Sustainability in office design

Green Freedom Storm II in a boardroom and plants

A significant focus on sustainability in office design

 

One of the most significant trends for office design in 2022 is an increased focus on sustainability. Companies understand the importance of doing more than just playing lip service to climate change and are taking steps to embrace sustainability. Commercial interior design has adapted alongside changes to office culture, and taking credible steps towards sustainability is a key factor in many design choices.

How the built environment impacts the planet

 
Figures from the Green Building Council show that the built environment has a significant impact on the planet.

• The built environment accounts for almost 40% of global carbon emissions.
• Extraction, manufacture, transport, and assembly of materials used to construct and fit out a building account for 11% of these emissions.

Following COP27 an estimated 80% of global emissions are now covered by pledges that commit to reaching net-zero emissions. There is greater focus on turning pledges into action, but making sustainable choices remains hard to navigate in may industries.

Sustainable, practical, and cost-effective

 
The challenge, of course, is marrying sustainability, practicality, and cost-effectiveness. When you’re designing office space, you need something that will last and look great, as well as being good for our planet.

Our new product sustainability guide helps to give you confidence, that with Duraflor you are making a good, sustainable choice.

Conscious choices, responsible future

 
As more and more designers and flooring contractors choose to use environmentally-responsible products, it’s important to have confidence in the choices being made. We work with you to discuss design options at the start of the process, the new guide gives a few suggestions. We can also offer a carpet tile part-exchange service and are part of the Recofloor vinyl take back scheme, helping to close the loop and reduce our impact on the environment.

Get in touch with Duraflor to discover how we can help you create a more sustainable office design.

Office design and layouts 2022

Greenery within an office setting

 

What office design and layout trends will remain

 
As people return to the office following the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that office spaces are modernised and appeal to workers to encourage them to enjoy using their desks again. 2022 has seen design and layout trends come and go already, and below we list the ones that we think are here to stay and can offer the best development to an office’s value.

Bigger focus on the outdoors
 
No one wants to feel like they are cooped up inside a clinical office. One of the biggest trends of 2022 has seen an increased focus on natural lighting with big windows taking over. Of course, having a better view of the outdoors is no good unless the view is pleasant, so planting trees or other greenery is a popular option. Not only will this boost productivity, but it will increase the value of the property, Outdoor offices and roof terraces are becoming more popular should you have the space for this, which offer a unique opportunity to design a natural space.

Amenities
 
In 2022, it’s incredibly important to implement amenities into an office layout. Convenience and comfort are at the heart of modern working, so implementing things such as a nearby kitchen or cafe that can be easily accessed are vital. Ergonomic desk design integrated with dedicated wifi for each one can help sell a building as completely functional, especially with nearby break-out and leisure spaces with airy layouts. Combining productive features with relaxed environments is increasingly popular as people look to work hard without burning out (or having to go for a walk on their lunch break).

Flexible layout
 
With most organisations integrating a hybrid working design, innovative multi-functional spaces are more important than ever. One possible solution to this is to implement movable dividing spaces that allow for custom office layouts at the hands of the team, who can then go on to work collaboratively or individually. Large, open-plan designs with a wide floor space make this possible and keep everyone inside the loop. This can allow for ever-popular creative brainstorming tasks to take place without the need to venture into a boardroom. This is again related to convenience, which adds significant value to any office space.

Contact us for help with your office design project today.

Value Adding in Construction

Reception area with TV Espressa on floor

The concept of value adding in construction

 

Adding value is important in many industries because it ensures that selling assets will gain you a profit. But what exactly does it mean within the construction industry? We focus on commercial buildings in this blog, and outline some of the most effective ways to add value.

What is added value in construction?

Value is the measurement of the benefits that something brings in relation to the cost or resources that were needed to achieve it. In construction, it is often expressed as a ratio between a function and the whole life cost of the function. So, added value refers to an increase of value created by the addition of a function.

The gross value added can be calculated using the actual numbers involved, if these measurements are available.

However, added value isn’t just measured in monetary terms. It can also refer to how well a commodity compares in function to other similar commodities on the market, that may not be able to be calculated by price. A building may not be more expensive when value is added but it will set it apart from its competitors with a new and unique feature, meaning its worth is increased and depending on the market, it may see more profits as a result.

This is particularly important because manufacturers of construction products and property developers are always competing with a large number of similar products and properties on the market, so they need to make themselves stand out if they are going to get noticed and sell.

How is value added in construction?

This can be embodied in construction in many ways. Take commercial buildings, for example, value is often increased by adding space either through a renovation of an existing space or by building an extension. This can add value in monetary terms (a larger building usually equals a higher price) and also through beneficial worth even if the market value doesn’t go up, as a more spacious office is much more likely to sell.

Or, for a less costly and quicker option, value can be added by something as simple as installing new flooring. Adding fresh luxury vinyl tiles, carpet tiles or vinyl safety flooring to a commercial building can add both monetary and beneficial worth, which extends the life and quality of the building and increases the chances of it selling for a higher profit in the future.

We found an article on other ways to add value – these include:

  1. Reconfiguring the space
  2. Outside Facelift
  3. Update Energy System
  4. Update Signage
  5. Increase Security

If you want to add value to your commercial building with new flooring, get in contact with Duraflor today.

Considering neurodiversity in office design

An office design plan that includes zoning

Neurodiverse environments

 
While neurodiversity is not a new idea in the workplace, not all businesses have supported it in the past, but that is finally changing. In fact considering neurodiversity in office design is reported to be a 2022 commercial design trend.

The term ‘neurodiversity’ refers to the variances in our brain functions and how we interpret information. Neurodiverse conditions include ADHD, Autism, Dyspraxia and Dyslexia.

To cater for neurodiverse employees, employers are starting to create more diverse work environments – gone are expansive open-plan offices. New designs include enclosed spaces for more focused work, shared spaces for socialising, quiet zones to take a break and dedicated areas for client meetings.

In creating a neurodiverse office space you need to consider

  1. Community
  2. Collaboration
  3. Communication
  4. Concentration

These considerations include low stimulation environments for hyper focus, quiet rooms for greater concentration, low traffic areas to reduce anxiety and zones that encourage movement and communication. There is an excellent blog that we have found that highlights the best office layout/zoning to address a condition that a surprisingly high percentage of us have to a greater or lesser extent.

The value of a well-designed workplace continues to grow, especially since it’s been linked to increased staff productivity and wellness. In recent times, we’ve had to reconsider and re-evaluate what we need most from our workspaces, as well as how their design may best serve us.

When combined with other key trends of 2022, an office environment automatically becomes more inclusive and more desirable to be in. This results in greater productivity and greater creativity. These additional trend considerations that work hand in hand with a neurodiverse office environment are:

More natural light
 
One of the most fundamental office interior design trends in 2022 is to try and include more natural daylight. If there aren’t many windows in the office space,  other options help:

• Using diffused light (light that is evenly distributed) such as frosted glass, diffuser screens and softboxes

• Installing features that mimic natural lighting, such as light dimmers

• Low-growing plants and shrubs on windowsills that provide shade and reduce glare

It’s also beneficial to use non-reflective matte floors and wall panels, especially if using a light colour as they help to reduce glare.

Biophilic office spaces
 
Bringing more nature into the workspace by designing a biophilic office area, with features like living walls and windowsill herb gardens also help. Biophilia refers to our inherent relationship with our natural surroundings and is thought to boost productivity and reduce stress in the workplace.

As well as looking attractive, incorporating more plants helps to reduce sound, helping staff in open-plan offices to concentrate. Plants can also be used to create discrete zones that help to divide areas within open-plan offices more subtly. A strong consideration when focussing on neurodiversity in office design.

 

We can help provide the perfect flooring that creates zones that are easily recognised and meet differing functionality. We are happy to advise on how best to achieve the look you desire and the practical options you require. Contact us to discuss your latest project.

Making a construction site safe

Construction site with floor being laid

Working in the construction industry has historically been considered one of the most dangerous jobs. In 2019, the HSE released a report saying that the industry had the highest average number of deaths each year and was responsible for the second-highest number of deaths on the job.

A proper understanding of Health & Safety Regulations is required for any site operatives or visitors, but in this article we touch on basic common sense considerations and responsibilities, when it comes to making a construction site safe.

Communication

 

Strong communication between all team members is key to ensuring that all health and safety processes work well. If you can master it, you can make sure everyone is on the same page and reduce safety risks in the workplace.

Health and safety on construction sites in the UK is managed by clients, designers, and contractors. The Design and Management Regulations 2015 require that all parties involved in a construction project are responsible for managing health and safety risks. Each party has a duty of care that they must fulfil to ensure that people working on the project are kept safe from hazards. They must also follow all relevant health and safety legislation when doing so.

Clients: The client is responsible for ensuring that all relevant parties know their legal obligations under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. This includes ensuring that any risk assessments completed by designers or contractors are passed on to them on time.

Designers: Designers are responsible for undertaking risk assessments and providing advice on managing risks to the client. They also need to keep records of this information for three years after completion of work (or longer if required).

Contractors: Contractors need to make sure that they have suitable policies to manage health and safety risks at each stage of construction, including taking reasonable steps to protect workers from harm and ensuring that subcontractors comply with these policies.

Managers: Managers carry out day-to-day supervision of workers. They make sure that everyone understands their role and how it relates to other workers’ roles. Managers also implement policies and procedures to ensure that everyone is following regulations while they’re on site. It is also up to the manager to provide training for new employees so they know what to do in an emergency.

As an employer, you need to ensure that workers have the tools they need to report problems on the job site as soon as possible. If you do this, not only will your workers be able to take care of their own safety, but you will also be able to keep the problem from happening again.

Training

Training can cover very simple things, like how to use ladders safely and how to avoid getting hurt from falling. The most important thing is to make sure that everyone has had the right training, which will help lower the amount of danger on the premises.

Know the dangers

One of the most dangerous things on a construction site is a worker who does not know what is going on around them. If you are an employer with responsibilities, knowing about these risks can help you lower the risk.

Make sure the premises are safe

Making sure that tools are not left lying around, wires are not trailing across floors and the building and site itself are as safe as possible goes a long way to protecting your workers and any other visitors to the site. Mitigate slips and falls by putting down appropriate safety flooring and cleaning up any spillages as soon as they occur.

Even though it is the employer’s job to make sure that their workers are safe on the job, it is also the workers’ job to follow these suggestions. With the work of a whole team, it is possible to make a building site much safer to work on.

Working with Duraflor

As a company we work in conjunction with main contractors, flooring contractors and designers on major construction projects. We offer site visits and help with project planning. We are always mindful of all aspects of site pressures and do all we can to help you manage projects.

How to add value to your commercial property

Seating area and corridor Espressa on the floor

How to add value to your commercial property to attract and retain tenants.

 
In this blog post, we’ll be looking at value creation in the built environment and give you a few tips on how to add value to your property.

What is value creation in construction?

 
Adding value to real estate property means making improvements to enhance its value and ultimately increase cash flow. This can include renovations, repairs, subdivisions, building reconfiguration, zone changes, vacancy lease-ups, etc.

How to add value to your commercial property?

 
There are a plethora of ways to add value to your commercial property. They include:

1. Improving the exterior

Sprucing up the exterior of your property is a small change, but it can make a drastic improvement. A few simple ways you can improve the exterior of your building include:

• Cleaning windows regularly
• Landscaping
• Painting the outside bricks

2. Add more space
 
Adding space can go a long way in increasing the value of your commercial property. Parking space and extra storage are always in demand, so adding more of that can help increase the demand for your property. If you have a commercial building, creating additional offices or more conference space can help make the building more alluring. That said, ensure that the extra space you create is practical and functional. A key consideration these days is modern office trends, a need to include collaborative spaces, embrace how the pandemic has changed the way we use technology not only at home but in the office. Offices now have to be destinations rather than a place people come to each day.

3. Add new amenities
 
Other than the space itself, tenants and buyers consider the amenities the building has to offer. Availability of wireless internet, a fitness centre, an entertainment area, etc., can significantly increase the value of your property. If you are unsure what amenities to add to your building, talk to your tenants and other individuals who frequently use the building because they know exactly what could make their lives easier.

4. Invest in smart building technology
 
Smart building technology may be what you need to add a wow factor to your building. It automates processes to automatically control the building’s operations, such as lighting, security, heating, etc. This improves the efficiency of your building and can be a unique selling point.

5. Update and modernise
 
As mentioned earlier, new developments are always coming up. Therefore, it is crucial that your building is comparable to the surrounding properties in terms of quality, aesthetics, and style. Installing new floor coverings, updating the HVAC system, buying energy-efficient appliances, etc., are a few updates that can really modernise your property.

If you want to update your commercial building’s flooring, Duraflor is a leading luxury vinyl tiles and carpet tile supplier for commercial spaces. Get in touch with us today for more information about our products.

Office Design Trends Of 2022

Office using Axis LVT and Freedom

What are the significant office design trends of 2022?

 
You may have thought post- 2020/21 pandemic high levels, hot-desking would come to the fore as one of the office design trends of 2022 with having fewer people in an office at any one time (combined with a good cleaning regime of course) – but that seems to be missing the point.

According to a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research, from small businesses to large companies, approximately 70% of companies will adopt a hybrid “home and office” model by 2022.

So, the shift is more sizeable, resulting in a comeback for co-working spaces, and not just for freelancers and entrepreneurs, but for whole office teams that want to temporarily use the facilities rather than having a permanent base.

Plus, we already touched on the other trend – a “destination 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.

We now look a little more detail at some of the key considerations for offices in 2022.

1. Integrated technology workstations and acoustic Pods

 
In an age of high-tech, it only makes sense that we want to be able to access technology at our fingertips while we’re working. We want to be able to charge our smartphones, tablets and laptops easily in the office. But now that we are used to making calls on Teams or Zoom, we also want to continue this method of communication with customers and suppliers, or remote colleagues even while sitting in an office with many of our work team. So, while offices are about interaction, having Pods or soundproof offices where we can interact is also a greater consideration, especially if multiple participants of an online call are also in the same place.

2. Collaboration centres
 
Collaboration centres are a popular commercial interior design trend because they help people work more efficiently meaning that they ultimately get more done. These are designated spaces that allow people to brainstorm, share ideas and generally work together. They’re often set up in an open concept design, so that several people can work together at the same time if they choose to. It is no surprise that this will be a key feature of a destination office – creative thinking around this, including items such as bleachers and other collaborative furniture innovation should form part of thinking, as well as zoning off different areas of the floor, which is where we come in.

Contact us for help with your office redesign project.

Ideas to make offices more energy efficient

Energy efficient ratings on an office plan

Ways to make offices more energy efficient
 
Energy efficiency is a critical factor in building and construction work. As the world’s natural resources get depleted, all entities are trying to preserve and carefully manage these resources. Commercial buildings are no exception.
State of affairs

Offices are in fact amongst the largest energy consumers in the country, next to the retail, industrial, health, and hospitality sectors. In addition, heating and lighting take up most of the energy produced in the country. Such consumption confirms the importance of energy efficiency in all new buildings and renovations of old buildings.

Many of these ideas you will already be aware of but it is worth recapping.

1. Invest in certified energy-efficient devices
 
Specifically, invest in Energy Star-labelled products – with regards the

UK, this label is used on office equipment and shows that a product has achieved energy efficiency standards set by the EU. These products consume less power than similar products. Consuming less energy leaves more for future use while buying time for natural resource rebuilding efforts.

2. Adopt modern architectural designs
 
In the past, office blocks were enclosed cages that needed lighting round the clock. Seeing as lighting is one of the biggest energy consumers countrywide, adopting an open plan style office layout helps minimise the need to keep the lights on. By using more natural light, the building will use less energy for lighting. Additionally, using more steel and glass in construction with proper sealing prevents heat loss. This option adds to energy conservation since the building won’t need as much heating.

3. Use energy-efficient and longer-lasting materials
 
Besides lighting, the floors and walls are the following energy loss points in a commercial building. There are energy-efficient commercial flooring products such as luxury vinyl tiles that have balanced heat retention and dissipation. This way, you won’t need to constantly heat the offices when it’s cold or cool them down during summer. Commercial carpets and carpet tiling boost energy efficiency by retaining heat during cold seasons.

4. Make the commercial building smart
 
Installing smart thermostats, smart lighting, and other automated devices helps monitor energy use and increase efficiency in energy consumption. For example, smart lights turn off when no one is in the office. Similarly, a smart thermostat regulates the office temperature far more accurately than people.

Conclusion
 
It’s essential to find ways to preserve energy and consume it responsibly and sustainably. Designing energy-efficient commercial buildings is an excellent strategy since commercial buildings are among the biggest energy consumers.

Office layout trends

Meeting room pod, outside walkaway with 3 contrasting textile colours

What are the office layout trends?

 
Office layout is incredibly important for staff wellbeing, teamwork and productivity. There have been debates about what type of office is best for decades – small enclosed cubicles, comfortable home-away-from-home workplaces with sleep pods or large open plan offices with hot desking. Balancing privacy, interaction and teamwork can be difficult, but with the right office layout, businesses can see huge increases in productivity and innovation. We take a look at some of the science behind office layouts and what type of office might be best for businesses. Office design has never been so important, considering the impact of the pandemic and the trend of creating a destination office – one worth leaving home for!

Researching office layout

 
In the 1960s, inventor Robert Propst headed a team of mathematicians, anthropologists, and psychologists to understand how an office actually worked. The designer furniture company Herman Miller had tasked him with creating a research division that examined how office layout affected worker behaviour and performance. This was perhaps the first time office layout design was truly studied by scientists.

Are open offices good for productivity?

 
In the 1900s, open offices were the norm, with large open spaces and rows of desks. Robert Propst’s research led to the idea that open offices weren’t good for productivity and workers needed to get up, interact with each other and move around more. Their work led to the development of the famous Action Office, which evolved unintentionally into the office cubicle, which became the norm in many offices until the 2010s.

Cubicles to open offices

 
Office cubicles weren’t popular and most companies switched to open offices to encourage communication and collaboration. However, open offices have actually been shown to decrease face-to-face worker communication, with a 73% fall in interactions and the use of email increasing by 67%. In many studies, enclosed private offices outperformed open-plan layouts. More recent research has also shown that the open office can be detrimental to productivity, with most workers finding them loud, distracting and difficult to work in.

Privacy vs teamwork

 
When it comes to privacy vs teamwork, prioritising the design of an office layout is essential and it is important to make sure workers have enough privacy to concentrate. Though teamwork is essential, it can often be easier to communicate in private office meetings than in the middle of an open office.

It might be best simply to ask

 
Perhaps the best way to redesign an office for a team is to conduct some research and ask the teams what type of office they find best to work in. Involving teams means greater buy-in, and as previously mentioned, with the need to encourage staff to return to the office, it is important to reassess how the space will be used and which precautions need to be in place to ensure office hygiene, so employees feel safer at work.
 

Get in touch

 
If you’re helping a business change its office layout to increase productivity or collaboration, Duraflor has a huge range of office flooring options for a modern and innovative workplace. Contact our flooring experts team today to discuss what flooring would be best.

Add value to commercial rentals

Freedom Storm adding value to a rental property

Flooring can add value to commercial rentals

 

Working on commercial refurbishment projects for rental means that you focus on ways to bring value to a location. And considering high-quality flooring options, means that you have a greater chance of increasing the value of a property and attracting buyer interest.

Why Duraflor?

 
Duraflor is a provider of a range of different flooring products for commercial spaces but more importantly the ranges are popular designs, that can meet the budget needs of landlords, while adding value and aesthetic appeal to any commercial environment, making it attractive to tenants.

The products on offer include carpet tiles that add an extra degree of texture and warmth to any commercial space, and luxury vinyl tiles that are often selected for their natural appeal but low maintenance and hygiene benefits.

How Duraflor can help

 
Stock availability: This choice of popular carpet tiles or LVT is available from UK stock for immediate delivery, which means there are no project hold-ups. Once any construction work is finished, you can expect a speedy installation. To discuss your project and be sent samples, contact our sales team for a fast and efficient response on 01592 630 030.

Immediate Pricing: We really do make things easy, we give you an immediate price and talk about the best options to meet your budget requirements.

Expertise: Not only do we have a great knowledge of what is both a popular floor covering design, which will stand the test of time, but we are experts in floor preparation. We can help you and sub-contractors with site advice and make recommendations for every aspect of floor preparation and finishing.

How flooring adds value

 
Adding extra design: The internal design of any property includes the way it looks. Having a neutral, but still beautiful, flooring option in place invites a range of design options for office planners. We often refer to our flooring as the canvas for the interior designer, a wise choice of floor covering completes the look of a building without restricting design ambition. We can help with choice of colours and patterns of carpet tile, or suggest luxury vinyl tiles that create an immediate welcoming and/or practical look.

Ready for work: If companies view a bare-floored property, they may be deterred from renting or buying it, as a property can look unfinished. Companies see more value in an office that is ready for them to move into. It is certainly worth considering the differences between CAT A, CAT A+ and CAT B projects – this link may serve as a good bit of advice on what the market is now looking for.

Try Duraflor

 
If you’re interested in discussing which flooring products we believe can add value to commercial rentals, the Duraflor team are ready to help. We want to help make the refurbished property as profitable as possible for you.