Preparing your office for the winter

Preparing your business premises for winter

Even though it doesn’t seem like we’ve had much of a summer this year, it’s now time to prepare for the autumn and winter. No one can accurately predict what the weather will be doing in the next few months, but we think it’s safe to say that there will definitely be days when it’s frosty and icy, and there’s a high probability that, at some point, there will be snow. So this is the best time to start your preparations to ensure that your business won’t be adversely affected when the bad weather hits. 

De-icing supplies 

The first thing is to make sure you have enough de-icing supplies to help you clear snow and ice from the exterior of your premises, whether you only have a small entryway or large grounds with paths and car parking. Having grit, grit spreaders, grit containers and snow shovels ready will enable you to clear any snow and ice and keep your staff and visitors safe. 

Make sure everything’s in good working order 

Reduce the risk of equipment breaking down during a cold snap by scheduling planned preventative maintenance. As part of our facilities management services, our engineers will service your plant, machinery, boilers and electrical items to ensure they meet safety standards, will highlight anything that needs repairing and will arrange to repair it at a time that suits you… not when it breaks down in the midst of a cold snap and brings your business to a grinding halt! 

Insulate insulate insulate

You don’t need to glue yourself to the M25 to help the environment and make the world a better place. Make sure your building and pipes are well insulated before the cold weather arrives and you’ll reduce the risk of freezing pipes causing damage and also save money on your energy bills.  


Don’t be a drip 

If you have any dripping taps, especially external taps, get them sorted out now. In cold conditions, there’s a danger that the drips will freeze up, increasing the risk of blocked pipes which could cause damage. Another good reason to repair dripping taps is that if you don’t, you’ll be pouring money down the drain. You may think that such a small thing won’t do any harm, but just one dripping tap can waste 5,500 litres a year… and you’re paying for it!  

Clean your gutters 

Autumn leaves may look pretty, but once they’ve fallen from the trees, some of them will end up in your guttering. Come the bitterly cold and wet months of January and February, and clumps of dead leaves could block your gutters, meaning they’ll overflow when it rains causing a nuisance and potential health and safety risks. If you clear the dead leaves from gutters at the end of autumn, the likelihood of blocked drains occurring is drastically reduced. 


Have a business continuity plan 

Thanks to remote working during the pandemic, snow days for office staff are a thing of the past. Bad news for snowman construction, but good news for your productivity. As long as employees have computer access, they’ll no longer need to endure the heavy traffic, closed roads and delayed buses and trains that can massively disrupt your commute – and therefore your business – when there’s a snowstorm. All you need to do is keep an eye on the forecast and, if bad weather looks like it’s on its way, make sure that everyone has whatever they need to log on from home. 

Give us a call to discuss your Facilities Management needs and we will be happy to provide a quotation to suit your workplace and premises. Email  or call 0845078 0324.

a picture of modern ventilation system

Air Handling Systems and Air Handling Units

What is an air handler?

Whether you need to carry out maintenance and repairs on your air handling systems or need to establish planned preventative maintenance, our engineers would be very happy to help.

The air quality of your premises is hugely important as clean air at the right temperature is vital for your staff’s health and productivity. We provide quarterly inspections and filter changes for Air Handling Systems and Air Handling Units (AHUs) as part of our Facilities Management Service.

Modern buildings will probably have multiple AHUs placed throughout the building. They are connected to and are a vital component of the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system. The job of an AHU is to condition the air using heaters, coolers, fans, coils, filters, humidifiers, mixing chambers and heat recovery devices and other components.

AHUs have three different types – the Rooftop unit, which is placed outside the building; the Make Up Air unit, which is a large air handler placed within a building; and Mall units, which are smaller and serve a localised area.

Most AHUs are designed for multi-user spaces such as offices. However, there are different units suitable for food production areas and high contamination environments such as waste processing, which will help make your commercial environment as safe as possible.


A picture of air handling system

How much energy do AHUs use?

All AHUs have a low power consumption – between 10w and 33w depending on the size of the unit. In terms of electricity costs, this equates to £12-£39 per unit per year.

AHU Maintenance and Repairs

Our highly skilled maintenance engineers are available 24/7 to attend to emergency repairs, with a maximum four-hour response time.

As well as taking advantage of our active call-out service, you can reduce the likelihood of breakdowns with planned preventative maintenance, enabling us to replace parts and make any repairs at a time that’s convenient for your business and without the emergency call-out charges.

Set up services

If an AHU is set up incorrectly, it will not work as efficiently as it should, which means running costs will be increased. We can help you set up your AHU correctly or we can correct the set-up of an inefficient unit to help you save money and ensure your staff are working in optimal conditions.

branded goods for outdoor enterntaining

Branded goods for outdoor entertaining

With lockdown restrictions easing and the warmer weather on its way, we’re all looking forward to the outdoor dining and socialising that’s scheduled to return on 12th April. Obviously social distancing rules need to be followed, but there’s no reason why you can’t combine keeping your diners and drinkers as safe as possible whilst still making sure your brand stands out.

Over the past year, the British public has become used to socialising outdoors. Most of us are quite happy to put on an extra jumper or fleece if it means we can spend more time with friends but we would like to be sheltered from unpredictable British weather! Now is the time to boost your brand and offer your customers warmth and protection to encourage them to book in advance and more importantly encourage them to stay for longer at your premises … plus showcasing your brand is always a good move!

Branded goods for outdoor entertaining white parasols

What’s more, the expectation that the excitement of being able to eat out with friends again will surely lead to an upsurge in selfies posted on social media channels. Imagine how great these images will look with your branding in the photos which in turn could increase your footfall once they have been viewed by hundreds of people who have liked and shared the post! It’s also a great photo opportunity for your website and social channels once your branded umbrellas, crowd divides and some nice outdoor heating is in situ.

Branded barriers / dividers

Barriers and dividers are a great way to direct traffic and keep customers distanced from each other. Our fabric barrier panels are mounted on steel frames, are discreet and stylish and give you the flexibility to easily move them to wherever you need them. So, as we leave lockdown and are allowed to socialise with more people, you can create designated areas according to your needs.

branded dividers for pubs and restaurants

Branded Gazebos

Whatever size of gazebo you need, we can brand them for you. Whether it’s a 3m x 3m version to provide a small table of diners with shelter from the wind and rain as they eat, or one that’s double the width for larger tables or to support an event with your company products on display , a gazebo will continue to be useful long after the pandemic is over. They are strong and sturdy, and are easy to put up, take down and store, so you’ll get great future value for money from them by putting them to use at festivals or parties, or just to shelter customers who enjoy being in the fresh air.

branded gazebos for open-air restaurants and pubs

Branded Parasols

Outdoor tables always benefit from parasols to shade your customers from the heat of the sun as well as giving them enough protection to stay where they are if there’s a mini shower! They offer the perfect opportunity for branding, whether you’re delivering a luxurious dining experience or a colourful and cheerful one. Having individual storm umbrellas available to lend to customers if it begins to rain and they’re not quite underneath the parasol is also a nice touch. This could make the difference between your diners going home early or staying on to order pudding and another drink.

branded parasol from Quills Group

Antimicrobial face masks

Create a good impression on your customers by providing employees with quality branded antimicrobial face masks. They are washable without losing their antimicrobial qualities and will help protect your staff from possible exposure to the viruses and bacteria. More attractive than disposable masks as well as being the more sustainable and responsible choice.

facilities management winter essentials checklist

Winter Facilities Management Safety Essentials Checklist

It’s the coldest time of the year and many locations have already experienced snow, and icy paths and roads. Even though the last couple of winters have been quite mild, you can never truly predict what will happen, so you’ve always got to be prepared.

If you’re responsible for facilities management within your building, and you’ve got people working on the premises, now is definitely the time to take steps to protect your employees, visitors and property from the hazards that the winter weather can bring.

Facilities Management removing snow and ice

Keep pathways clear

Reduce the risk of injury to your staff, clients and customers – and consequent time off sick – by keeping your car park and pavements free from ice and snow. Whether you have extensive grounds to protect, or just the pathway outside your entrance, we stock all the de-icing supplies you need including snow shovels, grit bins, de-icing spray, salt and salt spreaders and more to ensure you’re ready for whatever Jack Frost has got in store!

Alternatively, save time and hard work and outsource the job to a Facilities Management provider. Facilities Management services can include winter essential maintenance, grounds, maintenance, electrical works, pest control to name a few.

facilities management removing ice

Ice isn’t the only thing you can slip on

Wet leaves on the ground are very slippery and can become a big Health & Safety concern. Even at this time of year, there are still a lot of leaves on the ground from the autumn. Check out our gardening supplies for rakes and shovels to help you keep your pathways clear and safe.

If you have grounds to look after, then this is the right time of the year to cut back plants and trees. It’ll help keep debris off the pavements which can be a hazard, as well as looking a lot neater. If you’re already ‘snowed under’ with tasks to do, you may be interested to find out more about grounds maintenance services.


grounds maintenance services


Even though the mornings are starting to get lighter, the nights are still drawing in meaning people typically finish work whilst it’s dark. So external lighting is crucial. When your staff are leaving work on dark winter evenings, they need to stay safe and be able to see where they’re going when leaving the premises, especially when there’s likely to be ice on the pathways.

Having sufficient lighting inside your building is also important and employees may find it useful to have desk lamps too for those winter evenings.

winter facilities management employees help

Be seen, be warm

If you have staff who work outdoors, then you need to provide them with protective clothing. Visibility on dark afternoons and evenings is an essential safety precaution, so kit them out with hi vis clothing to prevent accidents from happening.

Sometimes it’s necessary to ask staff members to work outdoors when they’re not expecting it and they may not have come prepared, so it’s nice to have warm clothes they can borrow to protect them from the cold, as well as spare hi vis jackets and waistcoats.

Here are our Top 10 winter essential recommendations:

  1. De-Icer Trigger Spray
  2. 110 Litre Grit Box
  3. Snow Shovel
  4. 25kg Salt Bag
  5. 22kg Mobile Salt Spreader
  6. Foldable Snow Shovel
  7. Winter Car Park Kit
  8. Handheld Salt Shaker & 2 bags of salt
  9. Grit Bin & Salt Kit
  10. Portable Expanding Sandbags
What are the real benefits of recycling

What are the real benefits of recycling?

You may have heard the phrase ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ and this is a key term associated with recycling that is used all over the globe. It refers to how we should be living more sustainably and how we can be more environmentally friendly in our everyday lives.

But that still leaves us with the question: Why should we recycle? There are so many benefits of recycling and in this blog, we are going to explore some of the most important benefits that recycling has on our environment.


Reduce the amount of waste going to landfill

Every day our population continues to grow and more and more waste is being produced and going to landfill which is causing a huge strain on our environment. This leads to an increased risk of pollution, poisoning and potential health problems. By continuing to recycle, little by little we can reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, as well as reduce the amount of space required for landfill sites.


Recycling creates more jobs

The recycling industry is huge and is much more labour intensive than solid waste management. In fact, Friends of the Earth said that if 70% of collected waste was recycled, it could create over 51,000 recycling jobs in the UK. Recycling is an integrated process that requires thousands of workers to sort and ship it to the right places.


Protecting wildlife

Sadly, it’s predicted that a truckload of plastic waste is poured into our oceans every minute which has detrimental effects. Not only can it take up to 200 years to decompose, it poses a huge threat to marine life and is also dangerous to birds who often mistake them as food.

Recycling reduces the need to extract new raw materials from the Earth which helps to reduce and prevent further damage being done to natural wildlife. For example, fewer forests being cut down which can harm wildlife in the process, fewer rivers being diverted and less air and water pollution.


Cheaper than waste collection

To put it simply, the more we recycle, the more money we save. In 2017, Lambeth council said that “it is six times cheaper to dispose of recycled waste than general refuse”. By recycling, we can put all the money that we save towards other vital elements within our economy such as households, business and public services. Recycling your food waste is also very beneficial as often it can be reused to generate compost for growing more food or crops.


Bring the community together

Whilst each and every one of us has a part to play in recycling, ultimately it should be a community effort. Whether you’re collecting materials for schools or picking up trash on the road, there are many ways that we, as a community, can work together to make recycling a much more enjoyable and easier process.

Most councils have now set up ‘recycling centres’ which make it easy as ever for the local community to recycle and most council websites also have free downloads to show you exactly what we can and can’t recycle and where it should go.

As we want recycling to become a part of our everyday life, this is also a great way to teach children about responsibility and taking a stance to help protect their environment.


As we’ve seen above, recycling is very important as waste has a huge negative impact on our natural environment. Not only does recycling help to reduce the pollution caused by waste, it reduces the need for raw materials so that our wildlife can be protected. As important as it is to recycle, we also need to focus on reducing the amount of plastic that we are using the first place.

At Quills, we are working hard to continue on our environmental journey and love to help our customers purchase more sustainably and reach their CSR targets. Why not be part of our journey and make a bigger impact? Get in touch today to see how we can help you become a greener business.

Find Quills in the Evening Standard & win a £50 Love2Shop voucher

Are you going to be in London on Tuesday 24th September? Pick up your copy of the Evening Standard and look out for Quills feature in the ‘Be Your Own Boss’ article (psst…it’s just past the middle pages!).

We’ve snuck a hashtag in the article and your job is to tag us in a post on Twitter or Facebook and comment what the hashtag was we used for your chance to win a £50 Love2Shop voucher!

You must also be following the account you used to submit your entry.

Entries are open until Sunday 29th September 2019 and the winner will be announced on Monday 30th September.

Good luck!


Terms and conditions:

  1. Entries should be based in the UK&I and must not be a Quills employee
  2. Closing date for entries is 11.59 pm on the 29/09/19
  3. Only one entry per person can be submitted on Twitter and Facebook
  4. A winner will be selected at random on the 30/09/2019 and the winner will be notified via the relevant social media channel that their entry was submitted on
  5. Entries must be submitted via Quills UK Facebook or Quills UK Twitter and the participant must be following the social media account used to qualify
  6. A £50 Love2Shop voucher will be sent to the winner by post and no cash alternative or prize will be provided
  7. Quills Group is a trading name for Quills Office Supplies Ltd and our registered address is Unit 2 Spitfire Business Park, 1 Hawker Road, Croydon, Surrey, CR0 4WD

Global Recycling Day: Key Facts and Top Tips

#GlobalRecyclingDay is held annually on the 18th March and it supports the promotion of recycling across the world. To encourage the theme for 2019 which is ‘Recycling Into The Future’, we’ve put together a list of all our recycling and energy saving top tips and some ‘Did you know’ facts on recycling…take a look below.

Did you know…

Recycling combats climate change:
• The recycling industry reduces CO2 emissions by 700 million tons per year
• This is the equivalent of offsetting the total CO2 emissions of the aviation industry each year
• By collecting just 1kg of used clothing, we can reduce 3.6kg of CO2 emissions; 6000l of water consumption; 0.3k of the use of fertilizers and 0.2kg of the use of pesticides

Recycling boosts local employment:
• 1.6 million people worldwide are active in the recycling industry
• Each year $20 million is invested by the industry into job creation
• The recycling industry has an annual turnover of $200 billion; 10% of this figure is reinvested in new technologies, R&D and in creating new skilled jobs to improve the efficiency and environmental impact of recycling

Recycling conserves primary resources:
• Recycling materials provide at least 40% of the global raw material needs
• Over 63% of aluminium cans are recycled worldwide
• A typical electrical appliance is usually made of 75% recycled steel
• Steel cans consist of at least 25% recycled steel
• An average stainless-steel object is composed of about 60% of recycled materials


Recycling Top Tips

Recycling Paper
• Paper is usually the greatest waste in the office, try and use digital formats for writing notes and sending communications
• Think before you print. Add this to your email signatures to remind everyone!
• Request online invoices and order products online
• Re-use envelopes for international communications
• Send out an email campaign to all staff boasting the benefits of recycling and word it in such a way that your employees will respect the businesses behavioural changes and support it

Saving Energy
• Turn off heating in empty rooms, making sure they are well ventilated
• Manage heating and cooling with timers and sensor controls
• Investigate taking all, or a percentage of your energy from renewable resources or ‘green tariffs’

• Recycle your office furniture by using local council schemes or call Quills on 0845 078 0324 and we will investigate the costs to recycle your furniture and help you reach your environmental targets
• Install different bins so that waste can be separated into plastics, paper and card, food waste and general waste
Recycle your toner cartridges via Quills
• Recycle your batteries via Quills
• Get rid of personal bins at desks and encourage staff to use bins which allow for separated waste
• Purchase refillable pens via Quills to reduce plastic waste through stationery usage

Reduce your carbon footprint
• Home-working
• Car sharing
• Encourage the use of public transport and provide incentives to do so such as interest-free loans for public transport season tickets

It’s clear that there are a number of quick and easy ways to improve our recycling habits both at home and at work. Quills can offer you a Total Waste Management Program which incorporates all or some of the waste streams within your business. Get in touch today to see how we can help you.

A Day In The Life Of Quills Customer Service

It’s now been three months since we welcomed the William West additions into our office! Today we’re interviewing our latest customer service addition, André, to see what a typical day in the life of our customer service department is like.

Typical day

This ranges from starting the day going through customer’s back-orders, queries, shortages and orders moving onto sourcing any ‘special’ items that someone has requested or dealing with returns. All of this but I still find some time at lunch to squeeze in a few games of pool with my colleagues in our rest room!

Best part of the role

The best part has to be the fact that no days are the same so you are not working through a routine every day, although every day provides it’s own challenge, it is refreshing that those challenges are never repetitive ones.

Worst part of the role

I don’t really think there is a worst part but if I had to choose one it would probably be having to let the customer down when we cannot obtain stock on particular items from our wholesalers, that’s a disappointment.

Funniest request

I was asked to ring Coca Cola as the customer said it was taking her longer to unpack her cans of coke as the pack size had changed.

Hardest request

Producing rubber stamps in Chinese

Nicest feedback received

You are a legend!! Thank you so much!!! This girl at work has been stressing me out all morning! I really appreciate this!

Wow! What a good price & excellent service from you as always.

Thanks André for everything

Where you see yourself in 5 years

Lisbon, if not then I will still be beating everyone at pool downstairs!

Football team the you support

Greatest club in the world, FC Porto J


Being a passionate supporter, travelling around Europe with friends following my football team is my favourite, not only for the football but you have the opportunity to meet and see different people/cultures some of which I still keep in contact today.

Trips to the cinema are always good, having studied film studies at A Level grade films is another passion of mine.

Add to that the normal things people enjoy, time with family, friends, holidays, late nights here and there!

Countdown To Oz . . .

The time has nearly come for us to say goodbye to Mia who is our Digital Marketing Assistant.  Sadly for Quills she will be heading off to explore Australia for a trip of a lifetime from the beginning of September.

Mia joined us at the beginning of the year and has been working on web design, social media, blogs and much more!

As part of the countdown to Mia leaving we felt it would be fun to bring in an Australian item each day! Colin the crocodile, Kevin the Koala, an Aussie cork hat (a must have for any Brit travelling to Oz!) an Australian flag, Ozzie phrase book and some factor 50 sun screen!

Mia departs at the end of August and will be sadly missed but we wish her a safe and fun experience during her travels to Australia and beyond!

Mia was asked the following…

Favourite memory of Quills:

I don’t know, there have been a lot of them! We’ve worked on loads of challenging but rewarding projects, like the new website development and designing new brochures. And everyone in the office has a great sense of humour, so there have been a lot of laughs 🙂

What she’s looking forward to most when she goes to Oz:

Ziplining through the rainforest! And kangaroos. Oh – and parties on the beach.

Can’t travel without item/s:

Earphones, my phone and comfy clothes. Skinny jeans on flights are sacrilegious.

Funniest phrase in the Oz phrase book:


What she’ll miss about the UK:

The people in it. And knowing where everything is.

What will you do for 24 hours on the plane!!:

Pray that all the parents dosed their kids up on Calpol before the flight, listen to music and read some last-minute-airport-buy books.

List of Must See places in Oz:

There’s too many, we’d be here all day! The top places I absolutely have to go are Melbourne, Byron’s Bay and Fraser Island.