Wellbeing, Wellness & Workplace

Wellbeing, Wellness & Workplace

Wellness is now BIG business! It moves you one step closer to a new, and better you - a you that drinks green juices and rids your body of all lingering toxins, a you that enrolls into spin classes before 6 am and has more energy as a result, a you that plugs into head space every evening to calm the mind before your 8 hours of sleep.

For the past month at Amos Beech, wellness has been at the forefront within the office. By being provided with a conscious checklist, we've become more self-aware of our actions and routines within our lifestyle and how it affects us in the workplace.

Wellbeing & Wellness in the Workplace

Here are a few insights and examples that you can try to integrate into your workplace to get the Work/Life balance back on track:

Outside, Inside

Since my blog about Biophilia within the workplace, in 2017. We've all seen workplaces flourishing everywhere. But how about having greenery with a purpose? At Takahashi Hiroko, based in a former factory in Tokyo, redesigned by schemata includes an indoor garden with edible plants.

Fresh Foods

With your office-grown ingredients to hand, having healthy food options will fuel your employees and keep their cravings for sweet and fatty foods away. Even as simple as sharing good food at a decent table will work wonders for your firms' staff morale and community feel.

Workout While Working

Many Japanese corporations understood early on the importance of exercise for their employees. It grew out of their philosophy of kaizen, or “continual improvement.”  They appreciated that a workout could make their employees healthier and more productive, therefore began to schedule exercise programs during work hours.

We suggest dedicating a bit of space to being 'multi-use' area, where a variety of exercise classes and wellness workshops could take place. Consider offering something different from the standard yoga, perhaps something that also encourages teamwork. But if space is limited, try getting your employer to take a step in the right direction by contributing towards a gym membership or cycle to work scheme.

Personalised Technology

In other news, Scotland's first development has been accredited with a Platinum WiredScore Certification at 177 Bothwell Street, Glasgow, to assure future occupiers with the best connectivity. We've seen more products beginning to appear that allow employees control over their surroundings, but also products that understand and adapt to the needs of the employees throughout the day.

Philips has installed a system of LED lights in an office in Prague that fluctuate to the circadian rhythms of employees from morning through to night. This ideal is reminiscent of the Endless House, a conceptual work of architecture by Frederick Kiesler in 1924; “endless like the human body—there is no beginning and no end to it.” In the future, we will see smart buildings understanding the needs and wants of the inhabitants and adapting seamlessly.

Healthy Workstations

Until that point, we've seen a rise in technology being incorporated into furniture items keeping employees staying connected with air-charging and USB points. These small details make life just that little bit easier on the most stressful of days. Even by giving employees a choice with their desking, implementing sit-stand desking is more comfortable and healthier for the body.

Art for All

The Sculptor Nick Hornby past artist-in-residence was in an unlikely location - the London headquarters of law firm Pinsent Masons. He brought lawyers to his studio and curated his artwork around the office.

The art can play a part in the culture of the workplace, representing a set of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices. As well as being thought-provoking and sparking discussions with other staff members. 

A Daily Pause

In Kiev, the Grammarly Office has a dedicated nap room that includes three sleeping blocks, with a weight sensor under the mattress that sends a signal to light with the indication of zZZ letters outside. The power of sleep and quiet reflection is becoming more commonly recognised as valuable, great opportunity to allow your mind and body to relax.

Happy Holidays

And we all know that a holiday is the best occasion to really relax and rebalance oneself. How about providing your employees with a 'wellbeing day' or have their birthday off on top of the standard holiday allowance to show your appreciation. Or go the extra mile, like FormRoom they are proud to offer a one month (fully paid) sabbatical for every 3 years your stay with their team. They reiterate the value of 'Let the company you work for, lift you up and push you forward; not drag you down or hold you back.'

Do you want to read more about how to improve your workplace? Check:

Blog and graphics by: Flora Hogg

280 trees planted in the Scottish Highlands thanks to Plexus!

280 trees planted in the Scottish Highlands thanks to Plexus!

As part of Amos Beech’s Corporate Social Responsibility we plant 13 trees per 1000 Sq.Ft. of fit out and refurbished office space. In the case of Plexus’ new 21,528 Sq.Ft. offices that equates to 280 trees!

When Product Realisation Company Plexus, were looking to renovate their Livingston site they turned to Amos Beech as their partner for the design and construction work of this industrial office fit out.

280 trees planted in the Scottish Highlands thanks to Plexus!

Just like Amos Beech, Plexus have adopted a global environmental management system that helps to guide and monitor their progress. They combine the international environmental management standard ISO 14001 with their corporate policies and initiatives. On the social impact page on the Plexus website we learn this:

Caring for employees. Supporting communities. Doing business responsibly.

 

Responsible employer.

Plexus is committed to being a responsible business and employer. That means operating with the highest ethical standards in all corners of the globe.

Community stewardship.

Plexus believes in strengthening the communities in which we live and work. Because that’s how everyone shares in a better tomorrow.

Responsible global citizenship.

Plexus is dedicated to protecting the health, safety and rights of all people. And we take responsibility for leaving the world a little better than we found it.

It was therefore no surprise that they were really pleased when we handed over the tree planting certificate:

Douglas McGregor, Director – Project Management

It is quite impressive if you walk through the ample space @ Plexus and then realise how big a forest of 280 trees actually is! And with these trees come the other plants and wildlife, as well as C02 reduction.

The Plexus trees pushed our grove up to 754 !

And you know what:

You can plant trees yourself!

We encourage you to plant trees yourself. You can add trees to our grove via the button below or you can start your own grove. Why not consider giving somebody a dedicated tree? Planting a tree is a special gift for any occasion. It's the perfect way to celebrate an event or remember a loved one.

Amos Beech – improving every environment we touch

Lease or Finance Options for your Office Fit Out or Refurbishment project in Glasgow or Edinburgh

Lease or Finance Options for your Office Fit Out or Refurbishment project in Glasgow or Edinburgh

Is the Cost of Office Fit Out or Refurbishment too High to Pay Upfront in Full?

Undertaking a complete refurbishment or fit out of your office can be quite costly. However, it is also necessary. The right furniture, style, design and “feel” of the office space altogether can transform your business for the better.

In other words, postponing or cancelling the refurbishment completely is not the best option for your business.

But what are you to do when budgets are tight and your company has cash flow issues?

At Amos Beech we love offering complete solutions to our clients. This is why we have partnered with the top financial company in Scotland to provide our clients with turnkey answers to their needs: office fit out, refurbishment AND flexible financing solutions.

Meet the Perfect Financial Solution for Your Office Fit Out or Refurbishment

When budgets are tight, but the project has to be completed, you typically have three options:

  1. Bootstrap and pay everything upfront

  2. Get a loan from a bank

  3. Lease the project

Paying cash upfront is ideal if the payment won’t leave your company vulnerable. Plus, keep in mind that the total cost of the refurbishment or office fit out might exceed £200,000, the annual investment allowance (AIA). Thus, you won’t be able to offset the entire expense.

A bank loan can typically be paid between one and 10 years. You can deduct each payment against AIA, but the interest rates (that are subject to fluctuations) can make it hard for you to plan your finances for the long term. Plus, you run several other risks if the loan is tied to some of your crucial assets. Furthermore, a bank loan may not cover all the expenses related to your project.

A lease, on the other hand, can cover everything, from design and build to furniture. You can also write the payments off as expenditure. And, since the payments are fixed, they are also easy to budget for. Your cash flow is protected since you don’t need a large deposit. You would lease purchase and only pay a token to transfer ownership at end of the payment plan.

The current lease conditions are quite flexible and friendly for Scottish businesses.

Why?

Because leasing is not yet as popular here as it is in the USA or other European states. However, as its popularity begins to grow, the advantages are likely to diminish.

You can opt for three types of leasing for your refurbishment or fit out project:

  1. Contract hire. With no big initial outlay, you simply enjoy the use of the assets. The finance company owns them, but they are also responsible for their maintenance. This is the most affordable option.

  2. Lease purchase or hire purchase. At the end of the fixed period, you own all the assets. If you are a VAT-registered business, you can also claim back the VAT on the entire asset up-front. Also, you can offset interest payments against profit.

  3. Financial lease. Just like above, you can offset payments against tax and reclaim VAT. The only significant difference from lease purchase is that you don’t own the assets at the end of the lease. You can, however, buy them at any point (depending on your leasing contract).

How Leasing Unties Your Capital

Your capital is the backbone of your company. When you can’t make the investments you need, your growth is stalled. This is why it’s always a good idea to have a healthy cash flow and a healthy investment capital instead of tying it up in various assets and/or overdrafts.

Leasing your office fit out or refurbishment project can help you:

  • Stay liquid: no large initial payment means that your cash flow is not significantly affected and remains free to be invested in the next great opportunity that knocks at your door.

  • Budget accurately: unlike in bank loans, in lease financing your payments are fixed because they are not subject to interest rates. So you know exactly what you will be paying today and two years from now.

  • Keep your bank credit lines free: your bank overdrafts are unaffected, so you can always use them for investment opportunities.

  • Buy cheaper: leasing can actually be cheaper than paying for the refurbishment of your office upfront. Even if the project exceeds the annual investment allowance of £200,000, you can still deduct all your leasing payments.

  • Tax efficient: for private sector organisations leasing provides a highly attractive fully tax deductable solution. In addition to that the VAT is spread as it is paid on each repayment.

  • Stay flexible: the typical lease is between three and five years, but you can always opt for a personalised length of contract that fits your monthly budget and your needs.

  • Start your project quickly: bank loans and credit lines can take months to be approved. A lease financing can take as little as a few hours.

Who is it for?

  1. Public sector: by spreading the costs, the projects can be delivered as and when they are needed most.

  2. Charities: have a duty to trustees to make budgets work as hard as possible and get the VAT to spread, as most charities can’t claim the VAT back.

  3. Professions: like doctors, lawyers, accountants, dentists and vets, but also partnerships are all subject to higher rates of tax and the tax benefits need to be explored.

  4. Large Corporates: having lots of available capital doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t explore tax benefits. The available cash can then be used where it most benefits the business.

  5. SMEs: with the saved capital, new people can be recruited to grow the business.

Don’t Postpone Your Office Fit Out and Refurbishment. Be Smart about it Instead!

At Amos Beech, we know a lot about how office interiors can shape and transform your corporate culture. From better acoustics to switching to activity-based working, we’ve seen seemingly minor improvements bring great results.

This is why we have partnered with the top lease financing company in the country to offer you the flexibility you need to reap the benefits of office refurbishment and fit out NOW, not in a couple of months or years.

Highlights Clerkenwell Design Week 2019

Highlights Clerkenwell Design Week 2019

Another year, another Clerkenwell design week – Here are a few highlights!

Amongst the bustle of the Clerkenwell buzz, a 360 approach was taken by Lintex realised by Lotta Agaton, a renowned interior stylist from Sweden, where she carefully considered each material and object in the curation of the showroom. The Lintex products stood proud in the warm and calm environment. The glass paired beside long-standing natural materials such as wood, clay and leather created a great mellowness to the overall space. The essence of biophilia was present, without the littering of plants, by the thoughtful use of the natural materials and neutral colour palettes. In the rise of well being in the workplace, this design approach lends itself to being more mindful, allowing us to take a step back to rest and think. Also highlighting, to never to undervalue the importance of curating spaces with well-chosen objects. In terms of new products, Lintex manages to take a fresh look at the  ‘analogue’ with the A01 designed by studio Afteroom. The product had geometric shapes sandwiched between glass and framed within a square. It performed a floating illusion with quite a magical effect.

Lintex Showroom – Styled by Lotta Agaton

The geometric composition continues on to the Spacestor showroom, notably the reinvention of the storage wall and shelving unit. This development, in the current flood of grid shelving, is warmly welcomed. The elongated structure formed of cuboids rather than cubes provides an elegant silhouette, especially when finished in brass. The matte panelled shelving units paired with the large round mirror adds a sense of sophistication, complimenting the storage wall newest addition of the arched alcove. The choice of colour and finishes was inspiring. The matte materials produced a soft and slightly retro look, in rich solid tints added drama and allure.

Modulyss made a statement in the Project Pavillion by focusing on the carpet tile FLUID& in the dark green tone and pairing it with Velvet&, a great example of the &-Collection. The tiles curved up to the top of the back wall, and the two mirrored sides reflected the carpet into infinity. The reflections were reminiscent of the Rorschach test, and Fluid& is appropriately tagged ‘Perfectly Imperfect’.

Modulyss – Fluid&

Workplace environments shift to more emotive and wellness-centric

As the workplace environments shift to be more emotive and wellness-centric, there is a growth in creating a softer and more comfortable working landscape with essences of home. Many pieces of furniture showcased had plumper silhouettes, accentuate curves and the awakening of fluid draperies forming partitions as similarly observed in Milan 2018, yet to a less exaggerated extent.

Frovi’s latest product ‘Home’ is precisely that. It is available in various typologies that include most of the setting you could want for an informal meeting from the booth seating, a high media bench, screens and even a single seated armchair with an integrated laptop table. This product certainly makes it easy to implement the feeling of ‘Home’ in all senses.

Another product with similar effect was a Verco meeting booth. The screen was formed by an acoustic sheer delicately ruched around a wooden frame, which created rhythmic ripples. The screen cocooned around the loose furniture pieces perfectly formed inside, which produced a very dreamy ambience, a perfect retreat for when stress and anxiety levels are high.

Frovi

Verco

 

As employees explore how and where to achieve a greater work-life balance with genuine well-being initiatives.  The design pieces released are a reflection of our time and where we are heading. A workplace has to produce a sense of belonging, where we are comfortable enough to reflect, recharge and grow without being stunted.

And this is just the start of things to come!

Text & images: Flora Hogg

Office refurbishment Traverse Theatre Edinburgh

Office refurbishment Traverse Theatre Edinburgh

Traverse Theatre was founded in 1963 with the idea to extend the spirit of the Edinburgh Festival throughout the year.

Traverse Theatre were looking to have their offices refurbished. Their offices are situated in the basement of the iconic building on Cambridge Street that is part of the Saltire Court development on Castle Terrace:

Office refurbishment Traverse Theatre Edinburgh

The open planned office held 20 staff, as well as two internal offices and a make shift meeting room, the client wanted to add another office as well as a meeting room to give staff a proper space in which to hold meetings.   

The client had recently purchased new furniture and were looking to carry out the works as quickly as possible taking advantage of their quiet period in the year. Amos Beech transformed their office space in Edinburgh, using glass partitioning to create a new frontage for the offices and meeting room and solid partitioning to divide. A new bespoke coat storage was constructed allowing staff a place to store their outdoor items. The office was decorated throughout incorporating feature walls of colour. New LED lighting was installed to brighten up the basement space as well as new carpet tiles to define the open plan and office space. The air conditioning system was also renewed and altered to suit the new office layout.

3D cad plan

One shot of the final result.

For more projects click here:

How the acoustics of your office impact your team's productivity

How the acoustics of your office impact your team's productivity

The competition to recruit, train and retain talent has become fierce in the last few years. Businesses are constantly looking and trying new ways that will ensure that their employees have a healthy and positive work environment.

At the same time, they are also working to save on office space and cut on their expenditure. The real challenge is finding the balance between the two – don’t overspend, but keep your employees happy and productive.

This is where the open space comes into play.

One of the obvious advantages of having an open space is the ability to fit a large number of employees in a small space.

But do they work for your employees?

They are unique and make strong statements in terms of office culture. They also offer more benefits including the provision of natural light that keeps people active. Natural light makes workers patient, less frustrated, productive and healthier.

There is a need for open office layouts for employers who want to enhance employee creativity, boost collaboration and encourage innovation.

However, these spaces have a downside: the lack of sound privacy. These open space environments drain employees’ morale due to noise pollution, according to research.

Noise pollution is a huge contributor to poor productivity at work. It’s difficult to perform tasks that need high concentration in such spaces.

Employees are dissatisfied with the level of speech privacy and how it leads to work disruption.

A study by Udemy supports this with 80 percent of respondents claiming chatty coworkers are the biggest distraction, while office noise was cited by 70 percent of them.

Another reason for noise distraction is mobile technology. Employees now have access to a vast number of devices that distract them.

Office acoustics impact your team's productivity

People can put up with noise only for so long before it becomes annoying. Most employees work without realising that office noise is affecting their productivity. Some of the noise sources include:

  • Background noises from mechanical and technical issues in the office. These include noises from pumps, boilers, chillers, air handling units, circulation fans, ventilation rooms, etc.  The same goes for noise from electronic equipment like vending machines, printers, keyboard strokes, and fax machines.

  • Fluctuating sounds from laughter, loud speech, and the phones ringing

  • Activity noises from loud footsteps, loud messaging and chat beeps, loud chewing noises and cursing/muttering from colleagues.

  • Transportation noises coming from road traffic, planes and trains. Some traffic noise is inevitable, and can be tolerated, but too much noise may cause concentration and productivity issues.

  • Use of speakerphones that lead workers to speak even more loudly

  • HVAC noises

  • High frequency sounds from keyboards as people type or other mechanical issues

  • Too quiet spaces can also be problematic for employees. Not all sound is noise. It becomes noise depending on the task at hand. Low background noises affect privacy.

  • Noise from leakages, for example through gaps and cracks in buildings. These could include keyholes or air vents, wall openings catering for pipes, ducts and wiring, joints between raised floors, ceilings, and partitions, etc.

Research shows that noise distraction leads to loss of productivity and the more intense a task is, the more noise disturbs those performing it.

Another study found that participants who worked in a loud noise environment were more tired, less motivated at work and remembered only a few words of what they were studying, compared to those working in a low noise environment.

A TED talk by Julian Treasure shows that noise pollution in open offices reduces employee productivity by 66 percent:

Poor acoustics lead to more noise, which causes stress on employees. Stressed employees are vulnerable to high blood pressure, headaches, digestive disorders, ulcers, and hypertension.

Noise will also affect motivation, in that one will not be willing to adjust their workstations, even though another setting would be more comfortable and reduce injury risks.

Indeed, controlling sound distraction in an otherwise busy work environment is a tough balancing act. But it can be done.

Your office interior design and its acoustics is a good place to start.

Think about your layout and how it will protect your employees from distractions related to office noise.

You can protect their physical and emotional wellbeing, too, by ensuring that every office component works to provide an ideal acoustic setting. Some of these components include:

  • Furniture

  • Space

  • Partition composition and height

  • Ceiling material and height

  • Wall materials, treatment, placement and shape

  • Flooring

  • Hanging materials

  • Screens

  • Furnishings

  • Lighting

  • Biophilia

  • Rooms depth, mechanical systems, and materials

Abstracta Airflake is fabric-covered moulded fibre felt that absorbs sound and prevents echoes. Designed by Stefan Borselius.

Designing an effective open office space leads to a robust business environment. You save money with space, while enabling easy communication and collaboration.

To achieve this, consider the design, installation and how to maintain each specified component to ensure an innovative open office system.

Seventy percent of employees said their productivity would increase if offices became less noisy in a study by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).

Their perceived effectiveness increased when noise from office equipment, background conversations, and mechanical systems was reduced.  

Studies on speech privacy and conversational distractions have shown that making effective acoustic adjustments to open office environments, improves productivity and mental wellbeing.

It allows the employee to focus on tasks at hand – a 48 percent increase, decreases conversational distractions by 51 percent, leads to reduced errors on tasks by 10 percent and reduces stress (measured in terms of physical symptoms) by 27 percent.

Ready to make your office space a haven of productivity by taking control of its acoustics?

If so, great choice!

Acoustic control is an investment that pays for itself through better productivity of employees and lower churn rate.

Acoustic office design at Help Musicians at The Briggait in Glasgow

Office Acoustic Control – What You Need to Know

A Guide to Office Acoustics defines acoustics as the science of sound. Its history started with the Greeks who understood sound travel and used this information to build amphitheaters.

Sound is a series of pressure fluctuations or waves. They start when an object vibrates from its source, for example, a vocal cord. It moves in all directions in the air at the speed of sound which is around 786mph.

What sound encounters or its distance from the source determines what happens after. The arc of the imaginary sound line grows larger while energy dissipates.

If it encounters a hard surface, it's reflected, leading to a sound energy buildup that amplifies the sound. Some of this energy is absorbed if it hits a soft surface leading to a reduction in sound.

Acoustic engineers use this information to combat potential acoustic problems. They use the ABC method that controls certain factors to achieve the right acoustic environment. This method includes:

  •          A - absorption of sound waves done by absorbing sound before reaching the listener's ears

  •          B - blocking the right amount of sound

  •          C - covering or masking the unwanted sound

To solve noise issues, the acoustic technician must know what kind of noise problem your office has. They must put into consideration what acoustic goals you have.

Are your employees suffering from concentration issues, lack of speech privacy or a combination of these?

Understanding the problem will help you undertake a gap analysis to establish the correct way to deal with noise issues.

Lack of speech privacy mostly happens in closed office spaces. It mainly occurs in sectors where consultations with clients should be confidential, like in the medical, financial or human resource sectors.

In this case, you have to provide sound absorptive surfaces and raise the background level to allow concentration.

Noise and concentration issues occur in open office spaces where buildings have hard reflective interiors. The sounds continually reverberate leading to increased noise levels as staff communicate with each other and attend to their usual tasks.

Employees can hear conversations held across the office space; they can hear keyboard strokes and phone conversations that lead to less concentration and, therefore, less productivity.

A combination of these two issues will occur where noise and lack of speech privacy affect the employees. They will have problems in all their working spaces including the boardroom, the client meeting areas and the open plan spaces.

In order to provide your employees with a space where they can work effectively, these agile environments require an acoustic landscape carefully designed to cater for all noise-related issues.

Measures will include having some level of noise absorption and privacy at the desks, controlling common area noises and having private spaces for confidential discussions.

Acoustics Solutions that Lead to Improved Team Productivity

Some of the areas to focus on include:

1.    Furniture and Screens

Furniture can affect acoustic properties either positively or negatively. Hard surfaces reflect sound and things like glass-topped tables amplify sound. Soft surfaces absorb sound. You can use fabric covered soft panels or screens (free standing or placed between desks).

In open-plan spaces, furniture should prevent sound travel from one cubicle to the next. The divider panels should be at least 60 inches in height. Seventy-two inches is usually the best height, while 48 inches does not help block conversation noise.

Buy furniture with a sound blocking rating of about 18-20 Sound Transmission Class (STC). Consider the height, position, quantity, absorption properties, and background sound levels when installing screens.

Consider your furniture layout, too. Avoid furniture placement that has employees seeing each other. If they can see each other, they can hear each other. If you choose to use glass, then it’s acceptable, since glass is an excellent sound barrier.

2.   Ceiling

Sound also travels up and bounces off the ceiling. The type of ceiling you choose can either insulate sound, absorb it or do both. Sound absorbing products differ depending on density, thickness, weight, and surface finish.

Their merits also vary in terms of whether they provide absorption or insulation.

Sound insulation depends on mass, density and the ability of the material to block sound passage from a room to another or block noise from outside. The types of ceilings you can choose from are: mineral fibre, plasterboards, metal, wood, stretch or exposed concrete.

When doing sound insulation, make sure you don’t compromise the ceiling performance when putting speakers, lighting fixtures, ventilation, ducting grilles, etc.  In some cases, you may need to add ducting dampers, and acoustic hoods to maintain the quality of insulation.

3.   Flooring

Carpets not only reduce footfalls, but they also absorb sound and block noise from the floor below. A well-cushioned carpet can provide acoustical insulation properties. Choose a thick permeable carpet for maximum sound absorption.

You can also use raised access flooring. These are individual panels continuously decked and supported on pedestals to attain a certain height. To achieve excellent sound absorption qualities, cover them with a carpet.

For insulation, compartmentalise the underfloor using either low-level plasterboard drywalls or high-density wool bats under the partitioning. You can also use acoustic pads.

During installation, be careful when introducing grilles, air ventilation, and open cable apertures.

4.   Sound Masking

If you already designed your open office space, think of improving the work environment using sound masking.

Sound masking devices help by slightly raising the background sound level of a building. It makes it hard for employees to get distracted by conversations from coworkers.

5.   Partitions

Partitions are great for insulation, but not so good in sound absorption. They are, however, used to support acoustic wall panels. Walls may not as good for sound absorption like ceilings since they have interruptions like windows, artwork, furniture, and doors.

However, where space is available, wall mounted sound absorbers will reduce reverberation time or complement ceiling absorption.

Acoustic wall paper covering

Some companies develop wall coverings with sound-absorbing properties used as part of a holistic approach. You can also use synthetic acoustic plasters through spraying or troweling for a smooth finish. Types of partitioning include plasterboards, modular/relocatable, glazed partitions, and operable/movable walls.

Make the partition airtight, since any hole, no matter how small, weakens wall performance.

6.   Doors

Doors are tricky since they are a weak point in partitions. However, you can use this weakness as a privacy strategy by allowing background sound to leak to the room.

When the background noise is too low, problems with privacy arise. The best doors for acoustics are airtight doors.

Sliding doors have a space between the partition and the door that could affect performance. Use acoustic seals to enhance performance or increase door thickness. 

7.   Acoustic Lighting

Combine noise absorption with acoustic lighting without taking much space or interrupting it physically. Acoustic lighting hangs elegantly and improves flexibility, productivity, and overall happiness.

Good sound absorbing light will balance light and ambiance while offering comfort, tranquility, and space.

Board room acoustic lighting panels

8.   Biophilia

There is an undeniable connection between humans and nature. We simply perform better and are happier when surrounded by nature.

Biophilic design makes it possible for you to leverage the benefits of this connection even in indoor office space. It integrates natural materials with modern architecture by providing visual privacy and reducing noise levels.

Green walls provide better acoustic absorption than conventional building materials. Plants diffuse and deflect sound, but only if you spread them evenly in the available space, use green modular walls tested for effective acoustic properties and use large plant containers that can accommodate more compost and top dressing.

9.   Internal Finishes

Consider the orientation of absorption, the location, and whether the finish is reflective or deflective. They are great at promoting intelligibility and privacy.

For example, you can control the spread of noise by placing highly absorptive furniture near the source of the noise. Using absorptive materials can improve acoustics. Acoustic furnishings include absorptive rugs, soundproofing curtains, dividing screens, and absorption panels.

Conclusion

The acoustic performance of a room will also depend on factors like the size of the room, its shape, other elements in the room and their relationship.

For instance, when designing acoustics consider balancing it with the needs of other users in the building. Take a holistic designing approach that considers acoustic comfort, visual comfort, cost, sustainability, and thermal comfort.

When dealing with an open plan environment, consider the requirements that will improve productivity in various rooms.

Offices, conference rooms, and meeting rooms must have appropriate use of space so that people in a large room can hear the speaker while those in small rooms do not encounter echoes.

Avoid acoustic leakages so that employees can maintain confidentiality when needed. Background noise should not be at a minimum and fail to mask other office sounds. It should also not be too loud that it disrupts communication and concentration.

You can achieve increased productivity by considering the sound absorption rates your office needs, the reflective needs, fittings, furniture, and background sound level. These changes will enhance office space aesthetically and acoustically. 

Do you want to read more about:

  1. Moving or refurbishing?

  2. Space planning and utilisation study?

  3. Branding in office design?

  4. Attracting and retaining talent?

    Click here:

52 Trees for Life thanks to MNM Developments and Tours by Locals

52 Trees for Life thanks to MNM Developments and Tours by Locals

When we were discussing the introduction of the launch of our new branding early in 2017, the idea came up to video the planting of Amos Beech ‘trees’ on various locations in Scotland. The locations that we choose were those where you normally would have to go through lengthy planning applications, only to discover to end up nowhere:

It was then that somebody here in the office mentioned the Trees For Life project. Trees For Life plants trees in The Caledonian Forest. Trees for Life helps nature to restore in the Scottish Highlands and helps people reconnect with their spirit, with hope and with the land.

Trees for Life

The Caledonian Forest once covered a large part of the Highlands as extensive stands of majestic Scots pines, interspersed with birch, rowan, juniper and aspen trees. It was the UK's equivalent of the rainforest but has been reduced to just a tiny fraction of its former range. Most of the surviving forests now consist of old trees reaching the end of their lifespan.

In 2008 Trees for Life purchased the Dundreggan Estate, an area of 10,000 acres of wild land near Loch Ness to establish a major forest restoration programme. To date the conservation volunteering charity have planted over 1.6 million trees!

(A film by The Big Picture, a non-profit social enterprise founded by a group of professional photographers, filmmakers, writers, designers and educators, motivated by the need to rebuild healthy ecosystems where wildlife and people flourish.)

Amos Beech contributed 474 trees to date.

Under the slogan ‘every little helps’, we here Amos Beech started our own grove in August 2017 and are proud to have recently added 52 trees for MNM Developments and Tours by Locals.

MNM Developments

MNM develop high-value, luxury properties that respect and enhance their surroundings and have a minimal environmental footprint. We designed and fitted out their 1846 sq ft of new office space in Leith Edinburgh.

Michaela Teague receives the certificate for 24 trees.

Tours by Locals

Tours by Locals brings local people with their knowledge and expertise together with travelers who are looking for an authentic cultural experience. We designed and fitted out their 2153 sq ft of new office space in Glasgow.

Paul Melhus, CEO and Founder of Tours By Locals, receives the tree certificate (28 trees) from Kit-Har McLaughlin, interior designer @Amos_Beech, during a great office opening party in January 2019.

More trees to come!

Unsurprisingly, the tree planting scheme is very well received by our clients and we feel well doing it, so also this year we will be planting 13 trees per 1000 sq ft of interior design, office fit-out and furniture project.

But did you know that you can contribute yourself?

Amos Beech – improving every environment we touch

Sit stand desking and seating for HW Energy

Sit stand desking and seating for HW Energy

HW Energy are a progressive and dynamic company who design and install bio-mass heating systems for their clients all over the UK.  Of particular note though, is their office location – sitting under the north west slopes of Britains highest mountain – Ben Nevis and conveniently close to Aonach Mor where you can take a Gondola ride up the mountain. 

HW Energy purpose built their offices 10 years ago and the intervening years have seen their workforce grow which meant that the office space had been altered bit by bit over the years too.  The result’s left a lot to be desired and did not use the available space very efficiently and with more staff joining, they knew that a refurbishment was required.

Sit stand desking and seating for HW Energy in Fort William

Amos Beech were asked to visit and were more than happy to, given that the initial visit was during what proved to be an amazing summer and a lovely day out of the office was enjoyed by Vincent and Sam

Over a few weeks and some inevitable bumps and hurdles over budgets and layouts, HWE chose to order sit/stand desking for all their staff along with the Viasit Drumback task chair. The new layout has transformed the space and now feels a lot more airy and less cluttered than it did previously. 

Upgrades to flooring throughout the space have been carried out and the Amos Beech team will be on site again soon to complete the refurbishment of their break-out space.  So look out for the update and we may well include some pictures of Ben Nevis in the springtime!

Design consultancy and furniture specification

Design consultancy and furniture specification

The young, fun and vibrant creative company Sunshine Communications moved offices to future proof themselves for further team growth and increase their ability of creative outputs. So what is a better place to move to than Commercial Quay in Leith Edinburgh? Commercial Quay lies at the heart of the popular shore area of Leith and has a mix of cafés, bars and restaurants. 

Commercial Quay in Leith Edinburgh

Our design team worked closely with Sunshine Communications to provide a fit out and soft furniture items that meet tight budgets, functionality and aesthetics. A space full of colour and plants, a home away from home.

Design consultancy and furniture specification Sunshine Communications Edinburgh 

As you enter into the workspace, you're greeted by a neon pink side profile face - illuminating the essence of Sunshine Communication, a talking head. Social by nature, social by trade – they gain traction with everyone they work with. 

The geometric shapes painted in soft pastels add interest to the back wall. The paints used in the scheme are from Craig & Rose, the oldest independent paint manufacture in the UK, a nod to their origins on Leith Walks. The colours echo Sunshine Communications branding without being overpowering to the entirety of the space. As the office is also a working photography studio, we had to consider colour balance.

For the meeting room, we needed to create privacy but also wanted to make a statement. The dichroic film is beautiful, constantly reflecting shifting colours and radiance depending on the perspective of the viewer. Inside we placed a large brass conical base table that balances a glass top to contrast from the pink velvet seats sat below.  

And to continue the velvet, we placed two green velvet sofas facing each other as an informal meeting space with plant pots on stands help to separate it from the open workspace as well as adding biophilia.

And of course featuring in their offices: “Sunshine on Leith”, the Scottish musical film directed by Dexter Fletcher featuring songs by The Proclaimers: