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Once the biggest shindig in the social calendar, in recent years, the office Christmas party has been subject to dramatic cutbacks.

The economic downturn has seen businesses reduce costs in attempts to batten down the hatches, and all too often it's to the detriment of workplace festivities, with almost half of all small and medium sized enterprises in the UK attempting to save money by cutting out the office Christmas party*.  Austerity measures such as this are at times crushing to employee morale, whose hard work at the end of the year was once merrily rewarded with a tipple and tinsel at the staff Christmas do.

Financial woes may be the stimulus behind the cancellation of office merrymaking, but by making an office more sustainable, and thus long-term cost-reducing, the party really can go on.

Using sustainable materials, making environmentally-conscious choices and employing energy saving techniques is now a requirement of office design. Measures such as these have positive outcomes in abundance; a properly designed workplace will require less building infrastructure, produce less heat and consume less power - and moreover allow budgets for that all-important, morale-boosting Christmas party.

Area's quick checklist to creating a sustainable office design and fit-out is as follows:

1) Best Practice Planning

Ask yourself about the workspace. Important ideas and issues that can help to reduce costs include:

  • Is there a need for enclosed offices?
  • How many people are at each office and how often are they in?
  • Are hot desking and working break-out areas an option?
  • Is your current furniture making best use of the space?
  • Where are the existing services located and how can design minimise the relocation of these?
  • Can information be stored electronically?

2) Implement Energy Efficiency Measures

Consider sub-metering of electricity and water, even zonal controls for your heating, ventilation and lighting. Implementing energy efficient technologies in your office will save costs and also have less of an environmental impact

3) Maximising Office Comfort

Creating a healthier office environment will improve staff morale, productivity and profitability. Implementing demand-controlled ventilation systems and improving employees access to working in natural daylight are just two improvements that will not only improve staff spirits but also create roomier budgets for out of office activity

4) Use Sustainable Materials 

Using sustainable interiors for your office fit-out is a long-term investment not only as it is better for the environment and your health, but also because it is built to last. Not having to regularly replace carpets or furniture will save the business money

5) Consider Enhanced Capital Allowances

Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECA) is a straightforward way for a business to improve its cash flow through accelerated tax relief. The ECA scheme encourages businesses to invest in energy-saving products to help reduce carbon emissions.

6) Introduce energy-efficient technology

By installing intelligent, integrated technology from the outset, a building’s energy efficient performance can be increased. At our own offices in Newman Street (which we have recently received Ska Gold for), we have a Crestron system, which unifies all of our energy-consuming systems including HVAC, lighting, shades, AV, voice and date, security and room scheduling. This helps reduce our energy usage and utility costs by integrating all our systems at the touch of one button.

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