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Office Design

How to Control Sound in Corporate Office Interiors

 

sound in office

Noisy distractions can derail even the most dedicated employees. If you’ve ever been annoyed by a coworker’s phone call, or construction from across the street, or even a squeaky chair, then you know just how frustrating certain office sounds can be. Unfortunately, not every company has the budget, time, or space to build new walls to fully soundproof their office. However, it is still possible to control sound in your corporate office interiors without breaking the bank or abandoning your open office arrangement. To that end, here are five ways you can improve the sound distribution in your office (without adding walls): 

Creative Layout

One of the most straightforward ways to control the noise in your office is to utilize creative layout techniques. For example, consider placing noisy items like copiers and fax machines far away from work zones. Alternatively, you may consider implementing designated “quiet areas” in your office to prevent unnecessary chatter. Best of all, rearranging your office setup to reduce noise pollution shouldn’t cost you a dime. 

Sound Masking Devices

Sound masking devices generate “white noise” that perfectly matches the frequencies of regular conversation. Strange though it may sound, adding ambient noise to an office can actually reduce the amount of distracting sounds your team members hear throughout the day. Sound masking devices are relatively inexpensive, and they can be used to insulate certain areas in your office from day-to-day noises. 

Noise-Friendly Floor Surfaces

The acoustic design of a room can have a big impact on how fast and far sound travels in your office. One big factor that affects sound in an office environment is the type of floor surface. Hard surfaces –– such as tile and hardwood –– can actually amplify sounds and make offices seem even noisier than they really are. On the other hand, carpeted floors can absorb sound more effectively and cut down on some of the noise pollution in your workspace. Vinyl flooring is also a solid alternative for business leaders who don’t want to invest in installing and/or maintaining carpeted floors. Even purchasing certain high-quality rugs can combat disruptive noises as well. 

Acoustic Panelling

Another innovative way business leaders can reduce distracting sounds in an open office environment is to install acoustic paneling throughout their workspace. Not only is acoustic panelling capable of absorbing sound well, but it’s also a very versatile product. Designers can discreetly hang acoustic panelling from the ceiling, incorporate it into furniture and cubicles, and even combine it with wall artwork. With professional acoustic panel installation, you can enjoy greater sound control without changing the look or layout of your office at all. 

Plants

Investing in a few plants around the office can both beautify your workspace and reduce distracting noises at the same time. Strategically placed plants can absorb sound just like other soft surfaces in an office, so consider freshening your office up with few low-maintenance plants. 

Contact Us

Creating a worker-friendly office environment that’s free from distracting noises is essential to building a successful company. At Key Interiors, we have years of experience working with a wide variety of companies, and we can help you enhance your workspace setup no matter your office size, priorities, or budget. Contact us today to learn more or to speak with one of our team members about your next office renovation project.

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Office Design

Office Lighting Design: The Best Options for Open Offices

 

office lighting design

COVID-19 has affected nearly every aspect of modern life, so perhaps it isn’t surprising that it has also caused business leaders to rethink their office design, layout, and –– yes –– even their lighting system. Indeed, though it may sound strange at first, the truth is that a business’s lighting system can have a big impact on employee productivity, utility costs, and even personal safety and well-being in the workplace. The choices you make in regard to your office lighting design will have meaningful consequences for your staff now and into the future. On that note, here are four lighting-related features you should always keep in mind: 

Maintaining Safe Distances

For at least the next few months, maintaining safe social distances within an office setup will be crucial for the well-being of your staff. Thankfully, connected lighting systems can allow business leaders to monitor the flow of traffic in the workspace. What’s more, employees can download certain apps that will let them identify free areas in their office. Data from sophisticated lighting systems will enable business leaders to manage their layout more effectively. 

Minimize the Spread of Germs

Decisions you make in regard to your lighting system can either act to minimize –– or facilitate –– the spread of germs in your workplace. In fact, some lights –– such as UV and Ultraviolet-C Radiation lights are capable of disinfecting air, water, and nonporous surfaces. (This includes “inactivating” the COVID-19 viral strain.) 

Additionally, moving away from manual light switches can be a great way to slow or prevent the spread of bacteria and germs in the workplace. It’s possible now for businesses to invest in apps and devices that allow for team members to adjust the lights using only their phones.  

Lighting Control & Environmental Factors

Lighting a large office area for 10+ hours every day isn’t just a massive expense for many businesses, it’s often inefficient and bad for the environment too. That’s why many businesses are switching to light systems with automated control features and motion-sensor technology. This way, when no one is currently working in an office area, the lights will go out automatically. 

What’s more, quality lighting systems will allow business leaders and managers to access key data points about their energy consumption habits. This data can also be used to create more efficient schedule choices and increase the flexibility of an office environment. 

Human-Centric Lighting

Ultimately, the lighting in an office will affect the mood and productivity of a company’s workforce. Subconsciously, humans require quality lighting in order to perform at their best on a regular basis. Investing in human-centric lighting devices –– particularly LED lights –– can help lift the morale of your team and help them focus throughout the day. Of course, it’s also important to remember just how valuable natural lighting can be as well. Though we’ve discussed many complex and advanced ways to use lighting to improve business performance, simply opening a window on a sunny day can do a world of good for your team. 

Contact Us

At Key Interiors, it’s our mission to help business leaders enhance their office setup during this very difficult time. We have years of experience creating office solutions for companies of all sizes and across industries. Contact us today to learn what we can do for your business.

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Office Design

Therapy Office Design: Where to Start?

therapy office design

The look and feel of any professional workplace will likely have an impact on the way a client perceives that business. Whether you’re visiting a restaurant or a boardroom, the design of a professional space can shape your opinion of the company at large. This is even more true of medical facilities and therapists’ offices. Indeed, it’s crucial that mental health professionals create a welcoming and comforting space where their patients can feel relaxed and at ease. Office design that in any way puts your clientele on edge can lessen their trust in your organization, make them feel uncomfortable, and, indirectly, have adverse effects on their progress. With all that in mind, today we’ll take a closer look at therapy office design and run down a few key best practices to remember at all times. 

Lighting

No one likes to feel as if they’re being examined or observed. Unfortunately, harsh fluorescent lighting can have a clinical look that unsettles visitors. That’s why therapists should strive to use lighting to set a positive mood for their office spaces. This could include soft lighting in the form of table lamps –– or even a fireplace. Alternatively, you could utilize natural light to enhance the appearance of your office as well. 

Privacy

For many people, seeing a mental health professional is a deeply personal decision. The last thing they want is to feel that their privacy has been compromised in any way. To that end, therapists should ensure that their layout allows individuals to engage in sessions without fear of interruption or exposure. Thin walls, for instance, can discourage patients from expressing themselves. Make sure that you have plenty of sound proofing in your therapy office. Additionally, keep your space for patients separate from all of your other work areas. Even something as innocuous as a ringing phone can derail an entire session. 

Invest in Quality Amenities

Have you ever tried to sit in an uncomfortable chair for 45 minutes? Or have you ever been distracted by a strange or disconcerting painting? If so, then you know that these amenities can have a big impact on a patient’s ability to focus and relax. Invest in quality, comfortable furniture and replace chairs and couches as needed. (A shabby couch isn’t going to inspire confidence in any visitors.) What’s more, keep your overall office design tasteful and understated. Generally speaking, subtle and soothing design choices are best in this field. 

Create a Welcoming Waiting Room

Before a patient ever begins their first session with a therapist, they typically have to spend time in the waiting room. This area can either put them at ease or increase their nerves, so it’s crucial that medical professionals prioritize this area. Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered how businesses use waiting rooms in the short-term. However, over many years, waiting rooms are usually a good place for medical pros to invest because they play such a large role in forming patients’ impressions of their organizations. 

A Few Other Considerations

Don’t forget about your employees! They need to be at their top performance so that they can help their patients in the best possible way. Providing private offices for the head doctors help them have a chance to be alone and get some paperwork done. A staff breakroom is always a good idea, no matter what industry you are in. Keep these in mind when planning for space in your therapy office design.

Contact the Pros

Creating a therapy office design that is both friendly and professional at the same time can be a big challenge. Managing to do so while also staying on budget and schedule is even more difficult. The good news is that you don’t have to build or renovate your office on your own. At Key Interiors, we have years of experience working with medical professionals, we have an extensive catalogue of furniture options, and we can help you manage any logistical issues that may arise during the building process. Contact us here to learn more or to get started on your next project today!

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Office Design

10 Ways to Make the Most of Private Office Design

 

private office design

When creating a new office design, most business owners simply want to have something modern, yet conducive to productivity and comfort. However, many business owners don’t consider the benefits of private office designs. Traditionally, private office designs have been associated with a lack of communication between workers and general inefficiencies in office layouts. However, there are actually many benefits to private office designs that managers and business owners don’t always consider. So, let’s take a look at 10 ways to make the most of your private office design!

Implement Modern Modes of Communication

In the past, private offices made it harder for employees to coordinate on projects. Nowadays, thanks to communication software and project management tools, workers can stay in touch with less need for face-to-face interaction. Using private office design could help give more privacy to leadership, allow for social distancing, yet not harm communication as much as in previous years.

Personalizing Private Offices

Few people like to work in a bland office. So, if you have a private office design, why not let employees personalize and customize their own offices? This way, employees can add their own flair and decorations to work in style!

When Key Interiors works on a private office design,  we start with a few questions like the following:

  • Is this office just for one person, or is it for a small team?
  • How many and what kind of desk(s) are needed?
  • Tell us about the personalities of the person(s) that will be working in here.
  • Will this room be used for anything other than laptop desk space? (e.g. reviewing drawings, meetings with several people, virtual meetings, etc)
  • What kind of technology do you need in this room?
  • What is your furniture needs and preferences?

Decrease Distractions

One of the biggest barriers to office productivity is workplace distraction. While workers can still get distracted by smartphones and social media, private offices reduce the risk of getting distracted by other workers. 

Reduce Background Noise and Increase Privacy

There’s nothing worse than being on an important business call and having lots of noise in the background. Whether it’s coworkers chatting or phones ringing, open office designs can make it difficult to hold a private conversation. Fortunately, private office designs practically eliminate the issue of background noise entirely. 

Not only that, but management often needs to have a private conversation without making a scene or having to leave an open office. Private offices help this issue.

Create ‘Office Zones’

Private offices don’t have to be subdivided into dozens of different offices. Instead, you can still have a sense of organization by designating specific zones for individual teams, projects, or departments. This helps combine the benefits of both private and open office designs! You could also provide private spaces that aren’t designated to a specific person all the time.

Increase Informal Meetings

Many workers find meetings to be a waste of time and a distraction from daily tasks. Fortunately, ‘informal’ meetings are on the rise. Now, coworkers can quickly stop by individual offices when they need to exchange information without taking a lot of time out of their schedule.

Contact Us 

As businesses continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more organizations may look to create more private workspaces to protect the health and safety of their employees. Thankfully, it is possible to build a private office design that proves effective for years to come. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of private office designs, contact the experts at Key Interiors today!

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breakroom design covid compliant design

Rethinking Breakroom Design: 5 Ideas for a Post-COVID World

 

breakroom design in COVID world

Breakrooms play an important role in overall office design. Breakrooms allow employees the space they need to relax, unwind, and gather themselves throughout the day. Since more and more professionals are spending long hours in the office, having a quality breakroom is increasingly vital for growing companies. Of course, breakrooms are also places associated with lots of close, person-to-person interactions. And because of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have had to quickly rethink their breakroom practices. (Unfortunately, COVID spread within offices has been linked to breakrooms.) Even as we enter a new (and hopefully final) phase of the pandemic, business leaders must make both short and long-term plans for their office spaces and specifically their breakroom design. Thankfully, we’re here to provide 5 quality breakroom design ideas for a post-COVID world:

Private Breakrooms

Obvious? Perhaps. Smart? We certainly think so! For the foreseeable future, many professionals will be hesitant to spend time in direct contact with other people in their work environment. This behavior may even last for years before we collectively experience a “return to normal” after COVID-19. Given that fact, it’s not a bad idea for business leaders to experiment with private break areas in their office. Alternatively, if you don’t have the extra space required to ensure everyone has an area to blow off steam, you could consider staggering employee breaks to ensure everyone has a chance to collect their thoughts alone at least once or twice during the day. 

Socially-Distanced Layout

Even under the best of circumstances, cramped and confined breakrooms are unlikely to help employees think and unwind. As such, making greater use of the space available to your business can be a fantastic way to create a safe, socially-distanced breakroom layout. Plus, spacing chairs and sofas at least six feet apart in your breakroom should allow team members to enjoy their breaks with minimal distraction from others. 

New Diversions

In the past, people may have congregated in breakrooms to converse with coworkers, check their personal email, or just kick back for a bit. Now though, individuals who used to visit the breakroom with others may find it difficult to take meaningful breaks throughout the day. To prevent employees from getting burned out at work, business leaders may consider adding certain amenities to their breakrooms to make them more palatable for the time being. For instance, installing a video game console in your breakroom could help some employees relieve stress and connect with friends online for a few minutes. Or adding a TV to your breakroom could let stressed employees chill out with one of their favorite shows. Personal interactions may be impossible to replace entirely, but adding new amenities to a breakroom can nevertheless enhance its appeal.

Virtual Lunches

For many, the breakroom also serves as a de facto cafeteria. Many employees enjoy the breakroom because it lets them snack with their coworkers and catch up with them at the same time. Considering that in-person lunches may still not be possible for office workers for some time yet –– and that many professionals have recently adopted a permanent or semi-permanent remote workspace at home –– holding virtual lunches or “snack breaks” can be a great way for business leaders to encourage camaraderie between employees. Scheduling out moments in the day for your staff to hop on a video call just to chat and shoot the breeze can actually help boost morale and, by extension, productivity

Long-Term Breakroom Design Plans

So far, we’ve touched on breakroom ideas that assume COVID-19 will play a part in the professional psyche for many months –– if not years –– into the future. Yet, it’s possible that by this time in 2022, office spaces may have returned to pre-pandemic normality. If that ends up happening, then business leaders may be well served to create large, inviting breakrooms for their employees to socialize and interact together. Odds are, people are going to crave person-to-person meetings in a post-pandemic world, so giving them more space to do just that is likely a good idea. While that may not be feasible for the next few months, breakrooms of the future could include even more communal features like dining tables, snack bars, coffee stations, and/or board games. In other words, what breakrooms look like in six months may not resemble office breakrooms in six years at all. So keep an open mind when you approach this issue. 

Contact Us

At Key Interiors, we’ve partnered with businesses of all industries and sizes to create office and breakroom design plans that resonate with employees. If you’re looking to revamp your workspace setup, then contact us here for more information. 

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Tenant Build Out

Tenant Build Out: How to do a Renovation When You Lease

tenant build out

For many business owners, leasing an office space is an ideal way to improve their organization. Leasing may allow business owners financial flexibility as well as the chance to secure a quality location for many years without actually purchasing property. However, when businesses need to enhance their office space, lease stipulations can cause renovation challenges. Indeed, planning a tenant build out that doesn’t violate the terms of your lease –– and by extension cause you financial or legal trouble –– can be quite tricky. Thankfully, we’re going to share a few key ways to ensure you’re able to renovate your office space within the terms of your lease. Check them out here:

Review Your Lease Agreement

It is absolutely essential for business leaders to carefully review lease agreements before they sign a legally binding contract with a landlord. Even if you have a good relationship with your landlord, written agreements can make it difficult for you to renovate your office space in the future. While each lease is different, most include a clause relating to alterations and improvements. And generally speaking, these clauses allow tenants the ability to make reasonable, non-structural changes to their rented space. (Note, most business leaders will still need to get approval from a landlord to make even minor changes to a rented space.) Unfortunately, some leases use very liberal language to define “structural” changes. As such, simply changing light fixtures without prior approval may be deemed in violation of a rental lease agreement. Before you begin any renovation plans, review the language in your lease agreement and define what you can and can’t change in your office space.

Structural vs Non-Structural Changes

In most instances, businesses looking to make non-structural changes to their office space shouldn’t have too much trouble working within the confines of their lease agreement. For instance, purchasing new furniture for your office space can be a simple and effective way to improve your work environment. Other temporary measures like non-structural and/or modular walls can help tenants reshape their office space without fundamentally altering the structure of the area.

Structural changes to areas may include load bearing walls, columns, the roof, and the building’s facade. These are often not allowed to be touched by a tenant, but in some instances, landlords may give an exception if they agree to restore the structural changes at the end of their lease. This means these sort of alterations are often, but not always, cost prohibitive for businesses.

Tenant Improvement Money (TI Money)

Another important thing to keep in mind when looking at your lease agreements, is to consider Tenant Improvement Money allowance. This is when the leasing party allows a specified amount of money per sq ft and per year for improvements to your space. Be careful to understand what this money will cover, because landlords often restrict what it can be used on. Most times they only cover things that will improve the overall value of the space, but each agreement is different. When working with Key Interiors, we work directly with you and your leasing company to bill the correct amount to each party in order to eliminate any confusion.

Working with Your Landlord

Perhaps the most straightforward way to ensure you’re able to improve your office space without violating the terms of your lease is to speak with your landlord in advance in regards to tenant build out. Good landlords shouldn’t have any problem approving minor changes you want to make within your rented space. What’s more, business leaders may be able to convince their landlord to allow more ambitious renovations under certain conditions. It may be mutually beneficial to a business owner and a landlord to restore a building’s facade, for example. You may also be able to rework your lease to allow for more significant alterations.

Contact the Pros

At Key Interiors, we have years of experience helping businesses navigate rental agreements to enact much-needed renovations, redesigns, and general tenant build out examples. Before you try to negotiate with a landlord on your own, make sure to contact our team first. We can help you determine your renovation needs, put you in contact with other helpful professionals in the industry, and create a plan that will work for all parties involved.

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covid compliant design

How to Keep Your Commercial Construction Project COVID Compliant

As we’ve noted numerous times before, improving the nature of an office space can have a big positive impact on employee morale and productivity. And given the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, many business leaders have made the decision to alter their workspace for the foreseeable future. If you’re considering a new commercial construction project to improve your office design, you may be wondering how to manage such an undertaking. After all, it’s crucial that any office redesign project you start remains COVID-compliant throughout. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure your team, business partners, and customers remain safe and healthy during a commercial construction project. Here are several key tips to keep in mind: 

Partner with the Right Construction Company

As one might imagine, hiring a capable and responsible construction company will go a long way toward ensuring your commercial construction project runs smoothly. Make sure that you partner with a company that adheres to COVID-19 safety best practices and standards. In addition, construction companies should designate separate entrances and exits just  for their employees and provide them with separate facilities for regular use. The less contact between different groups of people, the better. 

Follow COVID Protocols

Ideally, you should try to ensure that your team members don’t have to come into contact with professionals from other work environments. Identify certain choke points –– like hallways or elevators –– and instruct employees to maintain a safe social-distance around these areas. In addition, following basic COVID-19 hygiene protocols can help keep your team safe. Wearing masks, washing hands, and sanitizing work areas frequently can cut down on the risk of transmission. Ideally, construction crews should work in sealed, isolated areas away from your employees, but it’s best to be prepared for any possible exposure. Note that construction crews should follow these COVID best practices as well –– in addition to other measures such as alternating work-day shifts.

Build Your Plan Now

Do not try to start a commercial construction project and implement COVID protocols as you go. Instead, before you partner with a construction company or start your project, be sure to develop a plan that encapsulates all of the standards referenced above. What’s more, depending on the size or length of your project, you may elect to institute even more rigorous measures. In any case, getting this covid compliant design plan down early will allow you to communicate your expectations to your business partners and to your own staff. 

Key Fact: Keep in mind that construction projects actually work better now with reduced office staff on site. This also allows for professionals to work in their own personal spaces without experiencing any disruption or distraction associated with commercial construction projects. 

Contact Us

Key Interiors can help your company successfully improve your office design and ensure your next commercial construction project remains COVID compliant. We’ll help you create a COVID-compliance design plan, implement measures like separate facilities and isolated work areas, and enable your team to perform at their best during construction. Contact us here to learn more or to get started today.

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Office Design

Using Design, Build, Furnish Methodology for Your Office Fit Out

Improving an office environment is not a hypothetical exercise. Yet, unfortunately, many design consultants don’t help their clients address real-world issues. Business leaders looking to enhance their workspace have a number of different factors to consider, ranging from their budget, to their goals, to their available space, and even their time frame. Given that fact, it’s crucial that business leaders partner with organizations that can help them with all three phases of a full office fit out: namely, the design, build, and furnish aspects. Here, we’ll explain how businesses can translate office renovation plans into positive outcomes for their employees and customers.

Office Design

A great way to start the design process is to ask yourself these three questions: 

  • What are your current workplace needs? 
  • What are your projected workplace needs for the length of your lease? 
  • What do you want the atmosphere/culture of your space to feel like? 

Good office design should account for your goals, budget, and space. As such, beginning with an office space analysis is typically a wise idea. (This is particularly important if you have not already secured a space. Your business’s future design plans should influence this decision.) From there, business leaders can begin to focus on what functionalities they require from a new office. And, given the current situation, what COVID-19-based decisions they should make to create a safe office environment for all. 

Office Build

Once your company has decided on a working plan for renovation or redesign, the next step is to put it into action. This involves hiring contractors, managing key installation features like lighting and plumbing, and making adjustments based on changing timescales and budgets. Keep in mind that in most cases office construction may require permits or other legal documentation from local authorities that can take time and cause complication. In brief, there are a number of logistical challenges associated with this aspect of office renovation. However, as with everything, the devil is in the details, and seemingly small decisions made at this stage can have a big impact on the overall efficacy of an office fit out project. 

Office Furnish

Furniture, layout, and arrangement can influence the look and feel of a new office in substantial ways. During the final stage of an office fit out, businesses should focus on adding the finishing touches to their design plan. This includes making furniture purchases, reviewing detailed renderings, and setting construction dates. Choices made during this stage of the design process can affect the budget and schedule of your project. 

The Key Interiors Difference

Unlike other companies in our field, our team at Key Interiors works with businesses through all three phases of office renovation. We take time to consult with our clients to determine their design needs and assess their available resources and space. We collaborate with them to secure quality construction assistance and to manage logistical issues that arise throughout the process. We supply our partners with detailed plans and renderings –– along with a wide range of furnishing options for all budgets and styles. 

When you partner with Key Interiors, you’ll receive essential advice, support, and assistance through every stage of your office redesign or renovation. The right office fit out can dramatically improve employee morale, performance, and company culture. Contact us here to learn more about how we can help you make the office of your dreams a reality.

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Office Design

Workplace Design Trends: Looking Ahead to 2021

Believe it or not, 2020 is almost over. While the past nine or so months have been challenging, frustrating, and even frightening for many professionals, the arrival of the New Year offers everyone hope for a better future. Just what 2021 will bring for business leaders and professionals still remains to be seen. However, today we’re going to review the current state of office design and take a look at some key workplace design trends that we expect to see both long term and short term. 

Long-Term Office Design Trends

The long and short of it is that COVID-19 will likely dictate much of the design-based decisions business leaders make in 2021. It is worth remembering though, that COVID-19 will not last forever. At some point, businesses will be able to resume “normal” practices. And when that happens, expect a number of new trends to take hold. 

For reference, consider that in the aftermath of the 2008 recession, many businesses decided to renovate their workspace and adopt a new, restoration-hardware style. Similarly, it’s fair to predict that many businesses will be ready for a fresh start in a post-pandemic world –– whenever that becomes a reality. The design world will come up with something to reinvent itself sooner than later, that’s for sure.

Just what those long-term office design trends will be is difficult, if not impossible, to say at the moment. Some remote tech trends will probably stay in place, but employees will likely relish the chance to collaborate in person again. In the same vein, individuals may spend more time in the office in the future, but they may no longer value the residential nature of certain commercial spaces. To explain further, a big design trend before the COVID shutdown was “resimercial” (residential & commercial), meaning that new build outs were trying to make their businesses feel more like home by adding residential touches. It remains to be seen what will happen with the world when people return to offices but we have found some patterns in our research when it comes to 2021 design trends.

Short Term: Creating a Safe Workplace in the Era of COVID-19

Recent scientific breakthroughs relating to a possible COVID-19 vaccine have, understandably, given many reason to be optimistic about their professional prospects in 2021. However, for at least the next few months –– and likely through a large part of 2021 –– many businesses will need to make changes to ensure the safety of their staff and customers. COVID-19 is still going to be with us for a while longer. 

The good news on this front is that many businesses have already taken certain steps to rethink their office space to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infection and spread. Some elemental design aspects that companies may incorporate moving into 2021 include: 

    • Increased separation between employees. This could take several forms. Some companies may decide to revert to cubicle-style seating. Others may decide to install dedicated workstations with temporary (or permanent) paneling. Open benching and a ton of shared space is on hold for the time being. 
    • Greater use of virtual technology. Odds are, most professionals have already adopted new tech tools to stay connected remotely. Expect this trend to continue even as more and more businesses “open up” again. If your team doesn’t already have access to spaces that allow them to comfortably communicate virtually, it may be time to create smaller meeting spaces where an employee can take video conference calls privately. Or by switching to cubicle-style seating, employees can have more privacy at their desks for video calls and virtual conferencing.
    • Contrary to popular belief, Hot-desking is not necessarily over. This is because the concept means that your space is more flexible. When you have different shifts of employees coming in on different days, you don’t need as many desks – even after allowing for social distancing. Adding sanitizing supplies to each desk will help eliminate fears of passing germs from one desk user to the next.
  • More employee autonomy & flexibility. Though professionals may not be able to engage with each other directly, new office protocols will almost certainly give employees greater personal autonomy. This means that pros may be able to set their own schedules, work remotely, and prioritize their desk as they see fit. With more employees working from home, it may be time to evaluate how much office space you really need and ensure that every portion of your office functions efficiently.

Contact Us

At Key Interiors, we have years of experience working with businesses of all sizes and in a wide range of industries. We may not be able to predict the future, but we can help your organization design, build, and furnish an office space that perfectly suits your needs today and tomorrow. Contact us here to learn more and to implement the 2021 design trends.

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Office Design waiting room design

Medical Office Waiting Room Design with COVID-19 In Mind

COVID-19 has touched nearly every industry over the course of the last year. However, no group has been more directly affected than healthcare and medical service providers. Indeed, the strain placed on professionals in the medical field over the past nine months has been nothing short of massive. As a result of the pandemic, business leaders have had to rethink the way they use their office space to protect their staff and patients from infection. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine how best to optimize medical office waiting room design given the current situation. Still, it is possible for business leaders to make smart decisions about the future of their office space without taking unnecessary risks. 

The Current State of Medical Office Waiting Rooms

The reality of the moment is that medical waiting rooms are changing. Rather than having patients come in and sit down in a public space together, some medical facilities have adopted new means of welcoming and processing patients. Perhaps the most efficient way for medical facilities to schedule appointments is to have virtual check-ins. Alternatively, many medical facilities now require patients to wait in their car (or at least outside of the building) once they’ve been checked in. Further, typical aspects of medical waiting rooms –– like shared common areas, juice and snack bars, and play spaces at pediatrician’s offices –– have been shelved for the foreseeable future. 

The few waiting rooms still in use in medical facilities are likely to be very scaled back. These areas may only accommodate one or two individuals at a time. (I.E. they may only have one or two chairs spaced very far apart or chairs taped off to enforce social distancing guidelines.) Of course, any space where a patient has to wait to see a medical professional should be sanitized frequently and it should be as socially distanced as possible. 

The good news here is that many patients will expect and even welcome these measures. Few patients are going to be upset about waiting in their car, waiting in an isolated area, or going straight to a private area. Note, it is a good idea for medical facilities to inform their patients what to expect in terms of their wait when they make an appointment. Giving them information online –– or even written out on a sign near your entrance –– can help adjust patient expectations and ensure everyone stays on the same page.

Medical Office Waiting Room Design Next Steps

At this point you might be wondering what business leaders can do to improve their medical waiting rooms. Remember that waiting room enhancements are designed to improve the patient experience. However, given the current situation with the pandemic, the key to ensuring a good visit for most patients is keeping them safe and socially-distanced. So the fact that so many medical facilities have taken steps to accommodate visitors remotely is a good thing. In a way, this may even increase the efficiency of a given medical facility and streamline the process for patients. 

For now, the best way to improve medical office waiting room design with COVID-19 in mind may simply be to keep it clean, welcoming, and –– as often as possible –– empty. Adding barriers or reducing seating may help patients who do have to sit in the waiting area feel comfortable. This space can also be repurposed to accommodate for COVID-19 and temperature testing. Again, in a strange way, showing that your team is taking the pandemic seriously can act to assuage the concerns of your visitors.  

In the future, medical waiting rooms may again become a focal point for organizations. And measures like creature comforts and shared areas may again become valuable features. 

Contact Us

At Key Interiors, we’ve partnered with medical facilities for many years and we appreciate the challenges businesses in this industry face. We can work with your organization to develop new office design plans that will serve you well today and into the future. Contact us here to learn more. 

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Office Design

Small Office? Ideas to Make the Most of Your Space

Is working in a cramped office causing your workers to feel uncomfortable, less motivated, and less productive? Over the long-term, these issues can have a negative effect on your business and your bottom line. Don’t lose hope! Sometimes you don’t have to move or expand to make your small space be a lot more comfortable.

Small Office? Ideas for Paint Color 

As you may know, color can play an important role in how our brains evaluate space. Dark colors tend to absorb more light and make a room feel smaller. Alternatively, light colors make a room appear bigger and more inviting. Soft tones of green and blue are especially effective at creating a welcoming atmosphere that also gives the impression of a larger space. And, you may not have this on your list of small office ideas: painting trimmings and moldings with a lighter color than your walls. It can make your small office appear even bigger!

Small Office? Create Flexible Spaces

Create multi-use spaces. Start with the mindset that each room should have more than one use. You may not be able to have just a reception area – you may need to also use this space for small breakout meetings. Your conference room might need to turn into a place where people can sit to eat lunch. Consider things like movable walls between two rooms.

Another way to double-use space is by encouraging people to move around. Don’t claim a desk and park there. If you’re away from it, there’s no reason someone else can’t sit there. This decreases the amount of necessary desks. Just because there is an increased highlight on hygiene doesn’t mean free address/hot desking is going away. If you keep wipes at every desk and encourage the user to wipe his/her space down when they leave, this will eliminate employee fears. This system also encourages employees to be tidier.

Small Office? Make Sure You Have Tech

Make sure you have plenty of easy access and fully functional technology for all employees. This makes it easier to have some people working from home and thus decreasing the need for so many people in a small office.

Small Office? Lighting Ideas 

For years, companies used cheap fluorescent bulbs to light their offices. Fortunately, that’s beginning to change. Not only is fluorescent lighting dull and outdated, but it’s also harmful to your workers. Many employees report feeling more anxious and depressed when working in an environment lit by fluorescent bulbs. Not only does natural and bright lighting help employee mood and motivation but it also helps a space feel larger which helps with claustrophobia in a small office space.

The Bottom Line

Coping with a small office space can be stressful. Rather than just putting up with a cramped workspace, why not improve your surroundings? By following the tips above, you’ll have an office that is more inviting, more spacious, and more productive!

Want to learn more about redesigning a small office? Contact the experts at Key Interiors today!

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Office Design

Quality Commercial Interior Designers: 4 Ways to Find the Best One

Redesigning your office or workplace is a major endeavor. It takes time, effort, money, and — perhaps most importantly — the right skillset. Without a qualified interior designer, your renovation project will likely not turn out the way you were hoping. As a result, you’ll need to make sure you find the right person or business to meet the demands of your project. So, how do you know you have a qualified commercial interior designer on your project? Here are 4 key considerations that will help you get started!

Personality

Your commercial interior designer must be willing to listen to your ideas and how you want your office to feel. They should incorporate your feedback and specific items that you want in your space. You and your designer should be able to get along well enough to be able to communicate clearly and get the job done to both of your satisfaction.

Experience

The best designers or design companies have a diverse portfolio. If you work with a company with several designers like Key Interiors, often they will have a designer who has done something similar to your industry or business. This helps them have a little context and incorporate learning from their previous jobs into your office design. We work with every business from manufacturing to healthcare and more.

Make sure that the design company can take your project all the way. Not every interior designer can take your renovation from the planning stage all the way to the finished product. This is why it’s extremely important to check out interior designer websites to find out what kind of services they provide. Not only will this tell you if an interior designer is a good fit for your project, but it will also help you see which ones will definitely not meet your needs.

Credentials & Certifications 

Check your designer’s credentials either by asking them or checking their LinkedIn profile. Either them or their superior (or both!) should have an NCIDQ certification and a degree from an accredited university.

Ask for a Referral and Check Reviews

Ask to see their previous case studies! Most times the designer will also give you the name and email of one of their previous clients. You can reach out and see how this previous client feels about working with the designer and their final result. You can also check their reviews. Whether you check Google Reviews or even reviews on the interior design company’s website, you will likely find helpful feedback. Needless to say, when you find commercial interior designers with a lot of negative or mediocre reviews, you’d be better served to look elsewhere.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, one of the best ways to find top-notch interior designers is to talk to them directly. You may need to send out a few emails or make some phone calls, but it will help you get the information you need. You can ask about pricing, time frames, and availability. Additionally, you can clear up any confusion you have about their services or other aspects of their business. Finally, talking directly and even inviting them to see the space they will want to see will give you a feel for the kind of results they will provide. If you’d like to learn more about renovating or redesigning your commercial space, contact the experts at Key Interiors today!

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Office Design

New Space? Consider a Custom Office Design

Thousands of businesses are rethinking the traditional American office. In the past, most workers performed their daily responsibilities in a small cubicle or office room. Separate meeting rooms allowed for managers and project leaders to meet with their teams in scheduled time frames only.

Within the last few decades, more and more businesses transitioned to open floor plans. These “open offices” were designed to increase productivity and engagement with coworkers. They work best when you integrate this concept into your culture. If workers are too accustomed to the separation of the old workspace, open plan can be slightly less effective. This open plan trend is again evolving slightly to allow for social distancing and more personal privacy. It isn’t likely to entirely turn around, but it’s very common to see transparent barriers between employees on open benching systems and increased heights on cubicle systems.

Still, interior designers and architects are working to develop the next big thing in office design. Until then, it’s up to each individual business to create a work environment that suits the needs of the company and its employees. So, if you’re building or acquiring a new space, you should definitely consider talking to Key Interiors about a custom office design.

What is a Custom Office Design?

The great thing about a custom office design is that it doesn’t have to match any preexisting concepts of what an office should be. Instead, it is totally up to the client and the designer to create something new, yet conducive to a productive work environment. Thus, a custom office design is one that works well with the functionality of the business and is aesthetically pleasing. You tell us what the functionality of your office needs to be and we create a workable space!

How to Create a Custom Office Design

To create a custom office design, you will need a high-quality commercial interior designer. The designer will work closely with you on your space layout and the interior design elements that you want.

To prepare, you will need to evaluate your business and your space in a few different ways. First, let’s focus on your space:

  • Are you moving or are you just renovating your existing facility? Do you have drawings or do we need to do scanning and create?
  • How do you want your new space to feel? More residential? More cheerful? More modern? More branded? All of the above?
  • Talk about your everyday business operations and tell the designer about what your people do so that they can make educated suggestions for your walls & furniture layouts.

Now, let’s take a closer look at your business operations and brand:

  • How many people will need to work in this space on a daily basis? How many people do you see yourself being in 5 years?
  • What kind of work will be done in this space?
  • Do you want employees to be sequestered or gathered together while working?
  • Do you want separate offices for certain employees or teams?
  • Does your brand encourage a relaxed, casual work environment or a professional, no-nonsense work environment?
  • What aspects of the custom office design could help boost employee retention, motivation, and productivity?

If you can ask yourself all of these questions, you’ll likely begin to have a basic design in mind. Even if you don’t have the details worked out, you don’t need to worry. This is where your interior designer comes in.

Get an Interior Designer to Create Your Custom Office Design

Even if you meet with an interior designer without having considered what you want or need in your new space, any high-quality interior designer will know which questions to ask. All you need to do is provide your interior designer with some basic information and work with them through the rest of the process.

If you’d like to find a Design, Build, & Furnish company to create your next custom office design, contact the experts at Key Interiors today and save yourself the hassle of working with several different companies! We do everything from architecturals, to space layouts, to furniture, and punch lists.teams in scheduled time frames only.

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Office Design

Want a Luxurious Office Design without Blowing up the Bank?

luxury office design completed by Key Interiors

If you’ve ever walked into a luxury office building, you know that it can have a powerful impact on you. Whether it’s the vaulted ceilings, modern architecture, or marble floors, a luxury office design can send the right message to new customers or clients. Most people look at beautiful offices and assume they can’t afford something like that. Chances are you can have a luxury office design without the budget that you envision when you see a beautiful space. Let’s look at why it’s important to spend in some areas of your buildout and a few areas where you can save money in your luxury office design.

Don’t be Afraid to Invest in a Luxury Office Design

It’s important to have an up-to-date and nicely finished office space because it reflects back on your company. It is a selling point for retaining and gaining new talent, as well as visiting clients. Small things that don’t cost much like a basic breakroom and a nicely finished restroom makes a big difference and gives your space a luxury office design feel. It makes a good impression on your clients and your employees are happier – which in turn affects the level of service your team gives to your customers.

Your office is a reflection of your brand. Try to integrate elements of your branding into your luxury office design, because it helps people remember you and makes your whole brand image come together. A bland office is a reflection of a bland business; it shows that you’re not willing or able to put extra effort into your workspace. Not only does this make your business look bad at first glance, but it can also hurt the longevity of your brand. As a result, choosing a luxury office design is a long-term investment that could end up paying dividends! It’s important to impress all your clients, but especially the first time ones.

Where to Spend & Save Money

First impressions are important. Reception areas are an important area to spruce up, especially if clients or interviewees will have to spend more than 3 minutes in it. If you don’t have a reception area, pay attention to the first place people see when they come in. On the other hand, spaces like a filing room or a data room aren’t as important to invest in nice lighting and finishes. The other two places that we highly recommend making nice are your restrooms & your breakrooms.

Within your Reception area, restrooms, breakrooms, and offices, there are ways to save money without sacrificing the wow factor. Here are a few options:

  • Save money on your appliances
  • Use a designer. They know where to go for the wow factor and where to value engineer. They know what manufacturers are trying to move inventory and can negotiate pricing. An experienced commercial designer knows how to navigate a budget, and where you will get a return on investment.

Want to learn more about acquiring a luxury office design? Contact the experts at Key Interiors today!

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modern office design Office Design office layout office redesign Office Renovation

10 Ideas to Make Your Office COVID Safe

Let’s face it – every organization is facing the challenges of an extensive period of employees working from home. Most companies are trying to figure out some way to get at least partial shifts back to the office regularly. The question is – how? How can we be COVID safe in the modern office design while still allowing for the irreplaceable communication and team building benefits that come with a team office environment?

Pre-COVID modern office design prioritized flexibility of space and created open environments for employee collaboration. Companies that recently did an office renovation can’t afford major structural changes in their workplace. Never fear – There are small changes to an office space that can make it feasible for some (or all) of your employees to be able to return.

Some things haven’t changed about office interiors. The ideal office design is clean, inviting, incorporates natural light, and leverages technology to further promote connectivity and productivity. People still need to be able to collaborate and connect. Office teams need formal and informal spaces that safely allow small groups to meet and feel comfortable.

Some easy and inexpensive changes like the following can be made:

  1. HVAC filters that kill bacteria circulating through the office,
  2. Desk Screening (possibly transparent) between desks and open benching areas,
  3. Staggered employee home/in-office schedules,
  4. Frequent hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the office,
  5. Touchless bathroom fixtures,
  6. Touchless faucets and soap dispensers in the office kitchen,
  7. Social distancing compliant traffic flows
  8. Antimicrobial painted walls,
  9. Worksurface replacement at high use areas such as reception desk with anti-microbial surfaces such as copper
  10. Furniture fabric replacement in lounge/conference and other public areas with premium vinyl. This allows for easier cleaning between occupants.

Consider what changes can made to make the most of your square footage. You don’t have to start throwing up new walls and private offices. All the ways above are ways to keep the transparency that comes with almost all the benefits of open plan workspaces.

Other considerations for new trends in workplaces are several conference rooms varying in sizes. See our article on conference rooms Post-COVID. Make sure your whole office has the best technology and internet access. This encourages employees to come to work and ensures their productivity. Another consideration is using glass if physical walls are still needed to allow for distancing of employees.

If your lease is coming up soon, re-evaluate how you use your space now and where your facility is located. There is a slow movement currently (as of August 3, 2020 – disclaimer because things change every day!) for offices to move from the city areas and into the suburban areas. Some have drastically reduced their in-office workforce and need smaller space, while others haven’t changed their numbers but need more square footage to allow for social distancing.

Employees, clients, and vendors may be anxious but eager to return to the office. Give them a fresh, welcoming, and well-designed interior to that centers first around safety – then communication, collaboration, and productivity.

In a nutshell, some of the main reasons to invest in a modern office design are:

  • Ensured employee health and safety
  • Improve and equalize usage of your square footage
  • Upgrade your office’s interior furnishings
  • Create new spaces and an environment that supports employee communication and productivity

Let us help. Key Interiors is a full service commercial interior renovation and design, build, project management team. We work with clients to create modern, COIVD safe office designs. Contact us today to discuss your project.

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