Office Background Noise Explained

Not sure how to reduce office background noise? Rexel’s Noise Reduction Guide answers 5 questions to help you on your journey towards a more productive work environment.

Grey floorstanding noise reduction panel

1. Which workplaces use noise reduction panels?

Noise reduction panels, also referred to as sound adsorption panels, are commonly used to combat the distraction and resulting lost productivity caused by the background noise generated by multiple workers in open planned offices.

Unwanted background noise can also be reduced in environments such as restaurants and schools by installing noise reduction panels.

If you look for them, you’ll find the panels deployed in many different noisy environments with abundant hard surfaces, such as walkways and corridors.

2. Why does office background noise distract?

Workplace environments are intrinsically linked to employee wellbeing and improving the working environment has never received as much attention as it does today. Employers understand the link between the ambient environment of the worker and their productivity.

Background or low-level noise is often cited as a cause of disruption and can be distracting for those seeking to concentrate.

Unwanted ambient noise can negatively impact employee health and wellbeing by increasing general stress levels and aggravating stress-related conditions such as headaches and high blood pressure. The effects worsen with prolonged exposure and can negatively impact higher brain function, impairing learning and memory, disrupting capacity to think clearly and retain information.

3. How is office background noise generated?

There are countless sources of noise in a working environment. Conversations, telephone calls, photocopiers, printers, keyboards, mobile phones, docking and undocking laptops, not to mention machinery in warehouses or production plants, all contribute. Even whispered chatter in school auditoriums or heavy footsteps in airport lounges have an impact.

Once a sound wave is generated, it travels until its energy dissipates. Hard surfaces such as uncarpeted floors, glass windows, conference and meeting tables, computer monitor screens and whiteboards allow more sound wave reverberation within the boundaries of the environment than softer materials that can absorb the sound energy.

4. Why is sound absorption effective in noisy offices?

Sound absorption materials are commonly used in construction for sound proofing and are effective alternatives to white noise strategies that attempt to mask distracting sound frequencies.

Our video shows just how effective noise reduction panels are at absorbing soundwaves.

Noise reduction panels employ the same noise absorption principles as permanent sound proofing boards but offer the flexibility of being mounted or positioned in areas where they will deliver most benefit. This makes them the best solution for noisy and loud offices as well as other spaces reducing background noise without incurring cost or workspace inflexibility presented by soundproofing is important.

Rexel ActiVita Noise Reduction Panels

Reverberation time in a typical office is about 2 seconds, that’s the time it takes for a noise to dissipate (or reduce). A reverberation time of 1 second is believed to be a comfortable level for the general office environment. Just 20% coverage of wall surface area in a room will reduce the reverberation time by anything from 0.5 seconds to slightly over 1 second (depending on how reflective the materials are within your office).

ActiVita Noise Reduction Panels reduce office background noise by 50%.

5. How many noise reduction panels do I need for my office?

Our noise reduction panel calculator will do the math for you.

5 ways to make the most of your classroom whiteboard this year

A whiteboard is the cornerstone of any classroom, in school, college or university. It is a must-have tool that offers a number of uses, from brainstorming new ideas, breaking down and solving a problem, or as a means of displaying tasks or objectives for the lesson.

The perfect classroom whiteboard 

With so much choice, finding the right whiteboard for your classroom can be a tough choice. The Nobo whiteboard selector tool will suggest the best board, based on your requirements, including usage, size of room and surface type.

As well as a wall mounted whiteboard, consider also a mobile board or easel which students can also use whenever they need, to work through an idea or problem at their own pace.

5 great uses for your classroom whiteboard

There are several other uses for the classroom whiteboard that may not automatically spring to mind, so what better time than the start of the new academic year to think of some new and different ways to get use out of your board?

  1. Brainstorming ideas

Mapping and writing out suggestions from the class to develop into a full formed idea or plan is a great way to get creative juices flowing and encourage team working between students. Writing the thought process on your whiteboard enables members of the class to follow along and also revisit any previously discarded ideas to see if it can be reimagined to fit with the final project

  1. Ditch the pinboard

The whiteboard isn’t restricted to only use during class, it can also serve as a message board for any important updates or news, to keep everyone in the classroom up to date with what’s going on. This could range from reminders to hand in permission forms for an upcoming trip, dates for everyone’s diary or time of the next year assembly.

  1. Share a thought for the day

Similar to the message board concept, whiteboards can also be used for students and staff to add their thought for the day. Create a space on your whiteboard where the class can communicate with each other, and place a marker pen beside it so anyone can contribute, turning your ordinary board into a place for thought sharing and discussion between classmates.


  1. Test your class with a daily challenge

Put a word puzzle or brain teaser, relating to the subject you teach for example an equation for Maths or an anagram for English, on your whiteboard for the class to solve. Testing your pupils with a daily or weekly challenge will not only keep them entertained but helps to keep their minds active outside of their usual classwork.

  1. Record achievement of the week

Similar to a gold star chart, use your whiteboard to write the name of a student, who has performed well in class, has made great progress in a challenging area or has gone above and beyond the normal expectations of a pupil. Use the whiteboard to state why the particular person has been nominated, so classmates and other teachers can congratulate them for their hard work. Choose a different member of the class each week to nominate based on their performance, to ensure everyone has a turn.

A whiteboard is any teacher’s must trusted teaching aid. With so many great uses, your classroom whiteboard can help you to engage with your class on different levels and enhance their learning experience. As you get ready for the new academic year, why not try out of some of our suggestions to make the most out of your whiteboard? Leave a comment sharing the innovative ways you use your class board.

This year, Nobo is running an unmissable year-long prize draw where one lucky winner will get an office makeover worth £5,000. There’s also chances to win a desk makeover every month of 2017. For more information about how you can enter, please visit the Nobo website or follow Nobo on Twitter







Rexel’s top 10 back to school stationery essentials

With September fast approaching, teachers and students alike are preparing themselves for the new school year. Going back to school after a summer break may be tough, so to help ease the transition we’ve put together 10 stationery essentials that will help you get the most from the upcoming term.

  1. Desk organisers

From letter trays to table top waste bins, desk accessories help to keep your classroom tidy and organised. Desk organisers offer a convenient means of dealing with the high activity area that is a classroom desk. For example, tiered letter trays can help to organise work waiting to be marked, whilst desk tidies are perfect for storing pens and pencils, making them easy to reach and accessible.

  1. Colourful pen pot

Brightly coloured stationery allows teachers to add a touch of colour and personality to their desks. Colours such as blue and green have also been proven to have a positive impact on productivity and alertness. Our JOY range pen cups are available in pink, blue, green and purple and are great for keeping pens, pencils, scissors and other miscellaneous equipment together in one place.

  1. Lever arch files

Filing systems and folders are crucial to keep a classroom organised and aesthetically pleasing. Lever arch files are great for storing lesson plans and classwork. Coloured files can help to separate classes or age groups.

  1. Laminator

Laminators are a perfect addition to any classroom. They help to preserve schoolwork, create eye-catching displays or produce important documents. GBC Fusion laminators have intelligent controls that enable exceptionally fast lamination and conserve energy when not in use.

  1. Stapler & hole punch

Another must have tool for your classroom are staplers and hole punches. Both allow documents to be filed and kept together neatly. Electric staplers can deal with large volumes of paper, making highly repetitive stapling jobs simple and consistent. Our range of reliable hole punches are perfect for occasional use or for dealing with a large volume on a day-to-day basis.

  1. Whiteboard accessories

Marker pens, whiteboard erasers and a whiteboard cleaner are essentials for all teachers. Research has shown how colour can stimulate specific brain functions, proving the need for coloured whiteboard markers to keep students engaged in lessons. In order to keep your whiteboard in good condition it must be well looked after, erasers and cleaners prevent your board from the effects of ghosting.

  1. Smart notepad

Notebooks are an obvious essential, perfect for a number of uses from writing lesson plans or making to do lists. The Rexel JOY notepads are not only available in a number of eye catching colours but have a polypropylene cover to protect notes from wear and tear. Notepads with subject dividers are also useful for organisational purposes.

  1. Scissors

Productivity is key in the classroom environment and all items of stationery should ensure that the user can perform tasks efficiently. Rexel’s X3 Scissors provide 300% more cutting power than conventional scissors, making them a useful addition for any teacher.

  1. Tape dispenser

Tape dispensers may not always be considered as a stationery essential, however, for teachers, tape is a must have for creating displays and holding schoolbooks together. Rexel’s JOY tape dispenser has a non-slip base to aid easy use and its rounded shape means it makes a sleek addition to any desk.

  1. Wall planner

An academic year planner is essential for anyone working in education. Sasco’s 2017/2018 Academic Planner runs from August to July with all UK and ROI public holidays clearly marked. Calendars allow for forward planning and organisation of classes and deadlines.

To stay up to date with the latest releases of desk tools and stationery, follow @rexeleurope @noboeurope and @gbceurope on Twitter or visit our website.

Be bright about workplace light this summer

Rexel’s top workplace hacks for the sunny season

With summer in full swing and heat waves continuing to spread across the country, we see office workers desperate to get outside to get some well-deserved fresh air and sunshine.

Summer can bring a host of uncomfortable office conditions. So here are some tips to help keep you and your office colleagues comfortable this summer

Keep cool

If you are unable to offer air conditioning, employees can often become drowsy and unproductive when temperatures soar. The law does not state an ideal office temperature but the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers recommends the following temperatures for different working areas[1] :

  • Heavy work in factories: 13°C
  • Light work in factories: 16°C
  • Hospital wards and shops: 18°C
  • Offices and dining rooms: 20°C

Scientific studies confirm that indoor temperatures can significantly impact on productivity and the best performance ‘comfort zone’ lies between 22° C and 25° C[2].

A quick and cost effective way for employees to reduce temperatures in a workers personal space is a mini desk fan. Compact Rexel JOY desk fans provide a targeted cooling breeze and can be powered from PC USB ports to ensure they can be placed on the workers desk rather than where the next available plug socket happens to be.

Stay hydrated

It’s no surprise but drinking water will reduce body temperature and help workers to keep cool. Encourage workers to drink 2- 3 litres of water a day during the summer. Keep a bottle on your own desk to set the right example, and if you have a fridge, keep a few bottles stocked up so everyone has access to cool water. 

Shine the right light

It may surprise you to learn that daylight lamps are as popular in southern Europe where the sun shines as they are in colder, Northern European countries. That’s because employees who work in countries with more days of sunshine each year are more likely to ‘shut out the daylight’ to remain cool.

When it’s too hot to keep blinds open, relying on artificial light doesn’t need to mean your workforce needs to forego the benefits of natural daylight. Rexel’s ActiVita Daylight desk lamps use LEDs that mimic natural daylight, triggering benefits that will rejuvenate and energising workers.

Turn off electronics when not in use

Not only is it bad for the environment but it’s also going to add additional heat to the workplace from the start of the day. At the end of each day make sure you shut printers, scanners and computers down to give them a break from the heat too!

Dress smart

Being smart about what you wear in summer months will help you to combat climbing office heat too. If you are in a corporate office that requires suits, try and wear lighter, more breathable fabrics like cotton and linen. Lighter colours will also reflect light so white and light greys are good options to consider.

Incorporating some of these simple tips could well be what you need to improve productivity levels and of course, your wellbeing and comfort at work.

Innovative Daylight Lamps by Rexel ActiVita not only deliver the energy boosting benefits of daylight but also enable users to choose and work with the light they need depending on the task, without impacting co-workers. To find out more about the Rexel ActiVita desk lamps, please visit the Rexel website or follow Rexel on Twitter @rexeleurope.



How background noise affects the way you work

Carefully designed, sophisticated, open plan offices now account for 70% of all workspaces. These open spaces do offer important benefits and facilitate ways of working that enhance creativity but they also carry a major downside; lack of sound privacy.

Open workspaces usually feature smooth surfaces, which reflect sound, create harsh echoes and exacerbate environmental noises. A study by Steelcase and Ipsos has revealed that workers lose as much as 86 minutes per day due to noise distractions. Background noise has a significant impact on employee productivity levels and wellbeing in the workplace. We take a look at the problems associated with a loud office and offer solutions to reduce background noise.

How does a noisy office impact our wellbeing and productivity?

Loud sounds and prolonged exposure to certain noises can trigger physiologic stress responses in our bodies, such as spikes in blood pressure and heart rate. Even usual office noises, such as the telephone conversations or chatty colleagues can affect the rhythm and rate of our hearts, causing stress and affecting wellbeing of staff members.

Research from the British Journal of Psychology found that background noise kills productivity levels, with studies showing that workers can be up to 66% less productive when exposed to just one nearby conversation. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that the annual cost to Europe from excessive noise levels is £30 billion. This figure includes loss of productivity, lost working days and healthcare costs. So, what can you do to reduce noise in the workplace?

  1. Provide quiet areas to work

Use an empty small office or conference room and turn it into a ‘quiet room’ that employees can go to when trying to focus on an important task or project. These spaces will be designated for non-group work and help provide a place for staff to work independently and quietly.

  1. Introduce designated “loud spaces”

In contrast, you could also designate specific areas around the office that encourage interaction and discussion. Lunch areas or even phone rooms can help communicate to employees that while they’re at a desk, they should make minimal noise.

  1. Bring in sound absorbing materials

Open offices allow sound to travel throughout the whole space. Hard surfaces do a poor job at absorbing sounds, so bringing in softer materials such as carpets can help to improve sound absorption.

Plants boast sound absorbing capabilities that work just as effectively in an indoor environment as well as an outdoor setting. Plants also carry significant health benefits including improving oxygen levels in an office.

Partitions and noise reduction panels are also a common way to block and absorb sound. For example, our ActiVita Noise reduction boards can reduce noise in any space by up to 50%. Incorporating some of these simple tips could well be what you need to improve productivity levels and of course, employee wellbeing and comfort at work. To stay up to date with our latest product releases and news follow @rexeleurope on Twitter or visit the Rexel website.

How a whiteboard gets dirty – protecting and preserving boards

A whiteboard has many uses; it supports brainstorming sessions, effective meetings and acts as a display area for communicating important news.

Many people will use a whiteboard on a regular basis, so there’s nothing worse than finding the office dry erase board is too stained or damaged to use. Even with a good cleaning regime, sometimes whiteboards become dirty and are not in the optimal condition for use. In that case, it may be time to consider what is causing the stains and look at how to prevent them in future.

Identifying the causes

There are many ways a whiteboard can become stained or damaged. To pinpoint the root of the issue, here are a few simple questions to ask:

Is your whiteboard dirty due to ink residue, ghosting and smearing?

  • Ink residue – a copy of pen writing is left behind on the board’s surface where an inappropriate whiteboard pen is used
  • Ghosting – this occurs over a long period of time when writing leaves a permanent white stain on the board
  • Smearing – this happens if unsuitable cleaning products or dirty whiteboard erasers are used

Where is the whiteboard or easel positioned in the room?

  • Close to floor level – this can leave it at risk of picking up dirt from the ground
  • Near a door – this could leave the whiteboard susceptible to staining, denting or chipping from the door opening and closing
  • Next to desks – employees working away at their desks may unintentionally stain or dent their whiteboard due to their close proximity to it
  • Too close to passers by – whiteboards can often sustain damage when people walk too close to it, for example knocking the board when carrying a box or scratching it with their cufflinks

How are you cleaning the whiteboard?

  • Check the whiteboard eraser – a dirty cloth will only cause the board to become even more stained
  • Check the cleaning spray – make sure your spray is working effectively on tough marker pen stains


Nobo’s stain prevention tips

Once the cause has been identified, it’s time to take action to prevent stains or damage from happening in the future. Here are some useful tricks to keep your whiteboard in great condition:

  1. Always use a clean whiteboard eraser to wipe the board and keep it stored in a clean, dry area between uses
  2. Invest in a whiteboard renovator spray to use once a month, to ensure the surface remains in pristine condition and enhance its lifespan
  3. As well as regular weekly or monthly cleans, aim to give the board a quick “mini clean” every day that will identify any developing stains or dents and allow you to prevent them from worsening

Nobo is dedicated to helping keep whiteboards in excellent condition. The advanced surface technology on the Nobo Nano CleanTM whiteboard provides 30% increased erasability, whilst Nobo Diamond Glass boards have unbeatable resistance to ghosting and denting. Find the durable, stain resistant whiteboard that’s right for you using our buying guide. Start your search here.

Nobo is running an unmissable year-long prize draw, offering one lucky winner a £5,000 complete office makeover. There are also opportunities to win a desk makeover every month. To find out more about the competition, please visit the Nobo website.

The changing workplace: Why wellbeing is one of the biggest HR issues of our time

The conversation surrounding health and wellbeing in the workplace has risen to the top of the business agenda in recent years. Many businesses are now questioning what they can do to make their staff feel comfortable, happy and healthy whilst at work. Meanwhile employees are choosing to work for the companies that will provide them with the support and tools they need to be productive in the working environment. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), employee health and wellbeing is one of the biggest human resources issues of our time, affecting millions of people worldwide. In order to solve these challenges, businesses are turning to a number of ergonomic solutions and products that create a comfortable office to work in.

The importance of an ergonomic workspace

So, why is it important to consider the ergonomics within the workplace? A desk is no longer somewhere to sit and work, but an environment that supports us to work efficiently. A workspace must be designed to enhance the productivity of the person using it and this extends to the way they sit and move about this space. Ergonomic workspace solutions mean that staff can tailor their workspace set up to suit their individual comfort needs and requirements.

Offering ergonomic solutions to improve staff wellbeing will provide businesses with some significant returns for the business’ performance. Research has shown that a comfortable, well-lit, workplace will increase productivity levels by as much as 16%. Ergonomic products are also crucial to reduce the number of employee sick days taken as a result of work related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs). It’s estimated that 8.8 million working days were lost in 2016 as a result of WRMSDs, so a key objective for businesses will be to reduce this number. Ergonomic and health and wellbeing office tools will play a major role in making this happen.

Tackling workplace wellbeing issues

A well-designed, ergonomic workplace will need to take into account the need for flexibility. This means that while a particular setting works for one person, it may cause another further discomfort or pain to another. So with this in mind, how can HR managers and business owners resolve wellbeing issues in a way that suits each employee?

A simple but effective way of targeting wellbeing challenges flexibly is to break them down by each of the body’s common pain points on the body and match it to the ergonomic product or solution that is designed to improve it. Common pain points are:

  • Neck – 2 out of 3 adults will experience neck pain
  • Back – It’s estimated that between 60-80% of people have reported having back pain at some point in their life
  • Wrist – Up to 12% of people report difficulty with wrist pain everyday
  • Leg – According to research, nearly 75% of people who work in an office double their chances of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) by not getting up from their desk and taking regular breaks
  • Eyes – 68% of office workers are unhappy with lighting conditions, often working without the light of a desk lamp, causing strain on the eyes.

Once the key pain points affecting staff have been identified, it’s time to choose the products that tackle these issues. The Kensington SmartFit and Rexel ActiVita products give the individual user to power to choose the setting that works for them, without getting in the way of colleagues. The adjustability of these products means that more than one user can benefit from them at different times – delivering that all-important flexibility that the modern office requires.

A comfortable office makes for happy employees

The 2016 What Workers Want survey by the British Council for Offices (BCO) and Savills revealed that 25% of respondents would be willing to travel an extra 30 minutes to work in their perfect office, so it’s more crucial than ever for managers to get the office environment right. 18% of organisations have already started using ergonomic solutions specifically to improve employee welfare, and that number is only set to grow to ensure that workers everywhere are working comfortably and productively.

Banner has sponsored a report in conjunction with ACCO Brands for OEN that explores health and wellbeing in the workplace, and the solutions and products that are available to HR managers and employers to ensure everyone within the company is happy and healthy whilst at work. If you would like to download a copy please visit:

How to clean your whiteboard – The Nobo Guide

Whiteboards have been a prominent feature in workplaces and classrooms for decades. A useful tool for encouraging creative flow, dry erase boards facilitate all types of group tasks.

The whiteboard was invented back in the 1950s as an alternative to the dated blackboard and became readily available by the early 60s. However, these new types of board didn’t really become mainstream in offices for another 30 years. This was because cleaning a whiteboard was a difficult and time consuming process, as people only had damp cloth or tissue available to them, which inevitably did not properly clean the board.

Now thanks to the introduction of dry erase board pens and erasers, it is much easier to clean and maintain a whiteboard. To ensure you get the best of your board, we’ve put together some hints and tips.

Caring for the whiteboard surface

There are three key areas of whiteboard care to keep in mind when cleaning your board. These are:

  1. Ink residue – where a colour copy of writing is left on the board, due to use of an unsuitable pen or insufficient cleaning after use
  2. Smearing – occurs when unsuitable cleaning products or dirty erasers are used to wipe the board’s surface
  3. Ghosting – not to be confused with ink residue, ghosting is when writing leaves a permanent white stain on the board (this usually happens over a long period of time)

It’s important to keep in mind that different surface types require different levels of attention. For example, if your dry erase board is made from painted steel like Nobo Nano Clean, it will require daily or at least weekly cleaning to maintain it.

However, enamel surfaces such as Nobo’s Prestige Enamel boards don’t need as much attention and monthly cleaning is sufficient to preserve the whiteboard’s surface. Diamond Glass boards require minimal maintenance, thanks to the extremely durable, high quality surface. You would only need to clean your glass board after use as a courtesy to the next user.

A winning whiteboard cleaning regime

Cleaning and maintaining whiteboards isn’t the most glamourous job but it’s essential in order for everyone to benefit from using them. Encouraging the entire office to look after and clean their board after use can be challenging. Take a look at our top tips for implementing a successful workplace whiteboard cleaning regime:

  • Create eye catching signage to display around the whiteboard eraser and the board itself, reminding users of the correct ways to clean a board
  • Explain to your team that a whiteboard supports brainstorming sessions and the generation of creative ideas
  • Talk to your staff about the importance of whiteboard maintenance and the different cleaning requirements for each surface type
  • Discuss the technology behind the whiteboards so they appreciate why maintenance matters

If correctly cared for, whiteboards are an invaluable tool for all types of workplaces. The presence of a board in an office encourages collaboration and offers a space for employees to communicate their thoughts and ideas to colleagues. A magnetic whiteboard is also useful as a display tool. It’s certainly worth ensuring that your whiteboards are kept in excellent condition.

This year, Nobo is running a special prize draw offering one lucky winner an office makeover worth £5,000 with additional monthly giveaways for a desk makeover. To enter, simply purchase a participating Nobo whiteboard product. Find out more by visiting the Nobo website.


The Evolving Landscape of Modern Office Design

From the humble open-plan offices of the not-so-distant past to today’s innovative office designs which feature employee-focused leisure areas, intended to boost the wellbeing and productivity of employees, the design of a typical workplace has undeniably changed over time. And as we move towards open-plan workspaces that are heavily focused on employee engagement and innovation, it’s time for businesses across the globe to take a closer look at how they could adapt to the latest trends in office design.

The Google Garage and Apple Spaceship make these international corporations some of the best-known pioneers of this design style, and today, we’ll be putting the key elements from offices past and present under the microscope. We want to lift the lid on where office design is heading and explain how businesses can incorporate new-age ideas into their own working spaces.

Applying an eco-friendly design

The acknowledgement of sick building syndrome (SBS) in the past 50 years has meant that, for business owners and managers across the globe, employing new techniques that are designed to improve the health and happiness of staff members is more essential than ever. And from reducing feelings of stress to improving the quality of air, shaking up your office design could improve the chances of long-term success for your company.

With research showing that indoor plants could enhance productivity levels in the workplace, integrating eco-friendly and natural design features is becoming a popular design concept. Exposure to natural light throughout the working day is thought to have a positive impact on sleep quality too – which is why office designers and businesses are making a conscious effort to brighten up workspaces with warmer and more inviting colour schemes. So, whether you inject some colour with strategically-placed wall art or open up your floor plan by exposing your natural hardwood flooring, creating a vibrant and environmentally-friendly office could mean that you evoke feelings of creativity and efficiency in employees.

Building designated break-out areas

With a pressing workload and tight deadlines, members of staff can find it all too easy to work through their breaks – which can often mean employees inadvertently compromise their own wellbeing. Traditionally, dated staff rooms with limited facilities mean team members are more likely to take a break at their desk too. With the temptation to check emails or finish off that report, employees can lose out on gaining some genuine downtime.

Taking some well-earned time out from work can mean that employees return to their workspace feeling significantly more refreshed, motivated and inspired with new ideas – which is why the use of break-out spaces is proving to be so effective in maximising productivity in offices. Upgrading staff rooms with colourful artwork will transform the space into somewhere that your employees actually want to spend their time – and by investing in interactive team-building equipment, you could boost staff morale and encourage cross-team collaborations.

Closing the doors on open-plan

Cost may be the primary reason to say goodbye to individual offices and cubicles, but not everyone is convinced that open-plan environments are the way to go. While an open-plan format may inspire the sharing of ideas and breed an increasingly positive company culture, research shows that the higher level of distractions and severe lack of privacy could end up harming the productivity of your team by 15%.

And with the welfare of employees taking a priority in any business that’s destined for success, adapting workspaces to suit the needs and desires of your staff is a must. Offering a variety of workstation types – such as private meeting rooms, sofa spaces with lap desks and the traditional computer desk format – means that your team will be able to focus away from the busy main office space and concentrate on completing the task at hand.

Encouraging co-working and collaboration

The benefits of team collaboration will be something that all businesses are familiar with, but it’s co-working environments that have risen to prominence in recent years. Blurring the boundaries between different industries, co-working office spaces enable freelancers, start-ups and self-employed workers alike to share ideas, equipment and knowledge. With savings to be made on both office overheads and resources, this form of collaborative working could prove invaluable for the future of business.

Whether you’re a freelancer who’s hoping to collaborate with others or a start-up company that’s looking to grow in the most efficient way, building your business from an incubator or accelerator space could mean that you gain increased access to some of the most effective and unique ideas – compared to what you would expect to see in a traditional office format. When choosing your workplace environment, remember that incubator environments are intended to build on innovative ideas to create a business model, whereas accelerators are designed to accelerate the growth of a company which already exists – so choose wisely and watch your SME grow from strength to strength.

The shift in focus towards the satisfaction and wellbeing of staff has motivated a dramatic development in office layouts in recent decades – and with research showing that these employee-centred designs are already improving productivity and staff retention levels, there’s every reason for businesses to continue adapting their working environments in their quest for success.

Creating stand-out documents

We often forget that printed documents are not only judged by their contents but also by their appearance. While in some cases, presentation is not always the first consideration when reviewing a particular document, there are many instances where a document does need to stand out visually, in order for it to be considered impressive. Examples of this include:

  • CVs
  • Official correspondences
  • Business proposals
  • Article submissions
  • End of year financial reports
  • University dissertations

Presentation makes perfect

So we know the types of documents that will require a good standard of presentation as well as insightful contents. But how do we improve the look of documents to ensure they stand out and how can we keep them protected, to avoid any damage occurring to key pages? Here are some top tools we recommend investing in, that will help enhance your document presentation:

  1. Paper trimmer: Ensure every page of your printed booklet is uniform or resize a presentation poster with the help of a trimmer. Trimmers provide fast and effective cutting for home or office projects, giving a professional and consistent finish on a number of document types.

  1. Binding machine: Transform a bundle of plain printed pages, be that a proposal or student dissertation, into a sleek and professional book with the help of a binder. Find advice and tips on making the best use of a binder here.


  1. Laminator: Laminating is a great way to protect and enhance important documents, posters or printed presentation graphics. For example, simply putting a one-page corporate letter in a laminating pouch can turn a dull document into a polished printed announcement. Find the best laminator for you here.

Invest for success

Investing in tools such as binders and laminators may seem like a lot of trouble just to be able to make your printed documents look well turned out, but they may well be the key to standing out to the employer who has received your CV, the potential new client reviewing your proposal or the lecturer who is assessing your final dissertation. As well as this, those that own a binder and laminator will find that they are not simply tools for professional use. In fact both tools are just as useful at home in a variety of ways.

GBC believes in the power of a stand–out document, delivering innovative document finishing tools that enable users to create printed documents that leave a lasting impression. 2017 marks the 70th Anniversary of GBC. Since 1947, the brand has stayed at the forefront of cutting edge developments in the print finishing market. To find out more about GBC, please visit our website or follow @gbceurope on Twitter.