commercial flooring to building design, businesses need to take a wide-reaching approach to sustainability for a better future for everyone. We take a look at how buildings can be more sustainable and what practical steps commercial interior designers are already taking.

Choosing greener materials

 
The most obvious aspect to pay attention to is where your building materials come from, such as whether the timber has been responsibly sourced. Think about a material’s entire life cycle, from where it has been produced to how it will be recycled when it is no longer needed. This sustainable furniture example explains the key principles and the concept can help organisations with evidence of CSR.

Safeguarding resources

 
One of the best ways buildings can become more sustainable is by reducing waste and making the most of resources. This can be done in many practical ways, such as harvesting rainwater, reducing plastic waste, using green technologies for energy and automating when lights turn on.

It is important to be aware of what uses the most energy. In a typical business lighting, heating, and air conditioning are the major contributors to a high energy bill. The simplest way to reduce usage is to make sure these devices are not on when no one needs them.

Ensuring efficient insulation

 
Heat loss through poor insulation is an expensive and unsustainable cost for many businesses. Installing adequate, eco-friendly insulation across your premises not only cuts down your emissions but can also help your building to retain heat and save money on heating bills. If you are investing in green technology, such as solar panels, to increase your companies sustainability, it’s essential that any potential heat loss is addressed through proper insulation.

Disposing of old materials responsibly

 
It isn’t just what we buy that creates a sustainable office, the way we get rid of things makes a huge environmental impact. Another way buildings can be more sustainable is through the responsible disposal of old materials, like blinds, office furniture and commercial carpets. Simply throwing them away isn’t sustainable at all, so make sure they are recycled or reused wherever possible. If you’re updating your office interior and need to get rid of old flooring, choose a commercial carpet and carpet tiling provider like Duraflor who provide a take back service as part of their environmental program.

Office trends 2022

Creative Meeting Pod with Blizzard Due North and Blizzard Whirlwind

 

What are the key office trends of 2022?

 
With the pandemic enabling many of us to work from the comfort of our own homes, companies are looking for ways to keep their employees engaged and motivated on their return to the office.

A key concept here is the idea of designing a “destination office” – a highly attractive workspace that staff want to come to rather than being obliged to attend. A place where healthy interaction is encouraged.

 

1) More collaborative spaces – now a “destination office”
 
A key aspect to a “destination office” is being able to facilitate collaboration. With research showing that teamwork and collaboration are essential to a company’s growth and success, companies are opting to put forth more money into office spaces that facilitate diverse opinions and ideas. Open spaces with different areas and furnishing options where employees can interact (tables, seating, and booths that facilitate this) are not new. The importance however being placed on creating the right environment, is taking more of a role, as one of the main purpose for having an office in a post 2020 era.

Flooring is a great enabler of zoning and a consideration when it comes to noise levels. There are multiple benefits to transition cues given by changes in the floor covering, as you move to different environments, within a fully opened space office. A move from a breakfast bar area to a more resimercial setting within the same office can stimulate creativity for example. Moving from Looselay Luxury Vinyl Tiles such as Espressa to Carpet Tiles is a perfect example of how that can be achieved.

 

2) Increased use of natural light and plants continues in 2022
 
Companies continue to implement more open floor plans with lots of natural light streaming through the windows. And office designers will continue to optimise space by including plants throughout their office structure. These living pieces help reduce carbon dioxide levels in the confines of an office while also helping employees relax.

It is also likely that employees will be looking to feel they are in a more healthier environment, as a result of the pandemic. Plants and natural light as well as virus mitigation measures being in place, all sit well with making an office feel safer and healthier.

 

3) Minimalist design
 
In recent years, it has been shown that customers prefer simple yet fulfilling designs. With a majority of consumers now being extremely tech-savvy and ready for innovations through minimalism, office designers have been forced to play catch up with this new trend. Gone are the days of flashy chandeliers and loud colours, as new office designs incorporate cleaner furniture that is easier on the eyes with high tech gadgets integrated into every possible space available. Hygiene considerations also now play a part in this.

 

4) Technology-driven spaces
 
As more employees turn to tablets and smartphones for their day to day work, companies have had to alter the layout of their client spaces in order to accommodate these changes. Instead of having many outlets installed at various locations throughout an office’s landscape, designers are now more keen on installing wireless charging stations or power outlets at centralised locations which will require limited cords strewn about conference rooms or other public areas.

 

Office Trends of 2022
 
In summary the above isn’t referencing anything new in terms of options available to designers, but the function of the office is seen to have changed quite dramatically for many companies. The number of people working from home has been accelerated, technology has enabled a higher degree of project working, but there still is a vital role for the office, and companies that embrace this are likely to reap the benefits.

What is LVT?

Luxury Vinyl Tiles used in a break room

 

In our latest blog we answer what is LVT?

 

LVT is one of those great acronyms that describe exactly what the product is. Luxury Vinyl Tile flooring is made from multiple layers of PVC with an embossed top surface often designed to look like natural wood, ceramic or stone, complete with a durable non-scratch finish.

LVT flooring is an exceptional choice as it replicates the look of natural materials, will provide hardwearing performance for many years, can be fitted to any base surface and is quick to install and cost-effective. If you’re sticking to a budget and are pressed for time, LVT makes sense for commercial and residential builds and refurbs.

Multilayered flooring – just what is LVT?
 
Luxury Vinyl Tiles are comprised of several layers of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and other synthetic compounds. In the manufacturing process, sheets of PVC suspended in liquid are compressed by a rolling process before being heated and air-dried to produce a toughened material.

Most types of LVT flooring will have at least five layers. Base layers are reinforced with a glass fibre reinforcement layer. Upon the middle layers sits an embossed printed film layer before a clear protective layer that’s treated with a PU or PUR coating for hardness.

PU is a lightweight version of polyurethane that provides a protective coating to the flooring. PUR flooring adds an extra treatment and curing under UV light for added toughness.

LVT as a commercial flooring solution
 
Luxury Vinyl Tiles benefit from high density and strength, meaning they can be manufactured to relatively thin dimensions – as flooring goes. For example, LVT tiles are at least twice as strong as those made from high-density fibreboard (HDF). That means 4mm thick LVT flooring is stronger than its 8mm thick HDF equivalent.

As a commercial flooring option, this flooring type is very popular. LVT is an economical choice and can be very quickly installed in large areas, especially looselay LVT. It performs exceptionally in high-traffic areas and requires very little maintenance. Because it stands up so well to footfall or scraping furniture, and all manner of use including spills and mess, Luxury Vinyl Tiles are often specified for business premises. For more details on the advantages see our blog on the benefits of LVT.

It is also a good option where water can be involved, for example in bathrooms and kitchens. Moreover, for commercial premises, it is a practical choice for healthcare settings such as dentists and doctors, and for other businesses such as hairdressers, beauty salons and hospitality locations.

To find out more about the Luxury Vinyl Tile options that Duraflor can provide, contact our team today.

Colour trends 2022 for commercial interiors

Colour of the year 2022 Dulux, Antron and Pantone

What are the colour trends 2022 for commercial interiors?

 
As we move into the new year, it’s time again to research the upcoming colour trends and how these will play out in commercial interiors. We see what the experts say and see if there are an emerging patterns we can see from our own sales.

As the UK gets bolder, so do our colour choices

 
2022 will mark the third year since COVID-19 hit the world and it’s safe to say it has certainly had its impact. But moving into this third-year people are looking for a sense of hope and optimism.

The pantone colour of the year is a completely new colour that is meant to reflect this:

Pantone colour of the year Dynamic Periwinkle

“Creating a new colour for the first time in the history of our PANTONE Colour of the Year educational colour program reflects the global innovation and transformation taking place. As society continues to recognise colour as a critical form of communication, and a way to express and affect ideas and emotions and engage and connect, the complexity of this new red violet infused blue hue highlights the expansive possibilities that lay before us.”

Dulux colour of the year

While the Dulux colour of the year is very different, their message has perhaps a similar tone but their advice on office colour combinations is far more subtle, and perhaps a closer reflection on how the commercial spaces of 2022 will look.

Dulux Bright SkiesTM

Bright Skies™ is an airy, light blue that’s fresh, open and good for the soul. It brings a hint of the natural world inside, and is a colour that works with a host of other shades – from soft neutrals to joyful brights.

We especially like their Colour Futures Specifier brochure for colour inspiration.

Deconstructed rose gold: pink and orange are the new combo

 
We have researched, that for the last two years, rose gold has been at the height of the trend, but this year will mark the final move away from the vintage metallic sheen and towards the retro pink and orange combination. Not only do these colours complement each other well, but their versatility means that you can experiment with different shades across the spectrum to play, with highlights and lowlights throughout a commercial interior.

Of course, we are looking at specifically for flooring inspiration, and that often comes from yarn experts antron and their 2022 predictions.

We can see some synergies with the Dulux palette here, so you may find by combining these sources, there is sufficient enough inspiration for your next project. Our own experience is that blues and greys are the strongest sellers across all our ranges, but many of our Trend range colours, that are a little more daring, work perfectly with the proposed 2022 direction.

Minimalist is out and BUSY is in

 
We are told, 2022 could be the year that minimalist says its goodbyes and the UK welcomes in hectic abstract. We have certainly seen some great creations with our Hexxtile ranges of lately.

Muddy greens and dark woods are the dark academia aesthetic 2022 adores

 
Dark academia has been growing as a cult aesthetic but 2022 is the year it will become mainstream and take the UK by storm. Warm, muddy greens will be in to balance out the colour combinations and draw on a little bit of that “cottagecore”. We will need to see how that translate to commercial interiors, but it is certainly worth considering!

Again, if we reflect on antron’s predictions they predict olive greens, French roast, mulberry and satsuma orange to be strong colours in 2022. These fit with those predictions, as well as the sales growth of the darker woods we have seen in the popular short plank Eleganza range, that we introduced in 2021.

Whatever the colours of 2022 look like, we hope the year proves to be a good one and reflect the hope the trend analysts are all predicting.

What makes LVT a great flooring for restaurant?

Restaurant Flooring Momenta LVT in an American Dinner Styled Restaurant

3 reasons that make LVT a great flooring for restaurants

 
Luxury Vinyl Tiling (LVT) is often used in commercial environments, including restaurants. If you have been hired to remodel a restaurant or provide an interior plan for a cafe, LVT may be the flooring solution you are looking for. The reasons are well publicised but worth highlighting.

Aesthetic appearance

 
It pays to ensure that you have an attractive looking floor. For customers, it can  be a cue that determines the quality and hygiene standards of a restaurant. LVT gives you a wide choice of funky or natural effect options – stone or wood being the obvious. However, even the detail grain pattern is a reflection of quality and can determine just how authentic all aspects of a design concept can look . Sizes and how planks are laid should also be part of the decision process, a herringbone effect, short planks, or wide planks all contribute to creating a very different look and feel. See our full LVT range.

Practical and durable

 
In a restaurant, you need a floor that can keep up with frequent footfall. It has to be durable enough to withstand the pull of chair legs and tables, the constant shuffling of feet of waiters rushing from table to table and the foot traffic of customers from close to finish. Flooring options that quickly wear or cannot withstand high-impact are simply not suited to a restaurant environment. This is why LVT is an ideal flooring choice as it doesn’t need replacing as often as other alternatives and it can survive in a restaurant due to its scratch resistant properties.

Minimal maintenance, maximum hygiene

 
Another reason why LVT flooring is ideal for commercial use inside of a restaurant is that it requires minimal maintenance. Flooring in restaurants often experience spills from food and drink, so it is essential to choose a flooring option that doesn’t easily stain. LVT can be easily mopped to remove spillages and does not stain easily, ensuring it retains its high-quality appearance for the long term. LVT is also seen as a strong hygienic alternative to many other coverings and as a consequence its popularity continues to grow.

For more information on why you should use LVT flooring in a restaurant, feel free to contact our team at Duraflor today.

Choosing hospital flooring

Resolute Manatee used in a hospital

 

Considerations when choosing hospital flooring

 

The key considerations when choosing hospital flooring are always linked to patient wellbeing. So, hygiene, slip risk, and aesthetics all come into play, which makes vinyl one of the most logical choices. It is is easy to clean and maintain, has good anti-static properties to protect sensitive hospital equipment, good sound dampening properties, is durable and also comfortable to walk on. Depending on how it is used, vinyl flooring can also be easy to navigate, and as far as aesthetics go, and the effect that has on patient wellbeing, LVT as with Vinyl Safety Flooring both have a role to play in overall floor plan design.

LVT in Patient Rooms

Luxury Vinyl Tiles can be a great choice for patients’ rooms. The fact that it can be laid to look like wood or stone, can help to make patients feel more comfortable and at home with their surroundings. This can also be an added advantage when considering the requirements of patients with dementia, there are of course many other considerations around this topic however, that need to be taken into account.

Hospitals are often criticised for having a cold, unwelcoming and clinical feel, but this doesn’t have to be the case. A room can be brightened up by switching to a warmer flooring solution. The hardwearing nature of LVT and easy maintenance means you don’t need to compromise on hygiene or durability when creating a warm environment. And, if your preference is a vinyl sheet solution, with an innovative grip technology incorporated, Duraflor have the perfect solution in our Cienna Range, natural wood and stone effect patterns, incorporating great aesthetic qualities into a safety flooring solution.

LVT in Hospital Entrances

Entrances need to be wheelchair / disability friendly and of course well maintained but again aesthetics and first impressions are very important, and can be immensely reassuring. That makes LVT once again the perfect choice. How the entrance is laid out, how welcoming it is, and what the flooring says about the level of care a patient might expect, are all key design considerations.

LVT in the Cafeteria

Within every hospital, you’ll find a cafeteria. Doctors, nurses, receptionists, patients, and their families all seek a moment of solace in this space, so you want to make sure that you put down flooring that can handle high levels of footfall. You also have to contend with the scrapes and scratches that can result from chairs being pulled out and tables being moved, which is the norm in a cafeteria. LVT can again be a good option, able handle the daily stresses and still provide a welcoming environment.

Safety Flooring for Operating Rooms and Corridors

Operating rooms arguably have to be the most hygienic places within a hospital. Here, you want a hardwearing floor that is fully sealed. And for long corridors, you probably need to consider budget, aesthetics and durability.

In addition to our stylish Cienna range, our Duragrip range is widely used as a hospital and healthcare flooring solution. The same goes for our Resolute range, both including an anti-microbial treatment. The perfect solutions where safety, hygiene and durability are paramount. The choice between them simply comes down to the look you are trying to achieve.

To discuss your options in more detail, call us today on 01592 630 030.

Wayfinding an Interior Design Trend

Example of digital way finding image

 

Wayfinding Goes Digital

 
If you or your client works in an office that frequently has external visitors, the trend towards wayfinding signage will be of interest to you. Perhaps even more true now that more people are working remotely sometimes, meaning you or your client might have fewer people in the office who can escort visitors around.

Wayfinding signage has long been important at commercial sites but digital wayfinding signage is becoming a popular choice. This blog looks at why digital wayfinding signage is the latest commercial interior design trend.

What is digital wayfinding signage?

 
Wayfinding signage is a way to help staff and visitors work out where they need to go. It can include maps, signs, and posters. More traditional static wayfinding signage has been used for a long time in commercial interior design but is no longer serving the needs of modern offices. Things can change quickly, and outdated static signs displaying incorrect information can cause confusion and waste time.

On the other hand, digital wayfinding signage is dynamic and can be updated immediately whenever information changes. For example, if your teams move locations within the office, digital signage can be instantly updated to reflect this. Replacing static signs takes longer and costs more.

Some advantages of digital wayfinding signage

 
You might be wondering if it’s really worthwhile to incorporate digital wayfinding signage into your next office fit-out. There are plenty of advantages to investing in this type of signage.

Impress visitors
Digital signage is dynamic, clear, and noticeable. You’ll immediately give visitors and guests the impression that the office is modern, conscientious, and forward-thinking.

Save time and money
If your digital wayfinding signage needs to be updated, you don’t have to cover the cost of printing new signs. It also saves time – updates are quick, there’s no need to hang a new sign, similarly members of staff won’t need to give up their time meeting and escorting visitors.

Monitor visitor data
A hidden benefit of digital wayfinding signage is that you can use it to track visitor data, understanding which parts of the office are visited most and the routes visitors take to get there. This can help with planning the layout of an office and can help with your next office fit-out.

Make navigation easier
Digital signage makes navigation much easier. You can display 3D maps or show suggested routes to particular areas. You can also show accessible routes. This makes navigation easier for anyone who isn’t familiar with your office layout, whether that’s a visitor or a new member of staff.

How flooring can help
It goes without saying another great way to help people quickly orientate themselves is through flooring. We wrote an interesting article on using flooring for just that a little while ago.

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.