Our Office Chapter 12: Far from Yesteryear

Our Office Chapter 12: Far from Yesteryear

In reflecting on the office journey for this year, the “How it started … How it’s going” meme resonates with us – encapsulating the journey through time by juxtaposing contrasting starting and current points

How it started…

… How its going

While we could focus on that here, you’d miss out on all the fun had in between. Empty spaces were filled, plans re-adjusted, plants flourished, and lessons were learnt. And yet it’s still a work in progress that will, hopefully, continue to evolve over time.

A church bench repurposed, along with second hand office furniture

We have consistently prioritised alignment with our company’s mission, vision, and values, ensuring that our actions mirror our principles. In the selection of furniture, we have a number of second-hand and locally sourced gems that work really well, proving that you don’t always have to purchase new to experience quality, style, and functionality. It’s a testament to the sustainability of reusing and repurposing, extending the life of an item, and also showcasing that value and character can be found in pre-owned pieces. And if we didn’t like the colour the furniture came in, well… what else is paint for?

Locker doors painted and decorated by staff

Colour was explored within the established Solid Green colour palette, and low VOC paint was used both to highlight and enhance certain features or elements. The lockers, once a dull shade of beige, have been transformed (with the help of chalk paint) into colourful individual, personalised storage spaces. The splash of colour in bathrooms coincided with covering up the patching of settlement cracks that occurred – we’re nothing if not deliberate!

Hand towel – sun dried

Passive lighting design was given a chance to shine – quite literally, through the introduction of skylights in the bathroom and kitchen areas. A quirky result of this is the repositioning of the hand towel ring onto the “sunnier” wall, using the sun shining through the aforementioned skylight to aid with passive drying. Talk about practising what you preach!

Space has been utilised more efficiently while still offering a variety of spaces for different uses such as standing vs seated desks, quiet break away zones and spaces for retreat. Hot-desking has been one of the most successful strategies that was implemented, with research showing that employees can focus on work without the distraction of a cluttered desk space and, at the same time, gain access to new ideas when working next to different team members.

As people are often creatures of habit, it’s been interesting to see how mini office neighbourhoods have naturally formed over time. Of course, it was fun to watch the competition that ensued when vying for the “hot spots” in winter, but all was fair on a “first come first serve” basis. And the opposite is true in summer, especially with the recent series of heat waves. A set of fans on opposite ends of the office have offered some relief, and investigations are currently underway by our modelling team to improve the thermal comfort of the space. We live and learn!

Other improvements include the addition of raised access timber flooring (for the ventilation system); installing a pump to facilitate irrigation using rainwater from our large tank; and smart plugs on all appliances with an app to make our energy management even easier. Future plans include recycled skirtings and painted feature walls.

View from garden to the office interior

The journey in transforming the office serves as a powerful visual representation of our progress and transformation over the course of the last year, allowing us to explore our commitment to sustainability and the built environment. Our office is a work-in-progress; an evolving, regenerative space for working in. And, if our year end office celebration was anything to go by, well… let’s just say that rumour has it that weddings could be held in it too!

Our second-hand sofa once had white legs!

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