Kitchen office ideas 101 – Guide to how to manage an office kitchen

Kitchen office ideas 101 – Guide to how to manage an office kitchen

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Although office kitchens are a highly desirable addition to any workplace, they can also cause a number of issues, especially when it comes to keeping the area clean, tidy and organised.

Allowing employees to make a hot drink in the middle of a hectic morning or tuck into a hearty meal for their lunch, office kitchens are extremely convenient. They can also provide a great place to relax, mingle with colleagues, and escape the hustle and bustle of office life. This type of breakout area can be great for staff morale.

Without the right management approach though, an office kitchen can cause conflict amongst your employees, especially around keeping it clean.

Heres our guide to everything that you need to know about managing your office kitchen.

What does an office kitchen need?

When youre setting up your office kitchen, make sure these everyday essentials are on your check list:

  • Core appliances such as a fridge, kettle, microwave, toaster and cooker
  • Utensils, such as forks, knives and spoons
  • Bowls and plates
  • Suitable seating
  • Tables
  • Charging points
  • Water bottles

How to manage an office kitchen

When it comes to managing your office kitchen, it certainly pays to impose a set of rules for its use. Try these:

Only eat and drink your own food

Taking a fellow colleagues food and drink is not only highly disrespectful, it is also technically stealing. So, no matter how tempting your colleagues meals look, keep your hands off!

Stick to the cleaning rota

Theres nothing worse than a dirty, messy and unhygienic kitchen. One way to keep your office kitchen sparkling clean is to initiate a cleaning rota, from washing down worktops through to taking out the rubbish. If you dont have a cleaner, everyone should play their individual role.

Using the fridge

As many refrigerators have limited space, you should only refrigerate food and drink that actually needs to be in there.

Leave appliances and worktops the way you found them

You wouldnt leave your appliances and worktops in a mess after cooking at home, so you shouldnt be doing it at work either. So, when youve used the cooker or microwave, make sure you clean up any mess before tucking into your meal.

If supplies are low, replace them

Many offices provide basics such as milk, coffee and tea. If you notice that supplies are running low or you happen to use the last tea bag or drop of milk, its office etiquette that you replace it.

How to keep the office kitchen clean

With so many people cooking, drinking and dining in one place, its no surprise that many office kitchens can become messy, very quickly. With this in mind, you should ensure that all your employees understand the rules when it comes to keeping the kitchen clean and make sure they have the tools they need to clean up after themselves.

How to design an office kitchen

Office kitchens come in all different shapes and sizes. But, as a general rule of thumb, there are some basic design elements to adopt, including keeping the space bright and airy, letting in as much natural light as possible and keeping workspaces clear.

Of course, this doesnt mean that you cant inject elements of your brands personality, such as bold colours or exciting features and/or kitchen devices. There are lots of ways to make the space as comfortable and exciting for your staff as possible.

Keep in mind the number of employees you have and how many are likely to use the kitchen. One microwave for 2500 employees isn’t going to be enough!

Your office kitchen layout

There are a few rules that you should follow when it comes to creating an inviting, functional and attractive office kitchen space.

Focus on making your office kitchen as centrally located as possible, and go for an open plan kitchen layout.

If youre planning an office kitchen, we can help ensure its a functional, useful space. Get in touch to find out more.

What is a DSE Assessment?

What is a DSE Assessment?

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How to make sure your workplace is compliant with the law

Your questions answered DSE assessment 101

The health, safety and wellbeing of employees should be a top priority for every business.

Sitting in front of a computer for an extended period of time can lead to issues such as poor posture, back pain, neck pain and headaches. A DSE assessment can help reduce the risks of these issues, by ensuring that good practice is always followed.

What does DSE stand for?

DSE stands for Display Screen Equipment. It refers to any device or equipment used in the workplace that features a display screen, including desktops, laptops, touch screens, projector screens, CCTV screens and handheld devices.

What is a DSE assessment?

A DSE assessment looks at the way someone uses a device with a screen, in order to identify risks and hazards that may impact their health and/or wellbeing. Measures can then be taken to ensure the level of risk is as low as possible.

Who needs a DSE assessment?

Any workstation used by a business needs to be DSE assessed. This includes co-working space, remote working spaces and temporary workplaces, as well as the companys offices.

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations apply to workers who use DSE daily, for an hour or more at a time. Workers who use DSE occasionally, or only for a short amount of time, dont require a DSE assessment.

Are DSE assessments mandatory?

Under the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, employers are required to perform a suitable and significant analysis of those workstations which a) are used for business purposes by users, or b) have been provided by the business and are used for the purposes of undertaking its operations.

In other words, it is mandatory for all devices used by employees to undergo a DSE assessment.

What happens in a DSE assessment?

A detailed assessment will be carried out of the workstation. If any changes are required, these will usually be made immediately.

Its not just the display screen itself that needs to be assessed. All elements of the equipment will be checked, including the keyboard, mouse, trackballs and furniture. The wider environment will also be considered, including lighting, reflections, glare, temperature and noise.

How long does a DSE assessment take?

The amount of time it takes to complete a DSE assessment will vary depending on the workspace and the users needs. However, a standard DSE assessment usually takes 20 to 30 minutes.

How often should a DSE assessment be carried out?

A DSE assessment should be carried out every time a workstation is set up, when a new employee starts, or if a workstation is significantly changed. If an employee reports pain or discomfort while using their workstation, a DSE assessment should be carried out again.

What are the health risks associated with DSE?

Working with DSE for extended periods can pose a number of health risks, including fatigue, eye strain, upper limb problems, pain and discomfort.

How long should you sit in front of a computer?

Sitting still for too long, especially when looking at a screen, can cause problems. Avoid sitting in front of the computer for too long wherever possible, and take short, frequent breaks. This will give the muscles in your back the chance to relax.

What is the correct way to sit at a computer desk?

To sit correctly at your desk:

  • Sit up straight with your shoulders back
  • Make sure your buttocks are touching the back of the chair
  • Distribute your body weight evenly across both hips
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor

Is it better to look up or down at a monitor?

The computer monitor should be positioned directly in front of the user, and centred so that they dont need to twist their body or neck to look at the screen. Make sure the monitor is at a comfortable height and the user doesnt have to tilt their head up or bend their neck down in order to see it. The eyes should look slightly downward when viewing the middle of the screen.

How far should you sit from a 27-inch monitor?

The user should sit at least 20 inches (51 cm) from the screen, or an arms length. The larger the screen, the more distance is needed.

Should I use a footrest at my desk?

A footrest can help ensure youre sitting in the correct position at your desk. If you cant reach to rest your feet flat on the floor when sitting at your desk, you should use a footrest.

Footrests have been shown to boost circulation, reduce the risk of lower back issues and improve posture and comfort levels.

When sitting should your knees be higher than your hips?

When sitting at your workstation, your knees should be bent at a right angle, with your knees at the same height or slightly higher than your hips.

Should you cross your legs when sitting?

Sitting with your legs crossed can lead to poor posture, so you should always try to sit with your legs uncrossed and both feet flat on the floor.

Our top ergonomic office furniture picks

Here at BT Office, we supply and install office furniture throughout the UK. Our aim is to provide comfortable, reliable and practical office furniture solutions that meet our clients needs.

Explore our collection of office desks and ergonomic chairs that will keep your workforce safe, healthy and productive.

To find out more about DSE assessments or our ergonomic desk products, please get in touch.

Open vs closed plan office

Open vs closed plan office

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When it comes to office space planning, it isnt a case of one size fits all. Every business is different and has different requirements for its office layout. There are lots of different factors to consider when choosing between an open or closed office plan. If youre struggling with the layout of your office, this guide is for you. Weve outlined everything you need to know about open and closed office plans.

Open office vs closed office which is best?

Open and closed office plans both come with pros and cons. The right option for your companys needs will depend on factors such as your business offering, privacy needs, vision, employee engagement requirements and what works best for your team. Finding the balance between creating an inspiring yet productive office space can be a difficult task for many businesses. Its one of the key considerations to take into account when comparing open and closed office spaces. Here are some of the pros and cons of closed and open offices.

Open office – pros and cons

Promoting transparency, collaboration and engagement, open plan offices dont have enclosed spaces, separate rooms or walled areas. Instead, employees work in a large open space next to their colleagues. Although spaces are open for people to work freely, there are usually still dedicated meeting and social areas. Inspiring greater efficiency and a sense of teamwork, open offices are extremely popular, particularly amongst creative businesses.

What are the advantages of open plan offices?

Open plan offices offer a number of advantages, including:

Collaboration

One of the main advantages of open plan offices is that they create an inspiring and energetic working environment where employees can work together, side by side. Favoured by companies that encourage employee engagement and teamwork, such as marketing agencies, sales companies, newsrooms and graphic design agencies, open office layouts have been proven to optimise employee satisfaction levels.

Cost

An open plan office is far more cost effective than a closed office space, as you are able to accommodate more heads per square foot. You also wont typically need to invest in as much furniture.

Accessibility

Open plan offices are extremely accessible and, even if there are dedicated areas for certain job roles, all departments can be accessed easily. Encouraging open conversations and optimum flexibility, open plan working environments also facilitate inspiration and innovation.

Open office desk and chair layout

What are the disadvantages of open plan offices?

Noise

Noise can often be a major issue in open plan offices. This, in turn, can have a huge impact on some employees productivity, especially if they need a quite space to work.

Spreading illness

Another disadvantage of open plan offices is that, if a member of your workforce becomes ill, theres a high risk that the rest of your workforce will too, especially those working in close proximity to each other.

Disagreements

With so many people working within an open space, its easy for employees to clash, especially if there are lots of big personalities working together. This can create unnecessary stress in the workplace.

Closed offices spaces

A closed office is significantly different to an open plan office, featuring lots of enclosed working areas, where employees have their own space to work independently and in private. Featuring office cubicles, walls to divide spaces and panels to control noise levels, closed offices are used across a wide range of different professional service businesses including law firms, the banking industry and accounting agencies. Closed office spaces are particularly popular at the moment as many companies have had to implement strict social distancing rules in response to COVID-19.

What are the advantages of closed office spaces?

Improved productivity

With minimum distractions, closed offices spaces often allow employees to get more done.

Optimum privacy

Of course, it goes without saying that closed office spaces offer far more privacy than open office spaces. Privacy can be a major concern in some sectors, so its important that office environments are set up to offer private working and meetings if needed.

A defined hierarchy

Finally, one of the main advantages of closed office spaces is that they highlight the office hierarchy, based on where employees are working from. For example, managers are likely to have their own office booth away from the rest of the workforce.

Closed office with separate meeting rooms

How to get the best of both types of office

If you have an open office, what can you do to reduce noise, distractions and stress? When it comes to planning an open office, theres lots of different types of furniture you can add in order to reduce noise, distractions and stress levels, including Buzzi Bracks pods, office pods, floor standing partitions and screens. If you have a closed office, what can you do to promote collaboration and discussion? If you opt for a closed office, there are still plenty of ways to encourage collaboration, including adding breakout sofas and stools, meeting pods, reception seating and high back sofas.

Hush hubs office pod for meetings dams

Why choose BT Office Furniture and Interiors?

Here at BT Office Furniture and Interiors, we supply and install a whole host of flexible office furniture throughout most of the UK. Weve got everything you need to create both closed and open office spaces. With almost 50 years experience, our team of professionally trained installers have extensive product knowledge when it comes to finding the best furniture for your needs. If you require further information about any of our products, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team. Our friendly, helpful and professional office planning team is always on hand to answer any of your questions.

How to design a breakout space and why they’re important

How to design a breakout space and why they’re important

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Breakout areas are an important part of any office environment. Providing a comfortable space to relax, socialise and host creative meetings and discussions, breakout spaces provide a change of scenery from the desk-bound tasks of the working day. Ideal for allowing your employees to escape from their desk and switch off, these comfortable retreats can do wonders for optimising morale, reducing stress at work and enhancing productivity. Heres our guide to everything you need to know about designing a breakout space and why theyre so important.

What is a breakout area?

Breakout areas come in all shapes and sizes. Theyre essentially a space where you can escape your desk to chill, socialise, hold an impromptu or informal meeting or bond with colleagues. Promoting wellness in the workplace, breakout areas aim to provide a change of scenery for employees who are restricted to their desk for the majority of the working day. Often boasting comfy social seating, working and eating tables, and even gaming areas and entertainment spaces, the possibilities are endless when it comes to creating an inviting breakout area for your business.

A relaxing breakout area for staff

What are the benefits of breakout areas?

Breakout areas offer a host of benefits. Its not surprising that theyre increasing in popularity amongst businesses of all types. A valued investment for employee wellbeing, breakout spaces not only provide a comfortable space for interaction and collaboration, they also create additional workspaces, promote movement in the office and have been proven to enhance productivity.

How to create a breakout area

An office breakout area neednt be extravagant, take up a lot of space or even boast the latest, all singing, all dancing technology. These areas can be effective with nothing more than comfortable chairs and tables. Allowing employees to relax, socialise or even host an informal meeting away from the desk, breakout areas can be designed in a way that works for your business. For example, you might want to use a screening system to separate your breakout area from the rest of the office. You might want to integrate a chill zone, as well as an informal meeting area, or you might even add a gaming area. Then you can consider colour schemes, lighting, textures and even whether or not you want to integrate a kitchen. Before you start to choose your furnishings, its important to decide on the purpose of your breakout area so that you can choose suitable furniture and tackle any noise pollution issues. You could even use a survey to gauge what your employees would like to see within a breakout area. Canteen plan showing different seating areas

Why are breakout areas important for productivity?

One of the major benefits of breakout areas is that they provide a much-needed space for employees to have a break from their screens and escape the constant flow of digital information that often comes hand in hand with the working day. A break from any screen, face to face conversation and a change of scenery has been proven to do wonders for productivity and morale in the workplace.

How to create a breakout space quickly

The key to creating a successful breakout space quickly is definitely in the planning. Knowing the type of space you want to achieve and what it will be used for will allow you to quickly create a space that enhances your business landscape. From soft seating, modular seating and sofa meeting pods through to lounge chairs, entertainment systems, tube seating and dining chairs, theres a whole host of breakout furniture to choose from. So, set the scene, pick your furniture, create a space and youre good to go!

Example plans and layouts

We’re expert at office space planning and design, planning and installing breakout spaces is something we regularly undertake. Here are some examples of plans and layouts we’ve provided, click on the image to see the full size version.

3 types of breakout seating
Render of a canteen plan with meal, table and booth seating
High back bench booth seating and tables with regular canteen section

Separate breakout spaces
Different sized seating areas in a canteen plan
Large breakout space split into 3 sections

Complete floor plan of breakout area
Different sized seating areas in a canteen plan
Plan of a canteen breakout area

 

Why choose BT Office Furniture and Interiors?

Here at BT Office Furniture and Interiors, we supply and install flexible office furniture throughout most of the UK, perfect for creating the ultimate breakout area. With almost 50 years experience, our team of professionally trained installers have extensive product knowledge when it comes to finding the best office furniture for your business needs. If you require further information about any of our products, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team.

How to Add Cable Management to a Basic Office Desk

How to Add Cable Management to a Basic Office Desk

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Wireless technology is evolving at a rapid rate, which is helping to reduce the amount of wires necessary in our offices. That said, it will be some time before we have completely wireless offices.

In the meantime though, there are several ways in which an existing office desk can be upgraded or altered to accommodate new equipment and cables. It just depends on how far you want to take it and how much you want to spend.

Weve created a step by step guide to desk cable management, so you can get your office in check and avoid the tangled cables that can lead to a whole host of issues during your working day. So, if youre looking to control your cables, youre in the right place.

What are the advantages of a cable management system?

Controlling cables is important in any workplace, but especially at a working desk. Unorganised cables are not only highly distracting, they can also take up a lot of space and even have an impact on productivity. Simple cable tidies can make all the difference.

Organised cables also look far more professional than tangled ones without any kind of visible cable system.

3 way cable trunking in silver

Where to start

Whether youre working with a new cable management set-up or altering an existing set-up, its important that you disconnect everything before you begin. Its vital that you make your workspace safe before tackling your cables and making any changes.

Simple clip for USB cable

Make sure you buy the correct cable length

Many people fall at the first hurdle by buying incorrect cable lengths. For example, if the cables are too long, they will hang off the desk and tangle up, causing a potential trip hazard. On the other hand, if they are too short, you will have to re-organise or even move your whole desk space to get your devices connected.

How to use cable management

If the desk youre working on doesnt have any access through the surface to the underside, then cable ports can be positioned virtually anywhere on the desk to allow cables to pass through. Cable ports arent very expensive, but youll need to make a hole in the surface thats exactly the right size.

Once the cables can pass through the desktop, they may need to travel horizontally under the top to either a wall mounted socket or computer processor unit. Steel cable baskets can be fixed anywhere under the desktop and are available in various standard lengths. Power blocks with extension leads can be laid in the horizontal cable basket and can be easily accessed from the underside of the office desk.

Another great option is to create a hole immediately behind each monitor for your cable to route through. This will help to reduce the visible length of the cable.

Laptop cable management

If youre using a laptop and constantly need to disconnect it from your desk to use your it in another location, then you could consider using a desk mounted power/data module.

These units are situated above the desk, making it much easier to access the power and data sockets, rather than getting under the desk whenever you need to reconnect or remove your laptop. The other (more expensive) option is to use a pop-up power module, which takes up the same amount of space as a normal cable port and looks less obtrusive when not in use. There are many power and data tidy solutions worth considering.

A laptop on a desk with no wires

Keeping your cables neat and tidy

To keep cables tidy as they drop down vertically to the floor or the processor unit, try attaching a flexible cable spine to the underside of the desktop or clamping it to the edge of the desk instead. This are life savers when it comes to optimising the organisation of your workspace.

Using a spine to tidy cables

Use a cable tray under your desk to hide the cables

If youre not able to create holes in your desk or you dont want to damage it, consider investing in a cable tray, which can be positioned directly under your desk to hide the cables.

Some desks even come complete with built in cable management systems, such as those with a cable tray already in place.

Using your computer processor unit off the floor

If you want to raise your computer processor unit off the floor, you can use one of a variety of under desk mounted CPU holders.

These are usually adjustable in both height and width in order to accommodate most processor units, or they may be floor standing with castors for flexible repositioning.

Why choose BT Office furniture?

Since our formation in 1994, BT Office has become a leading UK office furniture supplier.

We use our own fleet of vehicles and a team of specialist fitters to ensure your modern, executive office furniture arrives undamaged and is installed by people who are familiar with the products.

Get in touch today to find out how we can enhance the functionality and aesthetic appeal of your office environment.

Office Pod Buying Guide – All you need to know!

Office Pod Buying Guide – All you need to know!

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Whether youre in the process of redesigning your office, looking to optimise your available space, or having to adapt your office to meet social distancing rules, office pods are a great working solution.

Perfect for optimising privacy and limiting noise disruption, office pods offer a host of benefits in a wide range of office environments.

As businesses up and down the country prepare to welcome back their employees following a nationwide lockdown, the vast majority are having to make adjustments to their office spaces in order to adapt to a new way of working and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Office pods are a great way to create independent working and chill zones that allow your workforce to social distance effectively.

Heres our guide to everything you need to know about buying the right office pod for your workplace.

Freestanding office booth with glass sides

What is an office pod?

Pods are self-contained spaces where employees can work, chill, study and brainstorm away from the office floor, and free from any distractions. Due to their versatility, functionality and comfort, more businesses than ever are incorporating office pods into their offices.

Essentially a room within a room, office pods come in all different shapes, sizes, colours and styles, meaning you can pick a design that will complement and enhance your existing office landscape. Providing a quiet, private area for workers in a wide range of industries, office pods are simple to set up, easy to move around, and can accommodate all budgets.

What are the advantages of an office pod?

Found in many modern workplaces, office pods offer a number of benefits, including:

  • Maximising privacy
  • Tackling noise issues
  • Improving concentration and productivity
  • Lowering stress levels
  • Improving morale and wellbeing
  • Optimising confidentiality

Even better, the vast majority of office pods are affordable and simple to install.

Lets take a closer look at some of the office pod options available.

Internal office pods

Internal office pods allow businesses to create new, dynamic working spaces without the need for construction work. From internal office pods through to acoustic pods that come complete with high quality modular systems, adapting your office space to meet your business needs and day to day operations has never been easier.

The majority of internal office pods can be installed quickly and easily, with minimum disruption to office life. Offering an exceptional level of versatility, privacy and acoustic performance, a pod can be positioned anywhere in the office and on any surface.

One of the main advantages of office pods is that they dont require planning permission, making them a cost effective and simple solution for creating additional workspaces or meeting rooms. And, because they dont generally require wall fixings, they can be moved easily and assembled in lots of different spaces.

Glass sided freestanding office booth with curved sides

Meeting pods

Whether youre looking for two person pods, three to four person pods, or pods for five people or more, there are plenty of different designs, sizes and models to choose from.

Serving many different purposes, meeting pods are great way to enhance the functionality of your office, providing an inviting space for meetings, brainstorming or simply getting away from the desk for an hour or two for a change of scenery.

Offering exceptional flexibility, the majority of modern meeting pods come complete with connectivity, comfy seating, power outlets and lighting, all built in.

An acoustic meeting pod for 4 people

Acoustic office pods

Acoustic office pods are ideal for creating dedicated quiet zones where your workforce can conduct meetings, interviews, training sessions and conferences.

As no office space is the same, the acoustic screen panels can be linked together to create a single pod or expanded to incorporate multiple office pods.

Proven to give a 30db noise reduction, the panels utilise sound absorbing fabrics and come in a variety of different sizes.

Two acoustic meeting booths

Team pods

One of the main advantages of office pods is that they can be slotted into any space. They are also far more inviting and comfy than a traditional meeting pod.

An increasing number of businesses are using office pods to create attractive and functional team pods where teams are encouraged to work, socialise and meet together.

Great for creating a multi-purpose space, team pods can also be used to create a quiet refuge for a member of staff to work independently.

Curved office booth for multiple people

Office booths, phone booths and work hubs

Office privacy pods (also known as office booths, phone booths and work hubs) are great for creating private working booths for your workforce, where they can work, make phone calls and conduct video conferences in privacy. They are also ideal for limiting distractions and providing a base for independent working and learning.

Another advantage is that they can be easily relocated when required, making them an incredibly versatile working solution that can be adapted in response to your changing business needs.

An office phone booth

Why choose BT Office for your office pod?

Since forming in 1994, BT Office has become a leading UK office furniture supplier. We use our own fleet of vehicles and team of specialist fitters to ensure your modern, executive office furniture arrives in perfect condition and is installed by people who are familiar with the products.

If you have any questions about any of our office pod solutions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.