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5 reasons why your workspace still matters

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With many of us back working from home after the new restrictions were announced in the UK this week, offices across the country are empty – providing the perfect opportunity to invest!

Here are just some of the reasons why your workspace is important, including benefits to your team’s mental health and productivity…

1. Communication

Getting your team together (even if they are 2m apart) encourages quick, creative and spontaneous idea-sharing. It also eliminates the miscommunication that often happens over email!

2. Balance

WFH can make it difficult to separate work and home life. Travelling to a communal workspace allows your brain to enter ‘work mode’ and when you leave ‘home mode’ which can not only prevent burn out but also benefit your mental health.

3. Culture

An office environment can be a great place to form friendships. Spending time with team members across your organisation helps build morale and team culture, encouraging productivity and engaging your employees!

4. Routine

Having a routine can have a number of health and wellbeing benefits. It’s not just about travelling to and from your workspace, but how it shapes your day for other activities including meeting with friends for lunch or going to the gym on the way home.

5. Focus

Workspaces provide the perfect environment for focusing on your work. Although working from home can sound relaxing, it’s not always the case, especially when working around family or young children who may be home from school.

Get in touch with our team to discuss your project today – HERE

Chameleon achieve their first Gold SKA Rating for project!

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We are delighted to announce our design and fit-out project for Hull Universities Energy and Environment Insitute has achieved the first ever Gold SKA Rating in the region!

Achieving the highest rating in the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) environmental assessment scheme, the hub boasts 84% of the 86 strong criteria set up as part of the SKA assessment – making it officially one of the greenest educational hubs in the UK.

The SKA rating is an environmental assessment scheme that measures fit-out projects against a set of sustainability ‘good practice’ criteria. ‘Good practice’ measures cover everything from responsible sourcing of materials, reducing waste and diverting materials from landfill, to CO2 emissions, lighting design, energy efficient hand dryers and biodiversity.

The announcement also marks the first SKA Rating for our team at Chameleon. Shaun Watts, Chairman, commented: “We are delighted with the Gold SKA Rating achieved for the new Energy and Environment Institute. At Chameleon, we work with sustainability front of mind on every project. It was particularly important during this project, given the nature of the hub, to showcase the building as a leader in global environmental resilience and energy sustainability.

“Day-to-day, we paid careful consideration to of all the materials used and constant monitoring of onsite activities from an environmental and sustainability perspective. It was a pleasure to be part of a larger team, all of whom were dedicated to delivering a world-class, planet-friendly project.”

Amongst the environmental design elements in the project, 80% of carpet and soft floor finishes were reused/recycled, 50% of vinyl finishes were recycled through a closed-loop scheme, and 80% of the timber flooring was reused – with the remaining percentage diverted from landfill.  

Paul Batchelor, Partner at RLB, said: “Delivering the SKA Gold Rated academic hub for the pioneering Energy and Environment Institute at the University of Hull was a fantastic project for the team at RLB to lead. Sustainability was at the very core of this project and the collaboration of the entire team was key to its success, achieving the first SKA Gold in the region is a brilliant credit to everyone involved.”

Professor Dan Parsons, Director at the Energy and Environment Institute, added: “When we secured funding to bring our multi-disciplinary team of experts under one roof on the University campus, we wanted to create a space which was both modern and stylish, but which also showcased excellence in sustainability.

“It’s only right that an Institution centred on tackling the global climate crisis be based in a building which is environmentally fit for purpose.

“With the support of our Estates team at the University and the contractors Chameleon Business Interiors – who deserve an enormous amount of credit for this project – we have created a space which truly practices what it preaches.

“This SKA Gold award is recognition of the hard work and dedication of all those involved in the refurbishment.”

The Energy and Environment Institute at the University of Hull brings together the skills and capabilities of leading researchers to tackle global challenges related to climate change and a low carbon transition, and their consequences for society and livelihoods.

Now home to over 100 staff and PhD researchers, the Institute is leading research in some of the areas of the world most at-risk from climate change, including flood prone areas such as Vietnam’s Mekong and Red River deltas, the Congo River in Africa, as well as locations much closer to home.

You can see more of the 2019 project for Hull University here.

 

Trend Talk: Commercial Interiors in 2021

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2020 has been an unpredictable year from start to finish and I think it’s safe to say no one really knows what 2021 has in store for us. One thing we do know for sure is that businesses have had to adapt rapidly to keep up with the changes in government guidance and the health and wellbeing of their employees.

The past few years we’ve seen many organisations making the move to remote and agile working, something that the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly accelerated for the rest of the industry. With social distancing, working from home and Teams meetings becoming the new norm, we asked our in-house team of designers what they expect to see in commercial interiors in 2021…

Our head of design, Kevin McIntosh said: “It’s been a really tough year for everyone. I think a lot of us have really seen the value in protecting our mental health and I believe that workspace design will really take this new appreciation on board, with a more honest approach to design.

“In order to evolve, employers need to seriously consider wellness principles and biophilic design in 2021. A lot of our recent designs have looked to bring the outside in with planting and exposed natural finishes including brick, concrete and steel and muted tones. With the thought of returning to the office causing anxiety for a lot of people, this approach creates a space that people actually want to spend time in – and inspires higher levels of concentration and productivity with lower levels of stress.”

Kevin added: “I’m noticing that more manufacturers are using recycled ocean plastics and environmentally conscious materials in their products, which is really encouraging to see. In a ‘nothing is lost, everything is transformed’ trend, upcycling or repurposing office furniture is something designers should always consider when creating a ‘new’ space.”

“I’m hopeful that next year, we’ll see a real commitment by companies to create sustainable workspaces designed for the future.”

Fiona Thornham, interior designer said: “This year was a huge wakeup call for a lot of people in the industry. Designing for people, not only a pandemic, with long-term sustainable considerations and a proxemics-based approach is certainly the way forward – into what will hopefully be a more stable 2021 for us all!”

“With many of us spending so much of our time at home this year, I definitely expect to see a shift in commercial interiors towards a more domestic feel, becoming commonly referred to as ‘resi-mercial’.” continued Fiona.

“The pandemic has reminded us of the benefits of coming into an office: the opportunity for collaboration, human interaction and idea-sharing. But our workspaces now need to give employees the freedom to work in a way that best suits them.”

 

Thinking of transforming in your workspace in 2021? Get in touch with us here!

 

Image Source: Pinterest + Connection

 

Chameleon shortlisted for Highways England’s new 30,000 sq ft office space

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We are delighted to have been shortlisted by Carter Jonas for Highways England’s new 30,000 sq ft office space at Calder Park in Wakefield.

The office space is to be the second letting on the park for Highways England, spread across a two-storey building. Opening in early 2021, the space could accommodate various Highways England operational staff to manage road networks across the region.

Chris Hartnell, associate partner at Carter Jonas, said: “Calder Park will provide Highways England’s employees with an exceptional environment that will support their wellbeing and ultimately be a great place to work.

 

Chameleon goes ‘back to school’ with latest project

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Over the last few months we have been transforming a 19th century building at Hull’s oldest independent school – Hymers College – balancing contemporary and classic design to create a fresh, welcoming new space!

The sixth form common room, headmaster’s office and reception area with accompanying offices needed a significant refresh, so Hymers enlisted us to provide full design, fit-out, refurbishment and furniture services.

Fiona Thornham, interior designer said: “The spaces just weren’t appealing, they were looking a little tired and needed a new lease of life – so that’s exactly what they’ve been given!

“We’ve worked hard to create a bright, modern feel, celebrating the heritage and character of the Grade II listed building while also bringing in comfortable, practical and aesthetically pleasing elements that ‘lift’ the spaces.

“The sixth form space has seen the biggest transformation and looks absolutely fantastic. There’s now a contemporary kitchen area with vibrant tiles and a high bench area – perfect for students to gather at lunch or break times.

“We’ve broken up space with a variety of workspaces and collaboration areas, as well as a selection of different industrial-inspired lighting designs, flooring and partitions. This has added real dimension to space and makes it feel really young and modern.

“We incorporated screening to breakdown the space but also maintain visibility. Additional power points were added to provide the extra space needed to charge students’ all-important devices – such as mobile phones, iPads and laptops”

“We started the project in July, so were careful to negotiate all that lockdown threw our way! But we always design for people first, keeping ‘proxemics’ in mind at every step of the process. So all of our decisions are made to create timeless spaces that ‘work’ whenever they’re developed – whether that’s pre, mid or post-pandemic!

“We’re incredibly pleased with the outcome. Students will be wanting to stay at school for longer!”

Justin Stanley, headmaster of Hymers said: “The students were blown away when they first saw the new common room. It’s been completely transformed and we’re delighted with the new look.”

“My new office and the revitalised reception area now feel refreshed and fit for purpose, as we reopen for a new academic year.”

You can check out more of this project here: Hymers College

The importance of flexible workspace

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Now more than ever it is important to have flexibility in the workspace. Whether the need for flexibility comes in the form of areas for staff to collaborative or the ability to efficiently socially distance, workspace proxemics are an important element to consider when designing an office space that can adapt to the demands of its users.

Proxemics is the study of human use of space and the effects that population density has on behaviour, communication, and social interaction. It goes without saying that a loud overcrowded office isn’t the ideal environment for communication and productivity! Since the outbreak of COVID-19 back in March many of us have seen the way we work drastically change, and with social distancing measures becoming mandatory we have all had to adjust. For many organisations, the number of employees safely allowed in their office drastically reduced overnight leading to staff working remotely from home. But global pandemic or not, the priority of a space should always remain the same, the people who work there.

At Chameleon we believe in designing for people, not a pandemic, and have been designing flexible people inspired workspaces for over 20 years. Each space we design takes proxemics into account and is tailored around our clients’ company culture and the well-being of the employees that work within it. By working to this mantra, we have created spaces that have enabled our clients to successfully adapt to the ever-changing guidelines relating to COVID-19 and allow for vital human interaction to continue safely.

Our designers Kev and Fiona have shared some top tips for designing a flexible space:

Multi-purpose Furniture

By introducing multi-purpose furniture you’re able to give a space a variety of uses, booths are a great example of this.  Booths not only provide the perfect space for a meeting or to take a break but they can also be used as an alternative working area should desk space become limited.  Booths also permit a natural, physical separation for social distancing providing the short-term solution for social distancing instead of acrylic screens. Our designers recently used the JDD Bob booth in a project we completed in Sheffield for First Group to add flexibility to their workspace, check it out…

Modern technology to provide better connectivity

Providing ample connection points throughout the space allows staff to work from a variety of locations, rather than just their nominated desk. By including sockets, USB points, server connections and additional WAP points in communal areas, staff can move freely and you can get more use out of the space. This also applies to AV hook-ups, providing these in areas other than your designated meeting areas you can create more space appropriate for presentations or larger meetings. having the right connections and technology available such as a Smart TV or Apple AirPlay for your staff enables you to transform breakout areas or communal spaces into flexible spaces perfect for collaboration and increased productivity.

Separate space with moveable dividers

Space dividers such as moveable walls and screens on wheels enable a space to be transformed. These are a particularly great addition to meeting rooms so that they can be divided into smaller areas or opened to create a large area for staff to collaborate. In July of this year, we handed over Victory Leisure’s new customer experience centre. Their team were looking for somewhere they could bring clients to impress, but also somewhere their team could collaborate and brainstorm ideas. Check out the flexible space we created for them…

Utilise all your space – even if it’s outdoors

Outdoor areas can not only be a great way to boost staff morale (especially on a sunny day when no one wants to be stuck indoors!) but also allow staff to effectively social distance due to being able to maintain closer working proximity in open-air. Whether you have land around your building or an unused roof space there are so many options for transforming it into a brilliant extension to your workspace. Check out this space we created for Hugh Rice

If you’re interested in transforming your workspace into a flexible hub for collaboration and productivity – get in touch with our team here

A call centre with a difference

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We have recently completed the design and fit-out of FirstGroup’s newly refurbished national call centre. But this is no ordinary call centre, we have redefined the traditional ‘call centre’ look and feel using contemporary features throughout, giving the new workspace a modern and minimal feel.

Kevin McIntosh, head of design said: “The refurbishment and fit-out of the new space was extensive – it started life as a completely empty shell! We worked with FirstGroup to put a fresh, creative stamp on the new area.

“Yes, a call centre needs banks of desks, but we knew that there was the potential to do more and challenge the outdated ‘call centre’ model with new concepts that would inspire and uplift staff. It’s a call centre; but not as you know it.

“The space has been rationalised, to create a free-flowing, flexible working environment for FirstGroup’s 119 staff.

“There’s a designated collaboration space in the heart of the building, which will allow First Group’s team to take a step away from the hustle and bustle of the busy call centre to recharge and refresh.

“A variety of different seating and lighting has been incorporated into the kitchen and breakout area, creating a light and interesting break out space. It’s so much more than a ‘call centre’.

“We’ve negotiated all manner of challenges relating to lockdown to get to this point. But it’s all been completely worth it. We’ve completed a number of projects for FirstGroup, and this is certainly our most exciting. The finished result is absolutely fantastic!”

Rebecca Bebbington, Director of Operations, First Customer Contact, said: “Our new call centre is not only functional and suits our team’s needs, it is dynamic and presents a refreshing new take on what a call centre ‘should’ look like. Chameleon has done a great job, presenting a creative solution which certainly fulfilled the brief we set for them.”

Check it out here: First Group Sheffield

Project Team Expansion

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The next few months are packed full of exciting projects for our team to get stuck into and so to keep up with demand we are delighted to welcome two new members of staff to Team Chameleon!

Pete North has joined us as a construction manager and is currently based at Spa Medica in Wokingham which started on site last week. Pete has over 25 years’ experience in the construction industry and is responsible for overseeing the direction of the project, ensuring our client’s specifications and requirements are met by reviewing progress and leasing with our client and delivery teams.

Carl Holiday has joined us as a site supervisor and got straight to work at our project at Hymers College which is due to complete in the coming weeks. Carl is responsible for ensuring projects complete on time, to the client’s requirements and that our sites are a safe environment for everyone who visits or works there.

Chairman, Shaun Watts said: “We are delighted to welcome both Pete and Carl to the team. They bring a lot of additional experience to the company, strengthening an already successful project team. We’ve been very fortunate to be working with a number of new clients that have had the confidence to invest in their people and their workspace. Adding Pete and Carl ensures we are adequately equipped to deal with the number of upcoming projects successfully”.

We are so excited to have these two specialists join our brilliant project team to enable us to continue delivering great workspaces for our clients. Interested in transforming your space? Get in touch here!