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As an employer or business owner have you taken the time to consider how the layout of your office affects your employee productivity and work experience? Having an effective office layout enables productivity, and also makes workflow efficient. Different office layouts work best with different types of businesses or organizations. If you are searching for a new office space or planning on remodeling your existing space this article will help you learn more about the different types of office layouts and their functions.

Open Plan Office Layout  

The open office layout’s main benefit is that it encourages communication and teamwork. Due to the lack of interior walls / barriers decisions tend to be made faster which results in swift action and increased productivity. Offices with this layout are ideal for fast paced business and businesses with a flat organizational hierarch. Open plan office layouts also allow employers to give more attention to their employees, and can help employees develop better relationships with their employers as well as their coworkers. The disadvantages of this layout is that it lends itself to a lot of distraction; it offers very little privacy and the office can get very noisy.

Private / Closed Office Layout

The private / closed office layout works best for businesses where confidentiality is extremely important (such as law offices). Thus employees would need solitude to take private phone calls, or meet individually with clients. The main drawback to using this layout is that it does not offer the same level of effective communication as the other office layouts. It is also more costly. For one, you would need a larger office space than with an open layout and more artificial lighting and cooling would be needed to maintain a conducive working environment.

Cubicle Office Layout

Cubicles use a series of partitions allowing workers the benefits of a private / closed office layout (privacy, limited distractions, decreased noise levels), while offering an adequate level of openness. Cubicles do not take up as much floor space as private offices. They are also beneficial to companies that require confidentiality and those that do not have the budget to offer everyone a private office. Similar to the private / closed office layout cubicles offer limited natural light. Using glass panels will allow more natural light to come in and allows the space to appear larger. Half partitions which are like cubicles (except the walls only go halfway up) can also be useful, however they offer less privacy.

Team Enclosures

Team enclosures offers a private area for teams working on a single project and those who work on similar projects. This layout allows increased communication and encourages cooperation between team members while minimizing external distractions. This layout is beneficial to organizations and businesses such as advertisement agencies, news offices, or architectural and engineering firms. 

 

Remember, with many people spending more time at work than they do at home, choosing the right office layout is an important decision to make not only for you but for your employees as well. Also, in many cases, it may make sense to have a variety of different layouts in one office space.

 

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Whether you are planning on selling your home or you are simply interested in updating your home for your personal enjoyment consider implementing these home improvement tips that will increase the market value of your property.

  • Ensure that your home’s exterior is appealing and inviting. Planting trees or a flower garden, keeping a well maintained lawn, and keeping shrubs and bushes pruned are simple ways to improve your homes curb appeal. In addition, including a focal point such as a well-designed walkway can add major property value.


  • Utilize excess yard space by including outdoor living spaces such as a deck, patio, porch, pergola etc. to increase the value of your property. Investing in outdoor spaces provides the opportunity for more outdoor activities. This adds resale value to your property. Home-buyers tend to be more interested in homes that offers this feature.


  • Adding an additional bathroom may be the best home improvement decision you can make. Having an additional bathroom not only increases your home’s resale value, but it also provides the home with greater functionality.


  • Consider updating your home’s décor by replacing your old fixtures with new updated ones or adding modern fixtures such as moldings and chair rails that give the interior a crisp design.


  • Doing small repairs may seem insignificant, but by maintaining and fixing the small things it gives the impression that your home has been well cared for over the years. Take a walk around the property and take note of what is broken and can easily be repaired. Also, staying on top of maintenance now provides the benefit of eliminating issues before they become too problematic.


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From original paintings to stunning prints, including works of art in the home is one of the best methods of personalizing your space. Here are a few tips that you can use to both artistically and effectively incorporate art in your home:

  • One of the basic principles of interior design is that every room needs a focal point. Walk into the room and notice the first place your eyes land. This is ideally the perfect location for a piece of statement artwork. Whatever piece is chosen should help the eye connect all the pieces in the room while creating a unifying statement in your overall design.


  • When you are hanging art on your walls you want to ensure that they are positioned at eye level. Whether you are hanging multiple pieces in columns or rows you should keep this in mind and hang the lowest piece at eye level. This will help create a unified design statement. Also, if you have a large collection of artwork consider splitting the pieces across different rooms.


  • Ensure that you fill the space you have with the right scale of artwork. A small and subtle piece can become lost on a large wall while a large bold piece will feel constricted if not given space to breathe. Hang a big bold statement piece on a large empty wall, this will make the room feel uncluttered and will bring more focus and attention to the artwork.


  • Think of how the colors of the artwork will affect the mood in the different rooms. A calming grey art piece would be ideal for the bedroom while yellow which is a more welcoming and cheerful color would be perfect for the living room.


  • It is helpful to note that you can use your artwork to imitate the life of the room. For example, artwork of food is best used in the kitchen while a family portrait or a happy group of friends would work well in the living room. The subject of the artwork is also a way of tying the pieces in the room together. Using animal prints for example fits well with organic or botanical imagery.


With all this in mind you should also remember that when you decide what piece you should use or where to hang art in your home there are no rules. While these tips aid in creating a more aesthetically pleasing and well-designed environment, bringing art into your home is personal. Above all else the choices you make should bring you joy.

 

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As part of the Millenia Architects Guiding Light Initiative launched in June of 2018, a scholarship for tuition covering a one-year Architecture Associates degree program at the Dominica State College was awarded to Ms. Nerrisa George of Calibishie.  

 

“The Millenia Group, comprising of Millenia Architects, Sorell Consulting Ltd., Kaliber Construction & Homes, and Millenia Realty, believes that sustainable development goes far beyond bricks and mortar that is why we have decided to invest in the development of the human resource that is needed to create a resilient economy for decades to come.” – Executive Director of the Millenia Group, Alistair Grell.

 

This initiative has also benefited two other young people so far.  The intern who went through our six (6) months internship last year has since been employed as a permanent member of our team.  Also, there is one person currently participating in on-the-job training and mentorship from our team.

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It’s that time again; you’ve recently applied a fresh coat of paint to your walls and it is already starting to fade. Having to move furniture and appliances as well as getting photos and paintings off the walls over and over again can be frustrating and not to mention a financial burden. Today we offer you a few tips on making paint last longer.

 

  • Ensure that your home is properly ventilated. Moisture enters the home in liquid form and exits as vapor, thus lifting the paint on the outside walls. Allow constant fresh air to both enter and leave your home by having windows and door opened as much as possible, and ensure that the home is well designed to accommodate maximum ventilation.

  • Clean the walls before applying paint. Paint is able to stick over dirt, cobwebs, and other contaminants on the wall. Before painting use water and bleach if necessary to remove them. If bleach or any other chemical substance is used gently and thoroughly rinse to remove residue which can loosen the paint.
  • Apply the right thickness of paint. If the coat of paint is too thin the paint will be weak and easily fade, and if it is too thick it will crack. The right thickness of paint is approximately 0.004 – 0.005 inches, or the thickness of a single sheet of copy paper.

  • Ensure that you do not apply paint in direct sunlight or while experiencing high winds. The sun and wind makes the water and petroleum solvents in the paint evaporate too quickly. It also slows down the paint from flowing and leveling out the way it should, as well as weakening the bond between the particles.
  • If there are a lot of plants (trees, shrubs, flowers) near the walls of your home you either need to constantly trim them or cut them off completely. Plants create moisture which will cause the paint to fade quicker than it should.
  • Use the right type of paint. Natural paint which has no harmful chemicals is capable of lasting up to 50 years if 3 coats are added. While oil paint is more resistant against dirt and has a level of hardness.
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“There’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent threat of a changing climate”. – President Barack Obama

 

By now we should all be aware of the global issue of ‘Climate Change’.   In light of our government’s decision in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria to rebuild Dominica into the first climate resilient nation, we should all be asking ourselves, “What can I do to tackle climate change?”

 

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) defines it as “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.”

 

The main human activities that contribute to an enhancement of the natural greenhouse effect are:

  • Combustion of fossil fuels, which releases greenhouse gases.
  • Clearing of forests for agriculture, which releases carbon dioxide through increased biomass decay.
  • Deforestation, soil tillage and land degradation, which release carbon from the land system and reduce its capacity to absorb and store carbon.

 

The main human activities that change the reflectivity of the earth’s surface and atmosphere are:

  • Fossil fuel combustion; industrial processes; and biomass burning release aerosols and other pollutants into the atmosphere, changing its capacity to reflect or absorb solar radiation. These aerosols may also be deposited onto the land surface and cause changes to the surface albedo.
  • Deforestation, agricultural practices and urbanisation change the reflectivity of the earth’s surface.

 

Some of these influences can have a cooling effect on the earth’s surface and lower atmosphere. For example, most aerosols emitted to the atmosphere reflect solar radiation back out to space. Black carbon particles are an exception, as they strongly absorb heat, and when deposited on snow can act as a significant heat sink on the surface that encourages snow melt. Deforestation tends to increase the albedo of the land surface, since green, hydrated leaves reflect less solar radiation than bare earth. This too contributes a negative or cooling effect to the earth’s radiative balance. (https://www.aph.gov.au/ – Parliament of Australia website).

 

Here in Dominica, with our main economic sectors being agriculture and tourism, climate change is expected to impact us in the following ways:

  • Changes in temperature will have a direct effect on the islands flora and fauna, reducing the availability of food and water for our wildlife and for ourselves.
  • And as we have witnessed with this year’s Hurricane season it also increases the potential for greater frequency and intensity of storms in the Caribbean region.

 

In order to fight this phenomenon we need to change individually before we are able to work collectively as a nation. Here are a few things we can do to play our part:

  • Living without a vehicle, choosing to walk or increasing the use of public transportation will also limit the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
  • When you are purchasing a vehicle, buy one with the best fuel economy in its class. Each gallon of gas used is responsible for 25 pounds of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. Better gas mileage not only reduces global warming, but will also save you money.
  • Using energy efficient appliances and energy efficient lighting in your home can also have a significant impact on saving the environment.

Learn more about Climate Change, how it affects us and more ways to curb this phenomenon at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change website: www.unfccc.int.

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An outdoor kitchen boosts a home’s value. The outdoor kitchen is quickly becoming a growing trend for homeowners that want to maximize their outdoor space while making an investment in their home that would increase their home’s resale value. So consider moving your activities outdoors by creating a space that is perfect for entertaining and cooking.

  • Having an outdoor kitchen offers homeowners the opportunity to prepare meals while being comfortably surrounded by family members and friends while still enjoying the outdoors. It is a great method for socializing and allows the person inside preparing the meals to not feel left-out while others are outside enjoying each other’s company.
  • Preparing meals outdoors provides several benefits. It keeps the level of heat within the home at a minimum and makes cleaning up easier. An outdoor kitchen also decreases the traffic within the home during outdoor activities where meals are served.
  • Most of all, outdoor kitchens are fun. It is enjoyable to be outdoors, to relax in a lounge chair, perhaps to watch somebody else do the cooking.

 

When designing an outdoor kitchen there a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Choose low-maintenance materials that are designed to withstand the conditions of the outdoors. Keep in mind that high-quality stainless steel provides a sanitary surface that is both easy to clean and resistant to corrosion. Counters and other materials used for building should be highly resistant to grease stains and able to withstand high temperatures.
  • The location of your outdoor kitchen is very important and depends on several factors. The kitchen will need to be oriented in such a way that wind does not blow smoke into the home. However, it would also need to be close enough to the inside kitchen so that you will not need to travel long distances to retrieve items that you need.
  • When it comes to outdoor activities the weather can be a big issue. Having a pergola or any other form of covering will allow you to enjoy cooking outdoors, whether rain or shine.

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For ages, homeowners with interior and exterior staircases have used balusters to guard the area from accidents, provide support to people who find it difficult to climb stairs and to enhance the beauty of the home.

 

Balusters come in various materials and styles. Traditionally, wooden balusters have been a popular option for interior staircases but they take a lot of time to construct since they involve the craftsmanship of the artist. They are preferred mainly by those who want to give their home the specific appeal and appreciate the craftsmanship of wood. Another drawback is that wooden material is bound to decay in a specific span of time and may get infested with termites, thus the buyer will be forced to get new ones, which is not the case with other materials.

 

Metal balusters are a result of commercial production where industries conveniently produce a good quantity of them. Thus metal balusters have gained so much acceptance and popularity that wooden balusters have been given a back seat. The level of strength and support that metal balusters can provide is much more than the wooden counterpart’s hence, people like to get them fixed in the house to get more sturdy railings. 

 

There is also the option of combining these two materials to offer more texture and dimension in your design.

 

One of the more sophisticated types are the glass balusters that provide iron railings with a unique look. These have a metal body and the spaces in between have glass panels that can be coloured or transparent as the homeowner prefers.

 

Whichever material is used, perfectly designed balusters will enhance the appeal of a home.

 

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