Office Layout Types: Things You Might Want To Consider!

Office layout types are like the skeleton of your organisation. It provides the base to all the movements taking place in your office. The design needs to be optimised to suit your organisation’s work style and workflow, your brand, and most importantly, your employees. Above all, the different features and combinations of them will mean one office layout type is effective for some but not for others.

You can find countless suggestions, telling you how to make an effective office layout and which one is best for your company. But, how do you really know which one will be an effective office layout for you?

We want to provide you with the resources and information to help you decide which layout will work most beneficial for your organisation. Therefore, this article will discuss how you can evaluate your company, and make an informed decision about which office layout design will be best for your company.

Office Layout Types

There are different types of office layouts, which each have their own benefits. It is crucial to consider which one will fit your work environment the best. Harvard Business Review (HBR) noted how important it is to find the right mixture of work style and office layout. Moreover, HBR stated that companies were conducting million-dollar experiments to ensure they raised their output. Most importantly, they did it so they didn’t waste money on choosing the wrong office layout design.

Running expensive experiments may be out of the question, but the example shows just how serious companies are taking office layout revamps. The reason companies are making sure they get it right the first time is because of employee time lost carrying out a move. Whereas, for small and midsize businesses, it will cost between 800-1000 hours to plan and execute a move.

With so much money and time on the line, it’s best to get it right the first time!

Before we get into how to choose the best office layout design, let’s first go over three of the most common office layout types.

1. Traditional Office Layout

This office layout consists of individual private offices that are permanent or semi-permanent. Moreover, it will include enclosed offices and rooms for meetings, with an open reception area for customers and guests. 

To get a better image of this type of office layout, you can think of the office on the T.V. show Suits.

Pros:
  • Individual private areas
  • Fewer distractions and more concentration
  • Provides confidentiality for sensitive information and meetings
Cons:
  • You are restricted to one layout, difficult and costly to change the layout.
  • Takes up a great deal of space for everyone to have their own private area.

2. Cubicle Layout

This office layout type is a semi-open space, where workspaces are made by using partition walls on three sides of an employees workspace. With semi-permanent walls made with partitions and dividers, this office layout is more cost-effective than a traditional office layout design. Moreover, the cubicle office layout plan is usually combined with built-in meeting rooms and offices for upper management.

To get a better image of this type of office layout, you can think of the office in the movie, Office Space.

Pros:
  • Individual private areas
  • Fewer distractions and better concentration
  • Provides confidentiality for sensitive information
Cons:
  • Cubicles, walkways and doors can take up valuable space
  • Verbal communication is limited

3. Open-Plan

Open space office layout types utilise the furniture themselves to divide areas, to get away from partitions and dividers. By using furniture, like tables, couches and chairs, you can create impromptu collaboration areas. The open-plan office layout is flexible and can easily be expanded, contracted or reconstructed to accommodate your current office needs.

To get a better idea of what an open office-plan office layout looks like, you can think of the office on the T.V. show Mad Men.

Pros:
  • More collaboration – fewer phone calls and emails
  • Cost-efficient to expand and redesign your office
  • Supervising is easier
  • Improved operations and increased productivity
Cons:
  • More distractions
  • Increased multitasking which may lead to more errors
  • No privacy

Although there are other layouts available and countless combinations of them, these three are the most common office layout plans. With an idea of what your office can look like, let’s look at how to choose which one will be the most effective.

How To Choose an Effective Office Layout

Equipped with a clear picture of what each office layout looks like, you can begin to visualise which one will fit best for you. However, your toolbelt is not complete.

It’s crucial to take in other factors to accurately determine what the best office layout will be for your organisation. Below we highlight some essential things to consider when implementing an office layout redesign or when you are shifting to a new location. 

To have an effective office layout type, you should consider the following three things:

1. Your Employees

Employees are the foundation of your organisation. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to complete the everyday tasks that are required to be successful. Whereas, in the book inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity, Dr Tina Seelig, describes how crucial it is to see your space as a habitat that communicates what you should and shouldn’t be doing. Additionally, work environments that are stimulating and conducive to employees needs, their mind will be open to innovative ideas!

The right office layout will positively affect an employee’s happiness and increase their productivity. A University of Warwick study stated that employees who were made happier increased their productivity by 12%.

With the right environment and worker happiness being so crucial to productivity in the office, it’s imperative to consider their opinions when designing a new office layout. Employees understand the day to day happenings of your company at a personal level. Moreover, they could have insight that you did not consider. 

Therefore, first things first, empower your employees by including them in decision-making opportunities around your office layout plan. Above all, by including them, you will be tapping into a sea of knowledge that will be sure to pay dividends on your new effective office layout investment. 

2. Your Customers

If you are a business that deals directly with customers, it’s essential to consider their thoughts and perceptions as well. Moreover, the right office layout type will speak volumes to your customers and clients. The layout you choose will tell them how you conduct business, your company’s abilities, what your values are, and ultimately if your business can get the job done!

A 2019 report by Walker Information, explains just how essential customer perception is when it comes to your business and brand. The report said that customer experience will pass price and product as the most crucial factor in sales by 2020.

When your customers step foot in your office, you want to paint a positive picture of who you are and what your capabilities are. By taking feedback from your customers, you will be able to understand their perspective and incorporate it into your office layout design.

3. Your Businesses’ Work Style

The type of work your business conducts is one of the most important things to consider. Work style and how your employees move around and interact is key to the success of your office layout. An office layout done right can support your strengths, while also respecting your weaknesses.

The combination of work style and office layout is becoming more evident as millennials enter the workforce. With estimates that millennials will comprise 75% of the workforce over the next ten years, it’s definitely something that you should consider. Moreover, 81% of millennials want to make sure their work style fits with the office environment before signing a contract.

There are countless types of work styles that employees have, to get more acquainted with them, check out our blog on how to accommodate them here.

Takeaways

With a complete tool belt, you can now start designing your new office layout. Understanding your team, your customers, and your work style is crucial. However, that’s only half of the equation, as you need to have a good understanding of the various office layout designs available.

Taking on a redesign of your office layout is a big task, and there is no one fits all solution. 

After you have completed gathering information and wading through the different options, you will want to pick office furniture that matches the office layout type. We know that choosing practical, and comfortable furniture for your office can be a challenging task. Therefore, we have another blog to help you make an informed decision. You can find out more about desks, chairs, and tables on our blog.

Finally, if you need help with your new office layout or want to do one on a budget, you can always contact us. Our team is always ready and willing to help our friends out right across Australia!

Office Fit-out for Small Budgets but Big Impacts

Office Fit-outs can make a world of difference to your office space as well as your company as a whole. The right fit-out can maximise productivity, lead to higher employee satisfaction, develop a brand image, and utilise resources more efficiently. A fit-out can even be specified to be aligned with your objectives, vision, and values of your company. Therefore, giving you the chance to build a seamless experience for your customers, team, and organisation. There are multiple benefits to getting a new office fit-out. However, they’re not the only things to consider when deciding to revamp your office.

Different customer behaviour research shows that the main determining factor when it comes to making a purchasing decision is the cost. When you think about revamping your office, it’s essential to consider two of the most crucial things before deciding. The first is to fully understand your requirements. To understand better what this may entail, here is an office fitout checklist to answer any questions you may have. The second is to have a clear budget.

Average Cost of a New Office Fit-out

Office fit-outs are dynamic projects that require a great deal of knowledge and planning. You need a keen eye to successfully implement proper space planning, installing meeting rooms, partitioning, IT equipment, and lighting. A long list of things usually means high costs, but you’re probably wondering, “What does something like this cost?”

Asking how much does this cost is like asking, “How much does dinner cost?” – Well, it depends! Do you want to cook at home? Do you enjoy fast food? Or do you want dinner from a five-star restaurant?

Knowing what you’re looking for in an office fit-out is essential when it comes to the all-important ‘cost question’!

Let’s take a look at a few examples below.

  • Basic Office Fit-out: This option will provide a conventional office design. It consists of new flooring, basic office desks and seating, and decorations. Such a project will cost around $785 AUD per square meter. 
  • Mid Range Office Fit-out: This option will provide a higher quality of materials and be used in larger office space. You will be charged around $980 AUD per square meter for a mid-range office fit-out. 
  • High Spec Office Fit-out: This option will provide a top-notch workplace. It involves interior design experts and workspace planners to meet all your demands and outfit with everything you want. Price can be anything from $1235 AUD per square meter and up.

It makes it easier to determine if an office fit-out is something you want with reference points in mind. It allows you to adjust your budget to meet your demands.  

Return on Investment of an Office Fit-out

Your budget will ultimately decide if you require a new office fit-out. You may be feeling overwhelmed and discouraged if your budget is smaller than the ‘basic office fit-out’ cost. Don’t worry, though, office fit-outs also help in recuperating costs.  

So what if you are a cash strapped company? And don’t have the luxury to take on projects that don’t provide you with a good return on investment (ROI)? These are questions we get asked a lot at Interia Systems! By focusing on the ROI of your office revamp, we ensure long-term savings for your company.

The ROI of the project helps reduce the overall cost of the project in the long term. Cost reduction is possible with savings, increased productivity, or contributing to wellbeing and staff retention. Let’s examine a few ways an office fit-out can reduce organisational costs and save money.

Reducing organisation costs

  • Energy Consumption Reduced – Energy is expensive! Focusing on cutting down electricity costs can save you money each month. One way this can be done is by swapping the standard 4-tube fluorescent light bulbs to LED alternatives. Sepco stated that the LED bulbs are 85% more efficient, have a longer lifespan, and fewer bulbs are needed. With smart designs, natural lighting, and automatic lights, you can significantly cut down your electricity bill each month.
  • Wellbeing and Staff Retention – Utilising natural light also improves the wellbeing and productivity of your team. A recent article by Harvard Business Review found that access to natural light increased 78% of people’s wellbeing. Furthermore, the productivity of seven out of 10 people at the office increased as well! In addition to utilising natural lighting, you can add comfortable furniture to use and relax on. Office layouts that promote collaboration and places that provide ample room for movement will improve wellbeing. 

A report by WHO shows how vital wellbeing is at work. Regarding reducing sick days and increasing retention rates, wellbeing and mental health were the most important. An article by CEO Today quantifies how sick days can affect your business. Whereas, in 2016, on average, a company with 49 individuals saw a sickness absence rate of 2.2%. Which resulted in the company losing in total 49,000 AUD (hourly rate of 26 AUD)!

Revamping your office to improve workflow and wellbeing of team members can be expensive and time-consuming. However, the benefits of doing so can affect your bottom dollar. With a small increase in wellbeing and a decrease in sick days, your company can save thousands of dollars each year!

ROI is an important factor when it comes to making a decision to get a new office fit-out. But the issue of having a small budget may still be affecting your decision. In the next section, we will talk about how to get your project done with a small budget!

Small Budget? No Problem!

You may be thinking, “Okay, I can recuperate my investment costs, but I’m strapped for cash now. How do I do this on a budget?” We plan on giving you the insights to do just that! We want to make it a little easier to get the results you want for the budget you’ve set.

There are multiple ways you can cut costs while still getting the right fit-out. Focus on the following to meet your company’s goals and vision, all while staying under your budget.

Here are a few things you can do to keep the costs down:

  • Plan Ahead – This may be the single most important thing to do when considering an office fit-out! No matter the size of your office or the fit-out you intend, it’s important to know what’s available. If you feel uncomfortable with the process, the best thing to do is gather more information. Our blog is an excellent place to start, as we provide over 100 articles that will answer all your questions! By properly informing yourself of the project and having a concrete idea about what you want, you will be able to stay focused on what you want and say no to extras, ultimately saving you money!
  • Choose the Right Building – This applies to changing locations or looking to open a new office! They say ‘location, location, location’ is all that matters, which couldn’t be more true for your new building. If possible, pick locations that have partial fit-outs already installed as well as locations that have optimal layouts and areas already installed like kitchens and additional restrooms.
  • Reuse and Repurpose – When moving offices or revamping your existing one, there are opportunities to reuse and repurpose items. For example, you can use items that still meet the quality and functionality required to be effective. Or, maybe employees love certain items in the lounge, well there is no reason to get rid of those either! Remember, having a seamless office that promotes productivity and a stellar brand is important, but so are your employees. Make sure to keep them happy during the whole process as well.
  • Open Plan Office – An open plan can save you lots of money when it comes to constructing your new office. By not needing to worry about erecting walls for closed-off areas, you can save money and promote collaboration. If you do need some sort of privacy at the office, privacy screens and partitions can be utilised instead. These tools can provide you with an affordable and flexible option to get privacy anywhere in the office. Also Read: Pros and Cons of open plan office design.
  • Get Help From a Professional – Involving a professional is one of the best ways to save money and time. With experienced project managers, they can help you realise your dream office – all while reusing and repurposing things and saving you money. Professionals also can leverage their pre-existing relationships with subcontractors to save you the hassle of dealing with different companies. Interia Systems has a well-established network with a wide knowledge base. We can help you with all of your needs, or recommend a professional in your area!

You Have the Power, Ready to Decide? 

Deciding to get a new office fit-out may be challenging for multiple reasons. One thing that you don’t need to worry about is having a small budget. By planning ahead, having a precise idea, and consulting a professional, your new office fit-out can meet your budget requirements.

With opportunities to get a great ROI on a new office fit-out, you can be sure to recuperate costs. Additionally, being able to raise the wellbeing of your employees is crucial. With improved wellbeing, you can increase employee productivity while also reducing the number of sick days. A new office fit-out might be just what you need to become more functional, productive, and promote your brand image. 

Invest a little or a lot; your new office fit-out will make a big difference for your company. Talk to our team today and find out how to save, recuperate, and realise gains in your new office. Small budget, but need a significant impact? We got you covered!

Optimised Use Of Technology For Office Designs of Tomorrow

Technology has allowed us to be more mobile than ever before. The devices we use today, such as mobile phones and laptops, provide us with the flexibility to use them at ease regardless of the location we are in. But if we take a closer look at how we work daily, it seems like we’re still tied to a single position at a desk inside our workspaces.  

For the last thirty years, Interia Systems has been providing the clients with innovative solutions for office fit-outs. We have been noticing that in an average office, technology changes every two years, organisational strategies every four, workforce every eight, and office redesign every ten years. Unlike in the past, office spaces of today shouldn’t only be focusing on productivity. Building office space in a future-proof way requires putting its people at the centre of the planning, and optimisation of technology in the fit-outs.

Health And Productivity

Different studies carried out over the years have been able to provide us with the right understanding of the impact our regular working habits make on our health. And modern technology has made it easier to incorporate these findings on our tools and office spaces so that the way we work supports a healthy life. 

It has been long since companies have discovered that the health of the employees is directly related to their productivity. And it’s a well-known fact that those who sit in the chair in higher amounts comparatively suffer a higher amount of discomfort and health problems. Frequent posture change is excellent for muscular-skeletal health, metabolic health, and also brain health. Healthy employees tend to be less confused and less distracted from their regular responsibilities. They are also more likely to take fewer days-off and take less sick leave. So what makes a healthy and productive employee? The answer includes a combination of numerous factors in his/her workstation. 

The Technology Behind Ergonomic Workstations

The most common misconception about ergonomics is that people mostly relate it to office equipment  such as chairs and desks. Ergonomics is more than that; it not only incorporates the basic design for good posture health but also includes arranging workspace elements to fit the users.  

Though there have been high-end ergonomic seatings available, average regular desk workers sit in a chair for more than they should regularly. People move from the chair in the home to the chair in the car to the chair in the office to the chair back home. Sitting less and standing more is better for health as even standing up for a little more that we do every day can make a massive difference to our health. Encouraging movement and frequent posture change through different tools and accessories will help people stay productive and healthy. 

Whenever we talk about a perfect workstation, we focus more on the aesthetics than the functionality itself. A well functioning workstation should not only provide users with comfort but also help boost their productivity.

From task seating to the desk to screen placement while working, technology has provided us with tools that help create a perfect ergonomic working environment. So there are basically a few areas that you should give special attention to if you are aiming to create a workstation that works.

  • Ergonomic seating 
  • Sit-stand desk
  • Ergonomic keyboard and mouse 
  • Monitor arms

The above tools have become the essential entities of a modern workstation that not only take care of employee’s health but also help them perform better.   

Flexibility

Have you ever wondered how creative people in big tech companies collaborate to come up with cool new ideas? Just take an example of Google’s garage office where different teams collaborate in a dynamic, free-flowing environment. High performing teams need a flexible – not fancy – working environment to create excellent ideas. 

Flexibility is all about working how you want to work and where you want to work. Modern employees are more motivated in flexible environments than stagnant ones. The good news is, flexibility can be achieved through proper space planning and the equipment we install in our office premises. 

Modern technology has provided us with the right tools that help us create a flexible environment in our workspaces. Freedom in flexibility is not just about providing employees with the right tools but also making the optimum use of available space. With the popularity of modular concepts, a given area can be transformed into a conference room, cafe, or collaborative space within a matter of minutes. 

Technology for flexible workspaces

Digital tools such as workplace apps and improved video conferencing systems that help teams collaborate online are promoting the rise of flexible working. Whereas, the rapid growth in the use of embedded technology is guiding the flexible approach to floor space inside offices. As modern technological tools and platforms are transforming the traditional ways of working, companies are changing their perspective in the way they think about and use their office space. 

A smart desk on wheels accompanied by flexible monitor arms and smart connectivity can allow employees to choose to work from wherever they want and collaborate with whoever they wish to. On the other hand, modular partitions accompanied by smart furniture and connectivity will enable different teams to transform any space according to their requirement.    

Safety 

It took a global pandemic to make us think differently about safety in our workspaces. The new protocols of security will not just change how we work but forever transform the way office spaces will be designed. Thankfully, modern technology has our back.

Though there have been significant technological achievements in different sectors that can positively contribute to our safety, we haven’t been able to widely incorporate them into our office spaces. Now is the perfect time to optimise the use of such technology in our office designs. 

Technology for safer workplaces  

According to new safety protocols, offices will be regulating strict social distancing rules and discouraging physical interactions between the employees as well as committing to more hygienic workplaces. Regular health monitoring and tracking the wellbeing of staff will also be one of the most important routines of the offices of the future.

Future offices will need to refine the current health and safety protocols further and incorporate new codes in their priority list. Making the perfect use of the right technology will undoubtedly help address health and safety issues in an office environment. Few of the following technological achievements may help achieve our goals. 

  • Health monitoring apps: The wellbeing of employees is one of the major concerns of modern offices today as more businesses are implementing employee-first ethos in their policy. Health monitoring apps will provide management with the right information about the health of the staff so that they can make sure everyone is performing well without worries. 
  • Automation and Touchless technology: Physical interaction between people is not considered safe anymore. Reducing frequent touchpoints to hinder the spread of infection has become a challenging task for offices. Automation and touchless technology have helped a great deal in minimising common touchpoints. Today, elevators can be operated with apps, and automatic doors can manage traffic flow without people needing to handle them manually. Such technology requires a more significant installation in different areas of the office spaces.    
  • Safety apps: safety apps have been developed to monitor safety-related issues and provide crucial information at ease. Such apps can minimise the risk and improve health and safety management of office space. Different apps available today allow users to identify risk, create health and safety checklists, and track and record various actions for future reference. 
  • 3D visualisation and Virtual reality technology: 3D visualisation technology alerts employees about the risks of their workplace environment in a more effective way. Generating lifelike images and using them during the training sessions will be more practical in helping workers know the hazards in advance. It will also alert managers about the use of right safety equipment and materials to prevent and to stay alert of any unfortunate events in future. Virtual reality allows staff to experience high-risk situations in a safe environment. It will enable management to deliver its team with better training, which is much more useful than providing them with a manual.

Top 5 Ergonomic Trends For A Healthy, Productive Life You Shouldn’t Overlook

During world war II, when soldiers were spending more time in tight quarters, tanks, and watercraft for more than twelve hours a day for months, they started experiencing back issues and problems with blood circulation. It impacted not only their morale but also their efficiency. So the engineers began working on reinventing those areas to help them produce better without experiencing health issues. And that’s where ergonomics came from. 

Average modern office employees today spend at least forty hours a week sitting in a chair as ergonomic injuries have become one of the most commonplace injuries in office environments around the world. Such injuries not only impact productivity but also reduce the performance and morale of employees in a subtle manner. But thankfully, we have come a long way from the second world war in terms of accommodating ergonomics in our regular lives. Integrating ergonomics in an office space should not be a problem for modern office spaces, but this is an issue that most offices often overlook. 

In this article, we discuss the five most essential ergonomic trends and tools that you shouldn’t overlook if you want a healthy, productive life.   

Task Seating

From the beginning, task chairs have been one of the most critical tools in office spaces for supporting the desk workers. Ordinary people spend up to 1,700 hours a year sitting in a chair in offices. Desk jobs are usually regarded as easy and comfortable roles that do not require physical stress. However, what people don’t notice is that average desk job workers suffer more physical issues in the long run than manual labour workers. It’s mostly because of undisciplined sitting, less physical movement, and unhealthy work settings.

Ergonomic chairs play a vital role in supporting body posture and keeping the body healthy in the long run. Ergonomics is basically about features that provide you with comfort and adjust according to your body type. Sitting for long hours in the same position is not considered healthy. Ergonomic chairs support your changing posture according to your will. But adjustability is not the only thing you should be looking for while installing the right ergonomic chair. The chair’s surface also shouldn’t create any discomfort to the user. A few things to consider before going for the correct ergonomic chair are as follows: 

  • Adjustability: Good ergonomic chairs of today offer as many adjustable features as they can. With more adjustability, a chair becomes more flexible. Height adjustable feature is a typical affair with ergonomic chairs of today. Look for other features like adjustable backrest, adjustable armrest, and angle adjustable seat.     
  • Lumbar support: The human spine slightly curves inwards in the lower region, and it needs support from your chair. Chairs with lumbar support uphold the natural curve of your spine and help avoid ergonomic injuries in the long run.  
  • Comfortable finishing: It’s not just the features of a chair that provide you with the right comfort, finishing also plays a vital role. A chair with the right upholstery can hold you comfortably for as long as you are seated. Ranging from leather to vinyl to fabric, you’ll find various finishing options in ergonomic chairs.  
  • The ability to swivel and roll around: Making the areas around you more easily accessible is the key to creating a comfortable ergonomics setup. That’s the reason you’d want your chair to move and swivel.

Adjustable Workstation

As everyone is well aware that sitting on the chair for long hours is not healthy in the long run, different offices are incorporating break hours to encourage employees to move around. But according to experts, such tiny break hours don’t sufficiently help maintain a healthy physique. And frankly, busy offices can’t afford to add more break times that can upset the workflow. It’s where the adjustable workstation helps. Adjustable workstations such as sit-stand desks help work in all positions, allowing much-needed body movement. 

Alternating between sitting and standing every thirty to forty-five minutes while working can encourage blood flow, cognitive thinking, and overall performance. An adjustable workstation can be achieved either by installing a height-adjustable desk or adding an adaptable accessory to the surface of the desk.   

Adjustable Screen 

A laptop stand or a monitor arm allows full adjustable features to your screen so that you can adjust it according to your needs. The right angle and adjustment of your screen plays a significant role in reducing neck strain and making the prolonged computer works better for your wellbeing. The proper viewing range also avoids eye strain and long term injuries. 

A viewing range of fifteen to twenty-seven inches with a horizontal viewing angle is the visually comfortable range for most of the computer users. In situations where the viewing distance is uncomfortable for users to spot the detail, enlarging the screen is recommended rather than adjusting to a shorter viewing distance.  

Keyboard Tray

Because a high number of modern office employees require typing and using the mouse most of the times while working, these activities must be ergonomically managed. The keyboard tray is one of the essential ergonomic tools in an office. It happens to be one of the least expensive too. It not only manages the right position of hands and fingers but also avoids carpal tunnel syndrome and neck and back strain.

The recommended position of the keyboard is a few inches above your thighs. Positioning your keyboard in such a way your elbows and arms remain close to your sides is also ergonomically important. It’s even better if you can manage your arms at or below a 90-degree angle all the time while working. 

There is a range of ergonomic keyboards and mouse in the market that can provide you with comfortable working experience. 

Task Lighting

Though often overlooked, task lighting can be an excellent tool to improve your ergonomics in the office. Poor task lighting can lead to headaches, eye strains, and even neck pain. The right light can make a big difference in your productivity. You’d want to work on soft lighting while working on the computer, and you’d wish to brighten the light for the document works or while writing notes on your desk.    

The right lighting also affects your mood and encourages creativity.   

What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome And Why Is It Becoming More Common?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes numbness, tingling or weakness in your hands and fingers. Also known as median nerve compression, it is rapidly becoming a common workplace threat. It can range from simple annoyance to a severe impedance to your everyday life. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by the pressure on your median nerve that runs the length of your arm. It also controls the movement of all your fingers except the little finger (pinky).

Modern office activities such as regular typing and frequent use of mouse are contributing to more carpal tunnel syndromes. The repetitive motions of hands that you do over and over can contribute to causing this syndrome. It is more likely to occur when your hands are lower than your wrists. 

Regularly stretching and strengthening wrist muscles and Incorporating the right ergonomic tools and body discipline is vital in avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome. Ergonomic products like a keyboard tray and ergonomic keyboard can significantly reduce this risk.   

Basics Of Workspace Planning

One of the fundamental objectives of fitting-out your new office space or refurbishing an existing one is creating an environment that not only allows maximum efficiency but also takes care of the team as a whole. You might want to divide your office space into different sections and plan individually. Still, you’ll need to consider more areas than you have ever expected – to achieve a perfect workstation. The office workplace is not just for the business owner or the brand; it’s also for the team who drives the business ahead.

Flexibility In Workstations

Maximum flexibility in office workstation is achieved through the use of customised workstations, configured in different plans to suit teams and tasks. Modular office workstation layouts with the least number of variations possible help facilitate future rearrangement if necessary. If you want more control over your workstation, choose its size according to the tasks performed by the user rather than job classification or status. E.g., a multitasking workstation will require more space than workstations where tasks can be carried out in computers only.

Workstation systems should consist of components that can be reconfigured without requiring to invest time and multiple trades. Integrating workstations and desks made from separable free-standing components are advantageous over some custom-built office furniture that restricts reconfiguration.

Modular, free-standing or desk-mounted screens can provide workstations with perfect privacy and flexibility. Lower screens facilitate effective communication and interaction between the members of staff. With increased screen height, privacy increases but communication and outlook are constrained.

Workstation Shapes

More modern offices of today are incorporating open-plan office workstations. Considering future expansion and reconfiguration is essential when planning for the workstation area. One of the most common workstation shapes used in Offices in Perth is straight office desks and the l shape corner desk. The latter workstation shape offers a larger space for both computer and paper-based tasks. There is an increasing trend of using straight office desks, combined with a mobile storage caddy set at right angles to the desk for increased functionality. It not only provides more flexibility but also offers storage, negating the need for stand-alone office bookcases and cupboards.

120degree workstation or pod workstation setup is another common workstation shape used in offices. This shape allows three workstations to form a pod shape, increasing the number of workstations you can fit into the floor-plan. When combined with office screens such as the Interia Systems Prestio32 desk-mounted screen, this workstation shape is a cost-effective answer to the general clerical workstation areas and call centres.

At Interia Systems, we keep innovating better ways of office fit-outs. Our experienced office planners can help incorporate modern and proven concepts into your floor plan to maximise your space with the best functionality. Visit Interia Systems for a free office space consulting service in Perth.

Open Plan Layout Vs Flexible Plan

Though the concept of open-plan workspace first appeared in the 1940s, it’s after the tech boom of the early 2000s that this concept is widely accommodated in modern offices. After replacing the ’80s and 90’s offices comprised of dozens of cubes, divided only by partitions, open plan has come a long way. Still, some issues arise with having only the communal areas in the workplace. The trick is to strike a balance between open plan and private spaces.

– The Problem With The Open Plan Concept

Adopting a solely open-plan workplace doesn’t take the varying work styles the employees have into consideration. While some people enjoy constant interaction and noise, it can be an unpleasant environment to concentrate and carry out the task for others. An entirely communal area without any private enclosures means workspace planning is only designed for certain types of individuals. Different individuals in an office space perform different jobs and prefer a different environment.   

Although open plan encourages collaboration, the regular interruptions from other colleagues can be a significant source of angst when someone is under the pressure of a looming deadline or if someone wants to concentrate. Out of frustration, some employees put on earphones without music playing – to signal they don’t want to be approached.

– Finding The Balance With A Flexible Office Plan

The key to creating a functional workplace is to adopt a flexible approach where private area workstations are intermixed with open plan. Open plan provides excellent opportunities for interaction and collaboration. At the same time, private spaces allow employees to have the chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the crowd and concentrate the way they want.

On a flexible office plan, you can effectively include small, private rooms for phone calls, meeting rooms for smaller group discussions or meetings and offices where employees can go to escape the noise if they need to. These are some examples of private areas which can be incorporated into the workplace.

Of course, the layout of your workplace furniture depends on the specific needs of your business, but a flexible approach means you can get the balance right between the benefits of open plan and the need for privacy.

Encouraging Collaboration In Your Workspace

Over time, Interia Systems has been continuously researching the workspaces that deliver the best efficiency. We always look forward to creating the best workspace that is not only flexible but also collaborative. Although the open-plan is still one of the most popular options today, it needs to be done innovatively so a collaborative workspace can be achieved while respecting the different working styles of employees

Customisable Workspaces

A well-defined collaboration means you need to interact with others to make it happen effectively. An open-plan working environment facilitates employees to communicate with each other and approach other colleagues more easily. While open-plan all the way may not be as effective for every employee, installation of screens can help workstations convert them into private space or collaborative space as per requirement. Low partitions in workstations also help employees to pick up on the activity of their colleagues, keeping noise levels in checks.

Introduce acrylic screens in workstations to achieve a flexible environment. These screens can easily fit in workstations and convert them into private spaces instantly. 

– Diverse Common Areas

Common areas such as lunchrooms and meeting rooms are essential not only to encourage interactions between employees but also to allow workers to have an inviting space away from their desks. Additional areas such as small, private rooms for phone calls or rooms for group conversations can also add to the collaborative nature of a workplace.

Different studies have suggested that employees who often take breaks are more productive than those who work without taking any breaks. So breakout areas have become an essential part of any office environment today. 

– Your Rules 

Once you’ve set up your new office space, it’s essential that you set clear rules on how the different areas should work. It avoids areas being misused and lets employees know what’s expected of them. Setting clear guidelines also means employees don’t need to worry about areas where they can escape the activity of the office and socially interact with their colleagues. For a collaborative outcome, however, design plays a vital role. If your office is well designed, employees should have no problem integrating the best ways to collaborate and deliver results.

Trends Influencing Workplace Design

Since there is no universal formula to achieve the best office fit-out, you should custom-plan your fit-out according to your business type and your team for the results you desire. However, adopting new trends can help achieve efficiency and flexibility to the next level in your office space. Innovative furniture such as standing desks is widely adopted in modern offices. Accommodating flexible furniture and innovative styles can help you evolve your work norm.

Technology has and continues to change the workplace structures and the way you work.

  • Flexibility: As the working culture is changing, companies are matching their offices to suit the needs of the employees. Employees are working from home more than ever and visiting the office space for shorter periods. A flexible workplace with adaptable furniture to suit different individuals on a single setting has become essential. Such casual areas allow employees to perform for a few hours. Office Desks are no longer just a one-person space.

  • Health and wellbeing: Caring about employee’s health and wellbeing has become one of the most important topics for businesses today. To address the issue of fatigue and physical health, companies are incorporating a mix of new office furniture and equipment that increase movement. It includes sit-stand desks and ergonomic furniture. Readjusting the office layout has also helped businesses encourage employees to move around. 

  • Environmental responsibility: To positively contribute to the environment, companies have ditched paper records for cloud storage. The same goes for printing. Most paperwork can be done online now, which frees up room in the office for other things like a lounge area. As a result, the spaces that storage furniture occupy can be used for other productive purposes.

  • Task-based evaluation (not hours-based): Back in the early ’80s, the 9-5 structure was ingrained. People would not compromise the work for eight hours, five days a week with anything regular. But the line between work life and personal life has blurred due to technology. Now, we can check our emails at night on our smartphones. It has led forward-thinking companies to focus on tasks, not hours. For jobs that involve intense focus, areas like private pods and quiet zones work well. Introduce these into your office space and give your people the right environment to work, free of distraction.

  • Natural lighting: Natural lighting is proven to have helped increase productivity and maintain a positive mood in employees. Consider how you can position the workstations to benefit from the most amount of natural light. If your reception area is closest to the window, think about how you can adjust the space. Your employees are the people who spend the most time in the office. Keep them motivated with natural sunlight.

Fit-out Mistakes Beyond Furniture

Now that our workspaces are changing forever in the post-pandemic era, our future office fit-outs are going to be more expensive than before given that it will require more furniture per member of staff to run an office space as per new safety protocols. You will put safety as the first priority in your office space whether you are refurbishing your existing fit-out or completely fitting-out a brand new range of furniture. But it doesn’t mean you will need to compromise your creativity and opportunity to make your fit-out an excellent long term investment. 

Choosing the right set of furniture and designing the interior accordingly for the right purpose are two of the most important areas you should consider for a successful fit-out. A successful fit-out will ultimately contribute in its own way to your business growth in the long run. Apart from these, however, there are many other factors that, if not handled carefully, can contribute to a bad fit-out experience. 

So what are the other mistakes that we commit time and again beyond furniture and design? Let’s discuss them in this article so that you will understand well about those important areas that need your careful attention and how they have changed with the changing environment. 

Not Planning Properly

While planning for office fit-outs, most of us rely fully on the contractors. We usually know what we want in a broad perspective but fail to fully plan all the details that can play important roles in future while running the office. A good contractor can only give you a good suggestion based on what you want to do with your office space. So if you fail to give your contractor the complete detail of how you want your project to be, don’t expect them to deliver you a satisfactory result. Investing in an office fit-out can cost you a significant amount, so you might want to make sure that your investment returns you the best it can for years to come. 

Proper planning enables you to come up with a different set of questions that you can put in front of your contractors to make sure they are answered satisfactorily and taken care of carefully while carrying out the project. Only agreeing on the suggestions of your fit-out partner/contractor does not guarantee you the best fit-out experience. Since office fit-outs of the future are going to be totally different than what they used to be, make sure you know exactly what you are doing. Make sure you are well informed about new safety protocols as well as your operational requirements.

Involve your staff members during the planning process to understand what type of working environment they prefer. Research what type of environment your customers prefer and what makes them comfortable. Make a list of areas that need improvement or addition, and observe new trends that help boost the efficiency of the office space. Thoroughly planning every corner of your office space for the people your business is involved with will result in a great fit-out experience for all.        

Not Comparing Quotations The Right Way

Partnering with the right fit-out company/contractor is essential if you want the best fit-out experience in your office space. One of the methods to choose the right fit-out partner who gets things done effectively in the most cost-effective way is by comparing quotations. But we often fail to understand that quotations vary according to companies. Some fail to mention extra charges such as transportation costs and GST in their quotation.

The hidden cost component is something that we fear the most. They can make up a significant amount of the budget required, and not having them listed in the quotation can trick you into thinking that it is a much more cost-effective option. You then commit to the contractor and then later discover that you have further costs to take care of that you were previously not aware of. You should make sure that you are comparing the same offer when reviewing quotations from different fit-out contractors. 

Be clear about your budget and research about all the different areas of expenses that incur from the start to the completion of your project. Always make sure you have a checklist of all the possible expenses in your plan before going through any quotation. Let your budget determine the right quotation, not quotation determine your budget if you want to avoid cost blowouts. 

Assuming All Contractors Are The Same

When you ask contractors why you should choose them as your fit-out partner, almost everyone will answer you with their claim about their experience, charges, effective work culture etc. But can they all solve your problems the way you want? The answer is – no, they all can’t. But it’s your mistake if you assume all the contractors are the same and blindly hire the one that offers you the lowest quotation amount. 

Different contractors have expertise in different fields and have experience in different projects. Their business models may also be different as some focus more on profit and some on customer satisfaction. You should choose the right contractor that has the right expertise and tools to carry out your project effectively and commitment to deliver you the best value. 

The right contractor should offer you the best solution for your fit-out project. While arranging a meeting or interview with contractors before considering to work with them, you should consider:

  • If they have completed similar projects before 
  • If they can detail about the results of their past projects with proof
  • If they have the financial capacity to carry out your project
  • If they adopt the technology with time
  • If they fully understand new safety protocols and the methods of implementing them effectively in fit-out projects 

Ignoring The Importance Of Details

As the customers of fit-out experts, we are so easily convinced with the presentation of our selected contractors that we don’t care about every detail of the design and layout. Ignoring the details and failing to put forward your queries gives your contract the upper hand. When you will complain about the things that have come up against your plan upon the completion of the project, you’ll be told that you had reviewed the details and accepted the design the way it was. 

Understanding the detailed design helps you correct the things your way before the fit-out process is started. Fit-out companies use innovative ways to make their clients understand the detailed design of their future fit-out. We, at Interia Systems, use VR technology to make our clients experience the details of their future fit-outs. This way, we have been able to deliver our customers the best fit-out experience. 

Not Reviewing The Progress Of The Project Properly

Communicating flawlessly with the contractor and reviewing the progress in every step makes sure your project is delivered on time with minimum errors. Solely relying on the contractor and not communicating well can lead to unwanted mistakes and delays. While most of the fit-out companies try their best to deliver your project on time with minimum mistakes, your follow-up and cooperation can help you get even better results. 

If you have already planned a robust and detailed project schedule, then you can easily track the project on a daily basis and compare it to your progress schedule. It allows you to track delays and mistakes early on and help save your time and money.   

Instant Economical Fit-out Solutions For COVID-safe Workplaces

As we are ready to restart our economy by getting back to our office desks, there is an acknowledgement that our office environment is not going to be the same again in the post-COVID era. As already mentioned in our previous article, our offices would need to go through a complete transformation to better suit the changing environment because safety has never been this important in our office spaces in the recent years. 

One of the first priorities for offices to run safely would be accommodating less number of staff per square meter in the office spaces, capping staff numbers at about 30 per cent and maintaining social distancing disciplines. As suggested by the experts, the future COVID-safe office designs should learn a great deal from already existing hospital designs in terms of cleanliness so that people would be working without fear in a sterile environment.     

Now that the economical activities have been halted for a few months and there is a pressure to completely transform the operational layouts including the office environment, there is huge economic pressure on the businesses. A complete transformation of an office space can take weeks and a handsome amount of money. The question is – is it possible to do it instantly on a budget? With the right identification of the threat and proper planning, yes, it is possible.

In order to transform your regular office space to COVID- safe office space effectively, you need to first understand what makes your office environment COVID-safe. A general answer for it would be:

An office environment that effectively avoids the transmission of microorganisms (especially novel coronavirus) between the employees while running the operations effectively.  

This is only possible when an office environment is effective in:

  • Maintaining social distancing between employees at all times
  • Minimising or completely getting rid of common touchpoints
  • Accommodating a high-level cleanliness routine in the office spaces
  • Effectively monitoring the regular health conditions of the employees

This article aims to give you an idea about the two instant economical fit-out solutions to achieve a safer working environment in your workplace. There are several areas in your office space that you will need to redesign or tweak in order to meet COVID-safe regulations. You might need to redesign the whole space planning, but with the right fit-out, you can achieve your goals with an economical solution. Let’s talk about the fit-outs that can solve your office space transformation problem instantly and economically and how they are an effective solution. 

Partition And Partition Accessories

Until the COVID-19 crisis, open plan layout in offices was one of the most common and effective designs. It allowed employees to collaborate, communicate, and work together effectively. Now that the physical interaction can pose a threat to the health of everyone, heavy use of partitions in office spaces is the demand of the future. 

The effective partition between the departments and sections make sure there is a less physical interaction between the employees and the social distance is maintained. Since there won’t be any shared items between the employees, partition accessories can help store personal items such as stationery items effectively. Partitions can also be installed in the passage if you are willing to organise the internal traffic effectively. A disciplined and controlled movement inside the office environment can help minimise the chances of physical interaction. 

Modular partitions can be purchased individually as per your partition requirement and installed instantly. They effectively assimilate in your office environment without having to replace the existing furniture. 

Why Are Such Partitions Cost-effective? 

Designing the whole layout of your office space will require installation of new fit-outs and expensive custom partitions which, at the end of the day, serve a similar purpose although it may give you a brand new feel. Rather than investing for the complete transformation, you would want to invest in individual partitions that can blend in your office environment with only a few adjustments and without needing to replace the whole set of existing furniture. It is not only cost-effective but also an instant solution. 

Workstation Screens

Workstations of the future would represent the physical separation between the employees rather than privacy and acoustics like in the past. Personal workstations installed in a standard distance between the colleagues are the reality of COVID-safe work environments. Some experts have predicted the comeback of cubicles and extinction of hot desks from the office space. While the latter can have no other option, the former has some. 

Workstation screens fit easily on top of workstations and provide employees with a private space to make it highly effective in avoiding physical interactions. These screens are also being rephrased as “sneeze guards” by some analysts. Maintaining the correct social distance can work fine in normal conditions. But otherwise, these screens can help a great deal in restricting the movement of microorganisms.

Why Are Workstation Screens Cost-effective?

Replacing all your regular workstations with workstations designed for personal use can cost you a handsome amount and waste your time. Transforming the regular desk into a desk that works just as fine as a cubicle, on the other hand, is not only a cost-effective solution but an instant answer. The acrylic screen can be installed in any desk instantly. It is not only reasonably priced but also requires minimum maintenance. Even its replacement wouldn’t hurt you at all.      

The installation of above-mentioned fit-outs can’t be effective without the right space planning and installation of the right technology. Offices will still need to accommodate new technology and methods that help avoid common touchpoints. Better cleanliness routine and methods should also be introduced to create a sterile office environment. Health monitoring apps, as they are already in the market, should be installed at every desk, and employees should be provided with enough cleaning stations. Here are a few additional systems and methods that you might want to install in your office environment to make it a safer place:

  • Automatic doors
  • Heavy use of signs and markings for the regular reminder of the new discipline
  • Heat mapping technology for distance inspection
  • Apps to control elevator commands
  • Automatic temperature detectors
  • The ultraviolet air filtration system for thorough cleaning after office hours are over to make sure the air is as clean as we can get 

Interia Services has been your preferred office fit-out partner for an effective office fit-out solution for every circumstance and budget. 

Integrating Technology In Your Office Space

Technology is transforming the way businesses work by enabling them to streamline their processes, improve productivity, and get results faster than ever. The influx of new technology has not only made our personal lives convenient but also transformed the way we work. The modern workspace has experienced a complete shift in how we carry out our jobs. 

How Technology Is Changing The Workplace?

Technology, today, has completely transformed the way the workplaces perform. The advancements have reshaped organisations by making the business processes better integrated and more streamlined.

Office spaces have evolved over the years to embrace the modern innovations presented by technology. Technology is helping employees to carry out their tasks effectively regardless of their location.  

With technology, the way employees collaborate, communicate and connect with each other has reached new heights, helping businesses achieve increased productivity in the workplace. 

Recruiting the right employee for the right task has been one of the greatest challenges for organizations. Technology has made hiring processes more convenient for businesses today. Location is not the barrier for the deserving candidate anymore as tasks can be carried out remotely in some industries. Businesses are now able to easily research the background and filter applicants with the help of new technology. With the correct use of the right tool, businesses are providing the right training and getting the best out of their employees more than ever. 

With the right tool, employees and leaders are able to connect with anyone they wish to, anytime, from anywhere to ensure the right information is conveyed to the right person. 

Our workspaces are using up less paper and businesses are occupying fewer spaces for offices. Thanks to technology, our offices also exist in the virtual world so that we can carry out essential tasks on-demand without having to rush to our physical office locations.   

Benefits Of Integrating Technology In Your Office Space.

A perfect office environment equipped with the best tools and technology is essential for improved performance. Hence assimilating technology in office space has now become a mandatory demand of time.  Let’s discuss the benefits and ways of integrating technology in your office space effectively.

Improved Communication and Collaboration: The way we communicate has transformed in recent years. The variety of virtual communication tools that exist in the market has taken business communication to the next level, improving efficiency and collaboration of employees. Adjusting such technology and tools in the professional environment has many benefits as the world has become a smaller place today.

Improved Decision making: In the fast-moving everyday work life, some decisions are to be made instantly, and some information is to be shared on-the-spot. Customers always appreciate the quick turnaround and rapid feedback. With technology, you can access the right information on time and communicate effectively to make quick decisions on demand. You can also respond to customer and client inquiries faster with technology integrated at your office space. 

Improved Performance: Improved communication, better collaboration, and on-demand access to information—all lead to better performance. Integrating technology to the professional environment not only helps get tasks executed on time but also boosts productivity hence making employees more satisfied with their work.

The Impact Of Technology On Office Design.

The introduction of laptop computers, smartphones, tablets, and wireless connectivity has facilitated, or rather forced, a noticeable shift in the nature of office design. These rapid advancements in technology have allowed workers to work anywhere at any time and brought with it a higher level of mobility, and a refreshed concept of office furniture design.

The introduction of the flat screen monitor in the last decade facilitated shallower desktops and a shift to rectangular desking from the corner or 120-degree design which was required to accommodate the large CRT monitors of the past.

As the technology world continues to shrink the devices we use each day, most modern offices have transitioned to smaller office desks but with more technical support. Where power and data points were once the only requirements for connectivity, the provision of rapid USB charging is now high on the list.

With the introduction of electronic presentation equipment, meeting and conference areas have generally become less dedicated and the furniture increasingly more mobile. Today’s conference tables must contain a multitude of cabling and equipment that is embedded within the table itself with connectivity designed to be readily accessible but without being visible.

The wholesale transformation from hardcopy to digital in the last decade and the rapidly advancing trend towards the paperless office environment has drastically reduced the requirements for filing and storage in the office.

Fully-networked MFC (Multi-Function Centres) have rendered multiple and dedicated office equipment such as printers and scanners obsolete and facilitated the integration of space-saving utility hubs.

Office Design.

Now that we know about the benefits of technology in your office space, let us take a closer look at how we can integrate them to your office design for different working style.

When we think about office furniture and fit-outs, it’s important to consider the technology available and how we can best integrate it.

But it’s not always straightforward to figure out what technologies to introduce and when. It can be hard to keep up with new developments. Spend time to understand the technology and to comprehend how you can utilise your space to incorporate more productive ways of working.

The office design process starts first with identifying your needs and then building a brief that highlights your most essential requirements to create a productive space as possible. Some design solutions drive better employee engagement and endurance in the face of an uncertain future.

Integrating technology in the workplace is key to keeping up with the trends. As most millennials are raised using technology, it is important to adapt your workspace with technology. 

Multimedia capabilities: As workplaces become more and more virtual, our reliance on communication technologies will increase. Consider introducing multimedia solutions in your office to help you collaborate better. Think about how you share information with your clients and employees. Is it via video, mobile or in audio form?

Flexible furniture: Your furniture should be able to offer a flexible way for technology to be executed. The nature of technology is constantly changing, so make sure your furniture can adapt accordingly. This could simply mean investing in furniture that’s not permanently built-in.

Go mobile: Tablets are a great way to work on-the-go. If your employees are out at a meeting, they can check their emails and use the technology as part of their presentation. You can also use tablets to book meeting rooms and sign visitors in and out. This ‘mobile’ technology can help your business go paperless.

Collaborative hot desks: Do you hire freelancers and contractors? Hosting weekly brainstorming sessions? Choose an area that’s close to power outlets and install a hot office desk. This will be your ‘hub’ for short, collaborative sessions.

By embracing technology, you can achieve a minimalistic design and make space for the things that matter to your employees. Invest in cloud storage, embrace new applications using mobile devices, and train new employees with technology.

Explore your needs and match the technology to suit your needs. Remember, technology will continue to change, so prepare your workspace with adaptable furniture and design. Choose solutions that help your employees connect, collaborate, and share information. Work processes should be as fluid as technology.

Making Technology A Priority.

Most businesses integrate technology once construction is completed. However, this limits the functionality and efficiency of your space. At Interia Systems, we help you and your team to integrate technology at your workspace by facilitating discussions between fit-out and IT in the early stages of your project. We provide detailed plans and collaborate with IT throughout your project to create efficient modern workspaces.

We understand the relationship between a productive workspace and your office furniture. Your company is unique, and your furniture should be, too. For customised office solutions that fit your needs, talk to us.

COVID-safe Workplaces: How Your Office Fit-outs Will Transform In Post-Pandemic Economic Restart

It might be early to say, but Australia has been one of few countries that have tackled COVID-19 situation in a praiseworthy manner. With less than one thousand active COVID-19 cases (at the time of writing this article) and the infection curve flattening, the country is willing to restart its economy. But our workplaces may never be the same again.

With the government announcing a three-point plan for reopening the country and issuing new workplace safety protocols that include information on physical distancing (for staff and customers), guidelines on using protective equipment, emergency planning, health and illness monitoring, and hygiene and cleaning standards, it is understandable that we are entering the era of new normal, and it’s not just limited to our workplaces.

From door handles, lift panels, handrails to vending machines – between stepping out from home for work and coming back at night, it is estimated that a regular worker comes in contact with approximately 40 different touchpoints that could potentially transmit coronavirus throughout the day on a regular workday. Managing those touchpoints would be crucial for offices, and so would be managing the flow of people. 

These new practices will surely transform the fit-out style and preferences of our workspaces completely. Now that we presented a rough idea about COVID-safe workplaces, let’s talk about how our office environment will change in the post-COVID days.  

Personal Workstations

Hot-desking is likely to disappear from office spaces when businesses will restart. Any place enabling a common touchpoint including hot-desks shall disappear for good.

To create a safe workstation that maintains social distancing and less physical interaction between the employees, cubicle may make its comeback. 

We had mentioned about cubicle workstations in our previous articles and explained how they were replaced by hot-desks and open-plan layouts. Well, they are likely to make their introduction to the millennials who started their career after the mid-2000s.

Open space plans may not make sense anymore because hygiene, safety, and social distancing will determine the future office layout more than ever. Acrylic screens that easily fit in between the desks and provide employees with personal space and contribute to reduced physical interaction may see increasing demand. 

Decreased Use Of Meeting Rooms

Thanks to technology – interacting, discussing, and brainstorming activities are not limited in the meeting rooms anymore. But you may argue that a meeting room environment can not be replaced with virtual tools. Well, you might want to compromise that habit and adopt new ways of interacting from now on. Regular meeting room layout does not follow the principles of social distancing.  

Along with the adoption of other new measures, offices will likely opt to create single entry and exit points to ensure a disciplined and less interactive flow of people. Organizations will have to either change the total layout of their meeting spaces or shift their meeting activities away from the regular allocated point that has been in there for a while. A virtual space for the meeting has been the popular replacement option so far. 

No More Shared Items

Not just the cookie jars, there are several items such as desk kit, stapler, stationery items etc. that members of staff share every day throughout the working hours on a regular office environment. Not anymore.

Most of the tools and items will strictly be personal in the post-COVID office environment.

While it might not be completely possible to personalise equipment such as the photocopier, food, beverages, and their containers can’t be compromised. Other touchpoints can be sanitised after each touch.

New Technology And Hygiene Facilities

New technology to monitor the health and regulate social distancing activity of the employees are likely to make their way to office spaces. Automatic temperature detection during the entrance and exit and heat mapping software to allow employers or managers to detect social distancing between employees are likely to be installed in most offices.  

More hand washing and hand sanitising stations will be created and cleaning activity will be given special attention. Since microorganisms can not be detected with human eyes, new special measures in cleaning the office spaces should be accommodated. There will certainly be more frequent cleaning activity inside the office spaces in the post-COVID workplaces.  

Staggered Timing, Remote Work, And Less Employee Density 

The common office timing had been contributing to long queues at elevators and huge crowds in public spaces and transport facilities during the peak hours. Businesses will not follow the same regular routine to run their operations anymore.

The design of most of the office spaces is too congested to accommodate the COVID-safe regulations at the current stage. Maintaining a distance of 1.5 to 1.8 meters between the employees and accommodating them will require a larger space, new planning, and new fit-outs.

Employee density in office spaces will decrease drastically in the post COVID office environment.

Different businesses incorporated remote work for the first time since COVID-19 started spreading throughout the world. Remote work will not be overlooked even in the post-pandemic situation. Since offices will surely run out of spaces while following the new health and safety measures, they will still get some of their operations carried out through remote work. 

It is good news that our economy is restarting even though there are strict new health measures to be followed at work. With the right planning and right fit-outs, it is possible to run our office spaces safely and resume the operations. As the best-rated fit-out experts in Perth, we offer the best economic fit-out options for COVID-safe workplaces. Feel free to contact us if you need any advice about your future office environment.

Instant Asset Tax Write Off COVID-19 Edition: Explained for Your Business

Updated on : 29 June 2020

The $20,000 instant asset write off for small businesses, introduced in 2015/16 federal budget and consecutive federal budgets since has been very popular among small business owners. A further increase saw it raised to $30,000 and now the current Morrison Government recently announced to increase it further to $150,000 amid the recent global coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in an attempt to support over 3.5 million businesses that employ more than 9.7 million people. 

Since the recent coronavirus pandemic has added more risk to businesses, the health of individuals, and the Australian economy as a whole, the move announced recently aims to deal with the growing economic concern.   

Announced on 12th of March, this stimulus package will worth more than $17.6 billion of tax breaks and subsidies to small and medium businesses. The package aims to offer cash flow opportunities for small companies to reinvest back into their businesses and to help Australians keep their jobs. 

Announced on 12th of March, this stimulus package  will worth more than $17.6 billion of tax breaks and subsidies to small and medium businesses.

What Is An Instant Asset Write Off?

Unlike regular deductions you make after purchasing for your business, the $150,000 instant asset write off aims to speed up the rate at which you can claim as tax-deductible for your purchase. It allows small business owners to claim the tax deduction in the same income year the assets are purchased.

Eligibility

 With the write-off threshold increased from $30,000 to $150,000, the Government has widened the eligibility criteria of the business. It now includes firms with a turnover of up to $500 million, up from $50 million. Assets eligible for write off include extra equipment, machinery, computers, vehicles, and office fit-out and furniture.

The purpose of the instant write off is to increase the speed at which the business can make deductions for those purchases. It would encourage business owners to bring forward the investment spending that they instead were planning to invest in the future. Businesses had until 30 June to utilise this incentive, but the deadline is since extended till the end of 2020.

For Partially Used Assets

If a business uses the asset partly for its operations, then only the business portion of the cost can be claimed as a tax deduction. You can only write off the equivalent percentage used for business use. For example, if you buy machinery for your business and use 80 per cent for your business and 20 per cent for personal use, then you will only be able to claim the instant asset write off for only 80 per cent of the asset worth.

Is It A Good Time To Make An Investment? 

It might be a good time to consider investing in business assets you require and take advantage of instant write-off if your business has sustainable cash flow and you can get your asset operational by the cut-off date of 31st December 2020 (extended from the previous deadline 30th June 2020). Consult with your accountant for specific information in regards to your situation. 

Get Started With Office Fitouts

If you have been thinking of installing an office fit-out or upgrading furniture in your business, then this might be the right time to do it. Interia Systems provides quality premium office furniture and Office fit-outs in Perth for businesses of all sizes and industries whether it be for commercial office space, school, government, medical facility or a warehouse. Contact us with your requirements, and we will deliver the best solution for you. 

For More Information:

Australian Taxation Office

The Instant Asset Write-Off (IAWO) Threshold


Virtual Reality (VR) Experience: Revolutionising The Office Fit-out Space

Entering the second decade of second millennium A.D., the design industry is leveraging the amazing experience that Virtual Reality (VR) creates for people more than ever before. Whether it be vast architectural detailing or simple desk designs, designers of today are working with the software & technology in favour of the more traditional methods. Digital software of different kinds has made it easier for professionals to do things more effectively and accurately in a significantly reduced amount of time. Having experienced work efficiency for quite a bit of time through the use of technology, businesses are now looking to improve the pre-purchase experience of their clients through the world of VR technology.

Though Virtual Reality is not a brand new concept by any means, it is much more redefined in the modern era and its wide use is revolutionising every sector that connects business with its clients. Still, it’s not being incorporated well in every field only because of the ‘fear of the unknown.’  

Since the inception of VR experience in 2018, Interia Systems has not only beheld more satisfied customers than ever but has also accessed larger projects where the precise design is an important facet of the client’s buying decision. VR experience allows clients to experience their future office fit-out and get it exactly the way they want it to be before investing in the execution of the project.

 VR experience allows clients to experience their future office fit-out and get it exactly the way they want

Implementing VR Presentation In The Office Fit-out Industry?

VR presentation has helped Interia Systems deliver office fit-out projects more effectively as previously this was a major problem point when attempting to communicate the completed vision for the project to the stakeholders, particularly for larger high-end projects.The VR presentation experience we offer is not just limited to putting on a VR headset, and looking around – we allow clients to enter a design space and freely walk around to examine every area, corner and detail, making them feel as if they were actually there.

In a 3 to 5 day process that begins with extensive on-site consultation with industry trained workspace consultants, we do space planning layout, drawings, colour selections, and produce a full 3D render within the client’s own space so that they can virtually walk through and get an actual feel of what the end result would be.

A Leap Forward In Effective Communication through Visualisation

VR experience is not just about showing our clients that their office fit-out is planned in an efficient and aesthetically pleasing manner, it’s also about effectively communicating the objective outcome with them. This technology has enabled us to drastically reduce lengthy design & planning processes, making sure that we are on the same page with our clients throughout their whole office fit-out project. 

‘Seeing is believing’ – experiencing every aspect of future office fit-out in a virtual world before the fit-out is even started has been very effective in helping customers visualise their end goals in the best way. We have also been able to address design issues early in the project with this technology preventing costly changes later. Experiencing a lifelike visualisation of their proposed office space without spending the money on engaging expensive architects/interior designers has never been better for office fit-out customers. It gives them complete confidence when making colour and product selections as they can do a complete walkthrough of their proposed office.

VR experience is not just about showing our clients that their office fit-out is planned in an efficient and aesthetically pleasing manner, it’s also about effectively communicating the objective outcome with them.

The Immeasurable Benefits Of Virtual Reality In Office Fit-out Designs

From a client’s perspective, every one of our VR presentations has not only been interactive and immersive but also memorable. It has become a very helpful tool in creating an individual experience for each and every customer. VR presentations help us bring customer’s individual touches to our work as clients can get a feel of how their fit-out project comes together rather than relying solely on advice and recommendations from us.

VR presentation is not only helping our customers understand and virtually see their projects the way we do, but also taking the whole fit-out industry to the next level. It’s helping companies like ours save time in different phases of business and also allowing us to deliver any project with very minimal errors or expensive rework.  

Virtual reality presentation is one of the small sections of what we do in the office fit-out process as a whole. We have been delivering premium office fit-out solutions in Perth for decades. As the number 1 fit-out company in Perth based on customer reviews, we make sure our customers get the best of everything that is available in the market. 

For great office fit-out designs, consider someone who incorporates your spirit with their passion and comes up with something you would love being around all the time. Contact Interia Systems for help with your ideal office fit-out design. You won’t regret it.

Office Layout: 10 Tips for Increased Productivity

No matter what industry your company is in, your employees are one of your most valuable resources. A well-planned office layout is essential in today’s corporate world in terms of your employees’ happiness and productivity. With employees in mind, we have come up with some of the most essential office designs to increase productivity include comfortable work stations and great office layouts. 

The work environment at your office will influence the morale and engagement levels of your workers. Moreover, it can help change a wasted workday into a highly productive one. So it’s essential to develop a well-designed space with your employees in mind. 

There are many nuances you should consider in regards to your office designs and how to increase their productivity. Anywhere from temperature, noise levels, the colour of your office furniture and layout can play a role in the productivity of your organisation. However, it should be emphasised that having the right office design not only increases productivity but also increases your employees’ mental wellbeing while at work. 

In this article, we highlight 10 ways you can increase productivity and wellbeing of your employees with your office layout.  

office layout, best office layout for productivity, office design tips to increase productivity
Office layouts that can help you while considering the best office layout for productivity and in terms of office designs to increase productivity

1. Introduce Natural light in Your Office Designs to Increase Productivity

natural light is an important office design tips to increase productivity

The more happy and healthy your employees are, the more productive & motivated they are likely to be

Natural lighting is essential, for both physical and mental wellbeing. Natural lighting stimulates positiveness and keeps us awake and alert. A study by Northwestern University researched the effect of letting sunlight into the office. The office staff who had exposure to sunlight had an hour more of sleep each night, and their physical health, energy, and overall quality of life were far superior.

The Sydney Morning Herald also highlighted the importance of light in the office environment. The article stated that office layouts that utilise natural lighting for their employees and not just upper management and clients have a brand that stands out and attracts and retains employees longer. Ultimately, employees are happier and choose to stay with a company longer due to their craving for natural light in their office layouts.

A gloomy, dimly lit office has significant drawbacks and reduces the productivity of your employees. Auzzi Australia notes that better lighting design in office layouts increases productivity by up to 23 per cent! Increase natural sunlight in your office and set up office workstations close to the windows. Bring the outdoors in by positioning your desks with window views, to allow as much natural light as possible into your office layout and utilise well-placed lights or lamps in darker areas. 

Finally, by removing cubicle walls, using movable glass walls and more open-plan space, you can increase the penetration of sunlight and increase visibility from within your office.

2. Choose The Right Colours

Studies have shown that colours like yellow can make us happy and joyful while also impacting productivity. Moreover, colours like blue and green can create a more comfortable and productive environment, while colours like red and orange increase alertness, urgency and attention to detail.

You might also want to consider how the workspace is decorated and how to incorporate colours with it. Do wall colours reflect your organisation’s branding? When creating a professional atmosphere, choose colours that will best suit the work in different departments.

The colour you choose for the office can make a huge difference in mood and brain function.

3. Breaks

The human brain can’t handle high-intensity work for very long. Productivity expert Colin Boyd advises that a disciplined routine should be encouraged where you carve out 3 x 50-minute Focus Blocks. These blocks would be used to focus on your most important tasks during which you allow no distractions. Once the 50 minutes of work focus is up, allow yourself 10 minutes to relax and recharge.

virtual reality can help you while considering the best office layout for productivity

4. Add A Touch Of Nature in Your Office Designs to Increase Productivity

Evergreen Walls highlights the importance of using nature in the office, as humans are spending more and more time inside and disconnecting from nature. Moreover, it notes that the disconnection harms our wellbeing and productivity. Biophilic office designs are a growing trend to increase productivity and expected to be a leading trend in 2020 and moving forward!

Even indoor plants can make a massive difference as they help purify the air, reduce noise and promote wellbeing. A few plants dotted amongst the workplace to lift the mood and add an aesthetic appeal to your office will do wonders for your office layout and employees.

go green while considering office design tips to increase productivity
office layout, best office layout for productivity, office design tips to increase productivity

5. Ergonomic Furniture in Your Office Layout

Quality office desks and chairs can make a world of difference regarding health and productivity in your office. Ergonomic chairs, desks, and even standing desks all are office furniture you should consider when looking to increase productivity in your office layout and are worth considering given the associated health benefits. Choose ergonomic furniture that will keep your people comfortable and lasts for many years to come. 

ergonomics for better office layout, for the best office layout for productivity, and office design tips to increase productivity
office layout, best office layout for productivity, office design tips to increase productivity

Ergonomic practice means improving the conditions under which you do everyday activities in the workplace. Bodycare Workplace Solutions notes that we spend around 65 per cent of our working day sitting down. Moreover, they discuss the impacts this can have on your body if you don’t have proper posture or furniture to support you. Poor desks and chairs found in your office layout can negatively affect employees’ posture, which will lead to a higher injury rate. Ultimately, costing employees work days and your organisation valuable work hours. 

Ergonomic considerations for different workplaces vary. To promote ergonomics into your office layout, consider talking to your employees about the current furniture and how they are finding it. There is no better way to evaluate if your company needs to invest in new furniture than to discuss it directly with your team.

6. Office Layouts Need Different Areas

Make sure you have different areas for different purposes. Some employees need to be in private rooms while they work, while others enjoy being in the middle of the action. Creating inviting areas for different purposes is precisely what John Ferrigan from Google recommends. He states that it’s essential to take a layered approach to design offices. Moreover, you should provide areas for everyone within the company no matter their role or personality, and foster a feeling of comfortability in them.

Ultimately, you should be asking, “What are the goals of the company?” and, “What do we want out of our office layout?” With those questions in mind, you can determine your needs and come up with a plan to accomplish it. All companies require different things out of their office layouts; thus, there is no one size fits all approach!

7. Work Structure

office layout, best office layout for productivity, office design tips to increase productivity
office layout, best office layout for productivity, office design tips to increase productivity

Is your office structured in the standard corporate way with individual desks? This is the traditional way of utilising space in your office layout. However, times are changing, and companies are finding success in open floor plans. Open office layout plans promote collaborativeness and teamwork while traditional office layouts can offer privacy and more rigid communication structures.

Depending on your company’s needs, your employees’ work style, and the brand you are going for, your office layout will differ. Once again, there is no one size fits all approach to which office layout you should use. Each will have different aspects to consider as well as pros and cons. Check out our blog on things to consider when choosing an office layout for your company here.

8. Limit the Noise Level in Your Office Layout 

noise is not good for your office layout. make sure to monitor noise levels at work to increase productivity

Libby Sander, assistant professor of organisational behaviour at Bond University Business School, states, “For most people the biggest complaint they have about the open office is noise.” The noise can make it hard to concentrate and be productive. Moreover, a noisy office can lead to increased stress levels and lower job satisfaction among employees. 

There are ways to minimise noise levels, including staying away from open office layouts. However, if your company has decided that using an open floor plan is best, you should consider handing out or promoting noise-cancelling headphones. Other options could create secluded areas for privacy, like John Ferrigan from Google recommends. Partitions, plants, and sound damping materials on the walls can also be utilised to help lower sound levels.

9. Consider The Room Temperature in Your Office Layout

Another factor to consider is room temperature. A study conducted by Cornell University found that when temperatures were around 20 degrees, employees made 44 per cent more errors. Moreover, when there were temperatures around 25 degrees, they were found to be 50 per cent more productive. The research also found that if employees were cold, they would become distracted, resulting in them costing their employers 10 per cent more per hour.

Finding the perfect temperature in your office is difficult if you have a big team. Consider grouping people who want to sit close to the air conditioner or heater and those who don’t. This solves the issue of people who keep turning the system on and off. Open the windows and doors when you can and let in the fresh air.

10. Provide Space To Move Around

A study showed 72 per cent of participants that exercised during their workday helped improve their well being as well as helped them improve their time management and completion of workload! Another study showed that even taking a break to walk could increase employees’ creativity by up to 81 per cent.

Regular exercise releases serotonin (known as the happiness hormone) which helps individuals fight off the feelings of anxiety and depression. Encourage your employees to stay active to boost their creativity and productivity in the workplace. Employees who engage in regular exercise will experience less physical problems and have less decline in lost productivity due to sickness. If your office layout does not allow for exercise inside, you can create a small area for your employees to be active, or let them take breaks outside to get some much-needed exercise.

Conclusion

An office is the heart of your business. Make sure your office layout inspires your team to innovate, challenge, and work smarter. However, as we have mentioned, it’s a good idea to include your employees in the decision making process as well! With the right changes and additions, you can transform your pre-existing office layout into a highly productive area.

Your office layout has the potential to encourage staff to produce work at the highest standard and create an enjoyable place to work. Developing a productive design goes beyond just the physical concerns as it also considers the emotional wellbeing of your team. 

Finally, the best office layout for productivity ultimately relies on you!

Our experienced team is here to help with any of your office fitout needs. We developed these 10 office layout tips to increase productivity for you in mind. Therefore, if you think we should add anything to the list or if you have any questions regarding it, please contact us!