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2020


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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
Going Carbon Neutral Now

Going Carbon Neutral Now

  Steelcase has announced new science-based targets that position them to become carbon negative...

Aglet 16th Sep 2020
3 misconceptions about work from home

3 misconceptions about work from home

People have been predicting the end of the office since the invention of Wi-Fi...

Aglet 16th Jul 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...