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2018/19 Business Furniture Trends to Look Out For

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As usual, it’s the Americans who are leading the way. In particular, the giant US technology companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter and Uber, whose Silicon Valley headquarters and offices are helping to transform the world of work. Facebook’s new headquarters in California, for instance, is a vast light-filled complex with a nine-acre green space on the roof, complete with walking trail. Apple’s new Cupertino base is surrounded by trees transplanted from the Mojave desert; the pizzas come in a newly patented box designed to prevent sogginess.

Everywhere you look in Silicon valley, there are ping-pong tables and table football games, beanbags, “living walls” of greenery, yurts, indoor bike paths, hammocks, saunas, meditation pods, chillout zones and play areas. The idea is to break down barriers: between work and leisure, and between the workers themselves, creating a less hierarchical, more productive work environment.

 

Shiny happy offices

Some of these ideas would look a bit silly in the typical British office – and some would be totally impractical. But the basic principles behind these shiny happy workspaces are feeding into our office design and business furniture trends. What this means is that the traditional office – ranks of desks in an open-plan office, or cubicles divided by partitions – is becoming a thing of the past. Walls and partitions are coming down. Spaces are opening up, becoming more organic, more flexible, more varied. An office might have desks in one corner, and sofas or armchairs in the other. At a time when the UK’s economy is approaching full employment, companies need to find new ways to attract and retain staff – and an attractive working environment can be an important factor.

The basic tool of the office worker – the desk-based PC – is now no longer essential. Laptops these days have similar computing power and can of course be carried around. This means that workers no longer need to be tied to a fixed workstation. It’s also reckoned that around 60 per cent of desks are unoccupied at any time in the working day, because the people who work there are out of the office on the road or elsewhere in meetings. So the traditional desk, where a worker would be sitting for almost all of their working day, is becoming obsolete. Today’s workers are much more relaxed about where, and how, they sit: on chairs, in armchairs, on sofas, beanbags, even on the floor.

Of course, many employees still need a base where they can store their possessions, start the day, keep their work folders and papers, and so on. So desks and chairs are still part of the furniture. But they don’t need to be as big, as substantial, as they have been in the past. And for those who are still tied to their desks for long periods, desks that are adjustable from sitting to standing – with motors that enable them to rise and fall at the push of a button - will help prevent posture problems and introduce variety.  

Workers these days are also more collaborative, more informal and less hierarchical. As more millennials enter the workforce, the old conventional ways of working are disappearing, replaced by people working together in groups. Where do they do this? In breakout areas, meeting areas – even in office canteens. Employers are finding that this leads to a more productive working environment.

 

Flexible and friendly

Creating this new working environment means creating a comfortable and attractive office with lots of recharging points for laptops and phones (ideally these should be wireless) and wall-mounted screens for presentations. Furniture could be sofas with low tables, cubes, comfortable chairs and tables that can be reconfigured for small or large groups. The office canteen or café, once a very functional place, is becoming a space where groups of workers will sit with coffee, snacks, lunch and laptops. Furniture therefore needs to be more flexible, easy to reconfigure for impromptu meetings.

Breakout spaces with soft furniture are another useful space. These can be semi-enclosed, or simply occupy the corner of a room, with its own furniture and its own character. Some companies are building booths, similar to those found in diners, with banquette-style benches for collaborative working. Sometimes, breakout areas are furnished with the kind of high “poseur” stools and tables normally seen in bars and pubs – ideal for a quick meeting or for sitting and catching up on emails.  

This new flexibility is leading to the disappearance in offices of walls and partitions. Of course, large spaces need to be broken up in some way to avoid aesthetic monotony, but this can be done with attractive semi-open room dividers, perhaps with plants on shelves. Nothing is hidden away in the new office space.   

The new flexible interactive office might become rather overwhelming for some people. Which is why some companies are introducing private areas where workers can relax, put headphones on and listen to music, catch up on social media, or just chill out. These areas need to be furnished in muted colours, nothing too bright, but the most important thing is comfort: it should be a kind of den, a sanctuary of softness and quiet, with perhaps beanbags or low soft seating and footrests.

 

Rise of the rented office

Some companies are doing away with head offices altogether, with workers based mostly at home and meeting up in hired office spaces when necessary. This has led to a rise in the market for rented offices – spaces that are flexibly furnished for meetings, presentations, and so on. In a competitive market, it’s important that these offices are attractive as well as functional; today’s flexible workers want more than a dull, functional, corporate-looking space. It might therefore be a good idea to introduce splashes of colour in the furniture or upholstery to give the rented office a homelier, more human atmosphere.

 

How green is your office?

Another important trend in office design and furnishing is known as “biophilic design”. This means, essentially, lots of greenery. The presence of plants and greenery has been shown to improve workers’ productivity. Indeed, a 2010 study from the University of Sydney showed that plants in offices reduce tension and anxiety among workers. Ambitious companies are introducing “living walls”, an entire wall of plants and greenery, constantly being watered and given plenty of natural light (another must for the 21st-century office). More modestly, plants placed on desks, on the floor or on small tables can bring an office, literally, to life.

 

Workers’ playtime

And finally, today’s younger office workers have a playful side that they want to see carried through into the work environment, in a world where barriers between work and play are disappearing. Companies can help them to explore this playfulness by introducing games, or even games rooms, if there’s enough space.

The games themselves might just be a selection of board games, played on low tables with comfortable armchairs or sofas; or they could be ping-pong, table football, or even computer games, with a special room set aside for gaming, with slouchy furniture and a vibrant, playful ambience. It’s a far cry from the formal, regimented nine-to-five life that was the world of work for their parents and grandparents.

Vegans are expecting more from restaurants

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New research has found that close to half of vegans are dissatisfied with the choices available to them.

Ingredient Communications surveyed 1,000 consumers in the UK and US and found that despite veganism becoming ever-more popular, 46 per cent were dissatisfied with the choice of suitable food and beverage products available to them.

Supporting research by Feed It Back shows that there was a 5 per cent rise in the amount of negative vegan food reviews between January and May 2018. The reviews from more than 400,000 restaurant experiences showed that vegans were most critical of lack of choice, value for money and lack of understanding about what vegans can be served.

Guests write that they are often limited to one or two meal options, are charged the same price despite ingredients or sides being removed and often served food that isn’t suitable for the vegan diet.

The rise of the vegan

In 2018, there are an estimated 3.5m vegans living in the UK. If you go back just two years, this figure was 500,000. The stark rise only looks to be increasing with more and more leading the change to a meat and dairy-free lifestyle. Restaurants mustn’t neglect the vegan revolution and should instead embrace is. Those who do neglect veganism are withdrawing themselves from a large and growing market.

Trends constantly evolve and to create an enjoyable customer experience, restaurants must follow them. Vegans’ expectations have increased and restaurants must focus on creating more options and variety. By focusing on the needs of vegans, there are many rewards to be had.

Restaurant furniture

A restaurant’s furniture moulds the overall finish of a restaurant, and indeed the impression of customers. Each restaurant and bar will have different needs and requirements depending on the image they’re trying to present. Whatever space you are working with, it is nearly always possible to alter the ambiance of a space with careful manipulation of design elements.

Whatever interior your restaurant is looking to create, Trent Furniture can help. Call us now on 0116 2864 911. 

Buy independent – consumers want fewer chains on the high street

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You might have noticed that your local high street is becoming full of chain restaurants, hotels, cafés and bars. It’s nothing new, the turn of the century has seen independents retreat to the outskirts and city centres become almost copy and paste environments with chains.

In fairness, chains become exactly what they are because they are liked so much. Most of which start out as independents. They are liked because, as a consumer, you know what you are going to get every time you visit, the price is often cheaper than an independent and if you have a particular favourite chain restaurant, you can visit no matter where you are in the country.

There is a certain charm though that comes with visiting an independent establishment. You often see exactly who your custom is benefitting, a closer relationship can be made and it’s often more unique then visiting a chain where every branch has a similar interior.

Consumers prefer independent restaurants

When it comes to chain restaurants, a new report has shown that 50 per cent of British consumers are conscious of the rise of chains and are concerned that their high street is being taken over by them.

42 per cent of the 2,000 UK adults surveyed by GoKart also believe that the government should limit the number of national chain restaurants opening on the high street. With over half (53%) preferring to dine at independent restaurants because they want to support local businesses, the most popular reasons for choosing independents are the greater varieties of cuisine and more creative dishes.

Fierce competition from chains

Although independents are a preference to consumers, 37 per cent have seen one or more of their favourite local independent restaurants shut down in the past 12 months. Ultimately this comes down to fierce competition from chain restaurants.

For local independent restaurants, competing against the big chains can be hard. As the research shows, the market is there but independents must be cost-efficient in many of their choices without sacrificing quality. This goes for their interior, too.

Trent Furniture has a range of furniture options even for the smallest of budgets. Giving your restaurant a refurbishment, along with ensuring high-quality food can go a long way in gaining a competitive edge, even over chains. Have a browse of our restaurant furniture today.

Trent Furniture secures contract with Saudi Arabia restaurant

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Trent Furniture is most well-known for furnishing restaurants, bars, cafés, hotels and everything in between across the UK. What few will know is that we also export to other countries, too. Our most recent exciting project has been helping to furnish a new restaurant in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia restaurant furniture

This latest deal saw us furnish a 200-person restaurant belonging to Saudi Arabian businessman Siddique Al Imtiyaz. The restaurant is in Saudi Arabia’s capital city, the most populated in the country.

The city has an array of high-quality restaurants and we were pleased to be asked to furnish the latest addition. The new restaurant has been furnished with our cast iron tables and wooden dining chairs.

Exporting can be a daunting process, with respect to new languages and legal requirements. But, while there are initial hurdles to overcome, being able to satisfy customers around the world makes it worthwhile. As such, we have created a new role for managing our overseas contracts.

Countries Trent Furniture supply

Trent Furniture has over 60 years’ experience in the contract furniture market and we supply commercial furniture to the hospitality industry across the UK but we’re pleased to now be expanding our customer base further.

The quality of our furniture and service have attracted commercial furniture buyers from around the world. Our chairs, tables and outdoor furnishings can now be found in countries across Europe as well as the UAE and Japan. You can read about how we helped to furnish a popular Latvian bar here.

Elsewhere, in the past few months alone, our chairs and tables have made their way into pubs in Prague, Bordeaux and Stockholm, restaurants in Dubai, Rome and Mouleydier and even a nightclub in Ibiza! There are no bounds and our furniture has also made it far enough to reach Japan when we supplied tall wooden bar stool and cast iron tables to Niigata! 

Our worldwide customers have also expressed their delight at the quality of furniture and value. When a chain branch in Toulouse ordered cast iron tables and traditional pub stools, they were so impressed that they decided to order furniture for other branches of the chain as well.

Want to see what the fuss is about? Get in touch with us today.

Commercial furniture in the UK and beyond

If you are interested in using our furniture to furnish your establishment, no matter what country you are based in, get in touch to see if we are able to match your requirements. 

Making your hotel environmentally friendly

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Sustainable living has become more apparent in home life. As such, it isn’t surprising that consumers are choosing to take this lifestyle with them when travelling.

Those committed to leading a greener life want to engage in these practices wherever they are and it’s the hotel’s responsibility to cater for this market by engaging in their own environmentally friendly practices.

Not only does embracing environmentally friendly practices attract this market, it helps hotels to remain competitive and save money. Here are some easy fixes to leading a more sustainable hotel:

Involve your guests

Perhaps the best way to change your hotel’s fortunes is to make your guests responsible for their choices. Guest involvement creates a better-connected relationship. 

When guests are given the choice, most will choose the environmentally friendly option when given prompts around the room explaining how much energy is saved in each decision. For example, many will turn the air-con off when they go out and keep their towels for a couple of days instead of having them washed and changed unnecessarily every night.

Utilities are one of the biggest operational costs for hotels and by promoting reuse programs, energy usage is minimised. 

Serve local food

In your hotel’s restaurant area, stock food from local suppliers. By using local suppliers, the carbon emissions associated with long-range transportation are minimised. Whilst the cost might be slightly more, consumers are often willing to pay more for local and organic food. Doing so will bring travellers closer to the community and can, in fact, act a USP.

Recycling

When it comes to being environmentally friendly, a recycling program is what most people first envisage and it’s important to have one in place. Ensure you have a recycle bin in communal areas as well as in the guest’s individual rooms. Recycling won’t necessarily help a hotel save costs, but it will help to establish you as an establishment that cares about the environment.

To take it further, your hotel can also use products that are recycled or partially recycled such as bedding, towels, toilet paper and stationery.

Sustainable furniture

Furniture is everywhere in a hotel. From the hotel rooms and corridors to the reception area and bar. For a hotel that is trying to present itself an environmentally friendly, the choice of supplier for furnishings is massively important.

At Trent Furniture, we believe in looking after the environment's future, that is why all the wood used in our furniture comes from sustainable and properly managed sources. In addition, most of our waste products including wood, cardboard, plastic and waste metal are recycled - or if in a suitable condition, the furniture is given to our local shelter charity.

Furniture for hotels

Our hotel furniture is selected to incorporate a wide range of tables and chairs in both traditional and modern designs, meaning that no matter what the décor of your hotel, we will have something to match. All our products are hard wearing and durable meaning that you don’t have to replace often.

Take a look at our hotel furniture here.

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