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covid secure office

How to Create a Covid Secure Office

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The covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for touch to be reduced in the office in order to support the covid secure office. There are many things within the traditional workspace that need to be rethought in order to look after our health.

From shared to personal

Reducing the dependence of shared devices such as laptops and phone and making these personal items will support the office to be safer. While this is not a high technology approach and can incur additional costs for businesses, it will reduce touch.

Other ways to create a covid secure office are introducing Bluetooth entry systems and encouraging employees to have their own belonging such as keyboard, stationary etc in order to reduce sharing.

Actions

Replacing touch with actions is an easy way to create a covid secure office. For example, rather than touching the soap dispenser, opting for one that is automatic based on gesture control is a better solution, this can also be replicated in door entry systems too.

Voice

We all have voice control devices at home whether that be for your lights, heating, radio and more, but have you considered bringing this into the workplace? Simple instructions such as ‘turn on the lights’, ‘open the door’, ‘order my lunch’, ‘turn on the radio’ are all possible by using voice controlled technology an will help to make your office covid secure.

Face

Face recognition is another great way that you can reduce touch in your workspace. Many devices now have this function such as phones and laptops which can also be useful for door entry systems or for booking meeting rooms or to create your perfect work space by having personal lighting, heating, or chair etc settings.

Essentially, the possibilities are endless in using technology to create a covid secure office and it is likely that over time this will become ever more popular.

To see some of our latest project, click here.

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Office refurbishment company

Why hire an office refurbishment company?

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While we all love to get involved in DIY and save some money, however its probably not the best idea when it comes to a workspace refurbishment. At Chameleon, we specialise in commercial interior design, office fit outs, furniture supply and installation, offering you a turnkey service. With  over 22 years of expertise, we have help some companies recover from renovation disasters and supported others to grow and develop. Choosing an office refurbishment company is very important for a number of reasons, so here is why…

Design

Being supported with creative direction is a massive benefits of hiring an office refurbishment company. While you may already have a clear vision of what you require, extra help is always advised so you can consider alternative options ensuring you find the best one.

Quality

While we all like a good deal, ensuring quality and durability in your workspace is very important in order get longevity out of your office refurbishment. An office refurbishment company will be able to provide you with valuable insight into the best products and materials suited to your needs while also budget friendly.

Communication

Have you considered what it would be like to be the middleman among multiple contractors while trying to do you day job too? Probably not ideal… Project managing a refurbishment is not ideal if you don’t have the time knowledge or expertise required and you will likely incur issues and errors if this is the case.

Time

Clear and accurate time frames in your office refurbishment will be very beneficial to you and your staff in order to plan effectively and reduce uncertainty. By hiring an office refurbishment company, the responsibility is on them to deliver the project on time, meaning you can relax knowing it is not on your shoulders.

Costs

When it comes to costs, this can be a daunting part of an office refurbishment. An office refurbishment company will support you to determine a budget by analysing your requirements for the project and they will be able to outline any costs that you may not have considered.

If you’re considering an office refurbishment or have a questions to ask us, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.

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hybrid working office

What does the hybrid working office look like?

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Post the covid-19 pandemic, hybrid working has become a popular model of working supporting the needs of employees transitioning back into the workplace full time. However, its likely to continue long after covid-19 meaning the traditional office must change into the new idea of a hybrid working office.

The way employees use the office has massively changed. Working from home showed how for solo tasks where concentration is required it was a much more preferable option, but for problem-solving and innovative tasks, the office and the community at the office was greatly missed. As a result, post pandemic, the office took on a new role as a place to provide community, collaboration, sociability and innovation for employees.

How can we create a hybrid working office?

 

·       Collaboration Spaces

·       Meeting Rooms

·       Focus Areas

·       Comfort

·       Acoustic Solutions

 

Collaboration Spaces

It is likely that your employees will want to use the office for collaboration purposes. Working on group projects, finding solutions to problems or getting input from team members will be popular ways that employees will want to use the office as the same results can’t be achieved from remote working.

It is important that hybrid office caters to the needs of collaboration through specifically designed areas that will be useful for a variety of tasks.

Meeting Rooms

In the majority of businesses meeting are very common and while we have all got used to online meetings over the past 18 months, it is more commonly preferred to hold meetings in person. The hybrid office needs to facilitate a variety of different meeting types – small, large, formal, informal, online attendees and so on.

Understanding your own meeting need such as whether acoustic privacy is needed, whether visual privacy is needed, the size of the meetings, the length of the meetings, what additions are needed such as presentation facilitates or people being able to dial in to the meeting will all help to determine the variety of meeting spaces you will need from your hybrid working office.

Focus Areas

While some employees may prefer to work for home in time where they need to focus, this doesn’t mean that focus areas in the hybrid working office are obsolete. Focus areas provide calming areas that will be useful or employees for a number of reasons such as to escape to when everyone else is collaboration, to go to when peace is needed or to have private conversations.

Areas such as single telephone booths, dedicated quiet rooms or seating booths will help to create a quiet and calming space perfect for focus and concentration.

Comfort

Creating a comfortable environment for your workforce is important. Many employees over the last 18 months have become used to working from their kitchen table, sofa, bedroom and so on and as a result of this have become used to working from comfortable spaces that suit the task they are doing. Having a variety of different areas that range from the traditional types of workspaces to the more informal will allow your employees to choose an area most suited to their task and needs.

Acoustic Solutions

Noise in the hybrid office is very important. Over the last 10 years there has been a move towards a more modular designed office rather than completely open planned due to the noise ramifications. In a hybrid working office, noise can be a problem due to the amount of collaboration happening so considering acoustics is essential.

Acoustic baffles, wall panels, biophilic design and flooring are all ways that the acoustics of an office can be managed effectively creating a productive workspace.

To look at some of the hybrid working offices we have designed, click here.

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Office refurbishment company

You Need an Office Refurbishment Company to Attract and Retain Talent!

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The average person spend around 40 hours a week in the office. That equates to around 2,080 hours a year. Research shows how workspace design significantly increases the attractiveness of an organisation for potential employees, especially when combined with an attractive company culture to too. The workspace environment directly affects overall wellbeing and productivity making it an essential part of employee attraction.

What is a good workspace?

As an office refurbishment company, when we talk about a good workspace  design what we mean is creating an office space that allows your company to function efficiently, effectivity and supports your employees to be collaborative, innovative and productive.

Why do I need an Office Refurbishment Company?

Workspace design can both increase or hamper success which directly affect your workforce. Employees now look to work from an office that supports their needs like wellbeing, comfort, success and collaboration. Essentially, the workspace design need to provide more than a work from home office in order to attract and retain talent.

One study found that when salary is removed as a variable, an attractive workplace culture is the most influential factor in determining whether an individual is likely to accept a job or not, followed by workplace design, and then technology. It also found that an appealing workplace facilities consistently doubles the likelihood of a candidate choosing an employer regardless of the combination of other variables.

It’s not uncommon that candidates judge a business based on their first impressions of its workspace and they are naturally more inclined to choose a company that has a well designed workspace. As the battle to attract the best talent in your industry increases, good design can make a real difference when recruiting.

Good office design highlights to new and existing talent that your organisation cares about the needs and values of employees.

Loom at our previous projects.

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climate change interior design

Climate Change: From a Commercial Interior Design Perspective

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The Chairman of Chameleon Business Interiors discusses how the industry needs to take responsibility for sustainability as the climate change crisis worsens.

Climate change has already had serious, observable effects on the environment. More frequent and extreme droughts and storms have been experienced along with wild bush fires, intense heat waves, unpredictable weather patterns, rising sea levels, warming oceans and more. Just as the scientists predicted, we are now experiencing these effects of climate change which are expected to worsen if change doesn’t happen.

The construction industry is responsible for 23% of air pollution, 40% of drinking water pollution, 50% of landfill waste and 50% of ozone depletion, according to a study conducted by Willmott Dixon, which is disturbingly high. Being part of the construction industry, it is important that we try to influence and lead change towards becoming a more sustainable industry as a whole.  Every single choice we make as commercial interior designers impacts climate change. Whether that be the materials, furniture or construction methods we choose, it all effects the environment.

I have always believed that what we put into our workspaces, influences health and well-being. Finishes, furniture, lighting and spatial arrangements all influence how you feel which carries, through into the work you do. With both sustainability and wellness at the forefront of our minds when designing spaces, it makes for a better quality of life for both humans and nature.

Sustainability in design is no longer an option, it is a necessity. With public engagement in climate change increasing, and the crisis itself worsening, it is becoming ever more important for the industry to take action towards becoming more sustainable; both the world needs it and the public expects it. As an organisation, one of our core values is integrity, meaning all of our decisions are based on strong moral principles which feeds into ensuring sustainability is at the forefront of our work.

Workspaces now need to focus around sustainability as well as employees. They need to have a low carbon impact as well as catering to the human needs of variety, collaboration and comfort. It is inevitable, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic, that workspaces will needs to change, accommodating cultural, societal changes and evolving organisational needs which incurs a carbon cost. I recommend that it is carefully considered how you ‘spend’ your carbon and whether it is as sustainable as possible.

Designing with longevity, flexibility and a low carbon impact in mind, will ensure the most ethical and sustainable ways of redesigning your office interior. Additionally, interior designers have power through specification. Checking that suppliers are sustainable, using sustainable materials or making changes towards becoming more sustainable will help to promote change within the industry.

What are you doing to become more sustainable and drive the industry towards change?

 

Shaun Watts, Chairman of Chameleon Business Interiors

office layout

Office Layouts: 5 Tips

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You and your team will spend a lot of time in the office. Planning the office layout effectively is not just important aesthetically but also to ensure the office runs seamlessly and effectively.

Due to the amount of time you and your employees spend in the office, the space you work in can have a significant impact on physical health, mental health, productivity and the overall success of the business. Research has shown, poorly designed offices can lead to friction among employees, poor concentration, poor productivity among other key issues.

Preparing your space well for your business will need more than just a few desks being changed around. Furniture will need to be specially selected based on your needs, the appropriate lighting will need to be considered among other things. Read below for our top five tips on how to enhance your office layout.

1.Plan for efficiency and functionality

 

Before you start to do anything to your office, you should always make a plan. Writing down your requirements, budget, facilities you need and faults with your current office layout will all help you to make an effective plan and ensure you come out with the best result. It is also important to consider at this stage both the functionality and efficiency of the office layout as while design can be nice, it is most important the your office runs successfully in the new space.

2.Facilitate collaboration and innovation

 

Designing your office layout to facilitate collaboration and innovation will significantly improve how your team work as well as their output. Spaces that influence collaboration and innovation can vary from large tables that teams can gather around, informal comfortable soft seating areas, presentation spaces and more. They make for much more inspirational spaces than a standard desking area and make for much better results.

3.Consider technology

 

Planning your new office layout with your IT support team is something to not forget about. Each area will more than likely need IT considerations so involving the new office layout plan with the IT team will ensure that all elements necessary such as power sockets, printers, Wi-Fi routers, presentation screens, will be in the best place possible.

4.Include variety

 

Having a variety of areas to utilize such as collaboration spaces, break out areas, kitchen facilities, flexi-desking spaces, sound proof booths, presentation areas and comfortable soft seating spaces will mean that your employees will be able to use the new office layout to suit their needs. Not only does it add flexibility for your team, it will also help them to perform at their best by picking an area that suits their task.

5.Ask your employees

 

Including your employees in the process by asking their thoughts on the current workspace and understanding their needs for the new office layout will not only make for a better result but will also improve employee job satisfaction as they will feel more involved with key decision making that effects them.

6.Plan for growth

 

Where do you see your company in 6-12 month? Do you have plans to recruit new members? Considering who will be using the new space along with how your company will grow over the next few years will help so that you don’t have to reorganize and redesign the space again to facilitate expansion that could have been planned for.

 

To see examples of our office layouts click here.

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office relocation

Office Relocation: 5 Top Tips

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Relocation your office is a very exciting experience for any company as it marks the start of a new era for the business as well as having the opportunity to operating out of a new and improved space. However, while you may think it may be stressful organising and executing the office move, it doesn’t need to be as stressful as you may imagine.

1.  Plan early

It is important that commercial moves are planned and prepared in detail so that they are as efficient and as smooth as possible. Make sure to plan all stages of the relocation, a time-frame for the move, a moving date and them all finer details of what needs to be done by each point can be decided. Once you have decided where you are moving to that you check that the space is suitable to your employees needs. More and more offices are becoming employee-centric and need to be more of a destination rather than a block of desks to attract employees back to the office. Having a specific budget tied to each stage of the moving process will making decision making much easier.

2.  Discuss with employees

Clear communication with your employees throughout the whole process will minimise any issues such as stress and poor-decision making. Discussing employees need in terms of what they expect from the new office space, locations that would suit them, time frames that work with their agendas will ensure that the workforce support senior leadership decisions relating to the office relocation and staff will feel happier overall. They may even come up with ideas and solutions you may not have thought of!

3.  Evaluate your new space

Evaluating your new office space for functionality is very important when planning your office relocation. Having a space that easily flows from department to department and that suits your needs whether that’s meeting rooms, breakout spaces, flexi-working desks, phone booths or kitchenette areas is vital. If you evaluate the space before you get into it, it makes for a much more successful move.

4.  Assign a team

Hiring a professional team to support with your office relocation and the fit out and refurbishment of the new workspace will guarantee that you have expert knowledge, guidance and resources for it to be as seamless as possible.

If you wish to find out more about office fit outs or would like relocation support, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

biophillic design

Biophilic Design: What is it?

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What is Biophilic Design?

 

Biophilic design is a design concept used to increase the ways the those who used the space connect with the natural environment through the use of bringing nature inside in whatever way possible.

As humans we have a innate connection with nature. It’s not uncommon to feel better when surrounded by natural light, greenery and fresh air, actually, we very much need nature in order to function properly.

Essentially, it is used to improve the workspace and provide numerous benefits.

Why is Biophilic Design Important?

 

As our exposure to nature is declining as a result of urbanization, there is ever growing pressure to connect more with nature and reap the benefits it provides our mental and physical health.

Research has shown that involving natural elements into designs can have great physical benefits such as reducing heart rates and blood pressure levels and mental benefits such as reduced stress and anxiety.

What are the benefits?

  • Increased productivity, creativity and presenteeism
  • Increased employee retention
  • Noise absorbent
  • Reduction of energy requirements in terms of lighting, ventilation and temperature regulation
  • Calming, uplifting and anxiety reducing

How do we implement Biophilic Design?

 

There are many ways that it can be introduced to your workspace.

Some key areas to consider are:

  • Improved natural and artificial lighting
  • Air quality, toxin levels and ventilation
  • Internal and external views of nature
  • Psychological and physiological effects of the space
  • Acoustics
  • The addition of recuperation spaces

Look at how we used biophilic design in our Ideagen project.

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Cat A

Cat A & Cat B fit outs: The Difference

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When moving into a new office space or refurbishing your existing office, it is important to know the difference between Cat A and Cat B fit outs and what you can expect from each.

What is a fit out?

 

An office fit out is the complete process from start to finish of transforming an interior space into an appropriate workspace ready for your employees to work in. The process essentially includes everything you need to do to make the space usable such as installing lighting, meeting rooms, work stations of various kinds and so on.

Depending on the standard of the space you acquire, you will need a Cat A or Cat B fit out. We will explain below exactly these levels of fit outs entail and what you can roughly expect.

What is a Cat A fit out?

 

Cat A fit outs, in industry, are known to be completed with a suspended ceiling, raised flooring, lighting and heating. The landlord would lease this functional space to the tenants who would be expected to install the rest of the design and finishes that would be needed to suit their workspace. Essentially, if the landlord provides a Cat A fit out the tenant would have to facilitate a Cat B fit out.

Essentially, a Cat A fit out is a basic but usable space that can then be turned into your perfect workspace by adding all your requirements such as meeting rooms, breakout spaces, furniture, kitchenettes, greenery and so on.

What is typically included?

  • Raised floors and suspended ceilings
  • Basic mechanical and electrical services
  • Fire detection services and smoke alarms
  • Air-conditioning and ventilation
  • Basic internal finishes

What is a Cat B fit out?

 

Typically, a Cat B fit out is the second part to the Cat A fit out. A Cat B fit out includes all things needed so that your business can operate successfully within the workspace. As this type of fit out is much more personalized to the business in terms of business needs, employee thought and company culture, it is normally left to the business to organise.

 

A Cat B fit out should be very specific to the business that works within that space for example including the correct mix of workstations, breakout areas and meeting rooms. Cat B fit outs often include space planning and workplace consultancy to know exactly how the employees will use this space to ensure it allows them to do their job in the most efficient way possible.

It is important that your Cat B fit out reflects your company culture and brand values as it will support you to attract and retain the best talent!

What is usually included?

  • Fully-fitted kitchens and non-communal office amenities
  • Partitioning; including meeting rooms, offices and breakout spaces
  • Workstations and furniture
  • Re-routing air conditioning and power points
  • IT installation and infrastructure
  • Design and brand detailing

Learn more about our fit out projects by clicking here.

 

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office fit out

5 Common Office Fit Out Mistakes to Avoid

By | Uncategorised

Fitting out an office is a big commitment that involves a lot of time spent in planning and money. Its important to get it correct as office fit outs don’t happen too regularly and aren’t something you can quickly change. Not only that, but getting it wrong can seriously impact the way your employees work and how they feel in the office so its important to avoid the following fit out mistakes.

1.  Ignoring Trends

 

Office fit out trends are constantly changing and incorporating them into your office design is important. However, you will need to be aware of many trend so you can choose a design hat fits with your company culture and needs. Designs impact employees and visitors both mentally and physically so choosing the correct trend is important. If you ignore the current trends you run the risk of the office space not being suitable.

2.  Forgetting Your Priorities

Forgetting your priorities is an easy mistake to make when planning your office fit out.  Its easy to focus on the configuration of the office rather than the function of the office, but the function is much more important as it will enable your business to run effectively and efficiently. By focusing of design rather than functionality you run the risk of creating a workspace that is very difficult to operate in.

3.  Lack of Scalability

 

While you may only have 10 employees now, it is likely that in the future that your business may expand of face other changes. Having the ability to scale your office in order to accommodate new recruits will be vital to ensure that the design of your office doesn’t become outdated very quickly.

4.  Lack of Nature

 

Artificial lighting and poor ventilation can seriously impact your health both physically and mentally. It can also impact productivity and collaboration affecting the overall performance of the company.  Incorporating nature  into the workspace through plants, large windows, skylights, adjustable lighting, air purification systems and more will support the reduction of stress and boost employee performance and job satisfaction.

5.  Forgetting Employee Needs

 

Forgetting what your employees want is a great mistake to avoid in your office fit out. Afterall, it will be your employees using the workspace and everyone uses offices differently. Consulting them on their opinions and needs will be very beneficial to understand what types of spaces you will need whether that’s meeting rooms, desk spaces, breakout rooms, informal areas among other options.

 

If you wish to find out more about office fit outs please don’t hesitate to contact us.