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15 Reasons Why The Office Matters

15 Reasons Why The Office Matters

  After working from home and collaborating at a distance, the importance of the...

Inspiration 18th Oct 2020
9 tips while Working From Home

9 tips while Working From Home

For some people working from home is a regular practice but for most of us, it’s a new way of working and presents new challenges - especially if you are with family who is now at home too. Isla Galloway-Gaul, Managing Director of Inspiration Office, an Africa-wide office space and furniture consultancy said: “People are all at once discovering the benefits and frustrations of remote work. But you can take cues from great workplaces. You’ll get more done and feel better when your technology, space and the ways you need to work come together. Working from home should be no different.” Here are some practical tips about how to improve the work from home experience. <h3>ESTABLISH AND STICK TO BOUNDARIES</h3> It’s tempting to be “on” constantly when you work from home. Others find being home distracting and challenging to stay focused and productive. "Identifying boundaries can help you maintain a healthy and productive balance. Decide on your schedule each day and try to stick to it,” Galloway-Gaul advised. <h3>BE TRANSPARENT</h3> If you are not at your computer, be sure to communicate that with your colleagues. Make your calendar visible to your team, update your status in any team/collaboration software you use or even leverage your out-of-office auto-reply. Let your team know when you’re going to be away and when you’ll be back, especially when you work in different time zones. <h3>BUILD BELONGING</h3> Think about ways to keep relationships intact while working from home and practising social distancing. Said Galloway-Gaul:” Consider creating a group chat for social interactions – during stressful times, everybody loves a good meme. Schedule coffee with a colleague over a video to catch up. Remote workers need more of these checkpoints than those who are in the office.” <h3>CREATE CONSISTENT CONNECTIONS</h3> It can be easy to slip into a siloed work experience when everyone is working on their own, especially during more socially isolating times. Institute a quick daily virtual team connect to keep work moving forward. <h3>PROVIDE A VARIETY OF TOOLS</h3> The tools available to distributed teams aren’t perfect. No one technology does it all. “Pick some consistent tools for instant messaging, video conferencing, sharing documents, file transfers, etc. to keep your team connected virtually while social distancing,” Galloway-Gaul noted. <h3>TURN YOUR CAMERA ON</h3> Video should be the default setting for any remote collaboration. Seeing facial reactions and body language lets you “read the room,” plus people are less likely to interrupt or speak over one another. “To do it well, keep the computer at eye level — put it on a stand or further back so it isn’t looking up your nose. Look into the camera and use natural light, but avoid putting your back to a window or you’ll look like a silhouette.” <h3>HEAR AND BE HEARD</h3> “Avoid rooms with lots of hard surfaces that echo - like a kitchen,” said Galloway-Gaul. “Choose rooms with rugs or other softer materials, like the living room.” Headphones provide a better experience than computer audio. Finally, if you’re late to an online meeting or not speaking, mute your audio to avoid disrupting the conversation. <h3>FIND FOCUS</h3> Not everyone has a home office, so think about establishing a territory that clearly signals “I’m at work.” Discuss protocol with other members of your household to signal when you’re “on at work,” even if you’re reading on the sofa. If you tend to be distracted by other household demands, find a way to create visual boundaries so you don’t see the dirty dishes. And, if the acoustics are an issue and you can’t shut the door, headphones may be your new best friend. <h3>BE AWARE YOUR POSTURE</h3> A risk of working from home is becoming more sedentary. Look for ways to vary your posture and the spots where you work throughout the day. “Sit, stand, perch, go for a walk — activating the body, activates the brain and can keep you from going stir crazy.” Galloway-Gaul added. Particularly important: Most people slumped over their laptop and look down onto their screens when they have converted the dining room chair and table to an office. “We strongly suggest raising the laptop, even if on a couple of books, which allows the screen to be at the same level of your face. This is much better for your body, dramatically reducing strain on the back and neck.

Inspiration 16th Apr 2020
Why The Latest Office Design Trend Delivers Lukewarm Results

Why The Latest Office Design Trend Delivers Lukewarm Results

  To attract the best and the brightest, many companies are creating an “anti-office”...

Inspiration 5th Mar 2020
The hot desk has turned into a hot mess

The hot desk has turned into a hot mess

Hot desking, the idea that a desk in an office is used by many people whenever they find it free, has mushroomed in use over the past decade despite growing evidence that it’s unpopular with workers – and possibly bad for them too.   Isla Galloway-Gaul, MD of Inspiration Office, says: “The idea behind the hot desk is simple: you could save a lot of money by reducing the amount of expensive office space needed by sharing the large proportion of unused desks while people are away, in meetings or working elsewhere.   “Under-used office space in England and Wales for example costs businesses R200bn a year.”   She notes that while the cost savings ambitions are admirable the second-tier effects of hot-desking haven’t been fully considered by some companies which have not adapted their offices to accommodate a style of working unfamiliar to many.   “We’ve noticed that workers often have to spend time finding somewhere to sit and can spend as much as 18 minutes a day on average looking for a spot. Clearly, this is unproductive, and particularly impacts those who have arrived later to work. It can mean once someone has finally found a desk they are already quite stressed before the workday has even begun.”   While hot-desking suits some people, it can adversely affect the many staff who have to be in the office each day and need to know they’ve got everything they need where they need it.   Not knowing where the people you need to collaborate with are sitting can impair productivity too. “Often a query can be solved much quicker by simply going over to a coworker’s desk, rather than relying on email ping-pong. But that can’t happen if you’re wandering the floor trying to find them,” says Galloway-Gaul.   “In many workplaces now, poor acoustics and lack of visual privacy are a major concern but fixable,” she notes.   Hot-desking isn’t a complete disaster because employers could be doing a lot more to make it work better for everyone – by looking into acoustic treatments for noisy open-plan offices and ensuring there’s a decent balance of collaborative and private work areas.   “Rows of open-plan space with hundreds of desks is not appealing to anyone,” she says. <div class="mid-story-ad"> <div class="g g-2"> <div class="g-single a-16"></div> </div> </div> “Companies need to rethink how people move, create, and collaborate and translate that into a thoughtfully designed place.”   Galloway-Gaul recommended companies use light-scale, light-weight, easily movable furniture which allows teams to feel empowered to take over the space and easily create a space that best suits their needs.   Another suggestion is to combine furniture and technology in a way that encourages equal contribution by all members of a team.   “Companies also need to enable privacy and control over the environment to provide a ‘safe haven’ spaces where new ideas can incubate,” she concluded.

Inspiration 1st Mar 2020
How the shifts in leadership attitude is altering traditional offices

How the shifts in leadership attitude is altering traditional offices

  The speed and ever-changing disruption to the global business environment has leaders rethinking...

Inspiration 5th Feb 2020
Video collaboration & privacy boosting popularity of booths in SA offices 

Video collaboration & privacy boosting popularity of booths in SA offices 

  The rapidly growing trend of video collaboration at work – as well as...

Inspiration 5th Dec 2019
Brain performance in the workplace  

Brain performance in the workplace  

  The key to better brain performance in the workplace It’s been well documented...

Inspiration 12th Nov 2019
Office workers can learn from successful soccer teams

Office workers can learn from successful soccer teams

  The business case for increased collaboration in the workplace keeps getting stronger, according...

Inspiration 15th Oct 2019
What is office agriculture, why is it a worldwide trend?

What is office agriculture, why is it a worldwide trend?

    “Office” and “Agriculture” are two words that are hard to imagine together...

Inspiration 11th Sep 2019
Can the workplace actually make you healthier?

Can the workplace actually make you healthier?

    For many, wellbeing in the workplace means physical health: ergonomic furniture, a...

Inspiration 19th Aug 2019
5 ways to make work more meaningful

5 ways to make work more meaningful

<p> </p> <p>Isla Galloway-Gaul, Managing Director of Inspiration Office, an Africa-wide office space and furniture consultancy said: ”When people are engaged, they adopt the vision, values, and purpose of the organisation they work for. They become passionate contributors, innovative problem solvers, and are a joy to work with.</p> <p>According to a Gallup poll called the <em>State of the Global Workplace</em> which studied employee engagement in 142 countries, only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work.</p> <p>“The answer to winning back disengaged employees, and keeping the engaged employees engaged, isn’t only pay, perks or promotions. It’s meaning – that is, giving work a greater sense of significance, and making work matter.”</p> <p> </p> <h2>Here are 5 ways to make people more engaged at work:</h2> <p> </p> <ol> <li> <h3><strong>Show people their work matters </strong></h3> <p>- “Make time for employees to explore the purpose--or profound why--of what they do.” So, introduce your team to their customers. Explain how their work helps others. Even in small ways, and encourage them to share their own stories. Reframe the work your team is doing so they can understand how and why they fit into that work.</li> <li> <h3><strong>Create a learning environment to encourage personal growth</strong></h3> <p>- Make space for people to create and execute their own learning plans, offering help along the way. Understand their different learning styles and attention spans, and provide experiences for growth expanding on what they already know, with immediate opportunities for putting into practice at work.</li> <li> <h3><strong>Help make people feel valued and valuable</strong></h3> <p>- “You care about your personal family and friends, but what about your ‘work family,’ whom you probably see the most? Do you ever ask how your employees are doing, and care about what they say?,” said Galloway-Gaul. By showing employees their value, they will feel valued as individuals and in turn, are more likely to live up to their value in the workplace.</li> <li> <h3><strong>Involve people in decisions to create a sense of control, and grant autonomy liberally </strong></h3> <p>- Micromanagement can be a meaning-killer. “Including your employees in decisions and giving them space to get the job done helps them feel less like numbers and more like contributors. Whether it’s where to put the new soda fridge, or how to solve a million-dollar problem, don’t manage in a vacuum,” Galloway-Gaul advised.</li> <li> <h3><strong>Allow people to bring their real self to work</strong></h3> <p>- By being your authentic self, you give employees permission not to check their identities at the door, even if they are quirkier than everyone else. Of course, this must be within the bounds of workplace professionalism.</li> </ol> <h3><strong>Help people see where they fit in the mission, and that the mission depends on them to achieve it</strong></h3> <p>- “Employees will never think their work matters if they don’t know that they matter. Achieve this by showing them the long-term vision and how they fit in it and contribute to - beyond the org chart of course,” said Galloway-Gaul.</p> <p>View our:  <a href="https://inspirationoffice.co.za/2019/03/25/6-innovative-ways-companies-are-changing-the-workplace/">6 innovative ways companies are changing the workplace</a> for more.</p>

Inspiration 10th Jul 2019
Turns out there is an ‘I’ in team: why today’s offices need a reboot

Turns out there is an ‘I’ in team: why today’s offices need a reboot

<p> </p> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt;"><span style="font-family: 'Verdana',sans-serif; color: black;">The notion of teamwork is not new, and for most of the twentieth-century teams functioned like an assembly line, focusing on areas of expertise and the division of tasks. </span></p> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt; min-height: 13px;"><span style="color: black;"> </span></p> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt;"><span style="font-family: 'Verdana',sans-serif; color: black;">“But this siloed work style ended up slowing things down, causing errors and overlooked opportunities,” said Isla Galloway-Gaul, Managing Director of <a href="https://inspirationoffice.co.za/">Inspiration Office</a>, Africa-wide office space and furniture consultancy. </span></p> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt; min-height: 13px;"><span style="color: black;"> </span></p> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt;"><span style="font-family: 'Verdana',sans-serif; color: black;">“To combat this problem, that paradigm gave way in many organisations to open plan offices. According to global office architects and furniture designers Steelcase, 69 percent of all offices now have an open floor plan. But work in these settings is mostly an independent pursuit, interspersed with team meetings and water cooler conversations.</span></p> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt; min-height: 13px;"><span style="color: black;"> </span></p> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt;"><span style="font-family: 'Verdana',sans-serif; color: black;">Said Galloway-Gaul: “Without question, the need to reboot the corporate workplace is overdue because while the processes and activities of teams today have dramatically changed, some businesses spaces have not kept up.” </span></p> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt; min-height: 13px;"><span style="color: black;"> </span></p> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt;"><span style="font-family: 'Verdana',sans-serif; color: black;">Today work gets done through networks and lateral relationships. Employees who once operated in different universes must come together in interdependent, fluid teams. The spaces that best support this kind of work is designed specifically for teams while embracing the needs of all the constituent individuals. </span></p> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt; min-height: 13px;"><span style="color: black;"> </span></p> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt;"><span style="font-family: 'Verdana',sans-serif; color: black;">“Forget the adage that ‘there is no ‘I’ in team,” said Galloway-Gaul. “Teams are made up of individuals. We need to design for multidisciplinary teamwork in a way that also gives the individual what they need to do their best work.”</span></p> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt; min-height: 13px;"><span style="color: black;"> </span></p> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt;"><span style="font-family: 'Verdana',sans-serif; color: black;">Therefore there is a growing demand for user control over spaces—people want to be able to adapt spaces at the pace of the project, and to give team members agency in defining how the ‘me’ and the ‘we’ need to work together at a given time.“</span></p> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt; min-height: 13px;"><span style="color: black;"> </span></p> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt;"><span style="font-family: 'Verdana',sans-serif; color: black;">But right now, although many organisations have become nimble, there are still businesses in which employees need to file requests with facilities and end up waiting weeks for the changes they’ve asked for.  Galloway-Gaul noted. “Project work moves through different phases and each phase has its own set of activities. It’s important that the space can evolve with the project.” </span></p> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt; min-height: 13px;"><span style="color: black;"> </span></p> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt;"><span style="font-family: 'Verdana',sans-serif; color: black;">So what do teams need from their work environments? </span></p> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt; min-height: 13px;"><span style="color: black;"> </span></p> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt;"><span style="font-family: 'Verdana',sans-serif; color: black;">Teams need a sense of shared purpose, cohesion and identity to be able to successfully work together and build on each others’ ideas. Galloway-Gaul said companies should consider three things to help their teams excel.</span></p> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt; min-height: 13px;"><span style="color: black;"> </span></p> <h3 style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt;"><span style="font-family: 'Verdana',sans-serif; color: black;">Build a home for teams</span></h3> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt;"><span style="font-family: 'Verdana',sans-serif; color: black;">The role of team space is bigger than just supporting the work itself. It’s also about the human dimension. The team space should reflect and encourage the type of practices and working style of the team where they can foster a sense of identity, cohesion and trust.</span></p> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt; min-height: 13px;"><span style="color: black;"> </span></p> <h3 style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt;"><span style="font-family: 'Verdana',sans-serif; color: black;">Flex space to process </span></h3> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt;"><span style="font-family: 'Verdana',sans-serif; color: black;">Teams need a dynamic space that keeps up with their process and keeps them in flow. The space should let teams in rapid cycles reorganise in a natural, spontaneous way.</span></p> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt; min-height: 13px;"><span style="color: black;"> </span></p> <h3 style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt;"><span style="font-family: 'Verdana',sans-serif; color: black;">Empower teams</span></h3> <p style="margin: 0cm; margin-bottom: .0001pt;"><span style="font-family: 'Verdana',sans-serif; color: black;">Teams need control over their environments to cope rapidly with individual preferences and project needs. Empower teams and individuals to make quick adjustments to their space on demand to keep projects moving. </span></p> <p></p>

Inspiration 5th Jun 2019
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