3 Ways to Encourage Recycling at Work

Tip #1 – Educate:

While most people already know the benefits of recycling, it’s important that your employees are aware that a recycling program is an active part of your company. Here are some common ways for you to do so:

- Hold a meeting informing your employees about your recycling program. Make sure they are aware of the consequences of not following the program, both for your office and for the greater community.

- Provide resources such as pamphlets, website links or books on recycling and the green initiative.

- Create permanent signage to hang around the office that will encourage recycling and educate employees to recycle and conserve resources. Permanent reminders such as signage will help establish recycling as an integral part of the company culture.

Tip #2 – Lead by Example:

Lead by example by outfitting your office with “green” technology.

- Switch out traditional fluorescent lights with LED lights.

- Purchase pre-owned office furniture, instead of new furniture to reduce waste.

- Participate in ride shares or carpooling opportunities.

- Use recycled paper; encourage a “paper-free” office.

Tip #3 – Keep Track & Provide Incentives:

Help your employees get into the spirit of recycling by offering them incentives for identifying issues within your company or resources used in your office that could benefit from a “green” makeover. Employees that show initiative or actively participate in the recycling program should be given an incentive for their efforts.

Incentives don’t need to be large or expensive. Often an acknowledgment of appreciation or gift certificate should suffice.  The main purpose of an incentive program is to keep track, maintain and grow your recycling program.

Top 5 Air Purifying Plants for Your Office

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Plants are a wonderful way to add color and life to an office. Not only will a leafy green shrub help drown the monotony of a work space, studies have shown that some plants can naturally purify the air around you. Below, we’ve chosen our top 5 favorite plants to help you make your office a healthy and happy space.

1. Peace Lily: Peace Lilies have been shown to absorb toxins like benzene, trichloroethylene and other pollutants found in carpets and wall paint. Its beautiful white lily “flower” is really a modified leaf which will provide you with weeks of plumage. The plant does not require much care except for once a week watering.

2. Bamboo: One of the fastest growing plants in the world, bamboo plants are incredibly easy to take care of. The plants are often kept in a vase, partially submerged in water. While the plant requires ample sunlight, do not place it directly in the sun. Bamboo plants are known to filter out carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and more.

3. Golden Pothos: The most indestructible plant on our list, the Golden Pothos is a hardy vine plant that creates a beautiful cascade of leaves when kept as a hanging plant. The plant grows in any lighting situation except for direct sunlight, making it ideal for the office. Like the other plants on our list, the Golden Pothos eliminates carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, toluene and benzene pollutants from the air.

4. English Ivy: Durable and easy to care for, the English Ivy is an evergreen climbing plant that can virtually adapt to any condition. Able to grow in low light to bright sunlight, the plant can eliminate allergens like mold and reduce fecal matter particles.

5. Gerbera Daisy: With enough sunlight this pretty plant produces colorful ornamental flowers. Unlike most plants that release oxygen during the day, Gerbera Daisies release oxygen at night. Extremely effective at purifying air and producing clean oxygen, this plant will allow you and your employees to breathe better throughout the day.

Getting the Most Out of Your New Office Design

When planning an office space, it’s easy to get sucked into the newest trends in design. While you may be left with a beautiful space, you may also be left wondering “Was it worth the time and investment?”

Every business has their own unique work culture and needs, and, as tempting as it is to opt for a collaborative or downsized workspace, it’s important that you understand the habits of your employees.

Below we’ve compiled a quick questionnaire to help you measure just how effective your new space design is.

1. How much time do your employees spend at work?

2. How many employees work from home versus at the office on a daily basis?

3. How is technology integrated throughout the office?

4. How organized is the technology at an employee’s workstation?

5. How much storage space do your employees actually use?

6. How many items of importance (files, project binders) do your employees keep at their desk at any time?

7. Where do you hold group meetings?

8. How often do you hold group meetings?

9. How many people usually attend?

10. When your employees are not at their desk, where are they?

Survey your employees with this questionnaire or some version of it. The result of your findings will give you a clearer picture of the effectiveness of your space design and where it can be improved.

The Automatic Adjusting Chair – Global’s G20

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The days of having to manually adjust the height of a chair may soon be over with Global G20 High Back Synchro-tilt Mesh Chair. One of the most advanced chairs on the market, the G20’s synchronized tilter automatically adjusts to a person’s body weight and posture.

Ergonomically designed, the chair features adjustable seat height, tension, arm rests and features contoured cushions. Users of the chair will be able to maintain the natural S-curve vertebra of their back when performing tasks at their desk. They will also be able to maintain a straight line in their spine if they choose to recline.

These latest advances offered by Global show the rising demand for comfortable, individualized work furniture. Ergonomic furniture has continued to be a long standing factor in employee satisfaction and long term health. It’s an important feature to consider when outfitting your office space.

Pricier than the average office chair (costs range anywhere from $500-$1000), employers not yet ready to upgrade to a G20 can find just as “cushy” alternatives in used office furniture sector.

When looking for an alternative, look for chairs that:

- Offer lumbar support

- Adjustable seat height

- Adjustable seat length or waterfall edge

- Adjustable arm rest height

- Adjustable arm rest length

- Ability to recline

- Supportive seat cushion

- And a strong base with wheels for mobility

Quality and adjustability are the two main components of a good office chair. Consider your price point and invest in a chair that will bring your current and future employees a lifetime of effective usage.

Integrating Technology in Your Office Space

Computers, printers, desktops, laptops, monitors, extension cords, phone lines, wireless routers…

Technology is an inescapable part of the modern office landscape. However, not every office was built or planned with the dependence of modern technology in mind. If you’re in the process of integrating technology or reconfiguring technology into your workplace, keep the following things in mind:

1. Define How Technology Fits into Your Specific Workplace: In this very first step, understand how technology is used at your work and how it fits into your objectives and profitability. By defining this you can create a technology strategy that correlates with your business goals.

2. Evaluate Your Current Technology: After you determine your strategy, evaluate your current operating systems, communication software and physical workstations. How are these three things intertwined and how can they be more effective?

3. Reconfigure Your Technology: Pinpoint your budget and purchase the necessary equipment to upgrade your technology. Accessibility is the key to an integrated technological space. If your employees are having trouble physically accessing technology, such as docking stations for their smart phones or enough outlets for their equipment, reconfigure your space around this.

4. Train Your Employees: Keep your employees up to date on any new improvements or changes happening in the office.  Employees should be trained on any system upgrades and be aware on how to access of them.

5. Maintenance: Technology is ever evolving, so constant maintenance is required in order to support your vision of your company. We recommend you form a committee or team to address technological issues and discuss solutions as your organization evolves.

Dog-Proofing the Office

Many businesses are now allowing their employees to bring their dogs to work. Having a dog in the office can increase productivity, keep workers happy and encourage morale. However, if you are one of the lucky few who can have your pooch by your side or are an employer thinking of opening this policy, be sure to follow these tips on dog-proofing your office space:

- Make Sure Your Dog Is Well Behaved: This is a no-brainer, but before you decide to bring your dog to work, make sure he or she can handle new social environments. If your dog barks, be considerate of your co-workers on the phone, and avoid anyone who may have a dander allergy.

- Create a Safe Environment: Before your dog arrives, create a safe place for them to relax while you work. If there are multiple dogs in the office, do not allow other dogs into your dog’s area, or they may become territorial. Adding childproof gates to your cubicle walls is a great way to prevent this.

- Invest in Durable and Washable Furniture: For employers, protect your furniture by investing only in durable or washable furniture. Accidents happen and, when they do, make sure clean-up is fast and easy so your employees can quickly go back to work.

- Pre-Owned Is the Way to Go: If you choose to have dogs in the office, investing in quality pre-owned or used furniture is probably your best bet to reduce maintenance costs while reducing any anxiety about damage done to your furniture. Look for trusted used office furniture distributors who can recommend to you the best set up for your situation.

- Make Sure It’s Legal:  As an employee or an employer, make sure you check your lease or building agreement beforehand and get permission. Remember, if you’re a business owner, you may be liable if any property damage or personal injury occurs.

Trend Watch: Mobile Furniture

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In 2014, one of the hottest trends in office design is mobile furniture. The office chair with wheels has been the old standby of mobile furniture. However, in this new generation of office furniture, many designers have taken it to the next level in response to the rise of open space or collaborative offices. From chairs, to desks, to drawers, mobile office furniture provides a dynamic work space for employees on the move.

Who Is It Good For?

Open and collaborative office spaces are where people work in teams or do not have dedicated work stations. Mobile furniture allows team members to huddle in dedicated areas and bring additional supplies to them, like mobile white boards or filing cabinets, when they need them.

Pros:

- Lightweight: Most mobile furniture is often lighter weight than immobile ones, making them easy to store and transport to another area.

- Flexible: Employees can move their desk into different formations efficient to them, or turn their tables and chairs to one direction during large company meetings.

- Comfortable: Mobile furniture is often ergonomic, as well, allowing employees the opportunity to adjust the desk or seats to their desired height.

- Encourages Teamwork: When you’re not bogged down to one workstation, you get a greater sense of freedom and ability to interact with your co-workers.

Cons:

- Costly: New furniture will always be more costly than used or pre-owned mobile furniture.

- Weight on Wheels: When shopping for mobile furniture, make sure it meets your weight requirements.

- Quality of Furniture: Mobile furniture is often cheaply made or may break after a few months. Make sure to invest the time and effort into finding well-made mobile furniture, so you and your company can maximize its usage.

How Germ-Free Is Your Office?

When you work in an office, you’re bound to come in contact with some unwelcome visitors, otherwise known as germs. Yet, with all the sneezing and coughing an employee deals with on average, you’ve just got to wonder, just how clean is your office?

According to statistics:

- 70% of keyboards contain more bacteria than a toilet seat.

- Office desks are 400 times dirtier than a toilet seat.

- 20% of workers do not clean their desk before eating.

- There are over 25,000 microbes per square inch on the surface of a telephone.

- 26% of office refrigerator door handles need deep cleaning, while 69% need to be wiped with bleach or another disinfectant.

- 75% of office sink faucet handles display high degrees of bacterial contamination.

While the findings are startling, it doesn’t mean that your office is harboring the next bio influenza epidemic. What it does mean is that, whether you are an employee or an employer, you should be more aware of your surroundings and what you can do about them.

What We Recommend:

- Wash your hands with soap and warm water.

- Use antibacterial hand gel after using the kitchen and bathroom.

- Do not come into work when you’re ill.

- Disinfect your workstation.

- Speak with your employer about having your office deep cleaned.

- Only purchase used or pre-owned furniture from trusted vendors.

Taking these little steps can make a big difference in your well-being and sick days needed. Remember, it’s up to you to create a happier, healthier and more productive work environment.

How to Build a Community through Your Break Room

Everything starts in the break room – More than a place for employees to eat their lunch or freshen up their coffees, the break room is a microcosm of your company’s culture. How you treat your break room directly affects how your employees treat their jobs.

Beyond the Water Cooler:

When you create a break room that encourages fun, creativity and sense of community, you are in turn fostering team work and cultivating strong team players.

Make the Break Room a Safe Haven:

Studies have shown that frequent individual breaks allow employees to reenergize and refocus their thoughts. Make your break room a safe place for that to occur. An example of this could include things as simple as comfortable seating and tables, to more elaborate coffee bars and fully stocked pantries. Whatever it may be, breaks are meant to de-stress and allow employees to tackle their day’s tasks.

Encourage Suggestions:

Give your employees a voice by making the break room a place where employees know they can brainstorm new ideas freely or make suggestions to improve the company. While it may seem silly, consider adding a suggestion or project idea box to your break room. If you take it seriously, so will your employees.

Encourage Socializing: 

Continuous, meaningful interaction is crucial when building a community in your break room. These interactions either can be planned or unplanned. Planned social interactions can include 15 minute stretching sessions or office lunch days. Unplanned social interactions can include things like adding games or activities in the room, or the strategic placing of your break room in a centralized location where everyone must enter.

The Skinny on Treadmill Desks

Burning calories while checking your email? When the treadmill desk hit the scene in 2013, it was the next stage in ergonomic, health conscious office furniture. Since then the controversial workstation alternative has become the latest craze in businesses across the county.

The Theory:

The sedentary lifestyle of the typical office worker can lead to undesirable levels of blood sugar, triglycerides, cholesterol and weight gain. Regular physical exercise can mitigate that danger.

The Reported Benefits:

- Users can burn up to 130 calories per hour at a slow 2mph pace.

- In one study, subjects lost an average of 4-7.2 pounds over the course of one year.

- Through daily use, users can decrease their risk for heart disease and diabetes, and extend their life expectancy.

- Many users report increased productivity and focus, as well as reduced anxiety and stress.

Costs:

Treadmill desks vary in price depending on the manufacturer. On average a treadmill desk can cost anywhere from $800-$3,000. For those on a budget, you can make your own treadmill desk by combining an inexpensive treadmill (under $280) with either a standing desk or a desk with height adjustment features. Another great option is to invest in communal or shared treadmill desks.

What to Keep in Mind When Using a Treadmill Desk:

Give yourself breaks every 30 or 40 minutes — Dr. James Levine, one of the earliest developers of the treadmill desk, recommends “at the absolute maximum, do half-hour on, half an hour off, for two to three hours a day.”