Inspiration from the world of interior design and how Floresy products can recreate the look.

Whether your hotel is classically or contemporarily styled, it is important that it always looks fresh, smart and welcoming to guests. If the public areas have not been decorated for a few years, now is the time to plan a makeover!

Colour scheme

Whilst a major renovation can prove very costly; if your furniture is still looking good, you will be surprised and delighted how rooms can be revitalised. A fresh coat of paint and the introduction of attractive new features is one of the many simple steps you can take.

The first thing to consider is the colour palette:

  • Bright colours can make a room look smaller and can look tired and date quicker than classic neutral shades. The classic shades that have stood the test of time are magnolia and cream.  Dove grey is a popular neutral shade that can look really good! Even better if you can combine accents of bright colours used for accessories such as cushions and lampshades.
  • If you feel the walls are looking dull, you can introduce a ‘statement’ wall in a complementary darker tone. Claret, forest green or French navy – depending on the colour scheme of your furniture – would contrast nicely.
  • New artwork will give rooms a fresh new look too. Whilst buying sizeable pieces might be ‘out of budget’, it is well worth seeking out some local artists who will happily lend you pieces of their work as it gives them exposure and could lead to sales.

colour sample pallet

Try Lighting

Lighting can also make a room look tired and dull. So it is worth looking at how you can ‘ring the changes’ with some new lamps. If you want to create an atmosphere, try pools of brighter light where guests are reading or working and other areas bathed in softer golden light.

Artificial Plants

One of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to revitalise areas is by the clever use of artificial plants and flowers. If you buy good quality ones, you will find it impossible to tell that they are ‘faux’!  Blend artificial plants amongst live plants and have a layer of moss added to the top of their soil to make them more realistic. Attractive pots that complement the interior design can make all the difference and a regular dust is all the maintenance they will need!

A huge artificial plant arrangement makes a stunning focus to a room and some of the artificial seasonal plants can be replaced through the year with other seasonal plants and flowers. Wall displays of artificial trailing ivy can look very effective behind sofas and ‘plant walls’ are an eye-catching and effective way to divide a large room into smaller, cosier sitting areas. Plant walls comprise of multi-panels with a variety of different artificial plants. There can be hanging plants and ones with variegated foliage in a variety of natural tones. It does take a little time to create the right effect, but the feature will be much admired by your hotel guests.

chalet cyclamen handmade pot in hotel room Redecorate your hotel

Don’t Forget the Other Spaces!

The same ideas for rejuvenation can be rolled out across the hotel, with the introduction of artwork and artificial plants. Investigate colour schemes for the guest toilets and try adding large wicker baskets containing rolls of single-use cloth hand towels.

Freshen up your guest rooms with new paint and some new art for the walls. Introduce a splash of bold and fashionable colours using cushions, throws and curtain ties

An arrangement of artificial plants and interesting ornaments on a table, plus an arrangement of tactile cushions on the bed that all complement the colour scheme. This will help define the room’s character and create a feeling of luxurious cosiness.

After all, making your guests feel welcome in your hotel and their stay a memorable one, is your main objective….

The ONS Labour Force Survey has found that 1.54 million people in the UK are now working from home – that’s 884,000 more than ten years ago and this figure will keep on growing. With modern technology at your fingertips, it has never been easier to work from home and more and more house buyers are looking for an office space in the properties they are viewing so that they can enjoy all the advantages this brings.

Choose the right spot!

When you are considering where to establish a home office, it is best to give this plenty of thought as you will be spending a great deal of time at your desk. You will have some basic needs that must be considered such as whether you will be holding meetings or conference calls from home. Will you need just a table for your laptop or more space for printers and storage facilities too. Whilst working in a cramped area tucked under the stairs may work for some people, for others, more space and a window with natural daylight is essential. What about the noise level in your chosen area? If a noisy environment does not bother you, that is good, but if you prefer peace and quiet, you may well have to make some adjustments – a simple one can be to remove the batteries from your doorbell!

Getting Organised is the Key to Success!

You will need to have the right size of the work area so that you can feel comfortable whilst you work. You do need to have a dedicated desk as it becomes difficult to keep scooping up paperwork at the end of each day and you will need some storage space too. Position your desk so that you can take maximum advantage of natural daylight and the view from a window. Try out the space for comfort, are you sure that you have adequate light whatever the weather? It might well be advantageous to invest in a good quality anglepoise lamp that gives a good light wherever it is needed. Good lighting helps prevent eye strain and headaches. Once you have your office area laid out, spend some time dealing with any loose wire etc. to keep you safe. You need to ensure that they are not a trip hazard nor a distraction if you are trying to work fast! Better still, why not invest in some Bluetooth peripherals to make things easier?

Filing office organisation

Be Comfy!

There have been a number of studies that have found that if people are happy and comfortable in their workspace then their productivity increases, conversely if they are uncomfortable then they don’t work nearly as well! Working from home has a huge advantage that you can create the office space that suits you perfectly.

Ensure that you have a really comfortable chair that is the right height for you, if you do not, why not consider buying an ergonomic chair as this will ensure that you are sitting correctly and not damaging your spine. This is definitely an item of furniture not to scrimp on as a good chair really does make all the difference, ensuring your body is not aching at the end of the day.

Ensure your work area can be kept at a comfortable temperature all year through and that there is a source of fresh air too. A cup of coffee is an important part of every working day, are there facilities for making one that can be easily reached? Just because you are not in a work environment with regular safety checks, does not mean that health and safety should not be considered. It is important that you can leave your work desk easily to take a regular break from your PC screen.

Coffee cup including plant- Floresy

Consider Colour

The colour of your office can be as bright or calm as you like and it can also inspire you! True, your colour choice will have to be more conservative if you are holding meetings in your space, but if it is just you – the sky’s the limit! Choose the colour that suits you; a colour that fuels your creativity or helps you to feel serene and organised, the right colour is a very subjective choice! To enhance the colour of your office space, you can add some ambient lighting that will complement the ‘working light’ you have for your desk.

Personalise

Decorate the walls with an inspirational painting or other artwork and maybe add a favourite ornament to your desk or family photo. If space is short, you can always rotate these finishing touches to mirror the changing seasons. Think of fragrance too as the sense of smell is one of the strongest of our senses, so ensure that your work area smells fresh and appealing.

Add interest with some flowers or an attractive plant! Even if your office space does not benefit from natural light, don’t let that stop you as artificial plants or flowers an look like the real thing!

Importantly, your home office space is yours and it must feel good. Plan your office space like a well-designed aircraft cockpit with everything close at hand and easily accessible. Be flexible in your approach because as your work grows or changes so will your needs and these can be reflected in your workspace. Keep it fresh and appealing as it must inspire you and encourage you to be productive. Your new home office will mark the start of an exciting new chapter in your working from home life that will get bigger and better…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

First impressions matter when it comes to Corporate events; delegates could be in attendance from a day to several days, even longer.

Some of the latest reports value the event industry at a staggering £39.1bn with 50% of companies allocating over 20% of their spending on marketing to organising events – therefore, the look is key!

Do you remember the floral arrangements at a recent event you attended?

Did they fit their purpose? Were you impressed? Did they add to your overall experience?

Sadly, floral displays, regardless of the function or event, often miss the mark and overall event design can leave some clients disappointed and not wishing to re-engage with a brand or company.

Understanding What a Corporate Event Entails.

A corporate event is any form of event, hospitality or social activity which is organised or funded by a business entity.

Due to its somewhat broad definition, it is accurate to say that the target audience for corporate events can be as equally comprehensive as they can include:

  • Employees
  • Board members
  • Stakeholders
  • Customers / clients
  • Potential clients

All sorts of companies organise events for a variety of occasions. They may be looking to celebrate, reward, motivate, team build or encourage potential collaboration. Whatever the occasion, there is always an event solution, and this may require some interior or exterior design.

Let’s look at some examples of corporate events:

The Trade Show

 Organisations often attend trade shows as a lead collation exercise. Companies may also choose to host or sponsor a trade show to reinforce their image as an industry leader among those who may be attending. With today’s ferociously competitive market it’s important to create a show-stopping stand and a memorable experience for any potential guess.

Floresy

Areca Palm DeLuxe

Awards and Gala Dinners

These traditional event experiences can be used in multiple ways. If organised by a business they can reward and motivate employees, suppliers, resellers and potential customers by providing awards across several categories to recognise achievements. Businesses will also regularly sponsor and enter industry awards to promote their business, improve their standing in the industry and increase brand awareness. That being said, it’s important to make guests feel welcome and valued.

Floresy

Calla Lily and Orchid Vase Display

 

Experiential Marketing

This marketing is becoming increasingly more popular as businesses look to create a closer bond with their customers. The idea is to immerse attendees within the brand experience and stay on message through a fun and memorable event. By aligning positive emotions with your brand or business, customers are more likely to want to invest in your products or services, which is why it is important to make the experience as interactive as possible. This way delegates will feel emotionally invested in what your company is selling.

Indoor green wall module vertical garden

Wall Mounted Indoor Green Wall

The Product Launch

It’s an exciting time for any company. All the hard work has finally paid off and it’s time to launch the all-important product. After all this work, you need to capitalise on any potential interest. Interest equals leads and leads equal sales.

If managed well, the event will generate media coverage and an industry buzz prior to the actual product release. These days they need to hit the zeitgeist and have a flashy feeling more than just having a large dinner party where guests only get to interact with people near them. If it’s within your budget, you should consider the value of the celebrity or “influencer” appearance as this can also maximise any potential impact with our social media channels. Just be sure to make it on-brand to the product.

Amaryllis corporate events

Modern Eclectic – Amaryllis

Whatever the occasion there will hopefully be important people and potential clients enjoying the bespoke event that you and your team have created. Opportunities to impress don’t present themselves often so this is your moment to impress them!

Have you been inspired to bring some serenity and zen into your living spaces – indoors or outdoors – for the new year? Consider turning to the East for inspiration with a calm considered design that will provide a peaceful and relaxing space. What better way to embrace the Japanese culture of Zen.

Japanese gardens are designed – not only for considered reflection but to enhance the experience of meditation. As a concept and practice, Zen principles were embraced by the ruling elite as a way of calm during the swirling storm of the country’s discord. The end result is a time-honoured culture which has become deep-rooted in civilization.

Japanese gardens favour blank spaces, carefully raked gravel or contrasting sheets of moss with a minimal amount of perfectly placed plants. Part of this reasoning is that it is thought to make any garden look more spacious. Even if you’re working with a plot just three metres by five metres or even smaller – which is the size of many courtyards or dry gravel gardens – this enhances that sense of space.

Do Your Research

Designing and creating your own indoor/outdoor garden may seem like a cinch. A few rocks here a few bamboo sticks there and you’re all done, right? Wrong. 

Japanese gardens are an art form that has been around for centuries and in order to create an authentic design, the form must be studied carefully. Luckily the resources to create your very own oasis are endless. 

Garden Types to Consider 

The Moss Garden Japanese culture venerates age and history. Because moss doesn’t grow overnight – and instead takes years and years to cover the surface of stone this is deemed a definite choice and something of virtue for whoever is creating the garden.

Moss Sponge 13 cm

Floresy – Moss Sponge

One of the moss plant’s characteristics is that it thrives in a humid and rainy climate. It doesn’t need much water (important as our climate proves more and more unpredictable) and can absorb nutrients directly from the air regardless of any humidity that may occur.

The Rock Garden Traditionally, Zen rock gardens are not meant for social occasions or gatherings. It is a sacred space for Zen monks to perform their daily practice. This design is meant to portray a vista of mountains and rivers, yet the minimalist design itself contains no actual water.  Instead, it uses the carefully placed features to emulate a majestic scene on a miniature scale. For example, sand and gravel raked into a particular pattern will symbolize a river, while rocks placed on the sand symbolize mountains.

Japanese Rock Garden Floresy

Japanese Rock Garden

It may surprise you to know that there are only a couple hundred people in the world that claim to have created an authentic Japanese Zen garden.

Want to create your place of calm and balance?

Japanese oriental bamboo Floresy

Japanese Oriental Bamboo

Fatsia Japanese | Japonica 150 cm

Fatsia Japanese | Japonica 150 cm

These design tips can be used to bring calm to any space whether it be a quiet room in an office for employees to take a minute or the spa section of your hotel to add that ambience of calm and reflection.

Although the design of such a space can take some time, just work through the stages so as not to overcomplicate matters. Start with an understanding of the ancient foundations of Zen and the principles of Japanese garden design. Make sure you have the right space and tools to incorporate it into the designated space that you wish to transform.

Once completed, your reward is that you will have a space that brings you peace of mind with the added bonus that you’ll have learned the history behind your design, giving your space a purpose that is based in the roots of Japan’s cultural history.

Winter is most definitely on its way, but if you are a hotelier the show must go on. So how can you prepare your hotel for winter? 

According to Eurostat: Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy and Austria were the most popular EU destinations for EU tourists travelling outside their own country in the 2018-2019 winter season. 

So if you haven’t already, it’s time to prepare your hotel for the winter months to ensure your business is running smoothly during this season.

Extra Exterior/ Interior Effort

Cold weather generally keeps travellers indoors for longer periods of the time, so make sure your business is a visual delight for the festive season. Play around with wreaths, dry scented fruit and even pine cones. You can even explore outside of seasonal foliage on hand by garnishing your rooms with artificial plants

No watering …no problem!

Yes,  it may be cold, but there are plenty of ways to bring the cosy to your outdoor space.  Consider adding external heating, you can even explore a cosy fire pit. Couple this with super warm blankets, ambient lighting and voile!  A perfect space to drink your mulled wine underneath the stars.

Stockpile 

Floresy prepare hotel for winter toiletries

Bad weather can ultimately lead to issues on the road. And that can lead to delayed or cancelled deliveries to your hotel. You don’t want to be caught out, so it’s time to put your forward-thinking, preparational hat on. 

Over the weeks start to stockpile:

  • Toiletries 
  • Linens 
  • Stationary
  • Food 
  • Shovels 
  • Rock salt 

And in case of a power outage:

  • Torches 
  • Batteries

Keeping a stash of inexpensive umbrellas for the guests can also be a nice touch. 

Safety First

Flooring should be one of your top considerations for many reasons. The carpeting inside public spaces are a heavy expense and need to be maintained as customers trudge snow and mud inside and out.  A non-carpeted or tiled floor can be a slippering accident waiting to happen. Lay down heavy-duty rubber mats with large grooves in them at the entrance to catch the moisture and salt before it’s brought into the hotel. In addition, place longer walk-off mats at some of the entrances to ensure guests can wipe off slush, snow and salt.

Utility Check 

Floresy prepare hotel for winter - utility check

If your utility providers have not contacted you to carry out their checks – then it’s time to contact them. Especially in terms of heating facilities like boilers and thermostats. It’s especially great to take advantage of these visits if your utility contract includes a free maintenance check and if it doesn’t, it may be time to revisit your utility contract. 

On top of this, consider the preventative measures you can take to ensure guests have a delightful mid-winter stay free from disruption. For example gutter cleaning, checking for drafty windows. As the for the exterior, do your lightbulbs need replacing and it might be time for car parking and pavement repairs. 

Change to the Food and Beverage Menu 

It’s the moment you have all been waiting for… Your team have been busy developing an exciting menu with tastes and colours to comfort and brighten the darker days of winter.  Time to release your new hearty winter menu!

Winter can be magical as long as you are prepared. 

It is imperative that you are operationally running during this season as it’s a competitive market out there. So make sure you don’t lose your customers to another hotel around the corner because you weren’t prepared.

Planning now will help ensure that you and your guests experience a great cold-weather travel season without a hitch.

As we move away from those glorious summer days with their light airy breeze, we then shift into the crisp and warm tones of autumn.

This reflective season is known for its earthy rich colours and is an exciting time to identify what emerging trends designers want us to see. These new ideas are hopefully reflected in the inspirations of Interior Designers and Architects everywhere.

Here are some top tips to revamp your space in a bid to re-energize and rejuvenate the ambience of any potential project.

Natural Fibres

cain

Credit @abbeylanghome and @bakerfurniture

The timeless material of cane has been resurrected in the last few years. It is a strong and intricate natural fibre that has been derived from the rattan vine. Woven together, this durable item can create anything from sumptuous seating, headboards and outdoor furniture that can weather the seasons. Remember! Longevity is key with the use of materials these days and cane certainly meets the demand.

Power of the Curve

Credit: Covethouse

There is something alluring about a curved sofa. With the right material and colour combination, it can change the dynamics of any space or potential project. With the ability to remove harsh angles with its seamless contour, this seating design has the dexterity to welcome anyone with open arms. Think calm, think zen.

Statement Paper

Credit: Murals Wallpaper 

Who doesn’t love florals on a large scale? This is a great trend, but to fully cultivate the style the florals must be sizable and must pop. Mix strong contrasting colours to bring out the beauty in your blooms, compliment with bespoke pieces or individual reclaimed items. Look out for big patterns that have a Pre-Raphaelite style – you’ll find them on cushions, bedding, murals etc. Make the rest of the look simple so the florals themselves become the star and focal point. 

Fringe

Credit: BeauVamp

Lighting is the perfect way to update a room all in one go. It’s a great way to give vintage chic a chance to impress and like many trends that have made their way back to the fore, this one has found its way back from the victorian era, but with a modern twist.

Metallics

Those who wish to do a makeover of their space will find copper the ideal material this autumn. Its warm orange hue is capable of giving a sophisticated and elegant air to any environment. This is a sure bet, especially with Nordic themes or rooms with an industrial style finish.

Interior design, like any other art, is subject to change and allows us all to embrace new styles and trends that emerge throughout the seasons. This autumn isn’t any different and we’re looking forward to seeing your imagination run riot!

Could a bespoke service be the best fit for your organisation?

Whilst mass-produced products may be cheaper or convenient, bespoke products are the best way to ensure that each piece that ends up in your business reflects your brand style, so as to create a harmonious concept.

But what is a bespoke service? It essentially means a custom made product designed just for you.

Having an item designed and made for you provides more flexibility when enhancing the style of the space concerned. It increases your trademark over the whole creative process and enables you to create spaces that may not have been there before, showing your aesthetic vision to the world.

With the right professional guidance, you can be certain that the style and materials are fit for purpose and that the finished piece meets your exacting requirements and budget, big or small. 

artificial lighting bespoke service

4 Benefits of Using a Bespoke Service

  1. Skys the limit:  With mass-produced items, you are always going to be constrained by colour and size and you’ll always feel deflated when you see,  what you thought was a standout look in a rival commercial venue.
  2.  Experts on hand:  Because you are working so closely with an artisan or workshop to get the exact product you desire, you have direct access to experienced and skilled tradesmen. 
  3. Quality not quantity: Working directly with a designer or an artist gives you the added layer of assurance that the bespoke item in question will be built to last – sustainability is key! This is often a concern with mass-production and the carbon footprint that comes with it. 
  4. Space solutions: One of the best things about a bespoke piece is that it will be built to ensure a perfect fit. This can solve the problem of awkward spaces that you want to fill. Even better, you’ll have a unique piece suited to your taste. Central interior tree design bespoke service

Is a Bespoke Service Right for Me? 

Working out whether a bespoke design is right for your business can be tricky to figure out and plan logistically. After all, this custom made product will essentially be built to last. Here are the questions that you should ask yourself to see if this is the right fit.

  • Is quality more important than price?
  • Do you want to stand out with your style choice?
  • Would you like to fill a specific space or dimension?
  • Do you want to ensure you are working with a highly specialised artisan?
  • Would you like an eye-catching feature?
  • Do you need an item that will last?

Why not consider commissioning a design that is as unique as your business?

It won’t come as much of a surprise that the wedding design industry is big business and least of all in the floral department. In fact, the wedding service industry was estimated to be worth at least £10 billion last year and that was in the UK alone.

According to various sources, the average newly-engaged couple will be looking to spend about 8-10% of their nuptials budget on floral arrangements for their big day. A hefty chunk when you consider all the expenditures that go into planning the wedding as a whole.

Flowers are always going to be an essential detail for any wedding design, but they don’t necessarily have to be real to create an everlasting impression.

7 Pros of Using Artificial Flowers in Wedding Designs

  1. They are hardy! No more wilting and shrivelling – especially during the heat of summer when so many weddings take place. In fact, they’re ready to go from the initial ordering process to the time of the big day itself.
  2. Artificial flowers also tend to be a lot lighter. This also applies to the various centrepieces as they won’t need a water source. This is important when it comes to transportation and hanging installations in the venue space. No water source = no water splash = one less thing to worry about! 
  3. Takes the stress away! You don’t have to order the flowers to arrive last minute so they are as fresh as possible or worry about them turning up on time. Artificial flowers can be ordered way in advance and then be lightly dusted and adjusted before they are actually needed. Also, if you are arranging them yourself this gives you plenty of time to play around with arrangements without having to constantly keep buying fresh ones.
  4. Allergies! If there are concerns that a wedding guest may sneeze through the ceremony or start sputtering through the speeches then this may be a good way to eliminate the fear of a sudden pollen attack ruining everyone’s day.
  5. The couple gets to keep them forever! This element of a couple’s special day will be frozen in time if that’s their wish. 
  6. Once their primary use is complete, the wedding display can then double up as a great gift of thanks to the bridal party.
  7. You don’t have to wait for the right season for a particular flower to appear! It’s the couple’s big day so their choices are widened by going down the artificial route.

Here are some great faux wedding design ideas:

Table setting 

Secret Garden – Peony Garland

Outdoor wedding 

Wisteria Tree 300cm     

Grand entrance 

Modern Eclectic – Amaryllis

Although you may not have the smell of fresh flowers, the versatility that faux-flora and fauna have to offer quashes any worries on that front. This is all about getting maximum impact with a minimum amount of stress and disruption. Plus, it’s about creating a lasting reminder of a beautiful day.

What is fibre clay?

Fibre clay is a generic term that describes a material that combines fibre, resin and minerals.  The resulting product is commonly used to create fibre clay garden pots and containers.

Fibre clay goes by many names including Fibreclay, clay fibre, fibre stone, Fibrecotta and sand fibre. Some names are registered trademarks but are often used interchangeably – a bit like vacuum cleaners are called ‘Hoovers’. Whilst the names may vary, the manufacturing process remains similar.

large roller fibre clay pots

Sandstone-effect fibre clay pots from Floresy.online

How to make fibre clay pots 

The fibre clay process combines a resin, a mesh or fibrous substance with inorganic minerals i.e. stone or clay.

Fibre clay planters, as well as other product made from fibre clay, are made in moulds. Layers of resin, mesh and the mineral mix are placed in the mould until the desired thickness is achieved.

The mesh varies from product to product but sometimes includes fibrous waste products from other industries. For example, cellulose plant fibre from pulp mills during the paper-making process. The mineral is often powdered stone or a clay-based mineral such as the clay used to make terracotta. The mineral mix gives the pot its faux stone finish.

The pots are left to dry and are not fired like a terracotta or clay post would be. Once dry, the resulting product is a hard as concrete. It’s the layering that gives it its strength just like plywood or indeed glass fibre.

Pigments can be added to create the look of different stones such as slate or terracotta. The fibre clay garden pots can also be glazed or polished to achieve different finishes.

Classic Fibre Clay Pots

Classic cone-shaped Fibre Clay Pots with sand effect finish.

What are the benefits of using fibre clay garden pots?

There are many reasons why fibre clay garden planters are popular:

  • Pots made from fibre clay are lightweight which is a great advantage for gardeners. A pot made from concrete or natural stone is extremely heavy even before it contains a plant. This lightweight feature is particularly important for balcony and roof gardens.
  • The fibre clay bonding method creates a very strong substance. So, this means that fibre clay pots are strong, weatherproof and durable – a must for any outdoor planters.
  • Fibre clay can include a great variety of minerals. This means that a great variety of finishes and looks can be achieved. These finishes include sandstone-effect, concrete-effect and lead-effect planters.
  • The manufacturing process for fibre clay often uses waste materials from other industries. 
  • The energy costs for producing fibre clay garden pots are low making it an efficient process.
  • Fibre clay garden planters are relatively cheaper than their real-stone equivalent.

    roller fiberclay pot grey set

    Roller fibreclay pot grey set from Floresy.online

Fibre clay garden pots from Floresy

Floresy stock a range of high-quality fibre clay pots. We recommend these pots for businesses as their lightweight design is a useful feature for multi-use spaces in hotels and retail units. The price is also a great feature! Please view our full range of plant pots and planters, including our fibre clay offerings and let us know if you have any questions.

bowl fibre clay pots

Shallow dish-style bowl fibre clay pots with a sandstone finish.

 

 

 

Does an office without boundaries create division among workers?

An open-plan office should be a collaborative space, right? A place where workers interact and communicate without hindrance by boundaries such as cubical walls and room dividers. But despite this seemingly obvious statement, the opposite is truer. Open plan office productivity from collaboration is a myth.

A recent study looked at the impact of ‘open’ workspaces on human collaboration. It found that the amount of face-to-face communication dropped by 70% while electronic communication increased by up to 50%.

How was collaboration measured?

Researchers followed two firms during a planned layout change from a cubicle-dominated office to an open plan style. Both firms were Fortune 500 multi-nationals who were about to redesign an office at their head office. The researchers recorded the employee’s behaviours before and after the layout change.

Prior studies looking to measure productivity and collaboration in the workplace have relied upon surveys and activity logging by the workers. This study, by Ethan S. Bernstein and Stephen Turban of Havard University, instead employed a wearable tech device or ‘sociometric badge’.

wearable tech measures open plan office productivity

Sociometric badge measures collaboration in the open-plan office

The badge recorded their face-to-face interactions. The devices worked when they came in close proximity to another badge i.e. when the participants were interacting. The aim of the device was to capture a great deal of data:

  • An infrared sensor captured whom they were facing
  • A microphone captured whether they were talking or listening (without recording what was said for privacy).
  • A movement sensor captured body movement and posture
  • Plus a Bluetooth sensor to record their location within the office

The first study had 52 participants (about 40% of the total workers) and monitored them for 15 working days before the transition. The study used a settling-in period of two months to allow for the changes to become embedded. The monitoring of the participants then continued for another 15 days within their new office environment.

A second study further tested the results from the first study. One hundred employees (roughly 45%) agreed to participate and were monitored using the badges.

This time, monitoring of the participants lasted for eight weeks prior to the redesign and eight weeks after the move. This second study also included the two-month settling-in period.

What were the open plan office productivity results?

Both studies saw a fall in face-to-face communication decrease of around 70%. Email and messaging went up by between 20% to 50% and accounts for some of that lost interaction. 

It seems that, when working within an open-plan setting, workers would seek to create their own “privacy” by isolating themselves. For example, people wear large headphones to appear busy. Or they choose to use electronic communication forms instead.

There is a basic human desire for privacy. Evidence supports that acting on that desire can help productivity. In other words, we don’t like feeling observed. This study also touches on how ‘collective intelligence’ works. It’s a new concept but there could be an optimum amount of stimulation that promotes higher levels of this type of ‘hive-mind’ intelligence. And open-place offices may be too stimulating.

The study sums up the findings “In short… open architecture appeared to trigger a natural human response to socially withdraw from officemates…”

How to use plants to create more privacy in your workplace

It seems that the best office layouts include a variety of different working spaces. Here are some ideas to easily adapt an existing workspace for better open plan office productivity:

  • Avoid desks where the worker’s back faces a walkway or corridor. It makes employees feel on-show plus its bad Feng Shui.
  • Read our blog on how to use plants are room dividers.
  • Include comfortable seating areas without any desks that promote conversation.
  • Take advantage of the open-plan design to create collaborative areas away from people’s desks.
  • Create privacy screens from office dividers or plants such as bamboo to help workers feel more enclosed.
  • Make sure any open-plan areas aren’t overfilled with desks. Respect your employee’s sense of personal space.
  • Always include private working stations or pods that allow employees to focus on work undisturbed.

Floresy is always ready to help solve any office layout dilemmas using our years of experience with commercial interiors.