William West Ltd Aquisition 1st May 2018

Quills Group Acquires William West Ltd – 1st May 2018

We are pleased to announce the acquisition of William West Ltd on 1st May 2018.  The acquisition is for the Office Supplies and Office Interiors divisions of William West (excluding the Print business).

Andy Efstathiou, Managing Director of Quills said “For William West customers the acquisition will mean the same high level of service with the additional benefit of our internal infrastructure, additional customer services and features like Live Chat to provide answers quickly to any queries or questions.”

The existing William West team will be moving across to Quills (Management, Account Management and Sales) which will ensure a smooth and seamless transfer.

We look forward to working with William West employees and customers and extending a warm welcome to all.


Should You Let Your Employees Work From Home? The Negatives Of Remote Working

Welcome to Part 2 of our series “Should You Let Your Employees Work From Home?”. Today, we’re going to explore the negatives of remote working. If you haven’t read the first instalment, The Benefits Of Remote Working, make sure you give that a read too.

Quick summary of the WORST negatives of remote working:

  • Lack of company community and culture – Employees can’t build meaningful connections with you or each other when they work remotely. Teamwork and collaboration can therefore take a big hit.
  • Completely dependant on technology – Everyone has been subject to shoddy internet or random computer issues. What happens when you can’t call on your IT department to get that fixed? When an internet problem means your workforce may lose an entire day of productivity?
  • Unable to monitor employees throughout the day – When in the office, managers can oversee their employees and see who’s slacking off, but it becomes far harder to monitor people working remotely. How is productivity managed? How do you know that people are even working?
  • Communication barriers – While there is technology that can make communicating with people easier, remote working still poses a lot of communication barriers. People may be using different platforms at different times; there can be connection issues; information that would normally get shared organically in the office may not be shared, leaving teams at a disadvantage.
  • Employees get lonely. 

The Negatives Of Remote Working

While allowing your employees to work from home has a host of benefits, such as higher employee satisfaction and better employee productivity, there are some definite drawbacks. As with most things, allowing your employees to work remotely is a trade off – you’ll gain . . . but is it worth what you lose?

Collaboration becomes far more difficult

In 2013, Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Meyer, famously shut down their telecommuting policies. Her reasoning?

People are more productive when they’re at home – but more collaborative and innovative when they’re together.

There are a  host of reasons that communication and collaboration becomes more difficult when working remotely, but the main one comes down to: people can’t see each other. In an office environment, people build real relationships – they have conversations, they feel comfortable sharing ideas, they know each other. Collaboration is natural.

If you’re working in a remote team with people you don’t know, you’re far less likely to think “we should definitely work on that together!” or ask them for feedback.

Employees can get forgotten

When your workforce is based from home, instead of in front of you, it can be easy to overlook them. This can lead to employees feeling passed over and dissatisfied – as well as you missing out on potential.

Dependence on technology

Working remotely means depending on technology. There’s no way around it.

However, this can be a drawback. Even in an office, technology is fails. Internet connections mysteriously drop, computers glitch, servers crash. The difference is that in an office you’re surrounded by people that can help – you might even have an IT department.

Not only that, in an office you’re surrounded by coworkers and superiors. There’s usually something else that you can find to do – whether that’s admin work, a quick meeting, or just having a chance to bounce some ideas off someone. In comparison, if tech goes down when you’re at home . . . you’re a sitting duck.

Even if you aren’t the one with the technology problem, someone else being disrupted is just as harmful. What if you have an important meeting and someone’s internet won’t work? If you’re waiting on a project update from someone who’s computer keeps crashing?

Disconnected from the company culture; in turn, a lack of employee loyalty

What are things that make your employees like their jobs – your business vision? Friday 5pm happy hours? The free coffee bar? Having friends at work? Getting along well with their boss? Being able to come in, greet the office dog and have a quick chat in the morning?

People like to feel connected to their workplaces and to enjoy their company culture – notably, it’s a large part of their job satisfaction. One of the negatives of remote working is that, if your employees are at home too often, they aren’t a part of the company culture; they don’t spend any time interacting with the company outside of a screen.

Feeling disconnected can not only leave employees feeling alienated . . . it doesn’t do anything to build their loyalty to you.

Lack of communication can leave people out of the loop

You may be surprised how much information travels through your office organically.

Take a moment to think about it. How much do you learn just by having a little end-of-the-day chat? From people walking past your desk? Casually tossed ideas at the end of a meeting? Bumping into someone who happened to be somewhere and hear something they think you might like to know?

If you aren’t in the office, how does this information travel? While there are a lot of apps and programs designed for helping remote teams, nothing quite substitutes having everyone in the same room.

Results completely depend on your employees

One of the largest negatives of remote working, however, is that it’s all down to your employees. Working from home comes with a host of potential problems – distractions, lack of motivation, slacking off – that you can’t fix.

In the office, a manager can manage. You can oversee and instruct; monitor and guide. It’s up to you to put procedures in place and ensure that people follow them.

When people work from home, you have much less control. It’s up to your employees to self-manage, organise, and motivate themselves – and you may not know how well they can do this until they succeed or fail. For example: the most dedicated employee in the office may be so successful because the office environment forces them to focus; in their own environment, they may be incredibly easy to distract and unproductive.

Disrupt flow of in-office employees

Another notable drawback of allowing employees to work from home is possible disruption to the overall office workflow. If a team is working together on a project and each day someone different is missing from the office, there’s potential for a lot of miscommunication.

These are just a few of the drawbacks to allowing your employees to work from home. While there are some definite negatives and remote workers may not be the best fit for every business, we recommend you read about the benefits of remote working too.

Should You Let Your Employees Work From Home? The Benefits Of Remote Working

Today, we’re sharing with you the first part of our series: Should You Let Your Employees Work From Home? This series will explore the benefits of remote working (and the negatives) to help you assess whether remote workers may be the right thing for your business.

In the same style as our series about Open Offices – The Benefits Of Open Offices and The Negatives Of Open Offices – we will be writing two posts about remote working. This week’s edition is about the pros of working from home; don’t forget to return next week to learn about the negatives.

Quick summary of the BEST benefits of allowing your employees to work from home

  • Increased employee retention – employees are more satisfied with their jobs and so less likely to leave. Stanford University conducted a study that found offering remote work options reduced employee turnover.
  • Lower running costs – businesses don’t need to pay for office space, commuting costs or office running costs (bills) for remote workers.
  • Larger talent pool – if you aren’t limited by location, you can scout the best talent from all over the world.
  • Increased employee productivity – results from employees and businesses alike have shown that employees who work from home are actually more productive.

Pros Of Working From Home

In recent years, the popularity of flexible working has risen exponentially.

In 2015, 23 percent of employees reported doing some of their work remotely

Working from home (or, as the dream goes, from a beach in the Maldives) is not just a feature of a dream job. It’s a real, tangible possibility – and it’s fast becoming commonplace. With advances in technology making it easier and easier to work remotely, more people are wanting it – and more businesses are offering it.

80% to 90% of the US workforce says they would like to work remotely at least part time.

However, is working from home just a fad? A trendy new way to attract millennial talent? Let’s take a look.


One of the largest benefits of remote working is the ability to be truly flexible, with both time and location. You can work from wherever, whenever is convenient for you (permitting the hours get done).

This is beneficial from a productivity perspective as some people work better at different times of day. Night-owls may do their best work long after most people have gone to sleep – and early-risers may want to take full advantage of the morning hours.

“Night-owls” and “early-risers” aren’t just character traits. Did you know that night-owls and early-risers actually have different brain structures?

Working from home allows employees to work at whatever time they perform best.

However, the flexibility of working from home is also a large benefit of remote working because it allows employees to fit work around their life – without losing work time. If an office-based employee has an appointment, they have to take off office time. In comparison, a home-based employee has an appointment, they can just move their hours around.

Improves employee satisfaction

Allowing your workers to work remotely actually increases employee satisfaction – studies have shown that remote workers are happier than their counterparts. Keeping employees satisfied is essential for retention. Plus, happier workers produce better work!

When managed correctly, improves work-life balance

There is a potential downside to working from home (from an employee perspective, at least) in that working from home can make it easier for employees to overwork. When workers are sat in the comfort of their own home, it’s easier to work extra hours – or to “just finish off this project” and end up working into the night.

However, remote working can improve the work-life balance. This ties in with the point about flexibility; if your employees need to take time for their personal lives, they can. A better work/life balance means better health and happiness – both of which mean better work.

Employees are willing to work longer hours

As previously mentioned, it can be easy for employees to overwork themselves when working from home – however, this can be beneficial if you want to contract them for longer hours.

Remote workers are usually willing to work longer hours as they are doing so from the comfort of their home.

Less sick days

Did you know that there are 64% less absent days taken from remote workers?

Think about most sick days you need to take – if your office were your home, would you be able to work? Probably. A lot of the time taking a sick day is about preventing the illness from getting worse; commuting and being around people all day are not going to help you get over a bug.

However, with remote workers, they don’t have to get up and leave their house to work – so they’re often still willing to work from home.

Saved money on transport costs

When you work in an office, you spend not only time but money on your daily commute.

If you’re one of the employers that covers your employee’s commuting costs, you can save money by allowing them to work remotely.

Good for the environment

Remember how remote workers don’t need to commute? That saves pollution caused by transport!

Saved office running costs

Running an office is expensive. If your entire workforce is office based, you’re going to be paying extra for office space, electricity and facilities – not to mention office furniture. As an employer, one of the largest benefits of remote working is that you can save money by not needing to spend it on people being in the office.


Most remote workers find they work more productively from home

Arguably the most notable benefit of remote working: most employees work better from home. 

Employers tend to be mistrusting of remote working – how will you monitor your employees? How do you make sure they don’t slack off? Workers will get distracted at home – nothing will get done!

Those ideas couldn’t be further from the truth. Studies have shown that most people who work from home are more productive. In fact, 91% of remote workers consider themselves to be more productive than they were in the office.

Reduces employee stress

Imagine a workday where you didn’t have to get up and dressed at the crack of dawn to endure a long commute; where you didn’t have to leave the warmth of your home. Where you can work in the exact conditions you want. Doesn’t it sound stress-free?

82% of remote workers reported lower stress levels.

Allowing your employees to work from home significantly lowers their stress levels; in turn, this increases their happiness, productivity and job satisfaction. Big win? We think so.

Gives you a wider choice of candidates

When you are open to recruiting remote workers, your talent pool widens massively. You can hire people from anywhere in the world – if the perfect candidate lives in Australia, it’s no longer an issue.

We hope this article was informative and opened your eyes to some of the benefits of working from home.

Is The Office Obsolete? Why Your Office Is Still A Worthwhile Investment

In recent years, there has been a clear trend in the direction of more flexible working. Working remotely or from home is on the rise; shared offices, hot-desking and open offices . . . the workplace of the future is a far cry from office cubicles. However, have these changed rendered the traditional office obsolete?

Here at Quills, we don’t think so. Today’s post is exploring the roles of offices in the modern business world – and explaining to you why we feel that offices are still a worthwhile investment.

In a survey conducted by Management Today, 97% of respondents stated that they regard their workplace as a symbol of whether or not they are valued by their employer.

1. While working from home can be great, your employees need a base sometimes.

Although working from home may be popular with employees – and can help with employee productivity and loyalty – remote workers will want to come into the physical office sometimes. Having an office as a base is important for allowing your employees a chance to feel connected to the wider company.

Plus, working from home can be isolating; a lot of remote workers actually prefer to come in and work in the office a couple of days a week. Ensuring that these workers are coming into a good environment will both improve their productivity and encourage them to come in more often.

2. Office design affects employees’ mood and productivity.

A topic we’ve discussed many times in this blog is the fact that your office’s design has a direct impact on your employees and how they work. Things like the use of colour can affect your employees’ moods; the layout can affect their happiness and sense of privacy.

Your employees spend most of their day at work. Most of their time is spent in the workplace environment – an environment that you control. Your office can be inspiring, uplifting, motivational . . . or it can be bleak. Uninspiring, drab, lifeless. As you can guess, the results of people working in each of those offices would vary greatly.

Investing in improving your office is investing in improving your employee’s and their work. If your office is bleak and uninspiring, do you think your employees will be producing their most innovative work?

3. A way to build and display your office’s culture

Company culture is one of the most important facets of your business. If your company has a positive culture, it can be used to build employee happiness and loyalty. However, a cold company culture can lead to employees feeling distrusting and disconnected from your business.

An office is one of the best ways to build and display your company’s culture. Your employees have a chance to see your business’s branding and the atmosphere you’ve created, as well as how the workforce interacts.

As an example, take a look at these two offices; what can you tell about their company culture? What would you think each business values?

Office 1

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Office 2

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4. Extroverted employees work better in an environment with other people

Extroverts are people that enjoy social stimulation and like to be around people; they tend to be outgoing and talkative.

It’s estimated that extroverts account for 50-74% of the population – which means they’re likely a large part of your workforce. While extroverts can enjoy and succeed with remote work, a lot of them perform better in a social environment with other people. Having an office is essential for these personality types to have the opportunity to interact if they need to.

5. Innovation is born in close quarters

In 2013, Yahoo’s CEO famously banned telecommuting, stating that while people may be more productive at home, they’re more collaborative and innovative at the office.

We’ve spoken about the benefits of collaboration in our post about the benefits of open offices, but many business leaders (in particular, Steve Jobs) feel that collaboration is one of the most important things for your business. Innovation, skill development, new ideas . . . these can all come from collaboration.

However, collaboration needs a place to happen. When all your employees work remotely, it becomes much harder for them to interact and share ideas. Investing in an office where people feel comfortable and are happy to come in means investing in a space for collaboration.

6. Employees need a place to build connections with each other

Following on from our previous point, investing in your office gives your employees the best chance to develop connections with each other. Having a friendly, well-connected workforce can help with the flow of information and efficient working, as well as employee satisfaction and better teamwork.

While employees can virtually work together, it’s far harder to build a rapport with someone you email as opposed to someone you physically work next to. Offices are the best place for employees to develop personal relationships with each other.

7. Attract new talent

Did you know that 76 percent of millennials, ages 18-34, feel somewhat or very strongly that that office design and aesthetic influences their impression of a company?

When you’re trying to attract new talent to your business, it’s a two way street – you have to want people, but they also have to want to work for you. If over 70% of the workforce under the age of 34 care about your office design, not investing could be costing you a lot of talented employees.

While the office landscape may be changing, we don’t think the office is by any means obsolete. Here are just seven of many reasons that your office is still a worthwhile investment. If you’re interested in upgrading your office and would like some assistance, feel free to take a look at our Quills Interiors case studies and see if we can give you a hand.

Call: 0845 078 0324   Email: sales@quillsuk.co.uk   Live chat: www.quillsuk.co.uk

Colour In Office Design – Why It’s Important & How To Use It

Your office design is just as important as the people that are sitting in it – and it’s especially important to those people. In recent years, office design has taken a more people-driven approach and there is now a large emphasis on how your workspace makes your employees feel. One of the best ways to achieve this? Use of colour in office design.

The psychological effects of colour have been studied and stood by for years; the results are rather clear: colours directly affect our psychology. They have the ability to affect moods and create atmosphere – colours can even be used to convey meaning.

According to multisensory design, everything around us is a stimuli – so make sure that your office is stimulating your employees in the right way.

Why You Should Utilise Colour In Office Design

There are a lot of reasons that you should utilise colour in your office design, but here are a few of our favourites.

As you can see, with so many benefits to correctly optimising your office’s colour scheme, there’s no reason not to.

Commonly Used Colours And Their Meanings

Note: A lot of our associations with colour are personal and relevant to your culture. An example of this being the colour white. In Western culture, white can be used to represent purity (for example, “wearing the white hat”, weddings, angels), but in many Eastern countries white is associated with mourning.

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Warm Colours vs. Cool Colours

When deciding what colours to use in your office design, another factor to consider is whether you’re going to go with warm or cool tones.

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If you’re unsure of what is considered a cool or a warm colour, this colour wheel is a useful guide.

Warm colours

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Warm colours are colours made with orange, red, yellow and combinations of these with other colours; they’re associated with heat and sunlight. Warm colours cause stimulation – they’re attributed with increased emotional response and passion.

However, due to warm colours being emotionally stimulating, they can also cause volatile emotions such as anger.

A prime example of this would be the colour red; red is an emotional colour. It can represent love and romance, but also anger.

Cool colours

cool color

On the other hand, cool colours are much more calming. Made of blues, greens and purples, the connotations of cool colours are things like water and ice. Cool colours make you feel calm, relaxed and refreshed.

However, while cool colours may be calming, they can also result in feelings of sadness and isolation or detachment.

An good example of the use of cool colours is the popularity of the colour blue. A lot of offices utilise blue to work in and a lot of corporate businesses have blue branding. This shows professionalism – but no emotion.

How To Introduce Colours To Your Office

Now that you want to utilise colours in office design, how do you go about it? Firstly, there are two things to consider.

Accent colour or main feature?

Painting your office walls a new colour or installing a bright carpet is going to be a dramatic difference – and one that might not be beneficial. Depending on the colour and the atmosphere you’re trying to create in your office, you may want to add an accent colour instead of it being the main focus.

Accent Colours

Accent colours are a way of adding colours in office design in a more subtle way.

For example, this office breakout area has added orange in as an accent colour; it’s not too overpowering, but it still allows the colour to be clearly visible. (This breakout area furniture is available at Quills Interios service and is called “Skyline” email: interiors@quillsuk.co.uk for further details.)

When dealing with colours that are emotive, featuring them as accents is preferable. As previously mentioned, especially with warmer colours, you can have too much of a good thing.

Reminder example: yellow can be good for creativity, but too much of it can over-stimulate and rile tempers.

Main Colours

Adding colours in office design as a main feature can make a bold statement and really draw the eye.

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Fabricks walls are a great way to achieve this bold statement – and they also have the additional benefit of helping your office’s acoustics. Available in a range of colours to suit any business and a brilliant way to separate your office space, Fabricks are a great way to inject some colour into your office!

If you’re interested in Fabricks, don’t hesitate to send through an enquiry – we’d be happy to help.

A blend of the two . . .

While on the topic of accent colours or main features, we thought we’d share one of our favourite examples – one that has the best of both worlds.

Our O’Zone range is a perfect solution. In areas where people need to work, accent colours can be utilised in the form of colour-co-ordinated seating in a minimal (and not distracting) space. However, in breakout zones, you can feel the full effects of the colour.

Not only do you reap all the benefits of utilising colours in office design – while avoiding all the drawbacks – our O’Zone range is also an incredibly efficient and fun use of space. Plus, it offers both privacy and collaborative working opportunities, both of which are essential for a productive working environment.

We hope we convinced you to try adding colour into your office design – and showed you some inspiring ways of how to do this. If you are interested in redesigning your office, but you don’t have the time or experience to do it yourself, feel free to contact us or check out our Quills Interiors website.

Call: 0845 078 0324   Email: sales@quillsuk.co.uk   Live chat: www.quillsuk.co.uk