Workplaces are steadily changing and their awesomeness is highly getting related with output of staff members. Unless one works at an out-of-the-box company, it’s hard to find an office space that inspires workers through exciting interior design. While some might think that this is a frivolous claim, the visual environment the staff members are surrounded with can affect productivity and energy levels, writes Humphrey ODHIAMBO.
The workplace is not just where work happens. It’s how work happens. And that changes over time. Reasons of the change are numerous: a maturing (and very selective) workforce, pervasive internet access and mobile enthusiasm, an energetic (if wary) economy, newfound concern for worker wellbeing, rapid growth in the “contingent” workforce and the alarming disengagement levels1 of employees who can’t shake the feeling that we’re just not meant to spend 40 hours a week corralled in cubicles.
Fortunately, employers are largely on the same page. Companies are looking to their physical office as a strategic way to engage and attract talent, cultivate personality and stay competitive. It’s imperative in a global, digital landscape where reputation, environmental footprint, employee perks, product efficacy and corporate character all precede you.
The technology sector is leading the charge in renewed workplace design, defying long-held workplace expectations. Perimeter offices and opaque, high-walled cubicles have been replaced with open floor plans and ambient lighting.
Tech has catered to the emerging, collaborative work style and defined what the modern workplace looks like, albeit with a decidedly Californian vibe. The value of bean bag chairs is unique to a certain kind of culture, but the idea that the workplace can and should evolve to better support employees is resonating across industries.
What’s driving workplace change? Why now? Five distinct, but interrelated shifts are affecting the workplace on a grand scale. To better explain the evolution of the physical workplace, we identify the broad cultural and commercial themes that are changing the way we work—and thus how the office can deliver.
Toward a lasting investment
Reducing spend in offices is still a priority, more especially when a number of companies are less strapped for cash, they’re able to make strategic investments in the workplace. Instead of seeing real estate as a cost, top companies are looking at it as a way to deliver value.
We’re in the midst of an era of change not seen since the Industrial Revolution, ICT expert Dr. Bitange Ndemo. The internet and digitization have created a second economy, says Dr. Ndemo noting that it connects us globally and functions largely without our conscious input.
Many processes that formerly required human supervision and focus are happening automatically, intelligently and silently all the time. Our attentions are shorter, maybe; in higher demand, absolutely; but also freed from certain laborious, fixed routines.
It’s time we thought strategically about the efficacy of the physical spaces, people and processes that can’t be digitized.
The modern workforce – particularly new generations of employees—expect the flexibility to work from anywhere, be it home, the office or a coffee shop. However, all these workspaces require some reasonable sprucing to ensure that worthwhile meetings can also take place around or within such settings. For this to happen, engaging an interiors designer to actualize the space is absolutley necessary.
Among the improved items used on the move are laptops, smart phones, tablets, voice over internet protocol (VoIP) and communications platforms such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, instant messaging, social networks and web conferencing. All these make work-shifting possible. We have an unprecedented ability to collaborate among employees and with external stakeholders.
Employees today are away from their desks more than ever. The population of non-self-employed teleworkers increased 103% since 2005 and 6.5% in 2014, with 80%-90% of the East African workforce indicating they would like to telework at least part time.
Not surprisingly, the cost of outfitting the modern worker with an arsenal of gadgetry and infrastructure is at an all-time high. The average IT spend per employee is significantly rising.
Large investments in technology, however, can be offset by significant space savings and reduced attrition. 95% of employers say that teleworking reduces turnover.
10 tips for One Room Living
One room living can be very interesting. However most one roomed flats or studio apartments are box-like spaces with little to commend them in the way of interesting detail or character. And generally they are small.
Since they are going to be not just living room but bedroom and dining room, this means that every inch of space has to play its part, every piece of furniture has to be dual-purpose if not multi-functional, and every activity has to be properly catered for. To work efficiently this sort of room needs discipline, neatness and above all imagination. Successful one room living is more an attitude of mind than anything else. If the room is not to look a complete jumble, you have to try to create distinct areas for relaxing, sleeping and eating. Since you very often cannot physically divide the space, you have to divide the ‘look’ with different lighting or rugs or color to make separate visual areas.
Weigh your selections along with the lighting in your room. A room with limited light can seem somber when dark colors dominate. If maroon or brown are among your favorite colors but you want a well-lit, bright atmosphere, use those hues in toss pillows, vases, lamp bases, candles and other accents.
02. Pastel colors
Enlarge the look of a room with soft shades of yellow paint or small wallpaper prints in soft colors. Use pastel colors to create a light, airy feeling in narrow hallways, tiny bathrooms and small bedrooms.
Small is beautiful and even comfortable if you’re a shrewd decorator. Furnishings must work harder; clever storage is essential.
04. Disguising the bed
When living in a single room, you don’t want visitors to feel like they’ve walked into your bedroom. There are several clever ways to disguise a bed. If you intend to keep your regular double bed, it is wise to invest in a screen to disguise it. You can get ready-made screens from Chinese, Indian and Pakistan furniture shops or you can ask your local fundi to make one for you. You can also pile lots of cushions on your bed during the day to make it look like a large sofa.
05. Day Bed
On the other hand you can invest in day bed. This is the fold up bed that turns into a bed at night and into a sofa during the day. This way no one will ever know where you sleep as you simply fold up the bed in the morning. Avoid using bed sheets or partitions to disguise your bed. You end up clattering your space and it looks downright tacky.
Hang attractive artwork or pictures on your walls. You can change wall colors. If you can’t afford to buy much, try just painting the trims (base or skirting boards, door and window frames and any moldings) with a contrast color in semi-gloss. It will give an immediate lift to the room.
07. More Lighting
Invest in some up lights and stick them in corners, behind plants and pieces of furniture, or behind a sofa. The difference in light and shade and subtlety will be enormous. Invest too, in a small spotlight to pinpoint anything interesting you have, even a plant. Use a soft even light and eliminate shadows, which tend to slice a room up into smaller spaces. Avoid ceiling lighting this will visually lower your ceiling.
Do not underestimate the change plants can make to a room. Buy the fullest and best shapes you can afford and let them make a bold definite statement. Put them in corners, lit from behind with up lights or spots; mass them on windowsills, add them to arrangements of any kind of collection you may have. The fresh green of well-kept foliage will brighten the dullest of studio apartment and your spirits into the bargain.
Add throw or scatter cushions wherever you can, but cushions in well-chosen colors and designs can add immediate zing, warmth and personality, injecting dashes of vitality where none existed before, as well as covering shabby and stained patches in upholstery.
A carpet can make a difference to how your one room flat looks. As part of a room’s background, carpet color can do remarkable things. A carpet the same color as the walls or lighter can make the room seem larger. A sharply contrasting color concentrates attention on the furniture and lessens focus on the walls. For a one room flat, a patterned wall-to-wall carpet and a co-ordinate patterned paper on the walls and ceiling can, amazingly make the space seem much larger. If you have patterned wallpaper, lots of pictures on the walls or collections on shelves, avoid a patterned floor covering.
Turn on Your Space
The season for preparing to participate in Ideal Interiors Expo 2017 – another feast and siesta of exciting ideas, designs and innovations that add life to spaces we live in, work from and entertain our families and guests are here. It is with us.
The eventful exhibition themed; Connecting with Excellence inclines on pairing you with the best-of-the-best in the trendy world of interiors. You get to know; who’s woken to the realities in this industry that will never ever again be underrated as a passing fad by some cynics.
The trendy expo sets the year’s momentum. It is richly enhanced with a diversity of appealing ideas and evenly renders the yearned for a good mix of decisive clients. If anything, by today’s lofty standards, the 2017 expo is evidently big. But do not just take our word for it, if you are in the queue of actualizing the homely home. Take it. It’s a must diarize event.
It is the interiors that make homes homely. Enviable hotels are actualized by it. Corporate offices are hardly complete without the fine touch of ideal interiors.
Well in this edition, we also explore about having favourite corners in your house or home. This is timely considering the festive season. Your own little ‘chill-out zone’ adds flavour to your moments of holiday experience at your space. What would you be waiting for? Isn’t it time to get creative and turn a corner into your ‘Me-Time’ space away from the mundane chores?
We also explore workspaces that deliver work. We take you through the larger forces driving change in workplaces which range from; the business lines that need to respond, and six practical workplace modifications that any company can use – no matter how traditional.
Five distinct, but interrelated shifts are affecting the workplace on a grand scale. To better explain the evolution of the physical workplace, we identify the broad cultural and commercial themes that are changing the way we work—and thus how the office can deliver.
This edition also looks at some eclectic ideas that can help you start creating and designing your corner at home…While our emphasis is on a location, we impress on you to ideally think about your secret corner next to a window.
In Meru, In Style
This edition also takes us to Interiors Centre in Meru, the deserving focal point of the greater Mt. Kenya. The essence of the exceptional showroom speaks volumes. It is stocked with designer flooring products, furniture and furnishings, glassware, kitchens and kitchenware, sanitary-ware as well as lighting and fittings.
Why Interiors Centre? Style is getting to the country-side. The county offices are styling-up. Fashion is becoming trendier. Homes are opening up to new ideas.
So what’s in all these for you? So much. I can say with certainty. You need precision. You deserve beyond the latest but the best unveiled in the marketplace. We hope this will pave the way and engage you with quality clientele. The great deal and time invested on Interiors Centre in Meru and Interiors Expo attests to the top value that you can’t afford to miss to sample.
Happy holidays and a bountiful 2017.
Home chill-out zone
It has steadily become essential for one to have a space to celebrate special moments within a home-setting, writes Lydia OPWAKA.
Do you long to have a favourite corner in your house? Your own little ‘chill-out zone’? What are you waiting for? Get creative and turn a corner into your ‘Me-Time’ space away from the mundane chores.
Let us look at some eclectic ideas that can help you start creating and designing your corner…
Ideally, your secret corner should be next to a window. Nothing beats the natural light to cheer up your mood. Also it will help you for all your activities like reading, knitting, sewing, painting, sketching or just leisurely lounging an afternoon away. Imagine! Get the feel of lounging on a comfortable chair with rays of sunshine on you.
Complete your siesta with a nice book in your hands and a steaming cup of your favourite beverage.
Lighting is crucial
Your corner should have proper lighting. It should be just adequate, neither too bright (or harsh) nor too soft. Look for some soft lights that are adequate for reading or knitting. During the day, nothing beats natural light, but sometimes you may need to draw the curtains as the glare can get in the way of reading. A sleek lamp is a good idea or maybe a hanging light with flexible dimmers.
Be clever in choosing the furniture
You have limited space so don’t go for any bulky furniture. Light low shelves are good to keep your books, music system, etc. If the space allows, place a small table to keep your laptop or do some writing.
You may also make a suitcase stack instead of a table or a shelf. Just stack up old or vintage suitcases, which are in good shape, and use them as a side table. They are not only useful as tables due to their flat surface but also have room to store your stuff, like stationery items or wool if you are knitting, or your music CDs. This way you have a table as well as extra storage space. You can coordinate your decor with a matched wall art or photo frames or an antique clock. You will surely have an interesting looking corner.
Now comfortable seating arrangement is a must. Otherwise the whole purpose of your relaxing zone gets defeated. Traditional armchairs are the best bet, or accent chairs and loungers with lots of cushions. You could also indulge in sink-in sofas for ultimate lounging.
Play with colours
Mix and match different textures and colours according to the season. Colours can transform a space from boring to beautiful. If you need to brighten up your corner, just pile up colourful cushions and see how they bring cheer and make your special corner appealing. Cushions of all shapes and sizes with your favourite prints and designs grouped together on a daybed, or sofa, can really enhance the decor of the area. Colourful wallpaper with some warm accents can also do the trick. Colours such as warm yellows and rust work magic to bring cheer to any space. While for some, a palette of lavender with blues is preferred.
A pile of books
Your corner will have lots of books. Don’t just let them clutter the space. Books can make for a wonderfully simple display when piled up from the floor and may be topped with a pot plant.
This is your own little space so enhance it with your treasured items that you may have collected over time. It could be a nice pen holder or a decorative pot or your grandma’s little gift for you. Maybe you have pillow or cushion covers with your mother’s embroidered work, take them out, this is the right place to use them. You will reminisce those lovely moments.
Bring in good energy
Placing an indoor plant in a beautiful pot adds so much life to the corner. If you don’t have enough space for a planter, just take a decorative pot or urn and fill it with water, then put some aromatic floating candles and rose petals. It will add so much charm and energy. You could also display your favourite piece of art on the wall or your family’s pictures to accentuate the right feel. Positive energy is a must in your corner.
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