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10 Tips to Increase Productivity at Work with Office Design

2/13/2019 (Permalink)

Community 10 Tips to Increase Productivity at Work with Office Design Office design & layout.

According to the reportThe Impact of Office Design on Business Performance”, it was in the 1980’s that the “combi-office” concept came to light. The philosophy behind this office design was to encourage a communicative office structure.

Following are a few factors that the right office design can influence:

  • Retention and motivation of staff
  • Optimization of total occupancy cost
  • Productivity of staff
  • Creativity and innovation in the workplace
  • Skills and knowledge of staff
  • Catalyzing culture shifts
  • Responsiveness to technological or business change
  • Customer retention and attraction

Now, let’s have a look at how to use office design to streamline you team’s workflow:

10 Tips to Increase Productivity at Work with Office Design

1. The Right Lighting

The right angle of lighting can mean the difference between staying focused and feeling depressed. Bad lighting leads to headaches, eyestrain, fatigue, and overall irritability. Lighting below 3500K will make your employees less productive. Why not give your employees a desk lamp to help them work more efficiently?

2. Chair and Table

An uncomfortable chair can direct the mind of employees from their chairs. They will forever be adjusting themselves to find the right angle. Here’s what you should do: the computer on the table should be at eye-level, the chair must have a foot rest, and the declining angle of the chair should be slightly titled to avoid back pain.

3. Clear Clutter

Get your employees’ desks cleaned every morning and encourage a clean work station. Instead of providing a huge work space, make the placement uniform and communicative. The management starts with you, so you need to enforce some rules.

4. Combination of Paint Colors

Blue affects the mind, red your body, yellow your emotions, and green your balance. Instead of using one color or going with white (a color that stifles individuality feelings), experiment with all of them and make sure to include some abstract designs.

5. Spray the Right Scent

A combination of lavender, pine, and cinnamon will work wonders on your employees’ productivity. These scents tend to increase alertness, improve focus, and induce a relaxing feeling.

6. Let Them Listen to Music

Music increases productivity by improving mood. So play light music, at a moderate volume, in the background.

7. Provide Different Spaces

Give your employees more room to work and by that we mean different environments. Apart from their personal space, make space in your office for break rooms, eating area, lounge area, game room, and relaxation room.

8. Organize the Teams

Instead of separating employees based on their job function, create a work space that puts colleagues together. This helps them generate solution quicker and get work done faster.

9. Refreshment Corner

Junk food leads to diminishing returns, which is why it is better to offer healthy snacks in the refreshment corner such as veggies and hummus, nuts, unsweetened yoghurts, freshly cut fruit cups, and more.

10. Bring in Nature

According to a study, a green office increases productivity. This might be due to the clean air that plants promote and they way they keep the place lively.

It’s time to make some changes in your office. Try these tips and you will see an increase in your employee retention rate.

How to Create the Perfect Floor Plan for Your Commercial Space

2/13/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial How to Create the Perfect Floor Plan for Your Commercial Space A combination of grid and loop floor plan.

Let’s assume you own a retail store and with the positive response you got at the first opening, you decide to open another store.

Are you interested in making sales right off the bat? The reason why experts recommend planning store layout strategically is because it can drive impulse sales and direct customers towards the high-end products.

Following are a few ideas that will help you create a kick-ass floor plan:

1. Decide on a Retail Floor Plan

Grid Floor Plan: Mostly used in convenience stores (straight aisles)

Loop Floor Plan: Used in specialty retail stores (maximizes floor space by creating a clear pathway)

Free-Flow Floor Plan: Mostly used for boutique settings (creative patterns to attract shoppers)

2.     Put It on Paper

Before you start buying furniture and shifting it around, put your design on paper. This will give you a clear picture of where things can go and how much space you will have to be more creative. You can also use a combination of floor plan to create a unique setting.

3. Pay Close Attention to the Traffic Flow

Following three points should be considered here:

Decompression Zone: entrance space where shoppers like to stand and assess the store.

The Right Side: 90% of the shoppers turn right when they enter a store. So, make sure that the best sellers are placed there.

Personal Space: Do not place the furniture too close together or leave less space between the aisles. Shoppers don’t want their bottom brushing against others while they are browsing.

4. Placement of the Checkout Counter

The checkout counter should always be on the left. Here’s why: as said earlier, customers turn right upon entrance and then they loop around, ending on the left side.

5. Product Mapping

Your best sellers should always be at the back of the store. This allows you to attract the shoppers while they are on their way to the primary zone. The secondary zone is the impulse buys they pass. Don’t forget to place the low-cost impulse buys at the checkout counter.

The combination of display shelves and the comfort zone that is the seating area, allows the shoppers to stay and browse a little longer. So, make sure that those shelves are stocked and decorated and, the comfort zone providing private space to relax.

And that’s how you create a floor plan!

Does Your Torrance Home Have A Mold Problem?

2/6/2019 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Does Your Torrance Home Have A Mold Problem? In Torrance, mold can spread through a home in as little as 48 hours.

Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.

If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – (310)320-2112

How are Fires Deadly and How to Save Your Loved Ones from them?

1/22/2019 (Permalink)

Negligence can cause a fire incident in your house, which can not only damage your property but also cause serious injuries to your family and pets. Usually, it just takes a cigarette or an open gas supply to start a raging fire which can engulf the whole place in flames within minutes.   

However, there are a few steps that can save your loved ones from this deadly hazard, but before we get to that, you need to understand what happens during a fire.

What Happens During a Fire?

  • Fires are very fast, and within a few minutes, they can spread over a large area. They spread quickly by burning items present in the vicinity.
  • It is a common-known fact that fires are hot, but how hot are they? A room engulfed in flames can reach a temperature of above 100 degrees at the floor level. The situation is worst at the eye level because the temperature there usually reaches around 600 degrees.
  • A fire engulfs the whole place in darkness because of the black smoke. This smoke usually contains toxins and poisonous gases that can cause drowsiness and disorientation. Fire feeds on oxygen and thus, will deprive you of it which will cause you to lose consciousness. This condition is known as Asphyxiation.

How to Protect Your Home from Fire?

  • You should keep all the electrical cords away from the reach of pets because they can chew on them, which can result in short circuits and hence, fires.
  • Replace flamed candles with flameless ones to avoid accidental fires.
  • Always maintain your smoke alarms.
  • Always conduct inspection and maintenance of your heating sources at regular intervals.
  • Keep flammable items away from your stove and oven.
  • Always keep your gas-powered dryer checked and maintained.
  • Many household items are flammable; therefore, always store them in a cool place away from excessive sun exposure.
  • Place fire extinguishers at places where you can access them immediately in case of a fire hazard.
  • Your fireplace can also start a deadly fire, so install a fire screen in front of it.

If you follow these few simple instructions, then it will be easy for you to protect your family, pets and home from a fire incident.

Health Issues from a Water Damage?

1/22/2019 (Permalink)

Better fix that dripping faucet in the bathroom fast or one day you might return home and find your bedroom partially flooded. Whether it is a natural disaster or an overlooked waterline problem, the damage takes a swift turn. In fact, this damage is the worst sort of problems that homeowners face. It destroys everything and even affects your personal life.

No matter what or where the water source is, once it finds its way into your house, you will have to make some big decisions to make sure that things can be salvaged in time. Let’s talk about how water damage affects your life on a personal level.

Breathing Problems from Contamination

As water seeps into your basement and other rooms, it drives different types of sediments, especially mud, into your house. This thick layer of mess creates a breeding ground for all kinds of insects and leaves behind a particular smell, even when the water has dried. This air becomes unbreathable and you will feel the effects over the course of time.

Allergic Reaction from Mold

If the water stays in place for more than two days, you will see mold developing on the surface. There are two types of molds: one that can be cleaned using a strong solution and the other that is hazardous. When you continuously breathe the air where mold is growing, your health is affected. You might experience allergic reactions such as red eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and skin rashes. In fact, molds can also lead to asthma attacks.

It Becomes Dangerous For You to Remain in the House

When water seeps into the foundation, a change occurs in the rock and soil. This compromises the base and standing of the house, making the ground weak. While the chances of your house walls collapsing are low, but it does become vulnerable to future disasters.

Loss of Life

As you already know, electricity and water do not make a good combination. In fact, the explosive reaction both these elements cause can lead to death. Water damage compromises all electrical outlets and appliances. Plugging in any device might cause a spark and lead to fire.

Water damage puts a temporary halt to your life. You need to assess the situation carefully and decide if the house is habitable. The risk of staying at such a place is too high and you need to take actions immediately.

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Water Damage

1/22/2019 (Permalink)

Are there visible yellowish-brown stains on your house’s roof or walls? Do you feel a musty odor as soon as you walk in?

If your answer is yes, then this means that your house has water damage— a problem that you shouldn’t ignore for an extended amount of time because it can cause serious damage.

We have assembled a few basics to help you in understanding this issue:

Water Damage Categories

According to the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning & Restoration Certification (IICRC), there are three categories of water damage:

  • Category 1 includes water damage involving clean water such as the one released due to the breakage of water supply lines or overflow of tubs or sinks.
  • Category 2 includes water damage caused by grey water, which is the wastewater that includes chemical, biological or physical impurities. These contaminants can pose health threats as they promote the growth of mold, bacteria and other harmful microorganisms. Examples of grey water include drainage from dishwaters and washing machines, toilet bowls containing urine, sump pump failures, etc.
  • Category 3 includes water damage caused by black water. It contains dangerous bacteria and contaminants that can cause health hazards. This water damage starts from category 2, but it can soon turn into category 3 if you don’t take the necessary steps to counter it.

Water Damage Classes

According to IICRC, there are four classes of water damage based on the evaporation rate:

  • Class 1 type of water damage has a slower evaporation rate and it is not spread over a large area. In this type of water damage, the furniture and other items don’t absorb water quickly.
  • Class 2 water damage has a fast evaporation rate. It is spread over a large area and has a water depth of less than twenty-four inches.
  • Class 3 has the fastest evaporation rate and the water usually pours from overhead and affects the whole house. It damages everything from furniture and carpets to the walls, ceilings and flooring.
  • Class 4 water damage has low humidity due to which the items absorb water at a slow pace.

What to do in case of Water Damage?

You should take the following steps in case of water damage:

  • Turn off the affected area’s electricity.
  • Identify the category of water damage and take steps accordingly.
  • Remove furniture and other items from the standing water.
  • Call a restoration company.

Differences between Different types of Fire!

1/22/2019 (Permalink)

Fire can occur anywhere and at any time due to minor negligence. It can break out in your house due to misuse of electrical appliances or by smoking near combustible equipment. Similarly, the carelessness of managers and employees can cause fires in industrial and manufacturing units. If you want to save your home or office from such an incident, then you need to understand the different classes of fires.

Classes of Fire

There are five classes of fire based on their source of ignition.

Class A: Ordinary Combustibles

Class A fires are caused by the materials that reach their ignition temperature due to reasons such as a discarded lit cigarette. They keep burning as long as there is a supply of heat, fuel and oxygen. The items that produce these types of fires include textiles, paper, woods, some specific plastics, rubber and other 

organic carbon-containing compounds. You can install foam fire or water-based extinguishers to counter this type of fire.

Class B: Flammable Liquids

These fires are caused by liquids such as alcohol, petrol, kerosene, paints and solvents that burn easily at temperatures below 100° C. They ignite immediately if a flame is brought in their close vicinity. Class B fires produce thick black fumes and spread quickly, which makes it difficult to put them out. You can use a foam fire extinguisher to extinguish them.

Class C: Flammable Gases

Flammable gases such as petroleum gases and butane can explode and cause fires by a single spark. According to the lower explosive limit (LEL), a concentration of just 5% of these gases in the air can cause an explosion. Dry power extinguishers are the only ones that can counter them.

Class D: Combustible Metals

Ignition of metal shavings and powdered metals causes these fires. They usually take place in industrial and manufacturing units when alkali metals such as magnesium, potassium, sodium and aluminum come in contact with water and air. You can put out these fires in early stages by special class D extinguishers. Once they have spread out, they are usually left alone because they produce a lot of ash, which cuts off the fire’s oxygen supply.

Class K: Cooking Oils

These fires are caused by cooking oils and usually break out in homes, restaurants and professional kitchens. These fires are quite a challenge to extinguish; therefore, only special extinguishers can put them out.

Interior Amenities That You Need to Look for When Buying a House

1/22/2019 (Permalink)

Winter is about to end and people are likely to shop left and right for houses. We are sure that by now, you probably have a list of all the amenities and facilities you are looking for in a house. A few things that most buyers focus on are the neighborhood, the school district, nearby community center, and commute. While making sure that the area offers these facilities, you should also focus on the interior of the house.

Have you listed down things that you are looking for “inside” the house? For example: lighting, bedroom wall color, and flooring in the kitchen. These things are equally important because the right amenities prevent you from spending too much on repairs and renovations. Let’s have a look at some of the amenities that are important.

1.   Kitchen Appliances

Do open that refrigerator and check if it’s working well. The same goes for the other appliances as well. Plug them in and make sure that each one of them works just fine. Even if you are buying new kitchen appliances, go for the necessary ones such as a toaster, blender, coffee maker, food processor, and microwave.

2.   Floor Materials & Finishes

Here’s something you might not know: vinyl flooring is less expensive and therefore, you will find it in most of the homes. Carper is on the lower end, and plastic laminate is straight up cheap. Higher end houses have wood, marble or tile flooring. Most importantly, they have slate or granite kitchen counters that come with a near lifetime warranty.

3.   Bathroom Amenities

When it comes to the bathroom’s layout, cheap vinyl flooring has a porous property, which allows mold to breed quite fast. You need to look for porcelain, natural stone, or marble flooring because they are easy to clean. The shower booth must be of glass and the bathtub should have supports to prevent accidental slips. Lastly, the bathroom must have a low flush toilet to prevent excess water use.

4.   Paint

When looking at houses, only consider those that have a neutral paint scheme. Bold and wild colors are not considered a good choice, and they reduce the value of the house. Colors such as beige, pinkish taupe, greige, and periwinkle blue are great for interiors such as the living room and bedroom.

5.   Lighting

When it comes to lighting, along with strategically placed fixtures, you need to make sure that the windows are in appropriate places. Natural light allows you to make your house energy-efficient and cut down your electricity bill.

So, there you go… five in-house amenities that you should consider before buying a house. Each one of these can have a huge impact on your living and future sale of the house.

Design-Bid-Build vs. Design-Build

1/21/2019 (Permalink)

There is a common theory that the building process is all about construction work.

Do you also believe in this myth? Are you unaware of the complete process involved in the development of a building or any other structure?

If yes, then this blog will enlighten you about the two processes of building any structure — Design-Bid-Build and Design-Build. 

Design-Bid-Build

Design-bid-build (DBB) involves 3 major steps. The first one is “design”, where the design team produces a wide array of designs based on the owner’s requirements. The lead architect or the designer along with their team develops a set of bid documents, which include drawings and specifications. These documents form the basis of a competitive bidding process. Various contractors develop their proposals according to the scope of work, and usually, the bidder with the lowest quoted price wins the bid. 

This process has its own advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages:

  • You will know the price beforehand, which will reduce the risk associated with the construction process.
  • You will enjoy the benefits of a low construction cost because contractors tend to lower their prices to win the bid.
  • Lack of collaboration between the design and construction team causes disputes.

Disadvantages:

  • DBB is a lengthy process because you can’t start the bidding or construction phase until the design is finalized.
  • You might neglect the contractor’s qualifications because low cost is a priority in this process.
  • You will not be able to implement value engineering.
  • Since this process doesn’t involve contractor and designer communication during the design phase, change orders are a common occurrence.

Design-Build

Design-build (DB) involves only one contract. Here you will hire a single contractor who will look after the design and the construction process. This contractor has the choice to either complete the whole project themselves or to subcontract it to other contractors or designers.

Like DBB, this process also has some advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages:

  • Since one entity is both the designer and the constructor, there are very few disputes and work progresses smoothly.
  • You can decrease the cost and time of the project by implementing value engineering.
  • It is a less time-consuming process as the construction phase can start during the design phase.

Disadvantages:

  • Compared to DBB, it is costly
  • Since builder and designer both belong to the same entity or firm, they tend to hide each other’s mistakes.

Conquering a Male-Dominated Society: Woman in the Restoration Business

1/10/2019 (Permalink)

As a woman, have you ever come across someone who questioned you about the type of work you do, especially when it is in an industry that is dominated by men? The world is changing and today, you will find women in all work areas, whether we are talking about desk jobs or hard labor.

Bring Your Story to Life

Violand Management Associates launched a campaign in 2016 that was aimed at recognizing and awarding “Women in the Restoration Business”. The campaign is still going strong with its 3rd annual completion in 2018. These women enter a male-dominated industry through their husbands or hard work and then fall in love. Colleagues and fellow industry peers are the ones who nominate these women for the award and every year and above 40 women are appreciated for the hard work they put in.

Stereotypes Don’t Matter

The key to surviving in a male-dominated society is to not get caught up in the stereotypes. Yes, men are considered physically stronger, but they lack in various other areas where women excel. Don’t give into skeptical looks and throw down the towel. Many people don’t see women as the gender tackling mold remediation or water damage, and they might be taken by surprise when you show up at their door to do a home remodeling task. However by earning their respect with your performance, you will be able to become a strong leader.

Don’t Shy Away from Seeking Help

Every person, at one point or another in their life, needs help. Being real and accepting help when required is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it shows your logical thinking and makes people believe that you are not overconfident when it comes to your job.

Invest in Employees

Women know how to multi-task. When needed, they think objectively and, as the situation calls for, they can be subjective too. This trait allows them to run a business, as well as think about the welfare of their employees. Think of this way: for employee retention, the more you invest on them, the more success you will achieve in your business.

From time to time, Violand holds programs that instruct women on how to tell their stories and bring them to life. An advisory panel educates them on the restoration business and guides them how to focus, lead, and execute. To know more about how to register for their next program, visit Violand.