,

How a lack of privacy is killing open plan office productivity

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. 

 

, ,

Can resimmercial design help businesses recruit staff?

A survey of 2000 UK workers by Mindspace (a co-working and collaborative workspace provider), uncovered some disconcerting opinions among employees. A surprising 16% of 18 to 24-year-olds said that they had left a job because of its poor workplace design. A further 31% of workers felt their current work environment was uninspiring, while 28% stated that their workplace is simply outdated and dull.

Another study by Office Genie in 2017, a whacking 45% of employees were frustrated at the lack of collaborative spaces in their place of work. And 20% actually stated that their work environment hindered their ability to do their job.

So how does a modern business attract, and retain, the more discerning generation of employees a.k.a. the millennials? What can office design do to improve worker happiness? Would adopting resimmercial design help with your businesses recruitment challenges?

What is resimmercial design?

The word ‘resimmercial’ is a blend of two words: residential and commercial. And this is exactly what resimmercial design is all about – blending home and work life. By creating spaces that are more home-like and less like a place of work, designers are hoping to make the office a more comfortable place to be.

Resimmercial design follows on from commercial spaces that have introduced more creativity to their premises. Sometimes, that may have been through necessity such as the “hot-desking” concept. Other reasons include wanting to change the atmosphere to make it more productive or relaxed.

Resimmercial design

Workplaces that feel more like home. Resimmercial design.

The main principles are creating spaces that feel warm, welcoming and homely plus flexibility for employees with different working preferences. This is predominantly achieved by opting for non-traditional office furniture, moving away from neutral tones and adding more natural textures into the work environment.

What are the features of resimmercial design?

Communal and casual areas

Think less “open-plan office” and more hotel lobby. These areas are lounge spaces with casual seating arrangements that are conducive to conversation. But likewise, a good resimmercial space also more secluded spots for those times when someone needs a quiet place to work.

Multi-functional spaces

By assigning less purpose to a space you allow it to adapt to the needs of the people working there. A room isn’t a meeting room because it’s just another space that could be used for a meeting. Is that a coffee bar or a standing desk? The user decides.

Soft edges and rich textures

That oh-so-typical modular office furniture is replaced with less ‘officey’ pieces often in vibrant colours or natural materials such as wood, cork or bamboo. There are more fabric coverings in a resimmercial space including tactile velvets, prints and other interesting textures. Just like all the curtains, carpets, cushions and upholstery that you would expect to find in a comfortable home.

Resimmercial design is a relaxing work environment

Resimmercial feels like you could be working whilst sitting on your sofa at home

Closer to nature

Resimmercial design often incorporates biophilic principles too. The use of plants helps to create a healthy and relaxing environment As does other natural materials such as stone and water. There may even be a fish tank (ok, that’s very “dentist’s waiting room” and nothing new but, aw, look at the fishies!).

Why choose resimmercial for your office?

An important factor that influences a millennial’s decision making, whether it is spending money or choosing a company to work for, is the ethics and authenticity of a brand or employer. Creating positive working environments shows a commitment to staff welfare above and beyond what any brochure or HR person can demonstrate. And this will be important for any prospective millennial candidate.

Once you’ve attracted talented people to your business it’s important to retain them. The cost of hiring a new employee can cost as much as what you’re paying them. Offering a flexible work environment will help to keep your employees happy and productive. Of course, flexibility must include options for not working in the office in the first place. Reducing staff turnover helps reduce the overall cost of recruitment.

Stress and the mental health of our colleagues is a serious topic. Ping pong tables and breakout areas aren’t remedies for depression. But sympathetic resimmercial design can, in part, offer a less intense working environment for anyone going through a mental illness.

Get it right and the result is fresh, valued and happy staff. And since happiness is a powerhouse, this can lead to improvements in productivity, better work/life balance and fewer sick days. It’s a win-win.

Happy workers in resimmercial office

Ok, there’s a happy worker and then there’s this guy.

Of course, this flexible, adaptable and spontaneous office design could not exist without the advent of mobile computing. WiFi and other technologies that have freed us from the standard 1.5m power cable “leash” are fueling this office place revolution. But is the idea of a progressive workplace anything new? Read our blog post on the history of office design to find out.

 

,

Choosing artificial flowers for restaurant tables

Plants for restaurant tables can be that finishing touch that really completes the customer experience. Whether you prefer foliage over flowers, a considered table display can complete the branding you’ve worked hard to establish.

Things to consider when choosing a plant include:

  • Size of the plant. You don’t want the display to interfere with your guests being able to see each other. Also, a larger display takes up valuable table space.
  • Cost is an important factor for plants or flowers for restaurant tables because of the number required, especially for medium or larger sized establishments.
  • Maintenance is another cost. Using fresh flowers quickly adds up either in the cost of cut blooms or the labour required for watering and keeping the plants looking healthy.
  • Repeatability is an important factor for controlling the customer experience at every table in your restaurant. Seating guests at a table with a drooping plant or a flower that is passed it’s best does not make that guest feel valued.

If you are looking for plants to add character to your restaurant tables but that are also cost-effective, artificial plants are an option worth exploring. Here is a hand-picked list of suggestions from the Floresy product range.

Succulents as plants for restaurant tables

Succulents are a fabulous choice for a restaurant table plants. They are a popular and trendy plant plus because they are low-growing won’t interrupt the diner’s view across the table. They are also relatively neutral in their appeal so they can fit in with most interiors.

These succulents in dark grey pots are great for either a moodier or more masculine theme. With four plants for only £45, they are great for your budget too.

artificial succulents mix in dark grey pot

Artificial succulent mix in contemporary dark grey pots will suit a masculine or even an oriental-styled interior

 For a restaurant with a more organic or rustic feel, these succulents in glass jars (complete with hemp string) are a good match.

succulents as plants for restaurant tables

Succulents in glass jars are a perfect match to a rustic interior.

Miniature individual artificial succulents as plants for restaurant tables

Miniature individual artificial succulents – they are just too cute!

These are mini individual succulents in white pots and come in a set of six are super-budget friendly working out at just £4.50 per plant. In addition, they are a great choice if space is a premium on your table. You can use them individually but you can also cluster them in groups of threes.

If you want to continue with succulents in your restaurant interior, Floresy has many more artificial succulents to choose from. They are a great cost-effective plant to choose and because of their size, also a really flexible option for any business. Plus they are on trend! Why not visit our shop to see what else we can offer your business’ decor.

Flowers for restaurant tables

These sweet and elegant displays of grape hyacinths would be a welcome addition to both a traditional French restaurant or a farmhouse-style gastropub. Whilst a taller offering at 46cm in height, they are slender and the delicate hyacinth won’t intrude on the view of your guests.

Grape hyacinth in tall glass table display

Let’s get blooming grape hyacinth in tall display glass

A good choice if you want a sunnier flower are these kalanchoes in shallow pots. Choose from white, yellow or pink, the combination of flowers at different stages of blooming really add to their delightful and sunny appeal.

Artificial kalanchoe flowers in pots

Kalanchoes are in a shallow pots making them perfect flowers for restaurant tables or as summer bedding plants on a patio.

These mini anthuriums have a striking flower and come in a set of three in a choice of pink, red or white/cream flower. Additionally, they come unpotted. This means that by using a pot or container of your choice, you can create an individual look. Add your own flavour to truly match the decor of your business. The flowers have an architectural quality so lend themselves to more modern or contemporary settings.

Artificial anthurium plant

Artificial mini anthuriums come in a set of three in a colour of your choice.

How about some lavender flowers for restaurant tables? Both a flower and a herb, these would be at home in any kitchen-restaurant. Equally, they suit French cuisine and conversely a traditional English pub. The rustic appeal of the pots would also suit a tea room or country cafe. As these lavenders come in four different sizes you can choose them to fit your table sizes. Or use them in other places on your premises to compliment the design such as any waiting stations.

Lavender in galvanised tin pots by Floresy

Artificial lavender from Floresy comes in a variety of sizes to suit your needs.

Benefits of using artificial plants for restaurant tables

One of the key benefits of using artificial plants for restaurant tables is that they are storable. This gives your business’ decor flexibility to adapt with the seasons or with layout changes. This is especially useful if you hold events or private functions at your restaurant. Frequently changes the number of tables in use means displays become can become redundant. Your artificial plant won’t fade or die whilst in storage. They will be in perfect condition when you take them out of storage to use them again.

You can find more information on how Floresy can help your hospitality business by reading our artificial plants for restaurants page.

, ,

Benefits of Artificial plants in commercial spaces

Benefits of Artificial Plants in commercial interiors

For some, the concept of artificial or faux plants in their interiors seems counter-intuitive. Others may think of them as cheap or obviously fake. Apart from the high-quality and near-identical appearance of modern artificial plants to real plants, there are many benefits of artificial plants as well.

In addition to these benefits, plant maintenance can be a significant overhead for many hospitality businesses – especially those who opt for botanically themed interiors. Water accounts for 10% of utility bills for most hotels and that’s without the labour costs associated with plant maintenance.

Low Maintenance

Artificial plants are very nearly zero-maintenance. They do not require pruning, watering, feeding or pesticides. In fact, all you need to do is occasionally dust you artificial plants. But you need to dust natural plants too, especially big-leaved varieties.

There are no dead flowers or leaves to remove or sweep up and neither is there any soil to be spilt. Plus there is no risk of any water accidentally causing a slip hazard.

  • Low maintenance means you can reduce your overheads.

Suitable for any location

Artificial plants will tolerate any condition. Low light levels that would otherwise see off natural plants like fig trees and palms pose no issue to an artificial or faux plant.

ficus liana exotica tree

Artificial Ficus liana exotica tree from Floresy will not droop or lose its leaves.

Indoors real plants also need to be able to tolerate central heating and air conditioning which can quickly dry them out. You can place an artificial plant next to a radiator and be reassured that it will not wilt.

The benefits of artificial plants also include being able to place them in relatively inaccessible places. Such as suspending them from a ceiling or even just on a particularly high shelf. Because you do not need to water them, you can place an artificial plant where they are out of reach without making maintaining them problematic.

  • Suitability means you do not have to compromise on achieving the desired ambience for your customers.

Storable

Don’t need that artificial plant at the moment? Pop it in the cupboard until you do. Unlike their natural counterparts, you can put an artificial plant into storage until when it is needed next. Just like a Christmas tree.

This is a great benefit for venues who host events or weddings and need to be able to conveniently change layout and decor of a room for each booking.

  • Storable means the artificial plant is an asset that can be reused again and again.

Condition

Artifical plants will not shed their leaves. Their flowers will not fade. When you purchase an artificial plant from Floresy it will stay looking exactly the same all year round. It will not outgrow it’s pot not need pruning to maintain its shape.

  • Condition means that you will not have to reinvest in your plant solutions.

Flexibility

It’s much easier to move artificial plants than real ones. Artificial plants are more robust than real plants. They are also generally lighter in weight due to the planter or pot not containing soil. This portability is another one of the benefits of artificial plants.

  • Flexibility means you can more readily adapt your interiors to suit your needs.

Non-Allergenic

Whilst there are many benefits from having real plants in your spaces, it’s important to remember real plant negatives too. Some plants are triggers for allergy sufferers. Sometimes the plants themselves or the pollen their produce is the irritant. But for some people, it is the use of chemicals in the maintenance of real plants that cause the reaction.

Artificial plants are hypoallergenic. You can also sanitise them using cleanings products that you could do use on an organic plant. Because they do not require maintenance, there is no need for pesticides or insecticides either.

  • Non-allergenic means happier customers and happier employees.
artificial flower arrangements work

One of the benefits of artificial plants means no allergic reactions to flowers or pollen.

Artificial plants offer real solutions for businesses. This is either in the form of lowering their overheads or in the flexibility of using faux plants. You use them on their own to create permanent displays. Or combine them with real plants to achieve the right balance between cost, benefits and style. For more information on how artificial plants can help with your business’s interiors, please give Floresy a call on 0208 0770891

,

6 Hotel room design mistakes to avoid

A hotel room has to work hard. It has to offer good looks, comfort, practicality and a home-from-home for your guests. Whilst at the same time be cost-effective to maintain in order to earn its keep. But when it comes to striking a balance between form and function, there are common design mistakes that any hotel room can fall foul of.

1. Bad lighting

Few of us still sleep with the lights on but bad lighting can seriously cast a shadow on your guest experience. Rooms benefit from multiple light sources that allow guests to change the overall brightness to meet their own preferences. And controlling the lighting needs to be at your guest’s convenience too. Make sure the bedside lamps aren’t too bright and that the controls can be easily reached from the bed. And completely ditch any fluorescent lights – they were ever not a design mistake?

Hotel room with only one bedside table and light

Only one bedside table and light – but what about the guest sleeping on the left?

2. Bold colours that are not restful

It’s great to be able to make a design statement in a room, especially using colours that are on trend. But overuse of bright, powerful colours will not help your guests get a restful night’s sleep. If your chosen theme colour is bright or bold, use it sparingly. Consider using it in throw cushions, lampshade and in wall art. Also, you could choose a patterned curtain fabric that includes the colour in smaller amounts.

Red hotel bedroom accent

Ham Yard Hotel in London uses a very stimulating red but as an accent colour.

3. Oversized furniture or too much furniture

We’ve all been there. Bought that amazing super-king bed that we saw in the store and now you can’t open your wardrobe doors. Even generously sized rooms will feel cramped if they are full of furniture. Floor space is key. For smaller bedrooms, consider a smaller double bed. Alternatively, make each item of furniture earn its keep by having more than one function. For example, a bedside that is also a desk or a dressing table that is also a TV stand. If something can be wall-mounted do so, it frees up the floor giving a greater sense of space.

Clear surfaces and floor area creates space

So many great space-saving ideas such as the long wall shelf keep floor space and surface’s clear. Image from domino.com

4. Lack of technology

You’ve installed free wifi throughout your hotel and you’re patting yourself on the back. If technology was a guest room – you’ve just added the bed. Today’s travellers – especially millennials – expect more than access to wifi which is now considered a necessity. A common hotel room design mistake is insufficient charging sockets as multiple devices may need to be plugged-in simultaneously. With the number of connectable devices growing from two billion in 2006 to a predicted 200 billion by 2020, hotels cannot afford to not invest in greater room technology. Hotel apps that allow personalisation of temperature, lighting and interaction with other hotel’s facilities are fast becoming must-have hotel tech. The Marriott City Centre hotel knows how to do it.

Hotel room design mistakes with technology don't happen at Marriott

Marriott City Centre hotel in Charlotte, USA is an industry-leader for hotel tech. Rooms include Bluetooth connectivity for TV plus room key apps.

5. Clutter

When a guest comes to stay with you, they need to feel welcomed and accommodated. Part of that comes from having somewhere to put their belongings. Clear surfaces are more inviting and tell the guest that room is theirs to use. It might only be a phone and a toothbrush. But if the room is full of brochures, tea & coffee making facilities, lamps and potted plants, the result is a feeling of being unwanted. And that’s a big design mistake.

Radisson Blu Hotel Room

No design mistakes at the Radisson Blu in Schipol: subdued colour scheme with a bold accent, multiple light sources and all those clear surfaces… Design & images property of Creneau International

6. Looks over comfort

Achieving the wow-factor with hotel room design is what we want. It creates a memorable stay for your guests and really enhances their customer experience. However, if that fabulous-looking armchair is so low to the ground that it’s uncomfortable to sit on, what is it for? The fifteen throw cushions on the bed look sumptuous and inviting. But how practical is it for your guests to have to shove them off the bed to lie down. Not to mention the laundry bill! The panel curtains are in an exquisite print but don’t completely cover the window. The wow-factor will lose its value if the bedroom simply does not perform to the same expectation as the looks suggest. These are over-design mistakes. A trend rising alongside the millennial market is for simpler room design. Comfort without fuss.

Simple hotel room design

At the end of the day, it’s all about the bed.

Let Floresy contribute to your good hotel room design with our floral design service.