Operation – Maximisation!
A Facilities Manager may understand the phrase ‘squeezing a quart into a pint pot’ better than anyone else.
With office space, especially in City Centre locations at an all-time high, the careful planning and use of space is high on the agenda. In some areas of London rent per square foot is averaging £96.00.* Decisions about moving are not taken lightly and in times of growth, fitting more staff into your building can be like doing a 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle, painstaking and complicated!
Modern-day Facilities Managers should perhaps be called ‘Workplace Managers’ as they now hold a much more holistic role, working closely with other senior colleagues to deliver a service to stakeholders that meet business objectives. It is no longer just about providing a safe, clean, fit-for-purpose environment where everything works well; it is now about providing competitive advantage, creating a strong brand image, employee engagement and retention. It is about corporate responsibility, green infrastructure, well-being and optimal productivity.
It has long been recognised that corporate planting is a key feature for the modern workplace. Whether that means roof terrace space, ‘Green Infrastructure’ to break up the concrete jungle of an inner-city location, or planting solutions for interiors to bring tranquillity and beauty inside. Corporate planting is no longer just a ‘nice to have’, it has become essential. Plants in the work place are proven to decrease stress levels, increase productivity, improve the aesthetic value of the environment, negate ‘sick building syndrome’ improving sickness absence rates, and improve air quality.
What is the answer then? How do you include plants into your office plan when there is no spare floor space?
Creative and innovative plant solutions are available. It’s time to think outside the proverbial box. Living walls bring a room to life and look stunning inside or out. Whole walls can be planted in striking colours and patterns, echoing your design theme or corporate logo.
On a smaller scale, plants become art inside the office. Don’t hang static two dimensional pictures, instead hang living pictures, elegant frames full of lush green planting. Living pictures can be used anywhere to add the wow factor and transform a boring office wall.
If you’re a Facilities Manager, I expect you know the location of every fire extinguisher in your building. Do your staff know where these are too? How about a planted fire-extinguisher stand as the perfect multi-tasking furniture. It’s completely functional and it also makes an attractive office feature. One would argue that it makes the office safer as everyone will take note of the location of your firefighting equipment!
We are all striving to be paper free, keeping the office uncluttered, but there will always be a need for storage in the office. Stationery supplies, documents and personal belongings must have a home. Sometimes cabinets can provide structure to an open plan office, sectioning off areas so teams can work in defined spaces. Cabinets can multi-task too. Cabinet top planting can be used effectively to soften clinical open plan offices, bringing lush colour and life in to an otherwise bland space with the added benefit that it stops the clutter of left-over snow-drifts of paper from the printer and abandoned coffee cups.
Looking for something completely different? Upside-down planters give a totally different perspective. Hanging from the ceiling, they take up no extra space but they do add a fun, fresh, modern look to your décor. Working well over desk space, or to accent your communal areas, perhaps over the breakfast bar or dining tables.
Now is the time to explore the myriad of possibilities and be open-minded about trying out some exciting new solutions in planting to improve your building. There’s so much choice it’s just a case of finding what works best for you.
Information source http://www.uncsbrp.org/officespace.htm – London’s Economic Plan.