Productivity is in the Air

If you’re developing a corporate wellness programme, you might be focusing heavily on exercise and diet to improve office productivity. But have you ever thought about the office air quality? Research from Harvard and Syracuse Universities shows that the air circulating in most workspaces may actually be hindering worker performance.
The Average Office vs. The Office with Cleaner Air
In this study, workers conducted their regular office duties in a typical office building workspace. The same workers on other days repeated their daily tasks but in a workspace with improved ventilation and a reduction of indoor pollutants.
Results showed that employees in the clean air environment performed 61% better on cognitive tasks than in the standard office conditions. Further, by doubling the ventilation in the clean air office, cognitive performance increased by more than 100%.
Clean Air Initiatives That Help Employees Be at Their Best
Take these three steps to improve your indoor air quality in any commercial location. The best equipment, some careful observation, and a disciplined inspection routine will improve the air wherever you work.
Implement an Air Treatment System in Your Workspace
Adding an air purifier not only continuously cleans the air, but also shows employees you have their wellness in mind. To ensure you have the best air cleaning system, look for an air purifier that meets hospital-grade filtration. The best commercial air purifiers include:
• A True HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter that captures 99.97% of airborne contaminants including viruses and allergens
• Activated carbon filter that reduces odours and VOCs (Volatile organic compounds)
• Automated features that adjust to changing indoor pollutant levels for optimized clean air efficiency
Focus on ventilation
• Maintain ventilation systems through scheduled cleanings
• Check for damage in HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems where VOC’s and other airborne pollutants may be recirculating into workspaces
• Check the entire HVAC system for mould and test the air for CO2 emissions
Stop Air Pollutants at the Source
• Check for common sources of indoor air pollution including paint fumes in newly painted offices or mould and mildew in carpeted areas
• Ensure chemical and other maintenance supply storage is not impacting indoor air
• Evaluate traffic areas that may introduce auto fumes from parking areas into workspaces
With these simple steps, you can boost the well-being and performance of employees, reduce absenteeism, and add a new benefit to your wellness program that is clearly refreshing.

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An All-Inclusive Office Design

Each employee has a unique set of needs, many of which are not always apparent. And businesses are now challenged with creating a post-pandemic work environment that is all-inclusive for a diverse range of employees.
Companies that are committed to competing in today’s dynamic marketplace focus on building a culture that includes engagement, productivity, and collaboration. More and more workplaces are gravitating towards flexible and creative designs, and this is what an all-inclusive office design is all about.
Inclusion in the workforce is a hot topic right now that goes beyond hiring a diverse team. In the last twenty years, there’s been a significant shift in legal and moral policy to encourage companies to recruit employees that were often overlooked or excluded despite having the skills and qualifications to perform the job. But today’s office designs have to go beyond the typical focus on physical differences alone; rather there has to be an equal emphasis on different styles of working as well as on mental health.

Features of inclusive office design
Inclusive office design is about accommodating choice, flexibility and practicality – a work environment that benefits everyone. It is, of course, impossible to design an office to suit every individual’s personalities and needs; it’s more about offering choices to people. Just as importantly, the layout and look should engage employees and inspire them. A change of scenery, as they say, is as good as a rest!
Open plan offices have been designed to help to boost collaboration, build relationships and save on costs. But most open plan offices do not accommodate the needs of every employee. Therefore it’s important to cater to individual needs and provide a flexible layout with different types of workstations to meet employee’s unique working styles. The abundance of distracting noises in a typical open plan office environment can also cause stress, frustration and animosity.
A modern office layout that encompasses private workspaces and collaborative areas, alongside breakout spaces can support how people work through freedom of choice, encouraging organic interaction and promoting movement. With a growing focus on health and wellbeing in office settings, biophilic designs are also growing in popularity, adding some plants and nature into the office to make people feel more relaxed and peaceful.

How to design workplaces for inclusivity
The aim is to use furniture to create workspaces that are easily adaptable. Height adjustable desks such as the Dams Elev8² sit-stand range are a great option, as they can be easily changed to accommodate all needs. 80% of adults suffer from lower back pain at some point in their lives. Constant sitting has also shown to increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression and obesity, so providing small conveniences in the workplace can decrease that number.
For employees that get stressed out because they can’t concentrate with the noise around them, private acoustic hubs, telephone booths and meeting pods can also help to keep noise levels down and concentration levels up. Silen acoustic hubs from Dams are standalone pods which essentially create a room within a room and are ideal for small meetings, brainstorming and informal one-to-one sessions. It’s also possible to equip the hubs with features that are useful for meetings such as whiteboards, power and TV screens, together with LED lighting and air circulation units as standard to make sessions comfortable for users.
Offices are not just places of work; they’re places for interaction, engagement, and bonding. Other furniture solutions to improve health and wellbeing include communal breakout areas that encourage employees to take a break from their work, move around the office, and encourage cross-functional interactions.

A post-pandemic all-inclusive office
The importance of an all-inclusive design in the workplace has intensified in recent months due in part to the flexibility people have enjoyed working remotely during Covid-19. Now that lockdown restrictions have eased, employers are contemplating how to accommodate the flexible, post-pandemic needs of their vastly more privileged office workers and about how to entice people to return.
The wellbeing of employees in the workplace is becoming more vital, and office furniture can play a huge part in helping to keep people happy and healthy when they’re working.
Some people want full-time office life back, some want full-time home working, and most would probably prefer something
in between. But whichever category people fall into, one thing is for certain, to get the most out of a post-pandemic diverse workforce and keep everybody happy, companies need to create a work environment where people want to spend their time.
An inclusive office design nurtures a solid company culture, improves engagement and enhances job satisfaction. It helps people personalise their workplaces, feel a sense of belonging and feel comfortable, thereby reducing everyday frustration and effort, and hence increasing mental wellbeing and productivity. Implementing and maintaining an all-inclusive culture becomes far easier when that inclusivity is built into the very fabric of the workplace design.

Super Deduction Tax Relief
From 1 April 2021 until 31 March 2023, companies investing in qualifying new plant and machinery assets will benefit from a 130% first-year capital allowance.
Furniture and office refurbishments will count as qualifying expenditure for this scheme.
This means for every £1 you spend, you save 25p on tax.
If your workplace is in need of a post-pandemic refresh, contact us today to discuss how we can meet your needs.

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Acting Responsibly with Recycology

Cast your mind back a year to empty shelves, queues outside supermarkets and a strange, unfamiliar world where bird song replaced the hum of traffic. As we rushed to secure face masks and hand gels, sanitiser spray and disinfectant it would be easy to assume that in our efforts to ‘stay safe’ and keep the virus at bay we’d kicked our commitment to sustainability into the long grass.
It was – and still is – disappointing to see so many discarded single-use face masks at roadsides, which might lead anyone to conclude that, in the grip of the pandemic, we’d all but forgotten our collective responsibility to protect our environment. But, thankfully, this doesn’t appear to be the case.
Manufacturers are receiving growing numbers of requests for information about refillable products and environment-friendly packaging, just as they were pre-pandemic. And there is still firm commitment from manufacturers to replace single-use plastic packaging with more environment-friendly alternatives throughout the industry.

So, what alternatives are available to help us choose more sustainable products and packaging?
Fifteen years ago, Pentel launched a range of display books, presentation files and folders, called Recycology, made using a minimum of 50 per cent recycled materials. Recycology filing products use fewer valuable virgin resources than non-recycled equivalents, without compromising quality. Ideal for projects, presentations, recipe collections or hobbies, the Recycology range is perfect for home organisation or office filing, helping to keep precious documents and photos protected.

Recycology Writing Instruments
But there’s more to Recycology than display books. Where the Recycology logo appears next to a Pentel pen, pencil or marker this denotes that it, too, is made using a minimum of 50 per cent recycled material.
For instance, two-thirds of Pentel’s quick-drying, smudge-reducing EnerGel range is made using recycled plastic material. In the retractable EnerGel X pen the figure is as high as 84 per cent – and the pen can be refilled too.
In fact, over 40 per cent of the products in Pentel’s UK range are refillable, including pens, mechanical pencils and even bottles of glue. So, there’s really no need to throw away a perfectly reusable Pentel product.
To encourage everyone who buys a potentially refillable product to do just that Pentel has developed the message, ‘If You Love It, Refill It’, to help identify those items that can be used over and again. The logo can be seen next to certain products to make it easy to select the right one.

Reducing the Impact of Packaging
We’re all aware of the need to reduce or eradicate single-use plastic in packaging and it’s no different at Pentel. All boxes of Pentel loose pens, pencils and markers are made using recycled board, and in the last year Pentel have introduced many new wallet sets made from board, not plastic.
Where it’s appropriate to use plastic in packaging – for example, to offer a higher level of protection to heavier products or multiple sets – Pentel uses recycled polypropylene, which can be recycled or reused as required.
So, if we can take a positive from the last unsettling year, some good news is that manufacturers like Pentel remain 100 per cent committed to continuing the quest to help us all reduce, reuse and recycle for today and tomorrow.

Article by Wendy Vickery, Marketing Manager, Pentel (Stationery) Ltd.

*Percentage based on total weight of product excluding consumable elements.

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Should we be worried about contactless fraud?

Should we be worried about contactless fraud?

In 2017 for the first time ever, contactless card fraud overtook cheque fraud. But what is contactless fraud and how can it be used to target someone?

What is RFID?

First things first, we need to talk about the tech that’s embedded into everyday items such as debit/credit cards, passports and ID cards. Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) refers to a small chip that is built into contactless bank cards, passports and security passes which stores personal information about a specific person. This means you can make quick payments, glide through airport security and gain instant access to your workplace. But is it all good news?

Contactless fraud

Contactless fraud can happen in 2 ways. The first is when a criminal steals another person’s card and then uses the contactless technology to make small purchases in shops. The second is when someone uses a “skimming device” to access the personal information of a card or ID owner. Just think, in the same way your card can be read by a contactless payment machine, thieves can also use skimming devices to read your data and use this for their personal gain.

What you can do to prevent being another statistic

Here are 4 tops tips to help you prevent becoming a victim of contactless card fraud.

  1. Regularly check your bank statements – By taking 5 or 10 minutes to go through your bank statement at the end of each month you will not only spot contactless fraud but card fraud as a whole.
  2. Think about where you carry your wallet or purse – We tend to be more observant of people in front of us so carrying your RFID cards in your front pocket means you are less likely to be targeted by thieves with scanning devices.
  3. Purchase an RFID wallet – Metal layers fused into the body of RFID wallets block the radio waves between a skimming device and your contactless cards. Be sure to get one that is SGS TUV tested and approved.
  4. Look after your ID pass – It’s more and more common for businesses to issue staff with security passes to access their building, so make sure you keep yours secure with a tried and tested RFID SECURE Security pass holder.

Be prepared for any kind of payment fraud

With so many different types of fraud taking place on a day to day basis it can sometimes be confusing to know what to do and what to look out for.

To get advice on how to stay safe and stop fraud, check out www.takefive-stopfraud.org.uk for the best ways to avoid becoming a victim of payment fraud.

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Tips for proper battery care and use

Tips for proper battery care and use

  • Always use the correct size and type of battery specified by the device manufacturer.
  • Keep battery contact surfaces and battery compartment contacts clean by rubbing them with a clean pencil eraser or a rough cloth each time you replace batteries.
  • Remove batteries from a device when it is not expected to be in use for several months and while it is being powered by household (AC) current.
  • Make sure that you insert batteries into your device properly, with the + (plus) and – (minus) terminals aligned correctly. CAUTION: Some equipment using more than three batteries may appear to work properly even if one battery is inserted incorrectly.
  • Extreme temperatures reduce battery performance. Store batteries in a dry place at normal room temperature. Do not refrigerate Duracell batteries as this will not make them last longer, and avoid putting battery-powered devices in very warm places.
  • Do not attempt to recharge a battery unless the battery specifically is marked “rechargeable.”
  • Some depleted batteries and batteries that are exposed to extremely high temperatures may leak. A crystalline structure may begin to form on the outside of the battery.

www.duracell.co.uk

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The Secret Diary of a Stationery Lover

Listen carefully because I am going to say this only once; and if you tell anyone that I said this I will deny everything, particularly to my friends down the pub on a Friday night (when we are allowed back down the pub that is). Ok, here we go:

I LOVE STATIONERY

There, I said it. I know it is not the coolest thing to say, and I know everyone will suddenly start to think I am like Derek Wilton from Coronation Street driving around with a giant paperclip on my car, but it is not like that. There is so much more to stationery than that; yes, it is practical and serves a purpose, and when going to meetings or using in public it can also be deemed a fashion accessory, but the fact that EVERYONE uses stationery in their daily life, either at home or work, makes it all the more powerful.

Having spent a couple of months on furlough and now working from home I have had time to indulge in my passion and choose the stationery items that I want, rather than just those that are in the company stationery cupboard, ordered by the Office Manager who always seems to go for the cheapest of everything rather than looking at practicality, durability and environmental benefits.

The best example I have is copier paper. I have a printer at home that the company allowed me to buy. It is not top of the range, but it does the job as long as I use a good quality sheet of paper to run through it. When given permission to order a box of paper to be delivered direct to home I opted for a box of Our Earth paper that I had seen advertised in this very magazine.

As a child I used to love reading the Gerald Durrell books so when I discovered there was a ream of paper that is supporting the conservation work carried out by Durrells I just had to order it. Paper, that is contributing towards helping the survival of the Madagascar Side-Necked Turtle and the Black Lion Tamarin? How good is that?

The other difference I have noticed since working at home is how many products are actually available from my local “stationery & office products supplier”. When I was in the office every day we occasionally got asked if there was anything we needed. I would look around my desk to check I had enough post-it notes, see how much ink was left in my biro and sometimes if I was feeling brave I might ask if I could get a stapler upgrade, but I never got full view of everything that is available. Now I have catalogues, website logins and have literally thousands of items to choose from.

Now that I am combining working from home the company are constantly asking if I need anything for my workstation area at home, they realise the importance of a healthy workforce and realise their responsibility, so last week they asked me if I wanted a sit-stand desk. A sit-stand desk? I didn’t even know what one of them was, apparently you can raise your desk so that you can carry on working at your computer whilst standing up – Genius!

You see, stationery is not the stereotypical dull product that people tend to think it is, it is genuinely exciting with some great products and it is hugely rewarding when you find that ideal pen to write in that slick leather-covered notebook that sits by your laptop riser and snazzy electric stapler on your desk that can be raised to the right height for working when standing up -The sit-stand desk! I still can’t get over it, my mates would love it…but I’m just not ready to confess to my stationery addiction just yet.

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Creating your ideal ‘Work From Home’ set up

2020 has brought many changes to our lives which take some adjusting to. One of those changes for a lot of us has been to move our work from the office into our homes. This can easily tip the scales of a healthy work/life balance. Working from home can have its perks – that hour commute can become an hour of yoga, walking your dog, doing the washing to free your weekend, less alarm-snoozing and more actual snoozing!

But it can also make it harder to switch off in the evenings/weekends if you don’t have a separate office. Here at Pukka we want to embrace the positive opportunities working from home brings. Below are some top tips to help you adjust and make the most of WFH.

Create a dedicated workspace

It can be tempting to sneak
your laptop and duvet onto your sofa but having a dedicated space to work will improve your productivity and help you switch off at the end of the day. Embrace the opportunity to have fun decorating your workspace to fit in seamlessly with your home décor, show your personality and brighten up your WFH area.

As we move into the winter months it’s especially important to brighten up the darker mornings. Invest in a desk plant and a fun, beautiful notepad to start your day off with a smile. The Pukka Pastels range is great for holding onto those summer vibes. The range includes matching notepads of various sizes, pencil cases and files so your space can be organised as well as aesthetically pleasing. Create an inspiring WFH set up with the Glee Range. The stylish geometric, iridescent designs will increase your motivation.

STAY FOCUSED

WFH can mean less opportunity to get up from your chair – meetings have become video calls and a long commute now equals walking downstairs. This can impact on your posture and productivity, so it’s good to get up every now and then to stretch, make a drink and even better to get out for a lunchtime walk. Clearing your head with some fresh air will also help you refocus when faced with those extra distractions at home. Without the buzz of the office and less social contact, you can find yourself drifting into a daydream and reaching for your phone.

Keep on track and stay focused with the Carpe Diem Daily Planner, Weekly Planner and Magnetic to Do List to priorities your tasks. Project books are a great way to keep your tasks separated and organised. Pukka Pad Project Books are the perfect notebook to stay focused, with repositioning dividers, you can tear out and move them if you have one project larger than others.

Stationery doesn’t have to be boring! Create a workspace that inspires you to work hard and express your thoughts on paper! Follow us on our Instagram and Facebook and let us show you our favourite desk essentials.

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How planning and note taking can be used as a tool for work, but also an escape

2020 is over, phew! But what is not likely to be over for some time is its long lasting impacts on us and the way we live.

Overnight, we were forced into a completely alien world where our home became our office, our local Tesco became a day out and finding a lost face mask in your pocket was the same as finding a fiver. I personally never thought I would see the day!

Something I have learned to accept is that Covid will be with us for a long time, whether directly or indirectly and we need to learn to live with it in order to move forward.

I know it may sound easier said than done, but there are little things you can do to get your mind focused on what matters, whether that be friends and family, work, school or that idea that got pushed to the back of your mind amidst the madness.

I personally have taken to note taking and planning. I have always kept planners throughout my life, but for one reason or another I have never fully committed to seeing them through.

The pandemic allowed me to focus my time and energy into creating a beautiful space to write down my key dates and thoughts while organising myself and my work.

There is something very therapeutic and uplifting about bringing your plans to life with stickers, stamps, pictures and drawings. I now get excited when I have a new event to note down, but also find it helps me recall dates and appointments better. I guess they do say that you are 40% more likely to remember something if it is written down!

During the pandemic, I struggled to control my stress levels. With so much more to think about and remember, I needed a place to store this information outside of constant email and iPhone reminders. Planning allowed me to visualise my entire week or month in front of me. Suddenly, a notification for an event became a piece of art and a to-do list scribbled on the back of a torn envelope became deeply thought out and delicate.

I now look forward to turning over the page to the next month of my planner, and not just because it means we may be one month closer to normality!

I always believed in the saying ‘a clear work space means a clear mind’, but I truly believe that expressing yourself through design while organising your life is the way to a clear efficient mind, and an opportunity to put down the phone or laptop for a while.

If I have brought anything away from 2020, it’s that writing and planning can be an exciting opportunity to document our lives and prepare for what lies ahead. Although let’s hope that’s not another global virus!

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I do assure you the world needs Durrell

As Sir David Attenborough said on the occasion of Durrell’s 50th anniversary, 

“I do assure you, the world needs Durrell.”

Like all small kids I suppose I was fascinated with animals of every stripe but somewhere between ages five and ten, this morphed into a passionate commitment to protect the endangered wildlife of our planet, and Gerald Durrell and his funny, articulate and endlessly informative books became my window into that important world.
And like anything which truly captures my attention, I leapt in boots and all, reading every single one of his engaging books, marvelling at his witty turns of phrase, his brilliance for evoking a scene so vividly that you honestly felt like you were there.
He was a man who, through a childhood spent in places as diverse as London, England, and Corfu, Greece – it was the latter location that allowed him to indulge his nascent love of the natural world under the watchful eye and tutelage of his wonderful mentor of sorts Dr. Theodore Stephanides – grew to appreciate that there was more to nature than simply a place for zoos, circuses and museums to collect specimens, or for adventurous souls to go on holidays.
It was his passion for the natural world that instilled in me the critical need for ensuring that we do everything we can to protect this planet of ours, that reminded me at every turn that every animal, insect and plant was worthy of attention, and that we ignored the threats posed to them at our peril.
He worked hard through the ’50s and ’60s, after an apprenticeship at Whipsnade Zoo as the “Odd Beast Boy”, to advance the idea that all animals, not just the pandas and elephants and such that commanded the lion’s (also popular with the public) share of attention, were increasingly endangered in our rapidly industrialising and urbanising world and that we need to save them all, no matter how appealing they may or may not be.
That’s why, for instance, he lavished as much time and energy on critically-endangered animals like the “Volcano Rabbit” or Teporingo from the mountains of Mexico as he did on the undeniably cute animals of Madagascar such as the Aye Aye and the lemurs (a particular focus of his work in the 1990s) and birds like the Mauritian Kestrel which was saved from extinction in the ’70s through his efforts.

He kept working hard right up until his much-lamented death in 1995 to spread the word about conservation to every corner of the globe. And apart from the large numbers of visitors that thronged to Jersey Zoo and his many TV appearances including as host of How To Shoot an Amateur Naturalist, it was his books, his wonderfully passionate books, that did the most, I think, to spread the word about the mission that happily defined his entire life.

Be sure to check out some of Gerald Durrell’s books and bury yourself in his passion for nature: www.durrell.org/wildlife/product-category/books/

Excerpt kindly shared by Andrew Gillman of Aussiemoose, full article can be read online at www.sparklyprettybriiiight.com/ripd-from-the-pages-of-my-childhood-the-life-changing-books-of-conservationist-gerald-durrell/

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