The new year is almost here, full of exciting possibilities and the fruition of well-executed plans. It’s also a great opportunity to consider the knowledge gained in the previous 365 days. With that in mind, here’s a selection of our most popular posts of 2016.
Tracking and storing reams of paper documents can be an exhausting paper chase, but with planning, consistency, and a great storage system, you can relax and get on with your business.
How do design-conscious fashionistas incorporate great storage design into their workplaces? Here’s the low-down.
Good posture leads to good self-esteem. With phones or with adaptive office furniture, take posture into account for better self-esteem, assertiveness, and productivity.
For safety, police are required to confiscate guns in cases of domestic violence complaints. But overcrowded, insecure gun storage in police property rooms then becomes a safety problem itself.
Planning for future lab needs is always the most challenging part of any lab design space plan. Modular casework gives you flexibility for the future as well as usability for today’s needs.
We’re looking forward to assisting you in the New Year!
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Facilities management departments do a lot of planning. Maintenance schedules, office moves, seasonal tasks – the list is endless. Planning for FM personnel succession is often low on the priority list, but a change in a key position can disrupt all the other carefully-crafted facilities plans. Writing in FacilitiesNet.com, David Lewellen offers 6 strategies for developing FM teams and planning for succession.
- Think strategically – evaluate the talent pool, identify training or experience gaps in likely successors, and get the right players in the right positions.
- Develop a structure – create advancement opportunities, set up training programs, and identify potential leaders.
- Open doors to the future – systematically encourage professional development and cross-training as well as education outside the organization.
- Don’t wait – the baby boom generation has reached retirement age, and now is the time to develop replacement talent before all that accumulated management wisdom leaves.
- Understand new demands – facilities management becomes more multi-disciplinary every year, and technical expertise must be combined with solid business and people skills.
- Don’t forget the trades – as skilled tradespeople become ever-more scarce, look to ex-military personnel for experienced techs, and develop training programs for unskilled workers.
Facilities management has evolved as a profession, and organizations are recognizing the value that a strong, stable FM department brings to the success of overall operations. A sound succession plan adds to that value and ensures the future of the department.
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The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but it may not be the healthiest way to go. Australian insurance company Medibank constructed an office building that is, in many ways, spatially inefficient – all for the good of its employees.
Medibank and architecture firm Hassell theorized that inefficient spaces would force employees into physical movement. In the new building, a meandering office plan wrapped around an atrium, and in the atrium was a spiderweb of linked staircases. To have face-to-face interactions or retrieve documents, employees had to take many more steps than they would have in a typical office – a FitBit user’s dream.
A flexible mix of collaborative areas and private workspaces promotes mental well-being, another important aspect of the balanced healthy design. Hassell’s principal designer Rob Backhouse says they sought balance throughout the design, recognizing that there are certain efficiencies that are vital for the smooth operation of any business. And adding inefficiencies to space plans doesn’t have to mean higher real estate costs. Super-efficient high-density storage can actually reduce the overall footprint, making an inefficient space plan easier on the budget in every way.
After two years of being design guinea pigs, Medibank’s employees were surveyed, and the results were encouraging: 79 per cent said their new building made them feel more collaborative, 70 per cent felt healthier and 66 per cent felt more productive. Balancing efficiency and inefficiency turns out to be a surprisingly beneficial design choice. Learn more in this video: https://youtu.be/sBNzye_WwPg
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Business owners and facilities managers are embracing the benefits of new flexible workspaces – maximized space utilization, minimized build-out costs – but for many workers, changing the old office environment may be an unwelcome update. Without an enthusiastic majority eager for change, facilities professionals will find it hard to implement any meaningful transformation. How can you get your fellow employees to buy in?
We humans are notoriously resistant to change. We fear the unknown. Facilities managers will find it much easier to allay people’s fears and reap the benefits of the adaptive office if they adopt these three management roles recommended by John T. Anderson:
- The Business Strategist – “What is our overall business strategy, both outward facing (clients and recruitment) and inward facing (productivity, continuous improvement, and retention)? How do our people support the business, and how does the facility support our people?”
- The Information Specialist – “What does the data show about the way people work together? How do we position people and departments so they interact smoothly and efficiently?”
- The Marketing Communicator – “What is the best way to communicate with my target market – the employees – and how do I make sure they feel their voices are heard and their needs are addressed?”
Facilities professionals are accustomed to managing the built environment, and may not always think in terms of managing people. But when change is on the horizon, a personnel-management perspective will make the transition a successful one. Reach out to a designer who specializes in the adaptive workplace to get more information on making your change a positive one.
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“Lean” has been a manufacturing buzz word for decades. Law firms, however, have been slow to adopt this proven management technique, but in the past few years, some savvy practice managers have been introducing the lean philosophy to their law firms. Lisa Pansini, writing in LegalProductivity.com, recommends putting these three lean ideas into practice to improve efficiency, increase output, and reduce the cost of repetitive actions.
- Assume nothing – You may think you know what your clients value, but if you don’t ask them first, you’ll find yourself wasting time on services your clients didn’t ask for or need.
- Track your projects – Productivity increases exponentially when you focus on the task at hand, and a kanban board organized into to-do, in-process, and finished tasks keeps you on target.
- Speak up – The firm’s culture should encourage suggestions that challenge the status quo and lead to continuous improvement.
By their very nature, law firms are conservative and tend to cling to old ways of doing things. But as a wise teacher once said, “Change is slow. Change is inevitable.” Taking small, consistent steps toward lean management will ultimately yield greater productivity.
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The U.S.A. is arguably the No. 1 best place on earth, but we rank 11th in happiness compared to the rest of the world. Prosperity is one of the primary components of overall happiness, according to Forbes Magazine. Even though economic indicators show us recovering well after the Great Recession, we still seem to think that we’re not prospering…and we’re not happy.
“Think” is the key word here – and writer Eric Barker says our brains control our happiness far more than we might imagine. It seems we recall any given event as having just two parts: the emotional peak, and the end. If the end is happy, the entire event is viewed positively. (Think about any movie you’ve seen.)
Barker proposes structuring your work days to end on a high note, and lists seven tactics to help you achieve this:
- Have a “shut-down” ritual – a routine that tells your brain to move out of work mode and into relaxation mode.
- Spend week-night time, not just weekends, with family and friends.
- Master something – work on a hobby, take a class, practice a musical instrument.
- Dim the lights an hour before bedtime and avoid e-devices as much as possible; this will get your brain into sleep mode.
- Write down the good things that happened that day.
- Don’t go to bed angry with your partner – and don’t stay up late and fight.
- Schedule something to look forward to. The anticipation of fun doubles the happiness.
Increasing your happiness quotient will have a remarkable effect on your business life. You’ll perceive yourself and your business as prosperous and successful. And as we all know, perception is reality.
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“Ergonomics” is a term often used to describe the posture-supporting comfort of a desk chair or a driver’s seat. Your posture certainly plays an important role in your health and productivity, but it seems that posture also has a significant effect on your attitude. The right chair will keep you productive all day, but other productivity devices – iPhones and laptops – may be slowly destroying your confidence and self-worth. Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy, writing in the New York Times, says, “Your physical posture sculpts your psychological posture.” When we hunch over our cell phones or laptops, we are mimicking the look of a depressed, insecure, unassertive person.
Cuddy points to one study in which people sat in either a slouched position or an upright position while they answered questions in a mock job interview. The slouchers reported a high degree of fear and a feeling of low self-esteem, compared to the subjects who sat upright. Another study showed poor memory retention in subjects who were hunched over.
Apparently good posture leads to good self-esteem. Imagine that: feeling assertive just because your desk keeps you from slumping over your laptop – Swiftspace’s Shape, for example. And now imagine your entire team feeling assertive and productive. Could good posture be one of the keys to a successful business?
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Is this you? You’re bootstrapping your startup. You and your team are working out of your studio apartment. You hold client meetings at a nearby Starbucks. The business is starting to take off, and you have no time to sleep, eat, or shower. Finding the right office space is not even on your radar. But it should be, and here’s why.
Writing for Inc. Magazine, entrepreneur Michael Alter explains that he’s learned the hard way how office space functions to support business growth. He lists three vital points:
1. Your office space demonstrates that you appreciate and support your team; they in turn feel pride and loyalty to you and the business.
2. The competition for top talent is fierce, and you need to attract and hire the very best; your office space is part of the corporate culture you offer prospective employees.
3. Office space and layout determines how your teams work together and share information; it’s at the heart of business productivity.
And there’s a fourth reason: In your outward-facing interactions, your office space reinforces your brand. It tells your clients and your business partners who you are, and it underlines your commitment to success.
Your office space defines your office culture, your productivity, and your corporate brand. If your current workspace isn’t doing all of the above, maybe it’s time for your business to make a move.
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When you’re running a small business, every minute is precious, and you have a dozen ways to use that minute. Before you succumb to sleep deprivation, adopt some creative productivity habits to bring a little more balance to the work-life equation. Business Insider recommends these 11 tips designed particularly for small business owners, including:
- Keep one day a week meeting-free.
- Take one day a month to think about the long-term future.
- Learn to delegate.
- Create a comfortable workspace. (Something we heartily endorse!)
Revising your work habits requires a measure of self-discipline and adaptation, but as a small business owner, you already know how to do that. As business leader Joseph Wirthlin said, “To manage the minute is the secret of success.”
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In dense urban neighborhoods with small living spaces, multi-function furnishings are becoming the norm. Borrowing from these space-efficient urban homes, office interiors are creating workspace “neighborhoods” and using transformative furniture to increase productivity within compact office footprints. Design magazine Sourceable.com (bit.ly/1E6wUQi) reports that an architecture firm in Melbourne, Australia, is using customizable furniture to accommodate fluctuations in staffing. In Silicon Valley, Google Garage filled its space with wheeled furniture that can be rearranged to suit changing work activities. In southern California, a community college is using reconfigurable workstations to adapt common areas for multiple uses.
And the payoff for businesses? Cost savings through efficient space utilization and multi-purpose furnishings. If you’re getting ready to switch to multi-function furnishings, we’d love to hear your story.
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