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Office Design Office Renovation

Elements to Consider For Your High End Office Design

high end office design

From the layout of your office to the atmosphere within it, high end office design is no easy task. The way you design your office can play a major role in productivity, creativity, and overall satisfaction among employees. So, what are the most important elements to consider for your high end office design?

There are several elements that are common in many successful high end office designs that can be effectively applied to any building in order to ensure that an office space serves as a comfortable and dynamic environment for employees. Some include:

Practical Layouts

 

When designing any office, it is important to keep in mind the people who will be working in it every day. To maximize productivity, consider possible distractions when designing the layout of an office – avoid placing distracting or noisy items like the coffee maker or photocopier right next to someone’s desk. Also, be sure to consider both natural sunlight exposure and areas with the best office lighting to avoid tucking someone into a dark corner, and make sure that there is enough space between each person’s desk so no one feels cramped. Think about your team and their needs, and be sure to prioritize practicality when designing your office.

Natural Light and Open Air

Studies show that adequate exposure to natural light throughout the work day can lead to increased productivity and act as a natural mood booster for employees, as can stepping outside or sitting near an open window where there is access to fresh air.  Without consistent exposure to natural sunlight and/or fresh air, employees might find themselves feeling tired, sluggish, and more easily overwhelmed, negatively affecting productivity. To maximize the amount and quality of work being done in the office, be sure to prioritize natural lighting and fresh air in your design plan.

Color

Adding a pop of color to the interior of your office space can make any work environment instantly feel more positive and welcoming. Instead of dreary colors like white or grey that are traditionally found in most offices, opt for a soft pop of color like blue or yellow to liven up any room and create a comforting atmosphere for your team.

Areas Divided By Noise Level

One addition that many executives are making to office spaces is designated areas for particularly loud or quiet activities. Creating an area for potentially loud informal meetings or gatherings that is separate from other desks is important to avoid distracting people from their work. Similarly, including a few quiet spaces in your office design can allow those working on specific tasks to focus on their work free from distractions and noise.

Greenery

Make any space look more welcoming by adding a few plants or flowers. Not only do plants make your space look more visually appealing, but studies show that the presence of greenery such as live plants and flowers can lead to a boost in happiness and productivity within an office space. No matter what high end office design style you opt for, tie your space together by adding some plants.

Contact Key Interiors

At Key Interiors, our mission is to deliver the highest quality renovation project for your high end office design. From conception to completion, we will work with you to design an office that will motivate employees and inspire prosperous client relationships. Let us be the key to your interior project – contact us today to get started. 

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Office Design Office Renovation

Downsizing the Office: How to Efficiently Use Your Space

downsizing the office

As office life has changed throughout and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, many workplaces are shifting to meet new office standards. As some employees remain working remotely or in hybrid positions where long days in the office might be few and far between, many offices are downsizing to reflect a lack of employees present throughout the week. Downsizing the office can be tricky, as it is challenging for some employees to use space efficiently when going from a larger to a smaller office.

If your business is working on downsizing the office, here are some tips for ensuring that you are using your space as efficiently as possible.

1. Declutter

Downsizing the office is a perfect opportunity for employees to clear the clutter out of their workspace. In order to downsize effectively, all employees should re-evaluate how many belongings they have in their workspace and try to get rid of things that aren’t necessities; this could include old or outdated equipment, documents, and other supplies that they’ve been holding onto which are no longer necessary. Decluttering is the first step to reducing the size of any office space.

2. Downsize Technology

If your office is downsizing to a smaller space, there might not be room for bulky computer monitors or other large technology. Making the switch to sleeker, more compact devices such as thinner monitors or even laptops might not seem that important, but clearing out bulky technology will be a major space saver in your new office space.

3. Modify Furniture

Large furniture is responsible for taking up a considerable amount of precious space in a small office. Consider getting rid of the desks and other large furniture items of employees who work entirely or predominantly from home. If employees who work in hybrid positions do not tend to visit the office at the same time, you could opt for one large desk that all remote or hybrid employees can use freely when they are in the office. Also consider whether large conference tables or other big, common space furniture pieces are necessary if fewer employees are present, and opt for a smaller, less space-consuming option.

4. Go Paperless

A paperless office that relies on technology is not only better for the environment and office efficiency, but it can be a useful tool for downsizing an office. Saving space on storage for documents and other important files can make way for space for more important items in your space.

The Key Interiors Advantage

With years of experience and a qualified team of professionals, Key Interiors can make coordinating and performing office renovation and design projects of any size a seamless process. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you downsize your office.

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Office Design Office Renovation

5 Benefits of Creating a Mother’s Room at Your Office

mother's room

For the past 20 years, the share of female laborers in the U.S. has hovered around 47%. It’s a significant statistic for many reasons, particularly when you learn that the majority of working women (60% or higher) also have a child under the age of three years at home (per the most recent published data from the U.S. Department of Labor). In 2010, in response to the growing number of female employees within the workforce, the federal government amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to include accommodations for nonexempt, lactating mothers. Currently, all businesses with more than 50 nonexempt employees must provide a private space for mothers to pump breast milk. It cannot be a bathroom and must include a variety of features designed to support breastfeeding women. Many states extend this type of protection to exempt employees, as well, making mothers’ rooms a very common and often necessary feature in today’s office buildings. Check out the potential benefits of creating a workplace mother’s room:

Improved Employee Morale

Let’s face it: employees appreciate support. Under FLSA protection, lactating employees are able to return to work and still express breast milk for their babies. They don’t have to choose one over the other. For up to one year following the birth of a child, new mothers can expect time in a quiet, private space to pump while at the office. Not only do new moms feel valued, but coworkers become aware of the scope of their employer’s provisions, making it much more likely that the morale of all employees will be improved.

Less Absenteeism

A dedicated mother’s room also helps to keep mother and baby healthy. Research shows that breastfed babies have stronger immune systems and, thus, are better protected against illness and disease. And if they do get sick, breastfed babies recover more quickly. Studies go on to indicate that breastfeeding mothers are less susceptible to certain physical and mental health issues, as well, reducing the need for new moms (as well as any parenting partners) to miss work due to their own illnesses or those of their babies.

Reduction of Healthcare Costs

The health benefits of breastfeeding for both mom and baby also helps reduce company healthcare costs. Breastfeeding mothers have a lower risk of certain cancers and a reduced incidence of high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, all of which can drive up the price that companies pay for insurance over the lifetime of all mothers. A mother’s room enables a mother to protect her own health and her child’s, thereby decreasing the need for each one’s healthcare services and the burden of their associated costs.

Better Employee Retention

In many instances, a mother’s room actually draws women back to work following maternity leave since they know they will be able to continue providing breast milk for their children in a private, comfortable space when away from their homes.

Improved Productivity

Finally, with improved morale, less absenteeism and more available workers, companies are more equipped to get the things that need to be done, done! Their workers are more engaged, energetic and focused and, therefore, more productive.

The Key Interiors Advantage

Providing a lactation or mother’s room is mandatory for many businesses. Even if it’s not, the benefits it offers to both lactating women and the companies that employ them make a mother’s room an important aspect of a commercial office’s design. Our team at Key Interiors can help your office create a mother’s room that is functional, stylish and affordable. Please contact us to learn more.

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Office Design Office Renovation

3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Put Off Your Office Remodel

office remodel

On the surface, an office remodel might seem like a daunting and high-cost endeavor, especially to those undertaking one for the first time.  However, with the right features and design, an office remodel can improve your business productivity, increase your profitability, and infuse your people and workspace with much-needed energy, making it well worth the effort and expense. Take a look at some of the benefits of an office remodel:

Improved Productivity

An office remodel is the best way to rearrange the layout of your office for enhanced productivity. For instance, office noise is often cited as the number one distraction in a workplace. It can be a significant drain on overall productivity, since the inability to focus not only leads to a decrease in cognitive performance, it contributes to workplace absences due to the effects of long-term stress exposure. Reconfiguring your space as part of an office remodel could result in reduced noise level. Other functional layout details of your office can be similarly altered to maximize the quality and amount of work being done on-site. You could add private offices, access to natural light and communal areas, or create a layout that requires movement throughout the day (creating a single, dedicated space for copying and printing, for example, would make it necessary for people to get up from their desks periodically). All of these office features have been shown to positively influence employee productivity.

Attract Talent and Customers

A fresh, clean, functional space attracts people. Nobody wants to come to an office with dirty flooring, out-dated, 80s-era cubicles, or a bunch of fluorescent lighting! Prospective employees and clients want to enter a commercial space that is comfortable and inviting. They want to spend time in a space that appropriately accommodates the work being done within its walls. An office remodel allows you to modernize your business, update its layout, keep its decor stylish and highlight features that make it comfortable to both work in and visit. All these upgrades make the office environment attractive to current and prospective employees and customers.

Maximize Safety and Security

Of course, an office remodel is sometimes needed to ensure the safety and security of all your office’s occupants. With a complete office remodel, you can make upgrades to security, fire, and life safety systems. You can also remove old, faulty or unsafe wiring, address air quality and ventilation issues and improve your building’s accessibility. Lastly, you can resolve problems that have kept your office from being up to code, remove hazardous materials (like asbestos), install adequate lighting and bring in ergonomic furniture. There is a wide range of features you can choose to add or eliminate during an office remodel that significantly improves occupant safety and the security of the building itself.

The Key Interiors Difference

To learn more about these and other benefits of an office remodel, please contact our design team at Key Interiors. Our decades of experience with office design and construction means we can help navigate our clients through multifaceted projects with efficiency and help them integrate solutions and features that will improve the functionality of their offices and lead to a positive ROI!

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Office Design office layout Office Renovation

3 Office Bathroom Ideas to Inspire Your Renovation

office bathroom ideas

Now that people are returning to the workplace after two years of forced isolation, it’s important that their surroundings are safe and comfortable. To this end, many employers are modifying their spaces, wanting not just to comply with suggested safety precautions but hoping to attract even reluctant workers back to a physical business site that has fresh and modern design elements. Perhaps you’re thinking of a renovation yourself. If so, a good place to start is with an office bathroom. Everybody needs a restroom, and a nice one indicates management values cleanliness and their employees’ overall well-being. Here are a few office bathroom ideas to inspire your renovation and ensure your building is ready to welcome everyone back:

Focus on Wellness

Wellness is front and center these days. Covid concerns and enhanced awareness of mental health issues are pushing more and more people to assess their physical, as well as their mental, fitness. Thus, one creative office bathroom idea is to address these concerns head-on by creating an office bathroom that serves as a refuge for both your employees and your guests. Ditch traditional, “commercial” design elements meant to accommodate the masses — like long counters, builder-grade mirrors and partially-partitioned stalls — and instead consider soft, intimate touches that foster peacefulness and bring to mind a spa-like experience. Add texture and use pale, neutral colors; light; and biophilic features to create a sense of spaciousness. You might also add in seating options and a nearby private space for nursing mothers or those who simply wish to escape for a moment or two. Of course, whatever you choose, ensure that your fixtures are easy to clean and durable so that the bathroom itself is always sanitary.

Get Technical

Another good office bathroom idea involves using technology to maximize not only your company’s budget but the health of all your bathroom’s users. Touchless products can be installed that reduce the likelihood of germ-exposure, while self-regulating fixtures can be added that better control the use of water and energy, saving you hundreds of dollars on utility bills.

Go Above and Beyond

You might not believe a bathroom matters, but many people look to the restroom as a reflection of a company’s attention to detail, awareness and care. Think about it; if someone walks into a restroom and sees cracked tiles, dim light and dirty floors, it’s likely he or she won’t have a lot of confidence in the company’s values or its offerings. Applying innovative yet functional office bathroom ideas in such a private space, however, speaks to a company’s diligence and their perceived responsibility for the people who come in and out of their building (for whatever reason). Remodel your office bathroom so that people are impressed by it, and it’s more probable they’ll be willing to be wowed by you in other ways! 

The Key Interiors Advantage

There are endless office bathroom ideas that can be used in a renovation. To learn more about the specific office bathroom ideas that could positively impact the people your own company serves, please contact our design team at Key Interiors. Our professional design experience means we can help you review, choose and implement the design elements best suited to your own goals and objectives.

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Office Design office layout Office Renovation

How Reception Area Design Improves Customer Experience

reception area design

The quality of the interactions a company has with its customers is often the best indicator of its standing within the marketplace. Even with a great product or service, a company can’t sell it if consumers aren’t properly informed and assured of its worth and don’t feel personally valued or appreciated as they contemplate its purchase. In this way, consistent messaging, meaningful exchanges, and expedited services play a larger part in a consumer’s decision to buy than any of the innovative details of a specific offering. For companies working from a physical, public-facing space, the design of their reception area provides the perfect opportunity for them to improve their customer’s experience and, thus, boost their profitability, right from the get-go! Here’s why:

Reception Area Design Can Be Used to Illustrate Brand

Step into the stores or waiting areas of well-known brands like Apple, Google and Coca-Cola (or any other company with branding know-how) and you’ll inevitably be greeted with each one’s unique brand message. The reception area design will reflect its individual logo and color schemes. It will also be bright and inviting, often showcasing their products and/or their focus on exciting, innovative design details like custom millwork, wall features, unique artwork, comfortable furniture, and more. Careful thought will have been put into all reception area design choices so that the breadth of the reception space accurately portrays the brand being promoted. They do this because they understand that customers trust a company that’s transparent in its messages — especially when it concerns its brand — and that this trust frequently leads to better confidence in the products or services being offered.

Reception Area Design Can Be Used to Showcase Hospitality

Everyone likes to be enthusiastically welcomed into a space. A warm greeting and offer of refreshments go a long way in making someone feel anticipated and wanted. Certain reception area design elements can be chosen that maximize the reception staff’s ability to see visitors as they enter the building so that they are able to promptly extend these tokens of hospitality. Placing the reception desk in just the right spot, for instance, allows staff to see the door and all who enter. Arranging furniture in ways that facilitate conversation and comfort makes it more enjoyable for people should they have to wait, as does the option of enjoying a treat from an available snack and beverage bar. The incorporation of other amenities (such as charging stations, gentle music, comfortable chairs, magazines or even a TV) can likewise encourage people to relax and enjoy their time in your building, further enhancing their warm and fuzzy feelings toward your company, your services and, by extension, the actual products and services you sell!

Reception Area Design Can Be Used to Enhance Communication

Have you ever been in a room with bad acoustics or inadequate seating? Nothing’s worse than not being able to get comfortable or to hear the details of a conversation. There are many reception area design features that can be used to make it easier for employees and consumers to talk to one another. From sound solutions to thoughtful arrangement of conversation niches and a lot more, there are many design options that buffer extraneous sounds and better support interaction and rapport. And the benefit doesn’t just extend to visitors. A good office renovation that promotes healthy and uncomplicated discourse improves employee morale, making everyone feel better and work harder for positive results.

Ready to Learn More?

Intention is really the first step in creating meaningful experiences for consumers. If you’re considering an office renovation, simply taking the time to consider the needs of everyone working in or visiting your physical space can help you easily transform your office into a positive touchpoint. No need for expensive focus groups or surveys! You can capitalize on our design expertise here at Key Interiors and use our reception area design ideas to start improving your customers’ experience while simultaneously enhancing your company’s own operational productivity and efficiency. It’s a win-win that reaps rewards on a variety of levels. Please contact us today to learn more.

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Office Design office layout Office Renovation

The 7 Phases of the Turnkey Construction and Interior Design Process

interior design process

The interior design process involves a lot more than simply making a space look pretty. In many ways, it is an amalgamation of several different activities: design and construction, of course, but also management of all the financial, safety, legal and administrative details that make concepts and drawings actually come to life in the most functional, appealing and profitable way. 

If you search online, you can come up with a generic “interior design process” that moves through conceptual ideation to design and then construction phases, but here at Key Interiors, we put a little more thought into it all. We elaborate on the traditional bid process so that our clients remain fully engaged at every step of their new build or remodel journey. Take a look at our own proprietary turnkey construction and interior design process here at Key Interiors:

Phase 1: No-Obligation Initial Visit with Client

Our interior design process begins with a complimentary meeting with the prospective client.  During this discovery meeting, we seek to understand the unique aspects of each project and the motivation behind them.  Before providing feedback, our design and construction experts encourage clients to share their ideas and goals for the project and ask questions.  This dialog allows us to align our services precisely with the needs of each project and lay the foundation for a successful potential partnership.

Phase 2: Space Plan and High-Level Budgeting

In many cases, we offer a no-obligation space plan along with a general, preliminary project budget and schedule. Feedback from the client on the information presented in this stage is critical in understanding if the project can be executed within the client’s budgetary and scheduling requirements.  

Phase 3: Design Engagement Terms Discussion and Approval

At this stage, we hope evidence of our expertise and experience moves potential clients to say, “Let’s go for it!” We would then present and seek approval for a nominal design fee based on estimated project value and scope.  This gives the client unfettered access to a dedicated member of our design team. 

Phase 4: Design Document Development

With full input from the client, we work to create a detailed, professional design plan with in-depth renderings and drawings that meets all safety and legal regulations as detailed by the buildout site and/or its local jurisdiction. We also make every attempt to incorporate solutions for each of the unique needs of the client, ultimately presenting a design plan that addresses the functional needs of a project while still demonstrating the individual style of each client.

Phase 5: Forensic Costing

This phase could necessitate a return visit to the proposed site (or space) with the client, this time including representatives from our trusted network of subcontractors and/or vendor partners.  We seek to understand all site and project-specific construction and/or furniture details, including, but not limited to, costs of materials and labor and solutions for potential shortages and delays. We competitively bid this project out to multiple trades to get accurate and hard, go-to-work costs. 

Phase 6: Final Negotiations and Approval

We then sit down with the client again to determine appropriate next steps regarding the project. It’s at this stage where design changes can be discussed, and plans revised in order to move toward final approval.  Once approved, the project is given a hard start date.

Phase 7: Project Management and Delivery

This phase of the turnkey construction and interior design process really sets Key Interiors apart from our competition. While most firms say they will manage construction details, not all actually maintain site supervision. Our project management and operations team at Key Interiors, however, remains visible at all times to both our client and all contractors, allowing for real time updates, improved communication, and efficient problem solving. We direct and manage the logistics of every step of construction, assembling and delivering all closeout materialsfurnishings and design elements, so that all plan details are transparent and the terms of the contract are met.  Most importantly, we strive to deliver a satisfying customer experience from beginning to end, culminating in a fully realized workspace that surpasses the ideals of our client!

Want to Learn More?

The turnkey construction and interior design process should be proprietary, honoring the needs of individual clients and showcasing the expertise of the interior design/build firm that has been summoned to meet them. The process we use here at Key Interiors follows a rough template, but the details really rest on the desires and dreams of our clients. Our clients provide the inspiration; we use our knowledge to make sure it becomes (a safe, affordable and innovative) reality (that conforms to all relevant codes and restrictions)! Please contact us to learn more about using our turnkey construction and interior design process to ensure your own project goals are met.

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Office Design office layout

Designing a Hybrid Office Layout That Employees Will Love

hybrid office layout

Designing a Hybrid Office Layout That Employees Will Love

The world is slowly shedding its pandemic mind frame, and many individuals are happily resuming pre-Covid activities. For others, however, delving back into the real world warrants hesitation, especially wary employees who dread the close quarters of an office setting and the potential loss of independence, comfort and convenience. Modern technology made it possible for most of us to be just as productive from home as we were from a corporate location. Why bother, then, going back to the office? The answer: camaraderie, collaboration and inspiration; a physical space to gather for work and to socialize provides natural opportunities for a company’s distinct culture to emerge, the benefits of which have been shown to influence everything from employee and customer satisfaction to the actual bottom line. Here’s what you need to know to create a hybrid office layout that lures even the most reluctant employees back to the workplace:

What is a Hybrid Office Layout?

A hybrid office allows employees to merge the convenience of working from home with the advantages of periodic personal interaction. Employers use it to leverage the cost of providing a corporate roof overhead while still paying heed to workers’ desire for autonomy and freedom. In many instances, a hybrid office layout provides a mix of large, common areas in which employees can gather and smaller, more private areas (rooms, desks, cubicles, etc.) in which they can temporarily work. In this way, the office becomes a hub, providing refuge for employees who want to come and go, rather than sit and stay for hours on end. Gone are dedicated desks for each employee. Instead, spaces are flexible, with focus turned towards technologies that make it easy for workers to drop in and connect with others, both in person, as well as remotely.

Specific Design Elements of a Hybrid Office Layout

In a hybrid work environment, schedules are usually random; employees will work different hours and come into the office on different days. The trick is making it so that people want to visit the office even if they don’t have to. Some common enticements that go along with a hybrid office layout include:

  • Hot desking options that enable workers to come but don’t demand that they stay for any specific amount of time.
  • Pods that allow groups to gather together and collaborate.
  • Communal spaces that invite social interaction and relaxation.
  • Flexible, comfortable furniture that accommodates varying needs.
  • Open waiting rooms, washrooms and breakrooms that provide space for social distancing and are easy to clean.
  • Well-appointed kitchens and fitness amenities that serve as a draw and boost employee wellness and satisfaction.
  • “Smart” technologies that are often touchless and make it easy to connect with colleagues no matter their location, timezone or level of expertise.

The Key Interiors Advantage

A hybrid office layout has quickly become the de-facto trend for the post-Covid workplace. To learn more about using design elements to create an appealing and functional space for employees to work and socialize, please contact our design experts here at Key Interiors. We know how to facilitate a hybrid office layout that combines functionality and aesthetics so that employees are pulled away from their homes and back into the office!

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Office Design office layout

Flat Wire Under Carpeting: Advantages and Logistics

flat wire

These days, convenience is king. The goal is efficiency, and we’ll do almost anything to get it. It’s even seeped over into design. Modern design options are rife with features meant to lessen the burden of daily living: built-in storage options that enhance organization; cabinets and closets that can be easily accessed with pull-out and soft-close drawers; motion-controlled/mood lighting that saves energy, as well as time; ergonomic door levers that enable hands-free entry and exit from rooms; and more! Indeed, one of the biggest trends in current design involves the installation of updated outlets and wiring so that home and office occupants have quick access to electricity, whether it’s to charge their phones or plug in other electronic devices and appliances. Take a look at why positioning flat wire under carpeting has become the thing to do in today’s design world:

The Advantages of Placing Flat Wire Under Carpeting

Installling flat wire under carpeting has many benefits:

Flexibility

Flat wire allows you to run electricity underneath carpeting and other types of flooring materials so that power is available at any point in a room, not just along its walls.

Safety

Flat wire that runs under carpeting (or other types of flooring) is safer than an extension cord, which can pose a tripping hazard and/or potentially overheat and cause a fire.

Asthestics

Placing flat wires underneath your flooring improves the appearance of a room, removing the need for countless cords to snake around the floor and create an eyesore.

The Logistics of Installing Flat Wire Under Carpeting

The convenience of having electricity available anywhere in a room — even smack dab in the middle of it — has made the installation of flat wire underneath carpet a common request during new home and office construction and remodels. Luckily, it’s not a particularly hard task to accomplish. Whether placing flat wire under an existing floor or designing a new space with hidden wires from scratch, nearly any office or home can rid itself of the need for exposed wires, making their space a lot more functional and a lot more attractive. 


If running a flat wire under carpet that has already been laid, you will need to decide on where you want the wire to be placed, measure an amount of wire that will cover that distance, and then cut and thread it underneath the carpet using fish tape. Of course, you should first verify that your flat wire is safe to install underneath carpet, has been removed from any power source(!) and won’t interfere with any old or exposed wiring already underneath the carpet. A professional designer can help you if you run into trouble; sometimes it can be a bit tricky lifting the portion of the carpet from the wall so that you can begin threading your wire. A designer or other construction professional can likewise help you with any new wiring designs, allowing you to place flat wires around your space without any hindrances at all!

The Key Interiors Advantage

Installing flat wire under carpeting maximizes the efficiency of a home or office, allowing its occupants to access power at just the spot it’s needed. It hides the mess of extension cords that often exist in spaces that haven’t been carefully designed and prevents unnecessary hazards that can threaten human lives and a building’s integrity. To learn more about the benefits and logistics of using flat wires to improve efficiency, productivity and style, please contact Key Interiors.

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Office Design Office Renovation

Purchased a New Space? Here are 4 Ways to Win Big with Your Office Renovation

office renovation

A new office space offers you the chance to increase your business’s level of productivity, as well as boost your employees’ morale. Indeed, research indicates that the right design choices actually influence workplace processes and encourage human connectedness in ways that stimulate creativity, support collaboration, facilitate efficiency, and, thus, ultimately enhance innovation. But without a clear plan and understanding of office design, a new office can be a terrifying blank slate. Here are four office renovation tips for getting the most out of your new office space design:

Consider Functionality

Productivity is defined as the effectiveness of effort. It represents the measurable outcome(s) of work and is frequently used to assess a company’s overall level of profitability. Put plainly, when businesses use fewer resources to achieve more, their profits usually increase. With this in mind, it’s only reasonable to assume that workplace conditions can —and do — impact productivity by either hindering or enhancing the ways in which employees work. Everything from their physical environment to office culture affects how well (or not) workers complete the tasks demanded by their jobs and, therefore, often determines a company’s bottom line. At a most basic level, office design can be used to improve corporate functionality by physically making it easier for employees to move about the office and get their jobs done.

Think about the distance to bathrooms and copiers; lighting and sound control; whether or not it makes sense to have kitchens, cafeterias, and/or gyms on-site (as a way to entice employees to stay — and work! — on-site for longer periods of time); the type of seating that will best support the goals of your organization; and more! Careful planning of the physical layout of a space will help your company maximize the ways in which your employees use and enjoy their time in it, making it much more likely you’ll be getting the most bang for your buck!

Consider Versatility

You should also work to make your office renovation versatile. Being able to slide back walls or pull down projectors or easily rearrange furniture means a business is better able to adapt to changing circumstances. For instance, choosing compact, moveable chairs and desks that aren’t fixed or built-in allows you to easily accommodate seating preferences should a pandemic force your employees six feet apart!

Consider Sustainability

Of course, in this day and age, green office design is becoming a necessary component of any office renovation since many social and economic initiatives reward companies that adopt sustainable standards. An office renovation is a perfect time to install energy-efficient appliances, windows, and doors; to improve insulation and ventilation; to invest in GSFT products and fittings; and to purchase furniture and accessories made with renewable or recycled materials. The benefits of even just one of these office renovations are substantial, saving your business money on its utility costs and enhancing your customer’s loyalty, all at the same time.

Consider Community

Finally, you should consider the ways in which you can facilitate community with your office renovation design choices. Studies indicate that employee engagement directly impacts a company’s productivity, with those businesses having involved, happy and healthy workers also being the ones that are the most productive. Think about incorporating open seating arrangements, break rooms and/or common areas that can be used to encourage interaction, relaxation and collaboration among employees. These types of rooms, along with carefully chosen design accessories, make it easier for people to gather together and enjoy a space (and each other). The result: engaged employees who are eager to come to work.

Want to Learn More?

A new space allows businesses the opportunity to make significant and profitable changes relatively easily. To further boost your company’s productivity and create a truly distinctive space, we suggest partnering with an office design firm that can help you understand and choose the best design features for your own unique goals and objectives. Please contact Key Interiors to learn more.

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flooring Office Design

LVT, LVP, Carpet Tile or Broadloom: How to Choose the Right Office Flooring for Your Renovation

office flooring

Picking the right office flooring during a workplace renovation can increase the value of your space and create immediate visual interest. It can also impact your monthly expenses, with appropriate office flooring making your office more energy efficient so that you save money on your utility bills. But which type of office flooring is the best? The answer is: it depends. There are many different types of office flooring, from luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and luxury vinyl plank (LVP) to a slew of other options like carpet tiles, broadloom carpet, and more! Here’s what you need to consider in order to choose the most suitable office flooring for your own unique needs:

Traffic

One of the first things you need to consider when picking out new office flooring is its durability. Specifically, you need to ensure that your office flooring can support the level of use it will receive. In spaces with high traffic, for example, you’ll likely want to install wear-resistant office flooring that can withstand constant use (such as concrete, vinyl, and other heavy-duty materials). Hardwood is typically avoided in commercial applications for the very reason it’s not particularly hardy, becoming easily damaged by multiple types of footwear and often noticeably worn within just a few years. Carpet tile, on other hand, might be a good solution for areas experiencing any type of traffic, since stains and worn patches can be mitigated very quickly by simply swapping out the damaged tile with one of the ones kept in reserve.

Functionality

You’ll also need to think about how the space will be used and plan your office flooring accordingly. A dance studio obviously requires different flooring than a real estate firm or dental office. The physical layout of the office is important to note, as well. Large, open spaces (as opposed to those with cubicles or multiple rooms) amplify sound, as an example, often making it necessary for business owners to choose office flooring that provides noise control. Carpet, cork, and luxury vinyl planks or tile are good choices for these kinds of open-plan offices since they have natural sound absorption properties and/or can be installed with a noise-reducing pad. And regardless of the type of business you run, there are areas (like entrances) that will always require reinforcement of some kind (to withstand high traffic, as well as dirt and water). Contemplate your floorplan and how the space will be used, and then pick the office flooring that best supports that.

Maintenance

Finally, you need to remember that any office flooring you choose will require maintenance. Thus, you need to pick the option that matches your budget, time, and energy for its upkeep. If you have little interest, time, or money for cleaning and maintaining your office flooring, for instance, you probably shouldn’t install natural stone or vinyl composite tile, which both require special care. In some circumstances, however, spending more upfront can reduce the amount of maintenance you need overall, making your investment worth its cost. Case in point: luxury vinyl tile can be slightly more expensive than other floor options, but is easily cared for with simple, routine cleaning.

Want to Learn More?

Choosing among the many types of office flooring like LVT, LVP, carpet tile and broadloom is more than a matter of aesthetics. The right flooring must, of course, represent your tastes, but it should also maximize the purpose and functionality of the space as a workplace. A commercial office design partner can help you pick the office flooring that suits your needs, as well as your company’s style, culture, and budget. Please contact Key Interiors to learn more.

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covid compliant design lighting Office Design

Automate Your Office Lighting with Dusk to Dawn Lighting Controls

Dusk to Dawn Lighting Controls

It’s not often that people can “switch it and forget it.” But when they can, the benefits usually include improved efficiency, reduced costs and enhanced reliability. For offices, the benefits of dusk to dawn lighting controls and other automation extend well beyond the obvious ones brought about by today’s technologies: the data processing systems, self-driving cars and software programs, etc. They also include many facilities management tools that make managing the physical aspects of workplaces a much more efficient process. Consider all the benefits of just one of them: dusk to dawn lighting controls.

What Are Dusk to Dawn Lighting Controls

According to this article in Entrepreneur magazine, energy is often considered one of top three greatest costs for small businesses. And in the U.S., “small businesses represent 99% of all businesses,” meaning that nearly every office building in America would benefit by finding ways to reduce its electricity costs. Enter dusk to dawn lighting controls. Long known to homeowners as an outdoor security measure, dusk to dawn lighting controls also help companies better manage their electric energy consumption by automating the lighting in their office buildings. Dusk to dawn lighting uses a photocell to react to either natural or artificial light sources, automatically turning lights on as ambient light fades and off as it brightens. It can be used to illuminate exterior areas, but it can also be used interiorly to provide rooms with light as needed.

Dusk to Dawn Lighting is Efficient

Automated dusk to dawn lighting controls are beneficial because they eliminate the needless consumption of electricity. Rather than rely on employees, who may or may not turn lights on and off with any consistency, businesses can use dusk to dawn lighting to manage their office’s light needs. By “instinctively” understanding when light is needed and when it isn’t, dusk to dawn lighting controls are able to turn lights on only when its appropriate and off always when it isn’t.

Dusk to Dawn Lighting Reduces Costs

A happy consequence of being efficient, dusk to dawn lighting also reduces costs.

Since they automatically shut off fixtures when they are not needed, dusk to dawn lighting controls conserve electricity, enabling companies to save the money that they would have wasted on unnecessary energy consumption for other purposes.

Furthermore, because most dusk to dawn lighting features LED technology, they inherently consume less energy anyway, further facilitating the stretching of utility budgets.

Dusk to Dawn Lighting is Reliable

Finally, dusk to dawn lighting is reliable. You probably don’t think about light unless you don’t have enough of it. Dusk to dawn lighting controls make light available every single time light is needed, regardless of whether or not an actual person is there to flip a switch. In the mornings, for instance, dusk to dawn lighting ensures that every employee is greeted with a well-lit workplace — not just the ones arriving after the one who arrived first and turned all the lights on! In the evenings, it guarantees that everyone leaves from a well-lit building and during the day, it can be programmed to provide progressive lighting options, using automatic dimmers to further enhance reliable visibility for a number of other situations, such as during powerpoint presentations.

Want to Learn More?

Automating your office lighting with dusk to dawn lighting controls is just one way to maximize your office’s operating budget. To learn about other options for creating a physical space that yields actionable ROI, please contact Key Interiors.

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Office Design

The Dark Side of Home Renovation Shows: What No One Wants You to Know About Remodels and Renovations

the dark side of home renovation shows

Renovation shows are all the rage nowadays. Starting with “This Old House” in 1979 and then taking firm root in the mid-1990s with the creation of HGTV, they have blossomed into the wide range of programming options available today. Programs like “Fixer Upper,” “Love It or List It” and “Property Brothers” are widely known and popular. Unfortunately, however, they often leave viewers with unrealistic expectations, culminating in a pretty picture, but rarely a complete one. Let’s take a look at the dark side of home renovation shows; here’s what they don’t tell you about remodels and renovations:

Cost is Always an Issue

Perhaps the biggest problem with renovation shows is their misrepresentation of a project’s budget. Many times the actual price of materials and labor aren’t itemized for viewers; if they are, they usually reflect a generous discount, offered by manufacturers and contractors who provide their products and services at reduced costs in exchange for increased exposure. This sets viewers up to be disappointed as they begin researching their own projects and learn that $1,000, $10,000 or even $100,000 doesn’t cover nearly as much as they’ve been led to believe.

…and Time is Always a Concern

The dark side of home renovation shows also conspires to hide the realistic nature of time; instead of accurately displaying the extended time it really takes to design, build and accessorize a space (not to mention inspect it for safety), renovation shows

condense construction timelines to nicely fit a 30 minute or hour-long programming slot. They neglect to mention various steps of the design and construction phases and ignore possible (probable) delays that would extend the time needed to complete a project. In fact, most falsely depict full scale remodels that would take months (or even years) to finish as capable of being realized in just a few weeks (or sometimes just a day)!

Furnishing and Interior Decor Can Be Easily Sourced 

Watch a remodeling program and you’ll likely be under the impression that furnishings and other decor elements and materials are always at hand. The truth, though, is that sourcing the various elements that complete a construction/design project is never easy. Various obstacles can even make finding basic items like lumber, bar joists and installation a complicated and lengthy process. Couple that with the supply chain issues  that are causing at least a two month shipping delay for furniture and other decor items that really make a home or office space stand out, and you can get seriously frustrated pretty easily. 

There’s No Such Thing as DIY

The final fallacy of home office renovation shows is the idea that viewers can replace professionals. The reality is remodeling is hard. While there might be a few steps an average viewer could tackle alone, partnering with a professional makes renovation a much more feasible enterprise. Even when it appears that DIY could be or is an option during a renovation, shows always have professionals behind the scenes answering questions and helping the show’s guests finish their task(s). 

The Key Interiors Advantage

The dark side of home renovation shows doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever attempt a home or office remodel. You just need to be smart. If you realize that these shows create illusions rather than reality, you are better equipped to imagine and achieve realistic results. Of course, a professional design partner helps. The experience and expertise of our designers here at Key Interiors, for instance, enable our clients to design, build and furnish their spaces in a way that meets their budget and magnifies their personal aesthetics. And we do it according to a timely schedule. Please contact us to learn more about the positive — bright — side of good design!

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covid compliant design Office Design Office Renovation

5 Tips for Returning to the Office: Air Quality Testing, Ventilation and More

air quality testing

2022 is upon us and for many that means a return to a physical office. Whether you’ve been out since the beginning of the pandemic or just had a few weeks off for the holidays, the safety of indoor spaces is likely on your mind. Despite COVID’s seemingly lessening effects, the Omicron variant is more contagious than previous coronavirus strains, meaning it’s even more critical that businesses do all they can to ensure a healthy work environment for their employees. Indeed, there are many other kinds of contaminants (besides viruses) that make certain measures (like air quality testing and other precautions) a necessary responsibility of companies operating out of a physical building. Here are a few tips to help protect your employees’ health in an office setting even if — when — a pandemic isn’t raging:

Schedule Air Quality Testing

Pollutants are everywhere and include germs and other biological contaminants, as well as any natural or manmade substances that adversely impact the environment and those living (and/or working) within it. In fact, some of the most deadly pollutants exist in the air. Both invisible and odorless, these pollutants are tiny, capable of penetrating the lungs (or other bodily systems) and causing disease. Thus, it’s important that air quality testing is routine and ongoing within a workplace. Depending on the size of the office, companies should invest in either commercial or consumer air quality testing monitors that continuously measure the amount of certain pollutants. There are many types of air quality testing tools, capable of testing for any number of contaminants, including but not limited to carbon monoxide, radon, smoke and more.

Install Proper Ventilation

Of course, securing positive air quality testing results depends on proper ventilation. In plainest terms, ventilation is the purposeful transfer of outside air into a space. The delivery of fresh air lessens the concentration of indoor air pollutants, improving the overall quality of the interior air supply. Ideally, a good HVAC system should be installed during a building’s construction, but there are additional ways to enhance ventilation after occupancy, as well, such as regularly replacing and/or using HEPA filters; adjusting dampers so that more air is moved through heavily populated rooms; constantly running fans (either individual units or those incorporated within then HVAC system itself); and opening doors and windows when possible.

Hire a Cleaner

Of course, routine cleaning is paramount, as well. A dedicated cleaning person (or cleaning service) ensures that offices are regularly sanitized and as free of germs as possible.

Think about a Mask Mandate

You can also consider asking employees and visitors coming into your office to wear a mask. The CDC recommends using masks to help control the spread of communicable diseases like COVID-19, and it’s likely that many people will continue wearing masks while in public even after the pandemic ends.

Partner with a Professional Interior Design Team

Finally, there are many ways to enhance the safety of an office with simple interior design choices. Partnering with a professional interior design firm like Key Interiors makes it easy for you to improve your office’s air quality and better safeguard your employee’s health. With professional direction, you can choose low-VOC paints and fabrics; hypoallergenic furnishings; anti-microbial fixtures; and more. Our designers at Key Interiors, for instance, have decades of experience helping clients use design features that maximize both the utility, as well as the safety, of their spaces. Please contact us to learn more about using interior design elements not only to boost employee productivity and morale, but to protect the well-being of everyone entering your company’s doors.

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flooring noisy workplace office design practices

Using Flooring as Office Noise Control with Broadloom Carpet

Using Flooring as Office Noise Control with Broadloom Carpet

Research indicates that noise is becoming a significant problem in the workplace. According to one study, “63 percent of employees say they lack quiet space for focused work, which has a negative effect on their productivity, satisfaction and well-being.” It’s a shocking revelation, one that has serious repercussions (pun intended!), especially since little is being done to remedy workplace noise issues. Indeed, the same study found that “a mere 6% percent of executives report having equipped their office with noise mitigating features.” With little respite from noise distractions, employees are less productive, often irritable and “more likely to say they may leave their [positions] in the next six months.” The good news is that there are relatively easy solutions to correct office noise, one of the best of which is changing out the flooring. Broadloom carpet, in particular, is a great option for reducing noise. Here’s what you need to know about using broadloom carpet for noise control:

What is Broadloom Carpet?

Broadloom carpet is a tufted textile floor covering that is installed across the expanse of a room, from one wall to the other. Originally, it was handwoven on an extra large, traditionally-styled loom, but today broadloom carpet is most often mass-produced via a mechanical loom, usually in widths of 12 to 15 feet. Various materials can be used to make broadloom carpet, including wool, sisal and various synthetic fibers like polyester, nylon and olefin. The heavier, more tightly packed the fibers of the carpet, the more effective it will be at noise reduction.

Broadloom Carpet Absorbs Sound 

Sound is a type of energy produced by the vibration of objects within a liquid (like water), solid (like the ground) or gas (like the air). The faster the vibration, the louder the sound. However, sound waves are impacted by the density of the medium in which they occur, so placing anything in the path of sound waves effectively slows the frequency of their vibration, reducing their amplitude and lessening their sound by the time they reach our ears. Carpets covering a large area have millions of fibers that absorb the energy of the sound waves instead of distributing them. Add a pad underneath the carpet and the vibrations decrease even more. The result: less sound wave movement and less unwanted sound (a.k.a. “noise”)!

Broadloom Carpet Reduces Floor Impact Noise

Furthermore, carpet helps reduce impact noise up over 20 decibels. The wide coverage offered by broadloom carpet helps insulate the force of impact made by footsteps, falling objects and the movement of chairs as they strike a floor, thus reducing the sound waves emitted with each impact and dampening the noise that each of those impacts make.

Broadloom Carpet Helps Control Reverberation

Finally, broadloom carpet inhibits the reverberation of sound waves. Reverberation occurs when sound waves bounce off objects in a medium rather than being absorbed by them. The repetition of these sound waves creates even more noise by the time they reach our ears. As mentioned, however, broadloom carpet absorbs sound rather than reflects it, thereby controlling unwanted sound reverberation.

The Key Interiors Advantage

Broadloom carpet is a great solution for controlling noise in many instances, but there are also other options available. To learn more about using interior and exterior office design to control noise in your office space, please contact our team at Key Interiors.

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office design practices office redesign Office Renovation

The Best Wall Cladding for Modern Offices

The Best Wall Cladding for Modern Offices

Wall cladding is a type of decorative feature used to cover the face of a wall. It involves the application of one type of material over another and, in most instances, does not provide any functional benefit other than sometimes delivering insulating and/or protective effects (especially when installed on exterior structures). When installed on interior walls, wall cladding basically serves as an artistic focal point, concealing and/or embellishing the surface of a wall in some way. Here’s what you need to know about using wall cladding in modern offices:

Types of Wall Cladding

Wall cladding can be made of various — and numerous — types of materials, from wood, stone and other organic elements to composite and/or manmade substances like plastic, concrete and certain fabrics, ceramics and more. The type of material(s) best suited for modern commercial or home office use is really just a matter of taste, but should be chosen based on the following considerations:

  • Function. As mentioned, most interior wall cladding is primarily decorative in purpose. It is meant to add interest and energy to a space. Sometimes, however, offices might need to insulate themselves from temperature and/or noise disturbances. Determining the purpose of using wall cladding as part of your design will enable you to pick the right material for its creation.

  • Location. Theoretically, wall cladding could cover every wall in your office. We don’t recommend that approach since it obviously takes away the intrinsic “wow” factor of having it only in a select one or two areas. Instead, we suggest picking an existing wall in a high traffic area where the wall cladding can be showcased and/or where it contributes to a specific purpose (such as offering sound insulation or protection from the constant movement of passersby).

  • Style. You also want to maintain the style of the office as a whole, picking a wall cladding that complements the surrounding decor and doesn’t distract from it. If your office has an industrial aesthetic with lots of clean lines, glass and metal, you might not want to add pastel wall cladding into the mix. Similarly, you probably don’t want to use plastic wall cladding in an office centered around a biophilic theme.

  • Budget. Of course, most people need to think about the expenses associated with adding wall cladding to their office design plan. The range of materials available means wall cladding can run the gamut in cost. Furthermore, while relatively easy to install, wall cladding can be difficult to remove, causing damage to the wall that a cheap paint job can’t resolve. Consider your budget and pick the wall cladding material that matches it.

  • Maintenance and Durability. Finally, the best wall cladding is durable and easy to maintain, lasting for as long as you need it so that you don’t have to waste unnecessary time or money for its upkeep. This doesn’t mean you have to spend alot; plastic wall cladding, for instance, can be very affordable with the added benefit of being highly durable and easy to clean!

Ready to Learn More?

Picking the best wall cladding for your modern office design doesn’t have to be difficult. While the sheer number of options available might seem overwhelming, an experienced design firm can help you weigh the pros and cons of each and settle on the wall cladding design that matches your needs, as well as your budget. Please contact our team of designers at Key Interiors to learn more.

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Dental Office Renovation office design practices office redesign Office Renovation

The Ideal Dental Office Layout and How to Achieve It

The Ideal Dental Office Layout

The ideal workspace is frequently elusive. After all, different people have different needs. A teacher necessarily considers his or her classroom in a different light than a corporate CEO views his or her office. An architect will need something different from a banker, who will, in turn, want something different, as well. The needs and priorities of individuals, as well as the demands of the job(s) being performed in the space, means no two office layouts should ever be identical. That being said, there are commonalities, especially when dealing with the design of offices in a particular industry, that make working in a space more efficient and a lot more comfortable. Take dentistry, for example. After decades of experience, our team of designers at Key Interiors knows what dentists want and need in a dental office layout. Take a look:

The Ideal Dental Office Layout

Dental offices are shared among the professionals providing dental office services (i.e., dentists, hygienists and clerical assistants) and, of course, the patients needing those services. As such, the ideal dental office layout must satisfy the needs of wide range of people, each of whom has multiple and extremely varied needs and objectives. The goal, then, is to accommodate the majority of those needs in a way that invites and encourages employees and patients alike to enter, find useful and enjoy being in the space.

How to Create an Ideal Dental Office Layout

While no one specific layout works for all dental practices, our designers at Key Interiors have pinpointed certain criteria that should be prioritized during any dental office design. Adhering to these best practices helps ensure a dental office layout that meets the needs of the greatest number of people visiting the space. 

    • Focus on Creating an Upscale Environment with Modern Decor

      First and foremost, dental offices cater to patients. Without patients, there isn’t a need for an office at all! Unfortunately, however, a lot of people don’t like going to the dentist for checkups, and it can be hard even to get them through the front door especially if they’re met with outdated, uncomfortable decor. Vertical blinds; bright, fluorescent lighting; hard, oak furniture; dusty faux foliage and the like are hardly a draw. But if dental offices are well-lit, hospitable places, it follows that more people might be willing to visit. Focus on adding contemporary features to your dental office layout such as soft, natural lighting, Wi-Fi access, a coffee machine, comfortable, clean seating and pleasant artwork so that patients are engaged and physically at ease during a dental office visit.

    • Focus on Function

      A good dental office layout is also one that makes the best use of the space at hand. This doesn’t mean that every square inch of a building or suite needs to be dedicated to a specific task: for storage, waiting, treatment, etc. It simply means that you have thought about how you will use the totality of the space in question and have a plan for keeping each area of the design dedicated to its original purpose so that other areas remain free of unnecessary clutter.

    • Focus on Privacy

      Privacy is always a concern during any health service encounter. While dentistry is not as preoccupied with confidentiality as a medical care provider might be, the industry as a whole does aim to maintain a certain level of privacy for all dental patients. No one likes to be on display during a dental procedure and no one wants the details of his or her care to be shared with the masses. Design your dental office layout so that patients feel sheltered and safe to ensure that you’re on your way to an ideal workspace!

Want to Learn More?

To bolster the efficiency and effectiveness of any dental office layout, it’s also recommended that you partner with a reputable and knowledgeable design firm. Our team at Key Interiors, for example, has decades of experience designing dental office layouts for practices of all sizes. We help our clients make the most of the spaces they have, ensuring that their dental office layouts impress patients; boost employee morale; improve work productivity; and reduce unnecessary overhead. Please contact us to learn how we can help you, too.

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breakroom design office design practices office redesign Office Renovation

How an Office Couch Can Improve Workplace Happiness

Today’s best workplaces provide more than space for people to work. They create an experience, with modern office design elements being used to improve the psychological — and sometimes even the physical — well-being of the people inside. Research indicates that the smallest design detail can make a big difference in employee engagement, efficiency and productivity and can attract (or repel) clients and future partners alike. Furniture, in particular, has been shown to directly affect office functionality in a way that often impacts its bottomline. For instance, take a look at how a single piece of furniture, the office couch, can bolster employee happiness and, ultimately, improve a company’s ROI:

An Office Couch Encourages Togetherness

A couch probably isn’t the first piece of furniture that comes to mind when thinking about how to furnish an office space (unless you’re in the counseling business). However, having a couch in a room establishes the expectation that people will be gathering there and, therefore, need a place to sit. A couch encourages community, physically bringing together individuals so that they can more easily communicate with one another and hopefully build meaningful relationships. And meaningful relationships, according to an ongoing Harvard study, are the key to happiness.

An Office Couch Encourages Productivity

In addition to encouraging healthy personal relationships, an office couch makes it easy for colleagues to have conversations with one another, especially when there are few personal offices and/or conference rooms in which to meet. Even when a dedicated meeting space is available, oftentimes meeting on a couch is a less formal option than sitting around a large table or behind a desk, making it easier for workers to avoid perceived hierarchies and instead focus on collaboration and teamwork. The benefit: less stress, improved productivity and better outcomes.

 

An Office Couch Provides Comfort

Finally, working at a desk all day can be a drag, for the body, as well as the mind. The right type of office couch allows employees the option of moving from their chair to a more comfortable spot. Indeed, not only does an office couch motivate them to get up and walk, breaking up the monotony of the day, it can provide the physical support that their bodies need to relax (even if it’s just for a few moments). Approximately 59% of people in one study (summarized here) said that taking “breaks [during the workday] would improve their work happiness, and 43% said it would boost their personal happiness.” That’s a significant number of people who could benefit from adding an office couch to their work environment!

Want to Learn More?

Adding an office couch to the workplace can improve the mood of employees, thus facilitating a boost in performance that burgeons a company’s bottom line. But an office couch isn’t the only design element able to benefit a business’s growth. To learn more about optimizing office design so that your company makes the most of the resources available to it, please contact our team at Key Interiors. For over 70 years we have been providing our clients with innovative design options that translate into profitable business solutions.

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breakroom design office design practices office redesign Office Renovation

How to Keep Your Sanity During Commercial Office Renovations

Renovations are stressful. The very nature of the word “renovation” means you are actively repairing something, addressing a problem and, thus, adding to the magnitude of the project as a whole. Make it a commercial office renovation (as opposed to a residential one), and the stress can quadruple, with property owners having to work around the schedules of tenants, staff and clients, not just construction crews. Our team at Key Interiors has helped hundreds of clients complete commercial office renovations;  here’s what we recommend to ensure that you keep your sanity during the process:

Define Your Issue(s) 

A renovation seeks to fix one or more specific issues within a space, updating it to reflect modern design and decor and/or restoring it so that it functions at an optimal level for current needs while remaining up to code and safe to occupy. Typical issues addressed with a renovation project include:

– Outdated furniture and decor
– Nonfunctional windows and doors
– Worn flooring, trim and paint
– Lighting problems
– Limited storage
– And more!

Before you consider anything else pertaining to a commercial office renovation, you need to establish the type of problem you have with your building or office space. Is it dark and unwelcoming? Have lead paint? Drafty and need new windows? The problem could be anything, but trust us, your commercial office renovation will run a lot more smoothly and you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches if you have a firm grasp on what you want to accomplish before you begin. (It also helps you with our next tip.)

Create a Plan

A plan is an essential part of any project, but creating one isn’t always intuitive, especially if you aren’t knowledgeable in construction and/or design techniques. That’s why it’s helpful to partner with an expert at the beginning of a commercial office renovation. A skilled design firm can validate (or not) your concerns and help you devise a plan of action. Our professionals at Key Interiors, for example, work with each of our clients to develop an actionable commercial office renovation plan that is unique and specific to the problem at hand. We also oversee the execution of those plans, managing every renovation project so that tasks are completed in a timely fashion and according to an established sequence of events. Oftentimes, the hardest part of renovating a space is coordinating the various phases of construction with all the people involved. This is especially true when there are employees, tenants and others with — and around — which construction and design teams must work. An experienced partner understands realistic timeframes and deadlines and can help you make sense of the budget, time and safety demand specific to commercial office renovation projects.

 

Commit to Communication

A good plan depends on good communication. To stay sane during a commercial office renovation, remember to talk to (and listen to!) the people around you. If the office space will have inhabitants during the renovation process, be sure to give them enough time before the project begins to digest how, when and why their lives will be disrupted over the upcoming months. Discuss with them the goal of the project, as well as the projected schedule for the phases of its completion, and continue to remain in touch throughout the project’s duration so that everyone involved can form reasonable expectations and better deal with it if plans change!

Expect Problems to Arise

And, of course, the best-laid plans can — and usually do — go awry. Unforeseen circumstances, such as shipping delays, worker shortages, order errors, and even pandemics(!), can all cause potential setbacks to your schedule to occur. Recognizing ahead of time that these types of events can and will happen enables you to have a backup plan in place, allowing you to roll with the punches more quickly and with less stress.

The Key Interior Advantage

Preparation is the best tool for staying sane during a commercial office renovation. Our team of design experts at Key Interiors can provide the design advice and business

support you need to adequately prepare for any type of commercial office renovation project.  We not only understand form and function, we actualize creative yet practical ideas for maximum effect. Please contact us to learn more.

 

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Collaborative Workspace door window glass door coverings Office Renovation

6 Benefits of Using Door Window Coverings in the Office

Doors create physical division between spaces, both restricting and facilitating movement from one place to another. There are many types of doors, from heavy, exterior access ones that provide protection against the outside world to less sturdy interior doors that are used to separate rooms. They can be solid or hollow, paneled or plain. They can slide or swing or roll open. The variety of doors is almost endless, with 

an array of materials (such as wood, metal, fiberglass and more) used to construct any number of unique entrances and exits. In office settings, in particular, doors are frequently made of glass or have windows in them. The clean, modern look of glass is often viewed as the epitome of sophistication, signaling organic strength by physically illuminating the space it surrounds. Unfortunately, glass doors (and doors with windows in them) can pose a number of problems, effecting the way a space functions and the way people inside of it work. The good news is that many of those problems can be remedied with door window coverings. Take a look at six benefits of using door window coverings in the office:

Increased Privacy 

Doors limit interruptions, hiding people from outside distractions so that they can exist in peace. When there is a window in the door to a room, however, the people (and objects) inside are still capable of being seen. Thus, adding a door window covering is a good way to restore the door’s ability to conceal the space behind it, increasing privacy for workers both inside and outside the space.

Added Versatility

Of course, having a window in a door can be useful in some scenarios. Managers might like to see office happenings from the comfort of their desk. Visitors might like to peek in before deciding to enter. However, no one wants to feel as if they are on display all the time. Door window coverings give offices the option to change views depending on the type of window covering they choose to install.

 

Enhanced Noise Control

Door window coverings also enable enhanced noise control, insulating a space from sounds that occur around it. For instance, thick, heavy fabric has been shown to reduce noise and can be used to create various types of custom door window coverings.

Protection Against UV Rays

There are physical benefits of adding door window coverings, as well. Research shows that sun rays penetrate glass. Adding door window coverings, especially to exterior doors, helps to block harmful UV radiation and protects people from skin and eye damage and even cancer!

Better Light Control

Naturally, door window coverings offer the opportunity for controlling the amount of light in a space. Adjustable shades and blinds can be installed, allowing offices to take advantage of daytime light, yet still manage glare, as well as create a dark environment when needed (such as during powerpoint presentations). Optimal lighting conditions help boost employee morale and improve workplace productivity

Improved Aesthetics

Finally, door window coverings can be used to invigorate a space, adding color, texture and personality to what otherwise could be a drab area. Incorporating curtains, drapes, blinds, shutters or any other type of window covering into an office space is a relatively easy way to customize a room, showcasing to employees and visitors that you value design, as well as function!

The Key Interiors Advantage

Partnering with a professional office design firm is the best way to effectively meld your own business needs with creative — and useful — decor. To learn how you can maximize your budget and fashion a functional, beautiful place to work, please contact our team of design experts today.

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breakroom design Collaborative Workspace Space Planning

3 Tips for Choosing Breakroom Furniture

 

A company’s breakroom plays an important part in employee wellness, offering a space not just for workers to grab a bite to eat, but a place for them to relax, connect with colleagues and ultimately recharge so that they can face new challenges throughout the day. Studies show that even small breaks interrupt the monotony of daily work-life, improving employees’ overall job satisfaction and increasing their productivity. Thus, one of the best ways for companies to show they value and respect their employees is to provide them with a comfortable, functional breakroom that allows them to periodically unwind and then regroup for the tasks ahead. Here are three tips for choosing breakroom furniture that employees will use and appreciate:

Prioritize Functionality 

Think about what your employees want out of a space and try to incorporate the type of breakroom furniture and other design elements and that will facilitate those objectives. For instance, coffee is an important part of Swedish culture, with Swedish workers taking 15 minutes in the morning, as well as the afternoon, to enjoy a cup with their colleagues. A breakroom in Sweden, then, will necessarily need to accommodate the presence of multiple people, multiple times as day. Coffeemakers, tables and chairs will need to be provided for employees using them en masse, rather than individually. Smaller companies, however, might well get by with only a single table and chairs set. Whatever the case, it’s vital to include breakroom furniture that is durable, comfortable and suitable for the activities for which the room will be used.

Consider Versatility

Remember, too, that there will be people of all types using the breakroom. While you don’t need to — and can’t — cater to everyone, you can provide breakroom furniture that is flexible in its use and purpose. Instead of fixed tables or built-in seating, think about providing compact, moveable pieces that can be rearranged as needed. After all, not everyone will want to sit at a communal table. Some might prefer a quiet seat in a corner where they can escape small talk and lounge in peace. A combination of single and multi-seat options, both plush and structured, will allow all employees to find a seat that suits their bodies, as well as their personalities.

 

Remember Aesthetics

Of course, no one wants to escape to a dingy, ugly room. Just because breakroom furniture needs to be functional and versatile, it doesn’t mean it can’t also be pretty! Attractive, well-made breakroom furniture will draw people into the space, encouraging them to use it and, thus, encouraging overall improved employee productivity.

Want to Learn More?

To learn more about office design and choosing breakroom furniture that boosts morale and expresses dedication to your employees while showcasing your company’s own unique style, please contact our design team at Key Interiors. We work with our clients to create a design plan that matches their needs with their resources, enabling them to provide a better working environment for everyone involved. 

Click Here to check out some of our most recent office renovation and design projects!

References:

https://smallbiztrends.com/2021/04/breakroom-furniture.html

https://www.carrollseating.com/casework-millwork/choosing-break-room-furniture-your-staff-will-love/

https://www.residencestyle.com/tips-to-choose-furniture-for-an-office-break-room/

https://www.quill.com/content/index/resource-center/office-furniture-tips-ideas/buying-guides/how-to-choose-the-right-seating-for-your-break-room/

https://www.thegenaugroup.com/selecting-office-furniture-tips/

https://officefurnitureonline.com/break-room-and-kitchen-furniture/

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20190312-the-tiny-breaks-that-ease-your-body-and-reboot-your-brain

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20160112-in-sweden-you-have-to-stop-work-to-chat

https://www.inc.com/young-entrepreneur-council/5-reasons-your-office-design-really-does-matter.html

Categories
Collaborative Workspace modern office design noisy workplace Office Design Office Renovation Space Planning workstation design

Improve Your Office’s Privacy with a Cubicle Door

Modern office design is all about matching business needs with employee well-being. There is no one right or wrong workplace plan, as every company has unique needs that influence the choice of individual design elements. But these needs can — and do — change over time. Thus, a good office design is one that can evolve to meet new demands when they occur! At some point, an open floorplan might be suitable. At other times, it might make more sense to have individual offices or team-sharing suites. Of course, there is always the cubicle layout, a popular office design born in the 1960s that many organizations still make use of today. Indeed, approximately 60% of American workers spend their work lives inside a cubicle. And while that might have worked well without any modifications 50 years ago, today’s employees often want a different type of workplace setting to facilitate their highest level of productivity. The good news is that companies don’t have to initiate a complete office redesign to ensure employee wellness or efficiency. Oftentimes, a small office renovation can do the trick, such as adding cubicle doors. Cubicle doors can improve your office’s privacy without costing you a lot of money or downtime. Here’s why that’s important:

Privacy Often Equals Safety

Personal space is a valuable commodity. It not only helps protect us from physical dangers, it helps shield us from mental stress and discomfort. During a pandemic, personal space also helps keep us away from germs. An easy way to provide more privacy in an office, and, thus, further ensure that your employees are mentally and physically safeguarded, is to add a cubicle door to each cubicle station, separating employees so they are less exposed and are able to concentrate more fully on their work.

Privacy Preserves Security 

Adding a cubicle door to a cubicle means both corporate data and employees’ own personal details are kept confidential. Information security is a big deal these days, with federal and state regulations tightly controlling the way customer information is stored and shared. Creating a barrier between employees and the rest of the office allows companies to protect sensitive data from prying eyes, as well as allows employees the space they need to conduct personal affairs without an audience.

 

Privacy Inspires Creativity 

Privacy also inspires creativity by providing a quiet, restful space for reflection, discovery and innovation. A cubicle door closes off employees from the chaos of the surrounding work environment, permitting them uninterrupted time to concentrate on the work at hand, think outside the box and, hopefully, develop new insights. The result: increased ingenuity and productivity!

The Key Advantage

Research shows that natural sunlight improves employee health, boosting their mood, improving their sleep patterns and encouraging longer nightime sleep duration, better sleep quality and more physical activity for those with access to natural light during working hours when compared to those without it. To foster a zen office design, remove obstructive window coverings and/or arrange mirrors to reflect light where needed. You could repaint walls using white or light colors to help brighten the room, as well.

Focus on People, Not Things

The real focus of any zen office design is people, not things. Many traditional office designs center around workplace efficiency, arranging square footage in ways that maximize workflow. Zen office design, however, puts the needs of people above the needs of the company, connecting people to each other instead of to a specific area or item or any particular aesthetic ideal.

Add in Decorative Accents

A peaceful environment soothes the senses. Think about adding a water feature, artwork, and plants to generate a relaxing tone throughout the office space. The sound of moving water, coupled with living plants, evokes a feeling of serenity that science shows can “reduce stress and increase creativity and focus,” all desired results of any zen office design. To the same end, pretty artwork can also be added with little effort.

 

The Key Advantage 

Of course, an experienced office design partner helps companies explore all types of design elements, suggesting the best ones to match any and all issue(s). To learn more about adding cubicle doors to your company’s office design or other possible design features that might improve your employee’s well-being and/or efficiency, please contact Key Interiors.

References:

https://nuserve.co.uk/news/5-steps-achieve-complete-office-zen

https://news.northwestern.edu/stories/2014/08/natural-light-in-the-office-boosts-health

https://www.environmentsatwork.com/workplace-trends/get-zen-effective-workspace-design-fosters-well-being/

https://blog.vantagefit.io/create-zen-office/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/augustturak/2012/03/15/zen-leadership-the-toughest-best-business-decision-i-ever-made/?sh=38d9537e7c9a

https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrismyers/2017/06/14/how-to-master-the-art-of-zen-leadership/?sh=f5f53e433bbb

https://www.healthline.com/health/natural-light-benefits#ways-to-get-more-sunlight

https://som.medium.com/for-a-better-workplace-put-people-first-2d3dcabc5f30

https://theconversation.com/not-just-nice-to-have-nature-in-the-workplace-makes-employees-happier-and-healthier-80077

Categories
Office Design Office Furnishing Office Renovation Space Planning workstation design

What to Do When Employees Request a Zen Office Design

Zen refers to a state of calmness where a person can be guided by his or her inituition. It has become a buzzword in the business world, with terms like “zen business,” “zen leadership,” “zen office” and the like being used when employees (or companies) want to focus on well-being, creativity and productivity. The belief is that a company’s policies and procedures — even its atmosphere right down to its physical setting, as well as its furniture — can be used to initiate peace and harmony amongst employees, thereby enabling them to be healthier, more engaged and more effective in their work lives. This is what to do if your employees are suddenly requesting a zen office design:

Don’t Panic

Fortunately, designing a zen office doesn’t have to involve a complete office overhaul. There are plenty of design options available for reimagining established spaces and using existing fittings and fixtures in new ways. None of them has to be expensive or disruptive to normal business functioning!

De-Clutter

One of the easiest ways to quickly facilitate a zen office design is to clear out all unnecessary objects and debris from the office itself. File away papers, straighten desktops and hide cables and cords. A clean and ordered space allows workers to focus on the work at hand and not the chaos of their surroundings.

Let in Light

Research shows that natural sunlight improves employee health, boosting their mood, improving their sleep patterns and encouraging longer nightime sleep duration, better sleep quality and more physical activity for those with access to natural light during working hours when compared to those without it. To foster a zen office design, remove obstructive window coverings and/or arrange mirrors to reflect light where needed. You could repaint walls using white or light colors to help brighten the room, as well.

Focus on People, Not Things

The real focus of any zen office design is people, not things. Many traditional office designs center around workplace efficiency, arranging square footage in ways that maximize workflow. Zen office design, however, puts the needs of people above the needs of the company, connecting people to each other instead of to a specific area or item or any particular aesthetic ideal.

Add in Decorative Accents

A peaceful environment soothes the senses. Think about adding a water feature, artwork, and plants to generate a relaxing tone throughout the office space. The sound of moving water, coupled with living plants, evokes a feeling of serenity that science shows can “reduce stress and increase creativity and focus,” all desired results of any zen office design. To the same end, pretty artwork can also be added with little effort.

 

Want to Learn More?

Creating a zen office design plan doesn’t have to be a daunting endeavor. You can start small and add in design elements based on any type of time or budget constraints; you can also partner with an experienced commercial design firm like Key Interiors. We can help you reconfigure your space to maximize zen-like qualities, or we can work with you to imagine a zen office from scratch. Please contact our office to learn more about creating a zen office design that matches your vision, as well as your resources.

References:

https://nuserve.co.uk/news/5-steps-achieve-complete-office-zen

https://news.northwestern.edu/stories/2014/08/natural-light-in-the-office-boosts-health

https://www.environmentsatwork.com/workplace-trends/get-zen-effective-workspace-design-fosters-well-being/

https://blog.vantagefit.io/create-zen-office/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/augustturak/2012/03/15/zen-leadership-the-toughest-best-business-decision-i-ever-made/?sh=38d9537e7c9a

https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrismyers/2017/06/14/how-to-master-the-art-of-zen-leadership/?sh=f5f53e433bbb

https://www.healthline.com/health/natural-light-benefits#ways-to-get-more-sunlight

https://som.medium.com/for-a-better-workplace-put-people-first-2d3dcabc5f30

https://theconversation.com/not-just-nice-to-have-nature-in-the-workplace-makes-employees-happier-and-healthier-80077

 
Categories
Office Design Office Furnishing workstation design

3 Things You Should Know about Custom Millwork for Your Office

Whether we like it or not, appearances matter. First impressions go a long way, and for companies, especially, if you’re not making a good one, you’re losing the interest of potential customers, clients and employees and costing yourself valuable business. One of the easiest ways to positively influence an initial meeting with prospective clients or employees is to create a comfortable, beautiful office. Research shows that the first seven seconds of an encounter influences a person’s eventual perception of it. Apparently, the brain makes snap judgements before a person even becomes aware of his or her thoughts. Thus, consider this: it’s highly likely that any time you meet someone in your office, it will take them at least seven seconds to cross your office threshold, providing ample time for you to influence their impression of your company before they even catch sight of you, your product(s) or your brand. The color of your walls, your decor, your furniture — your office — is frequently the first thing people notice. Make it as unique and special as possible — with custom millwork, for example — and you’re on your way to a great first impression!

Custom Millwork Sets Your Office Apart from the Competition

Custom millwork includes any type of building product that is produced in a mill. Items such as doors, molding, trim and paneling, as well as specially-designed shelving, cabinets and storage units are all examples of millwork, bespoke items that add to the functionality and/or the beauty of an individual space. Choosing to add custom millwork options to your office design immediately signals that you are different from everyone else.

Custom Millwork Maximizes Your Office Layout

Tailor-made details enable you to utilize every square inch of a space, increasing the functionality of your office’s layout and design. Furthermore, custom millwork can be used to custom fit everything from desks and chairs to windows, doors and cabinetry so that the end product(s) match your exact needs, as well as your own personal aesthetics.

Custom Millwork Adds Value

Store-bought furniture and generic design elements can’t match the quality and craftsmanship of custom millwork. Adding made-to-order milled pieces to your office increases the value of your space since they will last longer and work better than those that are mass-produced. In addition, custom millwork impresses people, often adding intangible value to your overall brand, as well!

Want to Learn More?

For more information about using custom millwork in your office, please contact our team of designers at Key Interiors. As a full-service design, construction, and furnishing firm, Key Interiors can provide custom millwork, cabinetry, and finishes to fir your next project! 

Custom millwork can be added to a new construction design, but it can also be used to enhance a space, negating the need for a full-scale remodel. The possibilities are endless, and a great first impression can be just around the corner! Take a look at our Project Portfolio to get some ideas and see our latest work. 

You might also wish to download our free eBook, “Modern Office Design,” for additional office design tips, as well.

Categories
ceiling design industrial office design layout Office Design office design practices office layout Office Renovation Space Planning work environment

3 HVAC Tips for Climate Controlling Your Office

 

The quality of the air inside commercial buildings, schools and other places of business directly impacts the comfort and health of the people who visit and work within them. That’s why an HVAC system is such an important part of an office’s design. HVAC systems don’t just regulate temperature, they also work to control humidity and remove contaminants, thereby contributing to the overall quality of the air that millions of workers (and patrons) are exposed to everyday. While the government doesn’t actually mandate any specific HVAC tips detailing a range for temperature or humidity control, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) recommends keeping office temperatures between 68°-76° F and humidity in the range of 20%-60%.

In addition, OHSA suggests a variety of other measures to help companies recognize and control safe levels of indoor air contaminants, as well as maximize their ventilation systems. Especially during this current time of COVID, temperate, clean air not only safeguards workers against discomfort, headaches, allergies and other troublesome issues, helping them improve their energy levels and productivity, the right HVAC system can also minimize exposure to dangerous pathogens, preventing disease. Therefore, one of the best ways to stay ahead of problems with indoor air quality is designing an office space that amplifies an HVAC system’s functionality and efficiency from the onset of a building’s occupancy. Here are three HVAC tips for better climate control:

Maximize Ventilation

One of the most important factors affecting climate control, particularly within a large space (such as an office building), is ventilation. Proper ventilation allows outside air to move inside, diluting the concentration of pollutants that might be trapped within a space and circulating air so that the indoor temperature is neither too warm nor too cool. Depending on the specific needs of a building and available resources during construction/remodeling, ventilation can be facilitated via mechanical (supply and exhaust fans), natural (windows, doors and other openings) or mixed-mode processes. Choosing the right ventilation system for the space at hand encourages the movement of clean air into a space, making it easier for building managers to keep the ambient temperature within an office regulated and less polluted with contaminants.

Consider An Energy-Efficient Office Design

The function of any HVAC system can be improved with thoughtful design choices. When laying out an office’s floor plan, think about how you can mitigate the load of its HVAC system. Adding options like automatic light sensors; lower ceilings; extra natural ventilation openings (and adequate treatments to cover them when necessary); landscaping and architectural features that naturally render shade and/or reflect sunlight both inside and around the building can all work to ensure your HVAC is not overworked and, thus, unable to maintain proper functioning.

Maintain Filters and Keep Areas Clean

Another good HVAC tip is to always keep a routine HVAC maintenance schedule that includes the periodic replacement of its air filters. Exchanging old filters for new ones ensures that your HVAC system is never compromised or overloaded and, as a result, remains fully capable of cooling, heating and cleaning the air as needed. 

The Key Interior Advantage

A good office design maximizes an HVAC’s ability to function effectively and efficiently. Even small changes — such as rearranging furniture, adding window blinds or changing the color of paint — can significantly ease the burden on your HVAC system, allowing it to work at full capacity. 

At Key Interiors, our in-house, certified design team can help you redesign your office to get the most out of your HVAC system, and our skilled trade partners can handle any necessary mechanical upgrades.

To learn more HVAC tips for optimal control of the climate in your own office space, please contact our team of experts at Key Interiors.

You might also wish to take a look at our Project Portfolio to get some ideas and see our latest design work. 

Categories
Office Design Office Furnishing workstation design

Benefits of Using Bench Seating in Your Office

Furniture plays an important part in office design. Aesthetically, it can draw people to a space with its beauty. But it can also promote increased productivity and connectivity when carefully chosen for functionality and arranged for comfort. There are hundreds of furniture options, but in this blog we’re going to explore bench seating. Take a look at three important benefits of using bench seating in your office space:

What is Bench Seating?

Bench seating doesn’t actually refer to a bench seat but rather a bench surface. Much like a dining room table, bench seating provides a long expanse of workspace to which employees can pull up individual chairs and complete their work. Over the past few years it has become increasingly popular, although post-Covid that might change as companies search for ways to keep members of their teams further apart and less involved in communal spaces. Nevertheless, the benefits of one long work surface over many individual ones can’t be overlooked.

Bench Seating is Affordable

One of the biggest benefits of using bench seating in your office is its affordability. Not only does bench seating take up less space than individual desks or cubicles — saving you from having to pay for valuable square footage — it accommodates more people, allowing you to have more workers in your space at one time. After all, the cost of doing business is less per employee when you add more people to a smaller space. Furthermore, the streamlined silhouette of bench seating keeps manufacturing and, thus, retail, costs down since there are no extra walls or barriers to make or build.

Bench Seating Inspires Interaction

When utilized appropriately, bench seating allows employees to easily collaborate. With no dividers separating individuals, people are free to interact quickly, sharing ideas in real time rather than having to get up and walk around to collect the information they need. Indeed, the efficiency of this organic sharing of data is compounded in value by the fact that it frequently results in more meaningful insights, as well. The quicker people can communicate, the quicker they can make profitable decisions. 

Bench Seating is Versatile

Unlike many other types of workspace solutions, bench seating is highly versatile, capable of being easily rearranged to accommodate new employees and/or new office objectives within just a few minutes and with just a few (if any!) tools. It’s a lot harder to move walls and cubicles than it is to reposition a table or set out tabletop privacy dividers between employees. And in this crazy time of social distancing, being able to quickly reconfigure an office’s work areas according to changing mandates and safety needs with little effort or expense means companies can keep working and keep producing with the littlest amount of interruption.

Want to Learn More?

To further discuss the pros and cons of using bench seating in your office, please contact our team of design experts at Key Interiors. We work closely with all of our clients to plan a strategy for their office space design that best addresses their own unique needs. Our team can complete the look of your space with functional furniture and exclusive interior finishes that promote connectivity and productivity. 

You might also wish to take a look at our Project Portfolio to get some ideas and see our latest design work. 

Categories
Office Design office redesign

5 Questions to Ask Your Interior Contracting Firm

Two business leaders discuss interior contracting in their office

When it comes to hiring an interior contracting firm, there are a lot of important factors at play. No two interior contractors are the same, so getting one that fits your needs and budget is key. Fortunately, there is a crystal-clear process that any business or individual can use to determine if an interior contracting firm is a good fit. So, let’s take a look at the 5 questions to ask your interior contracting firm!

Can You Create a Design From Scratch?

A lot of people get confused between an interior contractor and an interior designer. Typically, a contractor works off of an existing design, while a designer takes the process from the design phase all the way through construction. As a result, it’s important to ask an interior contracting firm if they can create their own designs.

Some people get started with a contractor and realize that it’s up to them to provide the contractor with a design. Without expertise in interior design, this could leave you in a tough position. Fortunately, many interior contracting firms like Key Interiors can see your project through from start to finish.

Do You Specialize in Residential or Commercial Construction?

Many interior contracting firms have specialties in either residential or commercial interior construction, while others have a solid track record in both. In any case, it’s important to know what the firm is able to do with different spaces. If you’re trying to remodel your house, you probably wouldn’t want a firm that focuses on commercial interiors. On the other hand, if you want to relocate your company’s office, you wouldn’t want an interior contracting firm that specializes in residential designs.

What Kind of Services Do You Offer?

In a sense, this is an extension of the first question. Some interior contracting firms offer design services, while others do not. Similarly, some firms only offer basic construction services, while others offer redesigns, relocations, expansions, and many other services. Even if you just have a simple plan in mind, it’s often best to go with a contracting firm that’s capable of taking on most (if not all) of the different tasks that are involved in your project.

What’s Your Pricing Structure?

This is an incredibly important question. When it comes to cost, it’s easy to find yourself paying too much for subpar service. That’s why you should always confirm the type of services they offer and then ask about pricing. If the cost doesn’t align with the services (or with your budget), then you know you should look elsewhere. Fortunately, many interior contracting firms offer scaled pricing structures to meet the needs of just about any budget.

What’s Your Turnaround Time?

Naturally, the answer to this question is complex. However, a good interior contracting firm will be able to give you an approximate timeline based on the details of your particular project. For example, if you want to expand your current building and redesign the interiors, the interior contracting firm should be able to give you an accurate timeline and an  approximate completion date once they know the scope of what needs to be done.

Want to learn more about hiring an interior contracting firm? Contact the experts at Key Interiors today!

Categories
Office Design Office Renovation

4 Ways to Stop Office Construction Issues Before They Start

Two men in hard hats discuss office construction with a laptop nearby

If you’ve ever managed a construction project, you know that there are a million potential issues that can crop up. From inclement weather to delayed material shipments, there’s no shortage of problems that can cause your office construction to take longer and cost more than it should. Though some issues are unavoidable, many common construction problems could be avoided with proper planning and foresight. So, let’s take a look at the top 4 ways to stop office construction issues before they start. 

Set a Budget Ceiling

While you should always set your budget above the initial projection, you shouldn’t throw endless amounts of cash at a construction project. Some contractors or interior designers will try to upsell you with things that you don’t need, leading to seemingly endless costs. To avoid this problem, set a hard limit on what you’re willing to spend. Don’t be afraid to share this number with your contractor or designer, as it will help them stay on track and on budget.

Get a Designer’s Opinion

You may have a very specific vision in mind for your new office. Unfortunately, it may not work with your budget. It also may not be feasible based on your location and a variety of other factors. So, make sure to get an opinion on your office design before you break ground with the construction crew. A good commercial interior design firm can usually spot poor or impractical designs from a mile away. Even better, a design build firm, like Key Interiors, can cover both pieces of the process from design to build.

Take an Active Role in the Process

A lot of business owners want to hire a construction firm, and once the process is started, walk away until it’s done. While this approach may work, you can avoid potential miscommunications and change orders by staying up-to-date on the construction. This way, you’ll be informed of any potential construction issues before they start, giving you more time to work with your contracting firm to fix them.

Hire a Trusted Office Construction Firm

All of the steps above are pointless if you don’t hire the right business to construct or redesign your office. Some interior construction firms do not have the expertise to build a modern office, while others may have a history of going over-budget. So, do your research in advance. Reach out to multiple firms to get price quotes and timelines. If you take these extra steps, you could end up saving your business a lot of time and money.

If you’d like to learn more about hiring a construction firm for your office, contact the experts at Key Interiors today!

 

Categories
Office Design office redesign

How to Reduce Potential Tax Liabilities with Capital Expenditure Projects

business and office construction leaders discussing capital expenditures

“Unprecedented” is a strong candidate for the unofficial word of the year for 2020. Business leaders have had to face unprecedented challenges, and, as a result, they’ve had to use unprecedented methods to meet them. For many business leaders, this meant –– at least in part –– applying for government assistance in the form of a PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) or EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster) loan. While these loans may have provided businesses with much-needed injections of cash, capital from these loans may now represent a potential tax liability.

Given that fact, today we’ll explain a little more about how this process works, and what business owners can do to reduce potential tax liabilities with capital expenditure projects.

Loans & Profit

Numbers may not lie, but they also may not tell the entire story either. Such is the case with PPP and EIDL loans. Earlier this year, many businesses applied for government loans at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the loans required that businesses use most or all of these loans to cover essential expenses (like payroll), this income still counted as a big chunk of profit on their books without any expenses directly against it. Think about it – almost every time you make money in business, you must spend money. So each piece of income has an expense directly against it – thus resulting in some profit. But with these loans, you got a big check that was entirely profit.

For businesses that struggled through COVID and took a loss in other areas of their business, this extra profit on their books isn’t an issue. For the businesses that actually boomed in this period, such as the residential construction and supply industries, their net profit will be inflated with the infusion of PPP monies. These companies have not only made a profit on their regular business, but they also had a large amount of pure profit come with their forgiven loan.

Of course, businesses are responsible for paying tax on their profits at the end of the year. With such a large amount of profit in their business, they could be due for a whopping tax bill at the beginning of 2021.

Capital Expenditures

Business leaders can choose to invest a portion of their profits into “capital expenditures” to cut down on their profit figure. Capital expenditures are considered purchases that businesses make to improve any assets that they own. So when a business makes an investment into a capital expense like updating an office space or investing in new machinery, computers, or office furniture, this can be at least partially written off as an expense with no direct profit related to it. Because of that, it reduces the overall profit figure and, subsequently, the business’ tax responsibility. Unlike operating expenses, which can be written off the same year as their purchase, capital expenditures go through depreciating value on a year-by-year basis. If a business were to make a significant capital expenditure this year, they would be able to deduct some, but not all, of the amount on their upcoming tax balance sheet.

Please reach out to your accountant and confirm that this expenditure would help you before making any plans for capital expenditures.

A Word from Key Interiors

As we begin to wind down a very unusual year, we do like to remind our clients that putting money into capital expenditure improvements can be a great way to reduce potential tax liabilities. Some of our clients have seen this year’s tax payment jump due to receiving PPP or EIDL money from the US Government. Additionally, some businesses may have an urgent need to alter their office setup in order to meet social-distancing guidelines and ensure the safety of their staff and clientele. (For more information on this subject, you can check out our blog here.) Another reason some businesses have needed to alter their set up is because they have gotten much busier and added staff – increasing the need for updated workflows and more bathroom and break room space. Growing businesses may be compelled to rethink their workspace to accommodate this increase in employees or a larger production outlay.

If any of this sounds like it could apply to your business, then we’d be happy to have a no-obligation call to discuss possible projects that fall under a capital expense category.

At Key Interiors, we have a long history of partnering with a wide range of businesses. Our team will work with yours to improve your business’s office and subsequently boost workplace efficiency to deliver significant return on your investment. You can contact us here for more information or to get started today.

Categories
Office Design reception desk designs waiting room design

Reception Area Design and Build: How to Stick to a Timeline

reception area design by Key Interiors

It’s possible to make an argument that the reception desk is the most important space in any office. Waiting rooms often help form the first impression a client, partner, or new employee has of a company. Additionally, individuals may have to spend 5-10 minutes unattended in a reception area before their appointment begins. So, if your company values getting off on the right foot with visitors, quality reception area design is key.

The most recent need for a reception renovation has been caused by the infamous COVID. Shared spaces in the office environment have been put in the spotlight with a skyrocketing focus on hygiene in the workplace. Office managers and business owners want to redesign their waiting area to have easy-to-clean surfaces and plenty of space for a few people to sit while adhering to social distancing.

Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to schedule much-needed reception renovations. Few businesses can afford to shut down completely for months at a time to complete an office redesign. And reception repairs can be uniquely disruptive to regular business. With that in mind, today we’ll share a few tips on how business leaders can create a renovation schedule –– and stick to it –– when they decide to upgrade their reception area.

Account for Scheduling Variables

When planning an office renovation project, it’s unwise to base your schedule only on the time it will take to complete the actual, physical component of the redesign. That’s because a number of logistical variables can slow down or halt your team’s progress. As such, it’s crucial for business leaders to build variables into their renovation schedule. If you fail to account for material lead times, building permit requirements, engineering issues, lease stipulations, building code standards, bad weather conditions, and/or potential tenant disruptions, then it’s possible (if not likely) that your project will run over schedule. 

Avoid High-Volume Periods

Many businesses follow seasonal patterns. Or, at the very least, most companies experience periods of high and low customer volume. If at all possible, avoid scheduling renovations during weeks/months when you know your team will be busy. Planning a renovation during your off-season can minimize the impact on your day-to-day operations.

Note that some businesses choose to schedule the bulk of their renovations at night or on weekends. While this can help expedite the process, hiring contractors to work outside of “normal” hours will cost a premium. So, keep that in mind.

Utilize Alternative Spaces

Some businesses may be able to make use of temporary office spaces or entrances while renovations take place on their regular reception area. Business leaders may also consider using remote technology to complete check-ins with visitors during reception area renovations. Additionally, having certain staff members work remotely for a period of time could free up extra space to use as a “de-facto” waiting area. This may not be ideal, but it could significantly cut down on your renovation timetable.

Break it Up

Occasionally, a reception area may need a complete overhaul and need it ASAP. More often than not, though, businesses can effectively schedule redesigns in phases. By introducing positive changes bit by bit, businesses can improve their reception area design without affecting the regular rhythm of their organization.

Contact the Pros

Overseeing an office renovation calls for a huge commitment of time and resources. Since many business leaders already work 50+ hours a week, it simply may not be possible for them to take on this task as well. The good news is that by partnering with a firm like Key Interiors, professionals can ensure their office design project both 1) fulfills their original vision and 2) is completed on time and on budget. Our team has years of experience completing reception area projects, and we understand the numerous nuances and challenges such undertakings present. You can contact us here to learn more or to get started today!

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Office Design sustainable office design

8 Benefits of a LEED Certification for Your Workplace

One of the most exciting office design trends in recent years is the movement toward sustainable workspaces. Indeed, more and more companies are looking for ways to “go green” and create eco-friendly professional environments. Check out this LEED certified case study of one of our projects.

These certifications can now present serious value for growing companies. LEED Certification stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design,” and these independently verified certificates recognize buildings that have been built with green features, sustainable practices, and energy-efficient considerations. Today, we’ll list eight benefits of a LEED Certification for your workplace.

Benefits of a Sustainable Office Design

There are two types of benefits associated with a LEED Certification –– the advantages a company enjoys from a sustainable office design, and the direct benefits of a high-level LEED Certification.

In terms of sustainability, companies can benefit in a myriad of ways from enhancing their office in order to gain a LEED Certification. A few highlights in this regard include:

  • A healthier work environment. Improved air quality alone can actually contribute a healthier office space and better performance. Employees may even take fewer sick days in offices that prioritize quality airflow.
  • Lower utility costs.
  • Reduced expenses on waste and waste removal. This includes construction waste as well.
  • Increased employee retention, productivity, and morale. Offices that are full of natural elements, bright lighting, and clean areas can all contribute to enhanced employee performance.

Even if you don’t earn a LEED certification, bolstering your office’s sustainability can bring about these benefits as well. Making incremental progress toward a greener workplace is better than standing still! (Note also that companies themselves cannot gain a LEED Certification –– only buildings or neighborhoods. So even if you don’t own your building, you can still make eco-friendly improvements and increase your company’s sustainability. Doing so just may not translate into a LEED Certification.)

Direct Benefits of a LEED Certification

In addition to all of the indirect benefits a company can gain from simply opting for a more sustainable approach, there are also some key direct benefits they can access by achieving a LEED Certification.

  • The first, and most tangible of these is the ability to apply for certain tax rebates and zoning allowances.
  • What’s more, buildings with a LEED Certification are almost certain to go up in value –– should you ever decide to sell your office space and relocate.
  • A LEED Certification also enables a company to use that information for public relations and marketing purposes. This can lead to improved business reputation and make it easier for companies to attract new customers and new potential hires as well.
  • Finally, the last and perhaps the most meaningful benefit attached to a LEED Certification is the positive impact made for the environment.

It may not seem like much now, but if enough companies adopt a sustainable mentality, everyone on the planet will benefit in the long run!

Contact Us

At Key Interiors, we’ve worked with businesses in a number of fields to create more sustainable, eco-friendly workspaces that delight both employees and clients alike. Check out this LEED certified case study of one of our projects. If you’re looking to set your company up for long-term success, then going after a LEED Certification now is a fantastic idea –– and we can help you out along the way. Contact us today.

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Categories
industrial office design Office Design

Manufacturing Cleanrooms: 4 Things to Keep in Mind

Cleanrooms have been fixtures for companies operating in certain medical and scientific research niches for decades. Yet, as one might imagine, cleanrooms have become increasingly relevant for a wide variety of organizations over the past few months due in part to COVID-19. Specifically, manufacturing cleanrooms are essential for any company that produces items that could be contaminated easily by particles in the air. With all of that in mind, today we’ll highlight some key facts about cleanrooms, how you should go about creating one, and what you can do to ensure your employees, partners, and products are safe. Check it out here:


Determine Your ISO Classification Level

Not all cleanrooms are created for the same purpose or with the same challenges in mind. Rather, there are 9 different cleanroom classifications as specified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). These different classifications determine how the cleanroom should be designed as well as maintained. They designate the particle count and size allowance, as well as the recommended airflow and air change rates. For reference, most manufacturing cleanrooms are either class 7 or 8, but business leaders should double-check their needs first.

Select Your Wall Type

Cleanroom walls come in three different types: soft wall, hard wall, and a rigid wall. To generalize, soft wall cleanrooms are modular and cost-effective, hard wall cleanrooms are permanent and durable, and rigid wall cleanrooms are a bit of both. It’s key for business leaders to identify how they plan to use their clean room for both the short and long-term. Do you plan to move your cleanroom? Will you need specific machines or equipment within the cleanroom? How will you accommodate electrical systems within your cleanroom? Answer these questions before you decide on the wall type and location in your factory.

Installation & Maintenance

Cleanrooms can be a vital aspect of any manufacturing workspace. As such, it’s imperative for business leaders to determine how best to create and maintain their cleanroom. Some cleanrooms come delivered in pre-manufactured parts. For instance, some organizations choose to assemble their own soft wall cleanrooms. In addition, some business leaders choose to maintain their cleanrooms on their own. While these can be viable options, you may also benefit from enlisting the help of a professional crew for installation and maintenance assistance –– particularly if this is the first cleanroom your company has built. 

Budget, Space & Time

As with any workspace renovation, business leaders should consider variables specific to their situation when they decide to invest in a cleanroom. These include factors like your available budget, the amount of space you have to utilize in your facility, and how quickly you need the cleanroom ordered, installed, and operational. While it may be tempting to rush through this transaction if you need a new cleanroom quickly, taking your time could end up saving you significant amounts of money, and, for that matter, stress!

Contact Us

At Key Interiors, we have years of experience working with companies in the medical and manufacturing fields. We know the importance of quality cleanroom design and installation, and we can help your business navigate this potentially tricky investment. Contact us here to learn more about how we can help you improve your organization’s workspace today!

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modern office design Office Design office layout office redesign Office Renovation

Modern Office Design: How Corporate Design Trends Can Help Increase Employee Productivity

Many employees recently set up temporary home offices . . . and recognized their shortcomings. Now, as organizations welcome employees back to the office, modern office design is being recognized as a priority. What does modern office design look like? What advantages does a modern office space offer to employees and management? How can open plan offices adapt post-COVID?

Modern office design prioritizes flexibility of space and creating environments for employee collaboration. The ideal office design is clean, inviting, incorporates natural light, and leverages technology to further promote connectivity and productivity. For example, shared benching workstations have worked well for many organizations. They facilitate collaboration and employees enjoy the camaraderie they invite. But the new need for physical distancing is a challenge that can be solved with design and furnishings.

INCREASED FLEXIBILITY

Now more than ever, in-office teams need formal and informal spaces that safely allow small groups to meet and feel comfortable. If you have an open office floor plan, creating gathering places may require new furnishings. A small cluster of high-top meeting tables invites employees to gather for stand-up meetings. Seating areas may take the look of a lounge and welcome cross-functional teams to a common place to congregate and share ideas. These spaces should be comfortable for all – seated or standing – and should encourage interaction without feeling crowded.

If your current office design suffers from uneven usage (some areas are overcrowded, others like a ghost town) an updated design could deliver real value. As teams move back to the office creating flexible usage space can help solve immediate space challenges and encourage the relationship building conversations that bring colleagues, in-office and remote, together.

Consider what changes can made to make the most of your square footage. Do not think extremes – hard walled offices with solid doors or rows and rows of cubicles – think flexible spaces. Small window-less conference rooms (with all the charm of an interrogation room) can be combined to create open spaces with or without a door. Incorporate sliding glass panels to serve as translucent white boards and aesthetically pleasing room dividers for this flexible use space. Another design option to consider is the creation of small “quiet zones”. These can be small nooks in your floorplan or take the shape of over-sized phone booths that provide employees with a dedicated space to block out noise and distractions between meetings. These small spaces provide the privacy within the workplace that many employees crave. If you have the square footage, incorporate individual workstations. Physical barriers can help reduce noise as well as provide employees the sense of protection needed in today’s modern office design.

DESIGN IDEAS TO PROMOTE COLLABORATION

Productivity in the modern corporate office means balancing individual work and collaboration time. Walled meeting rooms certainly have their place in modern office design. Materials such as glass give literal as well as figurative transparency to business activity. Depending on your office layout, carving out new meetings rooms can give you the opportunity to update your color palette as well as incorporate natural light. The most important detail of your new conference room: technology. An investment in upgraded technology and wiring will be appreciated by all employees, in-office and remote.

Today’s modern conference room is wired for connectivity and ease of use. The days of “everyone” being in the office for the same work hours, Monday through Friday, appears to be a thing of the past. Businesses must adapt to the ever-growing remote workforce. Adding a remote colleague to an impromptu meeting should not take an IT degree. Strong audio and video are critical to a connectivity, so your modern meeting room design should include a large screen and adjustable lighting. A productive team is a well-connected team, and including colleagues from other offices, those working from home, as well as vendors should be quick and simple.

THE FINISHING TOUCHES FOR YOUR CORPORATE OFFICE DESIGN

Modern office design can be a comfortable blending of old and new. If you are in a historical building, embrace any exposed brick, high ceilings, or unique features your space offers. From there, give a nod to nature with soft colors, material finishes and fabrics. A new conference rook table and fresh coat of paint will not update your entire space, but do not underestimate the value of investing in modern design for your office. Employees, clients, and vendors may be anxious but eager to return to the office. Give them a fresh, welcoming, and well-designed interior to encourage communication, collaboration, and productivity.

REASONS TO INVEST IN A MODERN OFFICE DESIGN

If contemplating an update to a more modern office design for your commercial interior, consider all the opportunities a re-design affords you:

  • Improve and equalize usage of your square footage
  • Upgrade your office’s interior furnishings
  • Reduce and spread out density of employee work zones
  • 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 office designs. Contact us today to discuss your project.

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Conference Rooms Office Design office layout office redesign Office Renovation

Effective Meetings & Conference Spaces Post-COVID

Months after the novel coronavirus first made headlines, we are all still adjusting to the new, post-COVID world. And, while the work from home world may be one we’re getting used to, in-person meetings will never go away completely. How and where we interact, professionally, will look different. Preparing your commercial office space for the post-COVID era means reviewing the design and functionality of all conference rooms.

Architectural Photography by Norman Sizemore & Mary Beth Price

Conference Room Evaluation Criteria

In-office workers may need to collaborate in a quiet space with other office colleagues, or those outside. Whether connecting with vendors, clients, or colleagues in another office, a professional conference room is important to promoting professional communication. Rooms of all sizes should be evaluated for the following four criteria:

  • Easy to Clean Furnishings
  • Audio & Video Connectivity
  • Ample Personal Space
  • HVAC Controls & Ventilation
Architectural Photography by Norman Sizemore & Mary Beth Price

Your existing conference rooms may just need some new furnishings to allow for distancing and thorough cleaning. Many employees are excited to return to the office, so updated furnishings will genuinely be appreciated. Investing in your office space sends a real message. As we all know, connectivity has never been more important. The ability to connect your laptop, screen share, and see your outside participants on a sizeable screen is essential. Nothing wastes more meeting time than poor audio and video connectivity.

Architectural Photography by Norman Sizemore & Mary Beth Price

Social Distancing Within the Conference Room

If you have the space, build your conference room large enough to allow for up to 8 people to be in the room with 6 feet around them. Another option to consider, if you have the square footage, is a single a large space that can be divided into two smaller spaces that easily allow for four people per “room”. You may consider have these “rooms” divided by a soundproof moveable wall.

If you have tight square footage restraints for your multi-person conference room, individual desks and/or clear plastic hygiene shields are an option. We are furnishing experts and can help find the size and shape table that makes the most of your space and allows the recommended 6 feet between attendees.

Creating spaces that make your employees comfortable returning to work is an essential part of our world today. We have to be creative and think differently about collaboration and how our office spaces can allow for physical distancing and in-person communication and collaboration.

Key Interiors has the expertise and resources to help design or reconfigure your conference rooms. Please contact us to discuss your individual project needs.

Call 877.288.9919 or Contact Us

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Exterior Office Design

Commercial Exterior Renovation: What to Consider Before Your Next Project

As the economy begins to recover – shoppers return to retail and employees make their way back to the office – the buildings they return to should offer a true welcoming. More than just places of business, commercial spaces serve as the setting for professional collaboration, commerce, and the “normalcy” we are all looking for. As a property owner, what are you doing to signal that you are open for business? What message is your building exterior sending?

Today’s Trends

Commercial exterior trends are changing. Glass has dominated as one of the most popular building materials in commercial design for around 50 years, but property owners recognize this material has its shortcomings. Glass is not energy efficient, nor is it the most secure. Too often, commercial exteriors lack personality and give off a “cold” feeling. Look to Mother nature as a source of design inspiration. Wood is a beautiful and flexible material to work with and can help take years off your design. Natural stone of all kinds can also add warmth and depth to your exterior. Consider how material and color work together to provide a fresh appeal. 

Energy Efficiency

After considering the value of an aesthetic update, factor in the cost savings of energy efficient design and materials. Energy efficient windows are just one example of how material choice can reduce heating and cooling bills and add to your operating bottom line. Your building exterior material choice is also an opportunity to increase energy efficiency. Brick and stucco are traditional choices, but don’t overlook new materials such as architectural panel systems. These panels can be made of resin, metal, or composite material. They quickly clad large spaces, add a layer of insultation, and make a bold statement.

Secure Style

Property security is always a factor to consider in the exterior design/remodel process. Accessibility to employees, tenants and visitors must be balanced with the security needs of your commercial space. Both design and material choice can help prevent break-ins, deter shoplifting, and provide lighting to secure entrances. When considering an exterior remodel, take advantage of the opportunity to review the following:

  • New security systems available
  • Lighting to enhance your building’s appeal
  • Lighting to help deter crime
  • Material choices that provide security (stone, wood, masonry – not glass)

‘Tis the Season

It’s not too late to begin a summer/fall exterior renovation. Now is the time to start the planning process and make the most of the long summer days. Minor updates not requiring city permitting or plan review can be completed in a short time frame. Larger scale projects that involve permitting generally take longer to get started, but Key Interiors consultative approach means we work with you every step of the process to ensure that your exterior design/build is completed on budget and on time.

The Key Difference

When considering an exterior remodel to your commercial building, Key Interiors provides you with a comprehensive and educational design/build process, as well as the “full toolbox” of material choices. For example, when updating windows, it is important to understand the cost difference between aluminum and vinyl frames. Depending on placement, vinyl clad windows could be a great cost savings. Many general contractors can quote you a price per square foot, but those estimates are “industry standard” and do not include custom design or material choices beyond the basics. Key Interiors consultative approach means that we share all options, all vendors, and educate clients throughout the process.

If you are considering an exterior remodel to your commercial building, contact Key Interiors to learn more about our process and the Key Difference.

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Office Design Office Renovation

Commercial Bathroom Design in a Post-COVID World

The act of using a public restroom, once a quick and mindless stop, is now an activity that highlights the importance of design and a clean environment. The novel coronavirus has touched every aspect of our lives, including our time in the restroom.

In a pre-COVID era, convenience and durability were the two most important considerations to commercial restroom design. Now, the ability to touch as few surfaces as possible while “going about your business” is priority number one. Priority number two will be ability to deep clean every surface in the restroom.

DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS

Whether we are working with a client on a new design or office renovation, restrooms are always a focus. A restroom is one of the most expensive spaces (per square foot) to construct and furnish; and typically show wear faster than other commercial spaces. A restroom environment that is convenient to use, easy to clean, and durable is an asset to your entire commercial interior.

Placement of the facilities within an office interior is always a consideration, but through the lens of coronavirus, how visitors move through a commercial interior before reaching the restroom will now be considered. To minimize the number of touch points, commercial spaces that have the square footage may consider a door less entryway, like those seen in airports or stadiums. Now more than ever, thoughtful design can help your washroom facilities elevate the client experience.

What does a socially distant restroom look like? All restroom visitors value privacy, and with the mandate for personal space now part of our everyday life, the trend towards increased privacy in the restroom will be accelerated. From longer bathroom stall doors that fall just 4” from the floor (rather than the typical 12”) to gapless doors and increased usage of urinal partitions, we anticipate more privacy in design.

BUILD SPECS

For both new construction as well as remodeling projects, ensuring a commercial restroom is built to the proper specifications is critical. Building codes do not change overnight, but post-pandemic changes are likely. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see new specs relating to distance between sinks, touchless fixture requirements, air purification and filtration systems,” says Tom Johnstone (Director of Key Interiors). Every restroom has at least one “wet wall”, housing the plumbing for toilets, urinals, or sinks. “I think you’re going to see more wall space with tile or industrial sheeting material that can be sanitized. Maybe we’ll see a COVID-compliant standard” says Johnstone. Other considerations like ventilation fans promote airflow and move infected air out of the room as well as reducing mold growth. Key Interiors’ build process minimizes miscommunication opportunities. Professional project management ensures total management of the permitting and inspection process.

FURNISHING OPTIONS

“Touchless faucets have been around for years but going forward they will be a necessity” explains Johnstone. Any fixture that can be touchless, will be.” The market is coming out with new fixture options almost every day and the number of touchless commercial faucet options is only going to increase. Styles, finishes, different types of sensors, sensor placement, and wiring for the sensors must all be considered. We recommend hard wiring all touchless fixtures. While the initial cost is higher, your maintenance crew will thank you. No one likes crawling around fixtures to change batteries.

Toilets are typically the area of biggest concern, as it relates to cleanliness, but soap dispensers, hand towel dispensers or dryers and waste receptacles are all high-touch surfaces. Beyond the faucet, there is no shortage of motion activated fixtures on the market. Other options for more sanitary restrooms are: touch pad door openers, motion sensor lights, easy to clean, anti-rust plastic washroom stalls, and integral hand dryers built into sinks avoiding water being blown onto the floor and eliminating paper towels.

Depending on the restroom layout, it is important to consider handicap accessibility, code requirements, and traffic flow when making fixture selection. The all-in-one fixture that allows restroom visitors to wet, soap, and dry their hands without moving to separate fixtures minimizes touch points and congestion. Motion activated flushing for toilets and urinals is not new, but commercial restrooms without such fixtures will be truly dated and unsanitary in the post-COVID era.

Durability for a commercial restroom has always been important, but with the increased focus on sanitization and cleaning frequency, these chemicals will take their toll of surfaces and fixtures. We are experts in commercial interiors, including fixture selection and understand the value of installing the best fixtures for your unique design.

COMMITMENT

One thing COVID-19 has not affected – Key Interiors three-part process: Design, Build, Furnish. Our approach to creating functional and beautiful spaces for our clients remains unchanged. For decades Key Interiors has worked closely and collaboratively to deliver unique commercial interiors. With the increased focus on microbes and healthy environments, we are here to help you incorporate privacy, durability, convenience, and touch-free amenities in your next commercial restroom design.

Key Interiors is your full-service commercial interior renovation and design, build, project management team. Contact us today. 877.288.9919

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News

Key Interiors, A Chicago Commercial Office Design Firm, Manufacturing Face Shields To Meet COVID-19 Demand

SCHAUMBURG, IL – Key Interiors is a local Chicagoland company that is accustomed to designing commercial interiors and supplying commercial office furniture. Like many businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the company to rethink its business processes and capabilities. One change to the way the company does business is having a positive impact for both the company itself and healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic. Key Interiors has transitioned their warehouse and distribution center in Schaumburg, IL from the manufacture of office furnishings to the manufacture of face shields to protect healthcare workers from the COVID-19 virus.

“Given the severe shortage of these products and the dire need, we took a look at how we could help and realized we had the ability to produce hospital-approved face shields in our Schaumburg facility. We currently have contracts with several medical supply companies and are shipping masks nationwide where they are being supplied to healthcare workers and first responders,” said Jerry Johnstone, Operations, Key Interiors (https://www.keyinteriors.us/).

The transition allows the commercial interior design company to meet a critical public health need and to retain about 45 shift workers who would otherwise be unemployed during this time. As of early April, Key Interiors was producing over 47,000 masks every 7 days and had received orders for an additional 200,000 masks.

Key Interiors has a long history in Chicago, tracing its roots back to 1947. Today the company provides full-service “concept to completion” commercial office design and dental office design services. The company’s turnkey approach streamlines the commercial design and construction process, eliminating the need for their clients to manage multiple different vendors and timelines as a project progresses.

“We manage the construction process for our clients from start to finish, including management of the different trade professionals as well as the permitting and inspection process. It’s very much a one-stop-shop for commercial office design that just makes the entire process easier for our clients,” explained Johnstone.

Key Interiors plans to continue manufacturing the face shields as long as there is demand. They are continuing to accept orders from healthcare facilities as well as public and private entities, that need masks. Inquiries should be directed to Key Interiors by calling 877.288.9919 or by visiting https://www.keyinteriors.us/contact/.

About Key Interiors:

Key Interiors provides office interior design services from design to build to furnish to businesses and organizations throughout Chicagoland. The firm offers a full range of services including design-build, architectural design, construction management plus a design center with over 300 lines of office furnishings and contract furniture. Visit Key Interiors at www.keyinteriors.us.

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office redesign

How Value Engineering Keeps Your Office Redesign On Budget

how-value-engineering-keeps-your-office-redesign-on-budget.jpgThere are several strategies and techniques for keeping your office redesign on budget, including: developing a robust and realistic schedule, conducting space planning, confirming that adequate systems are in place (e.g. HVAC, lighting, telecom, etc.), and using advanced project management software to track and measure costs against baselines and estimates.

However, there is another extremely effective way to keep your office redesign on budget that is less widely known, because it is not an approach that most interior solutions companies can offer at an expert level: value engineering. 

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layout Office Furnishing office layout Office Renovation

How Repurposing Office Furniture Keeps Your Renovation On Budget

how-repurposing-office-furniture-keeps-your-renovation-on-budget.jpgWhile there are many smart strategies for keeping your renovation on budget, among the most effective – and yet not widely known – ways is to repurpose your current office furniture.

Indeed, instead of replacing your furniture with new items or sourcing items in the used furniture market, it may be viable, economical and ecologically responsible to see what can be repurposed. Below, we highlight three tips to help you maximize this opportunity and, ideally, save thousands of dollars:

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Office Design office redesign Office Renovation

The Importance of a Project Manager for Your Office Renovation

the-importance-of-a-project-manager-for-your-office-renovationWhile project managers are important in many business-related endeavors – such as launching a new product, marketing products and services, running a recruitment campaign, and the list goes on – there is one activity in particular where hiring a qualified project manager is absolutely vital: when you’re embarking on an office renovation project. Here are the 3 key reasons why:

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Office Design office redesign Office Renovation

How an Office Renovation Can Improve Productivity

how-an-office-renovation-can-improve-productivityAs you consider renovating your office space, you’re no doubt focusing on the costs of potential options. This is certainly part of the equation, and needs to be part of your decision-making process.

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Collaborative Workspace

Pros and Cons of a Collaborative Workspace

pros-and-cons-of-a-collaborative-workspaceGoogle has one – they call it “the Garage”. So does Cisco, Clif Bar and Hitachi Consulting. And over at the luxury brand advertising agency Hudson Rouge, there are even echo-reducing panels on the ceiling, and employees get high-end headphones to help block out ambient noise.

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Office Renovation

How Not Hiring an Architect Saves Your Office Remodeling Budget

how-not-hiring-an-architect-saves-your-office-remodeling-budgetWithout question, architects are highly skilled, thoroughly knowledgeable, and certainly creative specialists who provide an essential skill that most of us rely on far more than we realize. Indeed, some architectural masterpieces are nothing short of remarkable and exhilarating.

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office redesign Space Planning

How to Redesign Your Existing Office Space for Better Utilization

how-to-redesign-your-existing-office-space-for-better-utilizationWhile you may be inspired to redesign your office space in order to create a fresh, new and impressive look and feel, there’s another valuable goal that you should aim for at the same time: better utilization of space.

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Office Renovation

3 Common Office Renovation Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

3-common-office-renovation-mistakes-how-to-avoid-themEach day across the country, tens of thousands of businesses launch an office renovation project – whether it’s a re-invention, a refresh, or most often a combination of both.

Unfortunately, not all of these businesses will reach the finish line on time and in budget. And while sometimes the root causes of schedule and cost overruns are unavoidable and nobody is to blame (a.k.a. “force majeure”), many times the reasons are due to these 3 common – and certainly preventable – office renovation mistakes: 

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Office Design Open Offices

Creating Open Offices for Introverts

creating-open-offices-for-introverts.jpgNext to “we’ll be announcing layoffs this morning”, the phrase that can trigger the most anxiety in your workforce – particularly among your introverts – is “we’re moving to an open office environment”.

First things first: introversion and extroversion are two widely misunderstood concepts. Superficially, introverts are mislabelled as withdrawn, while extroverts are mislabelled as outgoing. Neither of these are anywhere close to the truth.

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Office Renovation

How to Maintain Business Operations During an Office Renovation

how-to-maintain-business-operations-during-an-office-renovationAs you consider renovating your office, a key issue that you’ll need to address is how to keep your people productive, your customers engaged, and your systems functional during the project.

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Office Furnishing Office Renovation

How Your Furnishing Choices Affect Your Office Renovation Budget

how-your-furnishing-choices-affect-your-office-renovation-budget.jpgThere are several factors that directly and indirectly affect your office renovation budget – such as whether you need permits, if you will be shifting to an open collaborative space, if you need to hire an architect, and the list goes on.

However, there is one factor in particular that is surprisingly influential, yet perhaps not as obvious as those listed above: furnishing choices. Below, we highlight some of the options that will be evaluated as part of your budget planning process.

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Office Design office redesign Office Renovation

How an Office Renovation Boosts Employee Morale

how-an-office-renovation-boosts-employee-moraleIf you think that employee morale is important but not essential to the bottom line – then think again. An article featured on CBSnews.com concluded that:

Less engaged [employees] are less productive, less customer-focused and prone to withdrawing their efforts and adopting counterproductive behaviour. This may manifest itself as neglect, gossiping, theft and other disruptive behaviour. Ultimately, they’ll leave — whether it’s a recession or a period of growth.

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Office Renovation Space Planning

How Space Planning Helps Define Your Office Renovation Budget