Oliver Heath sits in front of a wall covered in green plants

How businesses can benefit from biophilic design - an interview with Oliver Heath

Why should businesses care about biophilic design? In my second interview with biophilic design adviser Oliver Heath of Oliver Health Design, we discuss the evidence that biophilic design works and the benefits for businesses when they introduce it into workspaces.

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Celebrating Organisations That Empower Women

How do you find businesses or organisations that invest in, empower, and support women? To celebrate International Women's Day 2021 (IWD) and its theme #ChoosetoChallenge, we've done some digging for you. Here are five resourceful organisations and five supportive businesses that help women to prosper.

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Oliver Heath sits in front of an office wall covered in green plants

What Is Biophilia - And Why Is It Trending? - an interview with Oliver Heath

Biophilic design has become a talking point for anyone interested in the future of the workplace. But what is it and why all the interest? I asked biophilic design expert Oliver Heath, founder of sustainable architecture and interior design practice Oliver Health Design, to explain.

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A Hotbox prototype product is examined by a designer

How a creative collaboration launches a new product

The world of work is changing as the world begins to adapt to life post-pandemic and whether we work in an office full-time or part-time, or from home full-time, or rent a corner of a shared office, we need to be more organised.

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A Hotbox Shuttle on a desk in a co-working space

Agile working is in the bag

As lockdowns come and go, it's more important than ever that your workspace is flexible and organised. Since we were all told to work from home in March 2020, social media has been full of people demonstrating their home-office set-ups, but how can you get it right?

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A woman works from home on Zoom

Organise your home office in five simple steps

As lockdowns come and go, it's more important than ever that your workspace is flexible and organised. Since we were all told to work from home in March 2020, social media has been full of people demonstrating their home-office set-ups, but how can you get it right?

1. Find Your Space

How and where we work is continually evolving, and staying organised is critical. Whether you're home-schooling or negotiating workspace and time alongside a partner who's doing the same, you need to find a workspace you can call your own - even if it's just for a few hours.

A Social Market Foundation study in 2015 found that happy employees are up to 20 per cent more productive than unhappy ones, so make sure the space you use for work is stress-free.

Try to avoid a workspace that is easily disturbed by others in your home. If you're lucky enough to have a door that you can shut, place a sign on it when you need privacy for business calls or thinking time.

2. Get Organised

Have everything to hand. You don't want to be moving around the house to find a pen or a notepad when the muse strikes.

Smart working spaces are critical - even if you pack it all up at the end of the day.

It sounds obvious, but make sure your chosen space has power for your charging cables. Avoid overloading the sockets or having cables trailing across the floor.

3. Be Tech-Smart

Use the technology that allows you to work smartly. Whether you're using a laptop or a desktop, ensure it has the apps you need and keep them updated.

If you use a laptop regularly, think about using a separate mouse and even a keyboard. If you speak to clients online regularly, invest in a separate microphone.

Avoid loneliness by using an online calendar for planning catch-up calls with work colleagues. Zoom, Teams and Meet aren't just for business.

4. Control Your Comfort

Ergonomic chairs and sleek sit-stand desks can be pricey, but the key is to design your own office that suits you. There's even a Greek-designed bed-desk hybrid that is beautifully-designed and useful if you are pushed for space.

If you're fortunate, some bosses fund home office set-up, particularly as home working continues.

Consider whether you need a large desk where you can spread out papers, designs and stationery or just a space for your laptop.

Many online bidding sites are a great place to find desks and chairs on a budget, and some local markets still have stalls where you can pick up a bargain that someone else has discarded.

5. Bring Nature In

Natural light and plants are proven to have a positive effect. Research by Norway's Agricultural University in Oslo indicated that plants remove harmful volatile organic compounds found in paint, carpet and furniture.

Get the lighting right: setting up next to a window with natural light will help your eyesight, and opening it to let fresh air in fits with the key pieces of advice from the United Nations on halting the spread of Coronavirus and other diseases.

Many online businesses supply plants that suit your environment. Pop to a local garden centre and ask one of their experts for advice. Many local markets also have plant growers who would be happy to help.

Make sure the space you create brings joy. It should be somewhere that allows you to be productive and creative.

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A clean desk ready for home schooling

Getting organised for home schooling and working

For many people, the Pandemic and the associated Lockdowns have resulted in their first experience of working from home and for most parents, the introduction of Home Schooling.

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Working from home with a cup of coffee

Home is the new office

This post is all about working from home and how so many of us are currently making our homes into offices.

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A clean desk for working from home

How to introduce a clean desk policy for agile working

The introduction of home-working (a form of agile working) caught many organisations on the hop, forcing them to implement an agile-working policy at breakneck speed. There wasn't time for innovation.

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The office is dead - long live the office

The unprecedented change brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic will see a revolution of the office and how we use it, not an evolution.

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A clean work from home workspace

Why a clean desk policy is essential post-coronavirus

Before Coronavirus turned our world upside down and changed how we work in my and many other people's eyes forever, a Clean Desk Policy (CDP) was implemented by companies to reduce the risk of information theft.

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A Coronavirus update from our MD Jamie Rothwell

Following the UK Prime Ministers announcement on Monday 23rd March, we are writing to confirm that we are temporarily closing our offices and London Hub with immediate effect.

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Are you as agile as you think?

Are you as agile as you think? Part 1

Agile working won't just happen unless it is implemented as part of a carefully considered strategy. The potential application for that methodology is broad which invariably means that a business can manifest its own interpretation of what it means to 'go agile'.

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How interior design can reflect business culture

What does the future hold for office life and is it time to stand up and ditch the office chair? Where once the idea of 'the office' was a fairly fixed notion - fluorescent lighting, bland, utilitarian furnishings and a cubicle-like desk set-up - the landscape today is varied and ever-changing.

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A suited man at a chess game

Why there are competing priorities in 'agile' cultures

Scrum is a project management method from the Agile school of thought. As you are in the interiors industry you have probably heard the word agile used already, but this agile is a different agile and the two agiles can create conflicting priorities.

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Q&A with Hotbox

Q&A with Hotbox founder, Jamie Rothwell

With the Hotbox brand going from strength-to-strength, founder and general agile working expert, Jamie Rothwell, answers questions about why he created these stellar products and the challenges he faces; imparting some useful advice on how important it is to take the leap of faith to make your business dreams a reality.

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Designing a workplace for different personality types

Designing a workplace for different personality types

Hotdesking: it's something that can be useful for reducing costs, driving engagement and even being a workplace boredom buster. But something we've been thinking about recently is which working styles - agile, activity-based, flexible - work for who.

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Q&A with Hotbox

Q&A with Hotbox

For companies such as Hotbox, Clerkenwell Design Week is a place to meet fresh faces and to be inspired by new design concepts. Hotbox founder, Jamie Rothwell, sits down to discuss the CDW experience and its impact on Hotbox's bright future.

A firm highlight in the international design calendar, Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW) is a hotspot for architects, designers, end-users and visitors to discover the latest products and trends the design industry has to offer.

For companies such as Hotbox, Clerkenwell Design Week is a place to meet fresh faces and to be inspired by new design concepts. Hotbox founder, Jamie Rothwell, sits down to discuss the CDW experience and its impact on Hotbox's bright future.

Q: What did the experience entail?

Jamie: We partnered with Your Workspace to create a true-to-life workplace hub for people to see Hotbox products in their element: the agile workspace. With a temptingly colourful Hotbox 1 window display, and Hotbox 2s and 3s dotted around the space, we brought Hotboxes to life instead of shutting them away in lockers.

Ultimately, we wanted to show people how Hotbox works in a space - so they can recognise for themselves how they are the missing links in the agile working chain. We crafted the perfect agile workspace for people to experience the agile way to work, and the positive feedback was overwhelming!

Prior to CDW, we formed a collective knowledge group comprising Hotbox, Forster Inc., Baker Stuart and Agile Stationery, with plans for the group to become the thought leaders in agile working.

Over the three days, we set up the Workplace Complaints Bureau, where people divulged their workplace woes to a poet who weaved them into ditties and haikus. People were sharing their poems with colleagues and friends on social media, some of them can be read on our website. It was a great way to bring people together.

Q: What were people's responses?

J: Our colourful window display caught the eyes of so many passers-by. Many people were actually visiting the Your Workspace hub to simply view lockers. Yet when we asked the question: 'How will people move their stuff from the locker to their workspace?' their faces dropped. How can people be truly agile if they can't move around the space easily?

The success of agile working is dependent on how quickly employees can adapt and warm to it. Although corporate companies know it is good for their business, the impact of agile working is felt, and therefore controlled, by its employees. If they are not on-board, agile working will not work.

Q: Did it inspire you in any way?

J: It gave us some good ideas for our products, especially Hotbox 3 which is for the flexible, rather than the agile worker. In the hub, people were talking about the things that they would want to carry in the Hotbox 3: documents, laptops etc.

With this feedback in mind, we're developing new accessories that can accompany the product to ensure we create the best Hotboxes for our customers.

Q: How has it helped with Hotbox's growth and future?

J: Since CDW, we are seeing an exponential increase in the number of UK furniture dealers coming to us directly, as opposed to via distributors. We've had interest from architects, end users and international customers, one of which asked us if they could exhibit Hotbox at NEOCON, the leading North American commercial design event held last month.

We are definitely going to attend next year's CDW, where we want to see how we can make it an even better experience for people. It was such a special event that we can't wait to see what will be in store for CDW 2020.

Q: What was the highlight?

J: Without being biased, our hub was one of the busiest spaces in CDW. People just kept on coming in! Although it was quite nerve-wracking initially, the result showed us it was very worthwhile. It was a massive reassurance for us here at Hotbox to see our products making a vital difference to workspaces.

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