Flexible office space provider LABS on why the physical office space is still strategically key

Flexible office space provider LABS on why the physical office space is still strategically key

A recent survey conducted among LABS members shows that the physical office space still has a valuable place in the mindset of how they want to work. More than seven in ten of those questioned said the office is a strategic device for their businesses, and more than 74 percent of members questioned use the office for two days or more per week.

However, working culture is still developing rapidly following the pandemic and its government-mandated full time working-from-home set up, with employers and employees carefully navigating a path that tees up with company expectations as well as staff’s desire to work remotely for part of the week, which in some cases allows them to better deal with issues such as child or elder care or just attain a better work/life balance. Companies are clearly grappling with the complexities of managing diverse teams with varying needs and preferences. The seniority of employees and their distinct working styles play a crucial role in determining the feasibility and desirability of remote work.

While the Office for National Statistics reveals that 40 percent of civil servants in the UK are still working from home there is a definite flip side in the private sector. In the spring of this year, Bloomberg reported that, following a large-scale layoff programme in the tech sector, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has asked its staff to “find more opportunities to work with your colleagues in person.” This is the latest in a long line of high-profile firms to reverse their work-from-home policies including Starbucks and Walt Disney Co. Other firms in the pro-return to the office camp include Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Apple, and Peloton with the CEO of JP Morgan stating that he doesn’t believe working from home works for managers or younger members of staff. Bloomberg itself has set a minimum presence in the office of three days per week.

Amazon too has a thrice weekly attendance policy which kicked in last month in light of CEO Andy Jassy saying on the firm’s blog that “There is something about being face-to-face with somebody, looking them in the eye and seeing they’re fully immersed in whatever you’re discussing that bonds people together.” General Motors’ management shares Amazon’s three days per week requirement which came into force at the beginning of 2023, which some staff took as a U-turn in company policy from encouraging colleagues to ‘Work Appropriately’.


Making the office the destination of choice

As well as incentives such as free food and drinks, access to facilities including gyms and opportunities to come together at work socials, the chairman of PwC believes that AI has its part to play in luring people from their home offices. The Times recently reported that Kevin Ellis thinks that as people feel pressure from the capabilities of the likes of Chat GPT, they are more likely to want to be in the office near colleagues they can collaborate and learn from.

In a company-wide presentation, the professional services giant explained to staff how AI has the potential to fast-track trainees by a couple of years but with that accelerated knowledge base comes a responsibility to be able to coach and manage others that traditionally would have taken place over a longer period. Ellis said at the time that “people are going to want to learn from others face-to-face and the best way a human can differentiate themselves from a robot is in person.”

It’s fair to say then that the mood may well be shifting from the ‘work from anywhere’ easy come easy go attitudes of 2021 and last year. As companies continue to navigate the choppy waters of political unease in Ukraine, the continuing impact of Brexit and the worldwide inflation rates not to mention the global cost of living crisis so they are increasingly calling for near full-time attendance, symbolising a return to pre-pandemic norms, to stay competitive.

Being present in the office has many well-documented advantages such as fostering creativity, encouraging and engendering a sense of culture. And there are positive signs among LABS members too, with over three quarters of them enjoying working from the office most of the time with over half citing colleague relationships as the most important aspect of an office, up by 4 percent year on year.

Given the aforementioned global political uncertainty and economic strife, flexibility and choice for occupiers as well as employees are key components of our current work culture. In this way, workplace strategies can easily shift to address sudden changes. Which is where LABS’ turnkey solutions, available in various shapes and sizes, come in with flexible tenancy arrangements and inspiring amenities. In this way LABS can help optimise a workplace model that works for everyone.

Learning first aid is an essential skill for the modern workplace

Learning first aid is an essential skill for the modern workplace

learning first aidFirst aid is a type of emergency care that is administered in the event of an injury. Volunteers within the community can receive this training so that they can help with emergencies before the proper authorities arrive on the scene. First aid includes CPR, cleaning wounds, and supporting breaks or sprains. A person giving first aid cannot fix a problem- that is for the paramedics and doctors to do. So, why is learning first aid so important, especially in the modern workplace? More →

A safe and secure workplace as we emerge from the pandemic? Here’s how

A safe and secure workplace as we emerge from the pandemic? Here’s how

a safe and secure workplaceAs rush hour traffic returns to pre-pandemic levels and bosses call time on working from home, Stockport-based and photo ID card specialists Digital ID share a handful of expert tips to help formulate your plan, ease re-entry anxiety and safely manage employees and visitors on their return to a safe and secure workplace. More →

What you need to know about paying wages in cryptocurrency

What you need to know about paying wages in cryptocurrency

Not all of your employees will prefer to have their hard work rewarded with often volatile cryptocurrencies. However, for those already investing in it, having some or all of their salary given as a digital currency may be more appealing and convenient. Below you can find the details of what you will need, some examples of people already doing it and the obstacles you will face.

To make paying your employees a reality, both you and your workers will need to have some additional things. The first is everyone will need a secure wallet to pay the cryptocurrency in. Making sure the best wallets are chosen is vital because there is no backup to the funds stored in them like there is at a conventional bank. Anyone considering their options should not forget to check out the Luno Bitcoin wallet with exceptional safety and stellar reviews.

The other help you will need as a business is a dedicated team of bookkeepers who know how to track payments in Bitcoin – more on that shortly.


Companies already paying in Bitcoin

There are some firms already making the leap to paying employees in cryptocurrency. Notably, a Japanese firm has started using Bitcoin to pay staff. At the moment, this is rare as most firms find the process difficult due to some legalities and taxation issues.

Another way people have been getting paid in cryptocurrency is through freelancing work via apps. There are many apps on the market that will pay freelance workers to complete projects in exchange for Bitcoin and alike. Earn.com is one of the most established, but many similar apps are available.


Legalities and tax 

One of the reasons that some of the most trendy fintech startups are not paying in crypto as of yet is because it is an overly complex procedure. For some, it is just not possible as it is against the law to do so, including in many South American and Asian countries. Even in those that do not make it illegal, the taxation and invoicing practicalities of doing so put them off.

For example, in the USA you can legally pay in crypto, but all forms need to show values in US dollars and sophisticated and specialist accountants and bookkeepers would be required, which adds to business expenses.


Will the rules change?

It is possible that as cryptocurrencies become even more mainstream and accepted – as well as regulations are implemented upon them – the idea of paying in crypto will become not only legal, but more feasible. That day may come, but the wait until it is easy to do may be long.

For now, employees may be better swapping their fiat salaries for crypto with a trusted exchange platform and a reliable wallet.

Image by Icons8_team 

First Mats launches new range of cable protectors

First Mats launches new range of cable protectors

First Mats is delighted to announce the launch of a brand-new range of floor cable protectors to complement the company’s existing selection of floor matting safety products. The new range of floor cable protectors is specifically designed with floor safety in mind to protect workers from trip hazards, as well as preventing damage to expensive IT equipment.

“A big part of the First Mats mission is to help improve safety in workplaces, and I believe that this range of floor cable protectors is a fantastic addition to our established range of floor matting products,” said Richard O’Connor, Strategic Marketing Director.

Loose, trailing cables present a dangerous health and safety hazard to workers, and First Mats’ new range of floor cable protectors can improve floor safety and prevent workplace accidents. IT equipment is also vulnerable to damage when cables are accidentally yanked out.

As well as performing a vital health and safety at work function, First Mats’ new range of floor cable protectors has another important role to play in any workplace environment. Floor cable protectors help to keep office premises, warehouses, commercial kitchens, and factory floor areas tidy, preventing tangles of cables from collecting dust that could present a fire hazard or harbour gnawing pests and insects.

Loose cables can easily be damaged and abraded by foot traffic and vibration. Still, First Mats’ floor cable protectors can prevent that, saving firms from the cost of cable replacement and the expensive production downtime that can be caused by catastrophic equipment failure. Floor cable protectors can also be used to shield outdoor cabling at events, festivals, and the like, preventing damage by the elements and from foot traffic, as well as protecting people attending the event from trip-related accidents.

First Mats’ cable protectors are made from super-strong PVC material for excellent durability and are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. The whole range of floor cable protectors is made with a seamed backing that keeps cables and wires snapped firmly in place. There are several grades of durability on offer, from general-purpose floor cable protectors that are ideal for use in offices and computer rooms, through to a heavy-duty version that can withstand impact from heavy vehicular traffic and vibration from adjacent machinery.

For more information, please contact First Mats on 0121 702 1659, email info@firstmats.co.uk or visit the First Mats website (https://www.firstmats.co.uk/).

Startup yulife is using gamification to boost workplace morale

Startup yulife is using gamification to boost workplace morale

Yulife, a Shoreditch-based startup is using its innovative app to reward staff members for being healthy. The company offers life insurance plans for staff members which are backed by heavyweight insurer AIG, but staff also get the opportunity to earn rewards for every mile they walk, meditating and keep healthy. The company is the brainchild of former Vitality executive Sammy Rubin who founded yulife with a passion for bringing health and wellbeing to the UK insurance market. The insuretech company has hired renowned health expert Dr Rangan Chatterjee as the Chief of Wellbeing Officer and is endorsed by Deliciously Ella. More →

Offices iQ launches flexible corporate space solution Enterprise iQ

Offices iQ launches flexible corporate space solution Enterprise iQ

Offices iQ, the broker of flexible office and coworking space, has announced the launch of Enterprise iQ, a global end-to-end service that includes ongoing customer support. With flexible working spaces set to grow by up to 30 percent annually for the next five years across Europe, Enterprise iQ will service the growing number of corporate companies looking for flexible office space. More →

Sedus updates its manufacturing processes with Chromium III

Sedus updates its manufacturing processes with Chromium III

Whether a swivel chair or a desk, every third Sedus customer order is produced using a chrome finish. This is not only for aesthetic reasons, but also about quality – chrome surfaces are more scratch resistant and less sensitive than powder coated, polished aluminium or wood. The technique of using chrome is historic. Chromium III was discovered by chance in 1797 by Louis-Nicolas Vauquelin, but was only made industrially usable on a large scale in the 1920s by the addition of other chemical substances. However, the cost has always been high because the globally widespread process Chromium VI is cheaper and simpler. However, it is also extremely toxic and hazardous to health. Chromium VI compounds used during manufacturing, when handled incorrectly, could enter the body via the respiratory tract and can mutate and damage DNA. More →

Insight Promotion: Make wellbeing and ergonomics your New Year Resolution

Insight Promotion: Make wellbeing and ergonomics your New Year Resolution

2019 has arrived and a new year means an excuse to make a change. It’s therefore the best time of the year to make the necessary adjustments that are needed to make your office work has efficiently as possible. However, in order to achieve this, you must always remember one important criterion: ergonomics.Ergonomics relates to the study of working conditions and how they affect staff. Typically, this refers to equipment and furniture that can be utilised and/or adapted in order to increase levels of employee wellbeing and therefore productivity. This includes items such as chairs that support posture and sit/stand desks.


Why is Ergonomics so Important?

Steve Bays, Director at Century Office, comments: “In the UK today we have a very mixed group of employers. Some will buy any type of office chair, as long as it has “office chair” written in the description; some will buy cheap chairs and throw them away when broken; some see furniture as a non-profit making necessity; some recognise the benefits of good furniture over workers’ performance and staff retention.”

Many businesses in the UK have started to recognise the importance of ensuring their staff are comfortable, happy and healthy. Moreover, a 2018 study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)backs up the idea that companies that prioritise workplace wellbeing are more likely to report better employee morale and engagement, as well as a healthier culture and lower absence from sickness. However, the study also found that if an organisation was more “reactive” rather than “proactive” (they address the issue of wellbeing on an ad-hoc basis instead of having an implemented wellbeing strategy) then there was no progress realised from their wellbeing activity.


How can Century Office help?

Century Office are advocates for office wellbeing and their range of furniture reflects this. The newest additions to their selection of ergonomic seating are the Influence and Grace mesh chairs. They both boast extraordinary comfort as well as ergonomic support and can be adjusted in a variety of ways to fit your work environment and your body posture. They are the perfect addition to any workspace as they come with height-adjustable lumbar support, with or without headrests, and seat-depth adjustment. Adjustable active tension control, lockable back positions, and 3D height-adjustable gel arms pads provide the user with the ultimate flexibility to change their chair to suit a wide range of office environments. Grace can additionally be specified with a cantilever frame instead of a task chair, depending on your needs.

Influence and Grace, as well as Century Office’s extensive collection of ergonomic office chairs, are perfectly suited to the sit/stand desks that they provide. Autonomy Pro and Liberty offer employees the chance to break up the sedentary day, thus helping to alleviate aches and pains. Each desk can also be specified to with different base colours, desktop colours and optional extras such as screens and can suit any budget.

Sit/stand desks don’t have to just be for personal workstations anymore either as the Autonomy Pro desk also comes as a meeting solution. A sit/stand table is the ideal solution for quick group meetings; you wouldn’t have to worry about squeaking chairs or everyone shifting in their seats (the amount of which will increase the longer the meeting goes on. Having the option to stand will also help staff or clients to work collaboratively in a more effective way. After all, if everyone is trying to look at the same thing at the same time, being able to stand over it instead of stretching or bending awkwardly will mean that every individual can do so in a more comfortable manner.


The Importance of C.A.P.S

However, making a workplace work for its staff isn’t as simple as just buying suitable desks and chairs. It is important that you know how to use the chairs and desks properly otherwise you won’t be reaping the full benefits. This is why Century Office regularly speaks about the importance of C.A.P.S (Circulation, Activity, Posture and Support). The C.A.P.S initiative includes showing staff the functions of their chairs and how to achieve the correct seating position and posture, thus maximising comfort and productivity throughout the working day.

Century Office are a leading UK office and contract furniture supplier, with over 40 years’ experience in the industry. They provide workplace solutions and offer a tailored approach for architects, interior designers & facility managers for small offices to large corporations as well as educational facilities. Please visit the Century Office website at www.century-office.co.uk or telephone 08000 929301 for more information. Century Office offers a complete service from survey and design through to supply and installation.


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