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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. 

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Office Design

How to Spruce Up Your Financial Advisor Office Design

 

financial advisor office design

Trust is key to any successful business-consumer relationship. However, when it comes to money management, trust between a financial advisor and a client is absolutely vital. Financial advisors have to instill confidence in their clients. As a result, financial advisors may need to prioritize how they communicate and present themselves to clients. The right financial advisor office design can put clients at ease and, simultaneously, bolster productivity in the workplace. On that note, today we’ll explain how financial advisors can effectively upgrade their office to improve their own performance and the client experience: 

Choose Color Wisely 

Color plays a huge role in how people feel when they enter your office. For example, blues and violets have been shown to reduce blood pressure, while reds and oranges tend to increase people’s pulse and respiration. Therefore, it is likely a good choice for financial advisors to choose blues and purples over brighter, warmer colors. Alternatively, financial advisors could paint their walls a neutral color and instead add color to the room with accessories such as paintings or plants. Regardless, it is important to stick to a consistent color scheme throughout the office to maintain consistency. 

Add Accessories to Make it More Welcoming

As we’ve established above, financial advisors should try to create workspaces that allow clients to relax. Of course, welcoming offices can take many different forms. You may decide to invest in newer, more comfortable furniture. Accessories are also a great way to add visual interest to an office. Plants, artwork, decorative light fixtures, and intricate wall clocks can enhance the look and feel of your workspace or reception area. Choosing pieces that represent the financial advisor’s personality or preferences can help the office feel personalized and less clinical or solely business-like.  

Note also that you may benefit from displaying your credentials somewhere near your desk. Many doctors frame their degrees in easy-to-spot locations in their office –– not to brag about their accomplishments –– but to let their patients know they can be trusted. Financial advisors could very well benefit from adopting this strategy too. 

Don’t Forget the Other Senses

Having a visually appealing office is crucial for making positive impressions on clients, but ensuring that it smells, sounds, and feels welcoming is also important. However, these elements should be subtle so as to not overwhelm visitors. For example, using a plug-in room deodorizer with a neutral yet pleasant scent can help make clients feel at ease. External sound should be minimized with either a quiet sound machine or soundproofing along the office walls and ceiling. During a meeting, it can be distracting to overhear other financial advisors or client discussions, so planning the office around sound is crucial. 

Additionally, temperature is an often overlooked but important aspect of making an office feel welcoming and comfortable. Clients will likely have different temperature preferences, so keeping the office at neutral temperatures between 68 and 75 degrees is typically best.  

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At Key Interiors, we have years of experience working with businesses of all sizes and in a wide variety of industries. We can help you enhance your office space to improve client satisfaction while also boosting productivity. Contact us here to learn more about our processes or to get started with us today!

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Office Design

Energy Efficiency Solutions and Ways to Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Office

 

increase energy efficiency

Perhaps it’s not surprising that more and more companies are prioritizing energy efficiency in recent years. Not only is reducing your carbon footprint good for the health of the planet, but it can help your company save money and create a more sustainable office setup. Best of all, you may not have to make huge changes around the office to create a more energy-efficient workspace. To that end, here are five quick things you can do to lessen your business’s carbon footprint ASAP:

Re-Think Your Lighting

One of the most effective ways to create a more eco-friendly workspace is to rethink your lighting system. Many organizations light entire workspaces for 10-plus hours every day. Not only is this very expensive and wasteful, but it’s also detrimental to the environment. Thankfully, there are now lighting systems with automated-control features and motion-sensor technology that can help your business drastically reduce its energy consumption. You can also switch fairly easily to LED or other energy-saving light bulbs in your office.

In addition, introducing more natural lighting into your office can significantly improve employee morale and productivity. Turning off the lights and opening up a few windows on sunny days can be a small, but meaningful way to make your office more environmentally friendly.

Replace Non-Recyclable Disposables

Many breakrooms are full of non-recyclable disposables like paper or plastic straws, plates, utensils, and cups. Consider replacing these items with re-usable items. Yes, it’s more work to clean plates and cups after use, but eliminating non-recyclable disposables will have a positive impact on the environment and lessen the amount of trash your office produces.

Adjust the Thermostat

Even if you can’t afford to purchase a self-regulating thermostat, business leaders can still cut down on energy costs by managing their thermostat closely. For example, it’s perfectly acceptable to change your thermostat at the end of each work day. There’s no reason to run the air-conditioning on full blast in an empty office! Be sure to inspect and seal any leaks in your windows and doors as well.

Utilize Remote Capabilities

Just because more and more employees are returning to traditional office environments, it doesn’t mean that businesses should abandon their remote strategies completely. Companies that enable their employees to work from home –– even a fraction of the time –– can lower their energy costs in the office. Savvy business leaders should take note of the workplace trend toward remote employment.

Of course, people who work from home don’t have to commute either, which also acts to protect the environment from pollution caused by vehicles. Note also that sharing items and files virtually –– and avoiding wasting paper –– is a smart green initiative worth reviewing.

Encourage Sustainable Choices

Forward-thinking business leaders can implement a number of policies to encourage sustainable behavior in the office. Simply investing in more recycling bins can make it easier for your team members to recycle plastics and papers in the office. Additionally, you can set up carpool programs to cut down on emissions, or even reward your employees for participating in recycling drives. Lastly, you may also decide to partner with local organizations that are working to protect the environment.

Contact Us

These are just a few ways you can make your office more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly. At Key Interiors, we can help you create an energy-efficient workplace that saves your company money and boosts employee morale and productivity at the same time. Contact us here to learn more about our unique process or to speak with a representative today.

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Office Design office layout

Lighting As A Wayfinding Tool

 

Wayfinding Lighting

Have you ever gotten lost in a building before? Odds are, it wasn’t a very pleasant experience. Yet, established organizations often occupy very large spaces, and it can be easy for visitors and newcomers to lose their bearings in an unfamiliar building or area. This, though, can be very bad news for business leaders. You don’t want potential clients, partners, patients, or employees to feel unsettled or frustrated by a confusing layout or a difficult-to-navigate office design. As such, it’s crucial for office designers to place wayfinding aids throughout spacious work places. 

Wayfinding is a process by which people figure out their location and determine where they need to go next. While some wayfinding design elements are very straightforward –– like maps and directional signs –– others are more subtle but often just as important. Today, we’ll explain the role lighting can play in wayfinding, as well as the benefits of having a properly illuminated work area.

Light as Wayfinding tool

Using lighting as a wayfinding tool is not a new concept, but it is still an effective way to guide people through a building or space. It’s worth keeping in mind that the way light is arranged and used in a space can have a big influence on the overall nature of a built environment. Lighting doesn’t just affect the way a space looks –– it can also change how it feels

Effective and creative lighting will help people find their way through an area and experience a space as the builders intended it to be experienced. 

Here are three different ways lighting can be used to improve wayfinding:

#1 Law of Attraction

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that dramatic visuals can attract people to space. While lighting itself may not always massively factor into interior design, light fixtures can catch the eye and attract visitors. Consider how a chandelier within a large room or conspicuous lights around a reception area can change your perception of a space, to cite a few examples.

#2 Clarity of Direction

Ultimately, wayfinding is not defined by a single element. Rather, if designers want to help people progress through a given area, they need to utilize multiple factors to act as guides. Signage, maps, colors, and typography can all help people distinguish one area from another and ensure they’re moving in the right direction. However, lighting can be a very meaningful and understated way to bolster more traditional wayfinding measures. Quality design combined with the use of light to create visual cues or focal points will improve wayfinding clarity and enhance the feel of a workspace.

#3 Moth to a Flame

In simple terms, the greater the illumination of space, the greater impact it will have. People are just drawn to light. So when a space is well illuminated –– or when lighting is used to highlight certain features or signage –– people will find navigating through a space much easier.

Contact Us

At Key Interiors, we’re experts in the field of interior office design, and we can help enhance your workspace setup. Whether you need lighting assistance, new furniture, or a whole new layout and design plan, our team will work with you to create an office that your team –– and your visitors –– will love. Contact us today to learn more!

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The Importance of Flex Spaces Within a Building or Workplace

 

The Importance of Flex Spaces Within a Building or Workspace

In the past, the question “where do you work?” was a straightforward one. There was no separation between where someone physically worked and which company they worked for. In other words, there was only one place where “work” occurred: the office. 

Now, though, professionals can and do work in various locations. A modern employee may split their time between a home office and several different office setups. With COVID-19 restrictions loosening across the country, more and more companies are utilizing flexible office spaces –– flex spaces –– to accommodate mobile workers, while also bolstering their organizational agility.

What Are Flex Spaces?

Flex space is a term commonly used to describe industrial space. You start with warehouse space, that is not air-conditioned and add office or showroom space that is air-conditioned. You can “flex” into larger of smaller air-conditioned spaces as you need. As opposed to traditional office spaces, which are leased by a single company, flex spaces are buildings that multiple companies may share and collectively lease. What’s more, flex spaces may have other work areas (like warehouses) that traditional office spaces don’t. Plus, companies that utilize flex spaces can typically access a wider range of amenities than a “normal” office setup can offer. Flex spaces may possess areas like game rooms, libraries, or even presentation theaters. In essence, flex spaces can function as auxiliary work areas for companies with a limited traditional office space or a large number of semi-remote employees.

Flex Spaces for Large Companies

Flex spaces provide viable secondary office areas for many small businesses and growing companies. However, larger corporations can also create their own multi-use flex spaces within their current building. For example, a business may employ a large meeting room as a cafeteria or a quiet area for wellness activities and focused work from time to time.

Regardless of the size of a company, all businesses should seek to optimize their office space. Being able to utilize areas for multiple purposes is cost-effective and essential to quality office design.

Benefits of a Flex Space

Small businesses, startups, and established corporations can all benefit from incorporating flex spaces into their broader workplace strategy. Some of the most meaningful benefits associated with flex spaces include: 

  • Little-to-no Initial Costs. Flex spaces are often much cheaper to rent than “regular” offices. 
  • Scalability. By making use of flex spaces, companies can expand at a sustainable rate and accommodate new employees as needed. 
  • Improved Networking & Sociability. The very nature of flex spaces ensures that business leaders will have to share work areas with other successful professionals in their region. This should naturally lead to networking opportunities.
  • Sense of Community. Flex spaces allow employees to interact with other people in their neighborhood and to get to know a location better. 
  • Tenant Contract Flexibility. Whether you need to quickly access more space and amenities or scale down, flex-space contracts enable tenants to make adjustments when necessary. 

Both property owners and tenants can take advantage of the rise of flex spaces. Flex spaces and multi-use areas can help business leaders plan for the future with greater confidence, while retaining key financial flexibility.

Contact Us

At Key Interiors, we’ve helped design flex spaces for ambitious businesses to ensure optimal efficiency, while also creating a safe comfortable environment for its users. We have years of experience working with clients to make the best of a huge variety of office spaces –– both large and small. Contact us here to learn more or to get started on a project today.

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Office Design office layout office redesign

Acoustic Solutions For The Office

 

Acoustic Solutions

Happy employees are typically productive employees. It may seem simple, but the better your team enjoys working in an office environment, the likelier they are to perform at their best. Unfortunately, poor sound design and disruptive noise can affect productivity and create a stressful work atmosphere. Acoustics play an important role in controlling noise and limiting distractions in the workplace. Here, we’ll discuss how sound can influence design and what business leaders can do to create acoustic solutions for their office.

Acoustics and Sound

How an office accounts for sound can be just as important as how it looks. The acoustics of a room relate to how sound and noise behave in a given environment. For example, sound may “bounce around” and reverberate in a room with sub-par acoustics. Worse, unwanted sound may seep through walls or floors in poorly-designed rooms. 

In many instances, the key to proper office acoustics is to limit the transfer of sounds from outside to inside and between adjacent floors or rooms. (Put another way: less noise equals a more tranquil office atmosphere.) As such, insulation of the walls, ceilings, floors, and windows are common ways to control sound. And designers can use several sound design principles to mitigate noise and prevent distractions from affecting workplace performance, including absorption, sound dampening, and sound diffusion. Each of these principles should guide interior designers, and they can use different methods to effectively manage sound given the unique specifications of different office spaces. 

To that end, here are several quality products we use at Key Interiors to create custom acoustic solutions for our clients: 

Delta Drop 2X4 Aktura –– Acoustic Panels for Ceiling

This product acts primarily to reduce the impact of noise by dampening sound as it rises through a room. Best of all, it is incredibly easy to set up and use. It can be simply clipped into a ceiling grid system, though it is also compatible with integrated lighting. This can create a highly impactful and dynamic feature in any office.

Preserved Moss – Wall Application

Natural elements in an office can make a workplace feel more vibrant, and –– in this case –– absorb sound more efficiently. Unlike traditional office plants, preserved moss requires no soil, water, fertilizer, or regular maintenance. Just hang it up and let it improve the acoustics, optics, and vibes in your workspace.

Digitally Printed Murals – Wall or Ceiling

A great feature of a wall or ceiling mural is that it can act to beautify a space as well as enhance the acoustics. Specifically, companies like OrangePiel use “soundcore” technology to ensure optimal acoustic dampening for their products. Business leaders may also be able to customize their mural designs to suit their office needs.

Acoustic Lighting Products

Strange as it may sound, businesses like Luxxbox have pioneered lighting options that are both decorative and capable of assisting in sound management. For example, Luxxbox’s Vapor Echo Rectilinear light can reduce ambient noise by up to 40%, which can help boost productivity in open office areas. One of the single most effective ways to reduce sound is to bring in more fabrics.  Carpet instead of tile,  fabric cubicle walls instead of open desks,  upholstered seating instead of plastic chairs – all of these options can significantly reduce sound in the office.

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The future of the workplace is changing all the time.  For businesses with open and collaborative spaces, acoustic solutions can greatly enhance their team’s overall productivity.  

At Key Interiors, we prioritize every aspect of office design when we take on a project. We work with our clients to ensure their workspaces look, feel, and sound their best. Contact us here to learn more!

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Office Design office layout

3 Ways to Plan Your Strategy for Office Space Design

 

office space design

An empty canvas can be both an exciting opportunity and a daunting challenge at the same time. In that spirit, creating a strategy for a new office space design may not be a straightforward process. Business leaders may have difficulty managing the needs of their company within certain spatial and budgetary constraints. If this problem sounds familiar to you, then relax, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ll outline three ways to plan your strategy for office space design. Check it out: 

Assess the Situation

Any time you take on a big project, it’s always important to understand the situation on the ground first. Before you start calling contractors or drawing up blueprints, determine some key facts first. 


Specifically, things business leaders will want to consider in this phase of the operation include:

  • Available budget.
  • The size and shape of the workspace. 
  • The number of employees at the business. 
  • Construction costs.
  • Construction timelines. 
  • Office space design needs. 

Taking the time out early to set an agenda will help you form a working strategy moving forward. For example, some businesses may require a complete renovation of their office space. In such a case, business leaders will then likely be required to find a temporary office space; or they may need to create a work schedule around construction hours. The only way to know that, though, is to review your situation thoroughly. 

 

Lastly, it’s often a good idea to speak directly with your team members during this phase of the process. They may have ideas or preferences that can help inform your decisions later on. 

Create a Vision

It’s no secret that the best professional workspaces have consistent themes and designs. While there are established styles of modern office design that many businesses utilize (open office design, for example), it’s important all the same to develop a unique vision for your workspace. Think about what kind of decor you plan on displaying, what kind of furniture you should purchase, what kind of artwork and branded material you may exhibit, and how you plan on arranging your space. Of course, these elements should ideally be linked by a common thread that will resonate with employees and clients alike. (An office is a shared space that should suit the needs and preferences of many different people ––  never lose sight of that.) The more detailed you can be about the specifics of your design plan, the easier it will be to implement. 

Manage the Logistics

Handling the logistical aspect of an office build out is, unfortunately, easier  said than done. Just because you have a plan in place does not mean it will be simple to execute. Indeed, external factors like unexpected costs or delays, difficulty negotiating with landlords or government officials, and changes in your business’s needs can all derail an office redesign or renovation before it can be completed. As such, it can be extremely beneficial for businesses to team up with professional design companies that can help turn a hypothetical office design idea into a reality. 

Contact Us

Unlike other companies in our field, our team at Key Interiors works with businesses through every phase of the office renovation process. We take time to consult with our clients to determine their design needs and assess their available resources and space. We collaborate with them to secure quality construction assistance and to manage logistical issues that arise throughout the process. And we supply our partners with detailed plans and renderings –– along with a wide range of furnishing options for all budgets and styles. Contact us here to learn more or to get started on a project  today!