How many of you have a coworker that talks about their favorite football team every Monday during the fall? What about the person who tends to talk loud on their phone?  Do you feel like you are constantly being distracted?  According to the well-known architect and design firm, Gensler, the answer is probably yes.

Last year, Gensler redistributed their 2008 Workplace Survey to analyze differences in the results and identify shifts in workplace trends.   Think back to 2008 for a moment.  The world was in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.  Employment rates were at an all time low. Facebook and Twitter had hardly taken over the social sphere and the iPhone hadn’t even been on the market a full year.  Just as connectivity and communication has changed dramatically in those five years, so did the survey results.gensler figure 2

You can see from the bar chart that the amount of the day spent on focus work increased significantly.  It’s important that the space planning of a workplace allows people to concentrate during their focus work time.  At HON Headquarters, there are many small rooms where people can go to focus on their tasks at hand and nearby collaborative spaces where members can have quick conversations.  If members are at their desk working, many use headphones to mask the sounds of conversations going on around them. Focus work that falls vulnerable to interruptions and distractions can greatly decrease a person’s productivity.  Here are some statistics:

gensler figure 3

What percentage of your day is spent on focus work? What are some distractions you hear or feel in your workplace? And, how exactly do you overcome the distractions?

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Whether you’re an avid basketball fan who knew the starting lineup of every NCAA team, or a novice basketball fan who just caught a game here and there, you most likely noticed that March Madness owned the airwaves over the past few weeks.  If you are still unfamiliar with this annual college basketball sensation, look at your social media platform of choice and you’ll see at least one disparaged fan mention their busted bracket.

The March Madness basketball tournament garners excitement in basketball fans and basketball beginners alike.  There is an opportunity for workplaces to create this same excitement, energy, and competitive spirit with their own contests or competitions.

Try some of these ideas to pump up the energy in your office while adding an element of friendly competition:

  • Spring Cleaning Food Drive Contest:  Place co-workers in teams and have a contest on who can bring in the most canned food, clothes, or home goods to donate to a local charity
  • Throwback Thursday:  Co-workers wear a throwback clothing item (throwback jersey, band shirt, etc) and the person with the best item wins
  • March Madness Inspired Contest: Match team members (or teams) up with each other to create friendly competition.  Instead of points in a basketball game, they advance to the next round by having the higher chosen workplace performance metric.   For example: Your Customer Support team could be based on the number of customer touchpoints, your sales team could have the number of sales calls, etc.

March Madness creates a contagious energy where millions of people are completely engaged in an athletic event.  Athletes perform some of the best games of their careers because of the high-energy atmosphere, cheers and fan support.  Our workplaces can also perform exceedingly well by increasing the energy and engagement of employees.  Think about implementing a fun contest or competition in your workplace to increase employee morale and build group cohesion through teamwork.

What games, contests, or competitions do you implement in your organization?

We’re excited to introduce our newest interactive tool, Chair Chooser. This tool provides you with a recommendation for the best HON or basyx by HON chair for you, based on a few simple questions. This tool operates intuitively on all web browsers, tablets, and smartphones, so try it anywhere!

HON Chair Chooser

Visit hon.com/ChairChooser to access this exciting new tool and click “Launch” at the top of the page.

HON Chair Chooser

Once you launch the tool you are ready to begin. Select “Enter Chair Chooser” to start finding the best chair for you.

HON Chair Chooser

The next screen prompts you to select where you will use your chair. The options range from ‘Behind a Desk’ to ‘Multi-Purpose’ applications. Once you select where you will use the chair, you will  see a drop down menu that will assist in narrowing down your selection.  For example, if you select ‘At a Table’ you will be asked if the chair will be used at a conference table, training table, break room table or office table.

HON Chair Chooser

Next, you will be asked a few questions regarding some of the features you want in your chair. You do not have to answer all the questions, so if there is something that you aren’t sure about, feel free to leave it blank. However, please note that answering all of the questions will give you the best recommendation. If you have any questions, click on the small question mark in the upper right hand corner. This will lead you to the Help Page and should be able to answer any questions you may have regarding the tool. Also, if at any time you wish to start over you can do so by clicking the Home icon, also located in the top right hand corner.

HON Chair Chooser

After making your selections you will receive  our chair recommendation that best suits your needs. You will be able to review your selections off to the left hand side. At the bottom of the screen, you’ll find up to three other chair recommendations that you may also be interested in. We would love for you to share your chair recommendation, by using the green buttons on the right hand side of the screen. Here you have the ability to share your chair on Facebook, pin it to Pinterest, email, print a PDF and learn more about your recommendation by viewing videos and visting hon.com.

We hope that you enjoyed learning more about Chair Chooser and how it can assist you in finding the best recommended chair for you.

Try Chair Chooser For Yourself!


cold weather blues

If there is one thing this seemingly never-ending winter has taught me, it’s how to find joy in life when it’s nothing but white, gray, and dark brown outside.  There were days when it seemed like even the sun didn’t want to come outside—and who could blame it?  Negative 50 degrees?  No thank you!  However, as someone who has bills to pay and work to do, I had to brace myself and venture out into the Midwestern version of the Arctic Tundra.  Since I prefer being outside to enjoy the bright colors of spring, summer, and fall, this winter was particularly rough.

One of the things that helped me this winter was finding new challenges, both personally and professionally.  There’s a clichéd New Year’s Resolution that a lot of people make to “Try Something New Every Day.”  I’m a bit of a creature-of-habit, so that doesn’t really appeal to me.  However, since this winter continues to drag out, I’ve had to broaden my horizons a bit.  Some areas I have been more adventurous in include.

  • Trying new recipes. Who knew I would actually like quinoa and kale chips?  Granted, this stemmed from my goal to eat a little healthier this year, but I was pleasantly surprised.
  • Be more creative.  A few of my friends and I recently took a painting class, and it was a great experience.  I’m no Van Gogh, but I enjoyed it regardless.  I also have a cake decorating class on my list of to-dos.
  • Challenge myself with new workouts.  Working out (along with the healthier eating as mentioned above) is a necessity, whether I like it or not.  This winter I have tried some more challenging HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts, hot yoga, and strength training.  Exercise is a great way to boost your mood!
  • Tackle that last item on your to-do list.  I’ve found that since I have more time to stay inside, I’ve accomplished quite a few things.

Along with trying new things, another way to boost your mood if you have the winter doldrums is through interactions with other people.  Staying engaged with activities at work, visiting friends, even something that seems insignificant like going out to eat can brighten your day, since interacting with other people can often take your mind off of your troubles.

Last and certainly not least is to relax and take time for yourself.  Feel like spending the day lounging on the couch in your PJs with a good book?  Do it!  (As long as it’s a weekend!)  Go out for a spa day with some friends, go shopping, take a weekend trip, or eat that piece of cake that you maybe don’t need…all of these things will help you feel better.

It’s important to remember that, even though it doesn’t feel like it, the seasons will change and winter will be over soon enough.  However, with the cold days lingering, and the hint of snow still in the air, don’t forget to take a little time for yourself to keep those blues away.

How do you battle the bad weather blues?

1944 collage

What do Diana Ross, Michael Douglas, Stockard Channing, George Lucas, Danny DeVito, and HON all have in common? They all turn 70 this year!

With World War II drawing to a close, our founder C. Maxwell Stanley foresaw a post-war housing boom. He had the idea to start a manufacturing company that would put returning G.I.s to work making steel kitchen cabinets for use in new homes. He invited his brother-in-law, Clement T. Hanson, a successful advertising executive, and H. Wood Miller, an industrial designer, to go into business with him. They called their business “Home-O-Nize,” and they incorporated in 1944.

Before we fast forward 70 years later, let’s take a quick look back at 1944 (it turns out we were in good company!):

  • #1 Song: “Swinging on a Star” by Bing Crosby
  • Best Picture at the 16th Academy Awards®: Casablanca
  • #1 Book: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  • TIME Magazine® Man of the Year: Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Famous Entertainers: Rita Hayworth, Lauren Bacall, Fred Astaire, Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable, Bob Hope, Katharine Hepburn, etc.
  • Famous Musicians: Benny Goodman, The Andrews Sisters, Frank Miller, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, etc.
  • World Series Champions: St. Louis Cardinals
  • NFL Champions: Green Bay Packers
  • Wildly popular board game, Clue®, is born!
  • U.S. Forest Service creates its beloved Smokey Bear
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt seeks his 4th term in office

12 Presidents, 7 decades, and only 3 logo changes later – we’ve certainly come a long way. A philosophy of fairness, honesty, integrity, and respect have made us a leader in workplace furniture. Every moment is an opportunity to build momentum. We’ve seized each and every one to build a legacy you can be proud of and to prepare for a future that keeps getting brighter. HON is ready.

Cheers to another 70 years, and happy birthday to those that share our birthday year!

sticky notes

It’s Monday morning and the amount of projects you have to get done this week or number of meetings you have to attend is paralyzing. Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but there are days you come into work and may not know where to start. This causes you to spin your wheels wasting valuable time. Try some of these strategies to get your projects and tasks organized.

Note reminders – This is a popular way to create a list or reminders of tasks to do. The physical sticky notes are nice to stick to a notebook, on a wall by your desk or even on your computer monitor to serve as an ever-present reminder of things that need to be done. They can be easily removed, added to or, my personal favorite, checked off to show what has been completed. However, in the age of technology, if you prefer not to have sticky notes draped around your workspace, most computers offer note programs that allow you to post a digital sticky note onto your desktop.

Planner or paper calendar –A planner or calendar can be carried with you into a meeting or in your workbag, allowing you to easily access and visualize deadlines or timelines. With a range of sizes to chose from, physical planners and calendars give you ample opportunity to organize important dates.

Email calendar & tasks synced to your phone – An email calendar is a great way to set reminders at specific times when a meeting or task due date are coming up. Additionally, we all are typically carrying our phones with us, so having the ability to sync our calendar straight to our phone gives us the ability to get reminders on the go.

Files for each customer or client you work with – As you work with customers and clients, the information you share with each other grows exponentially. Keeping this information organized can begin to become difficult. To keep this wealth of information organized, create a personal file for each of these customers, both in a file cabinet and digitally. This way when something from a previous project is referenced, you can quickly pull out their file and find what you need.

A final note on organizing tasks; give realistic timeframes. If you look at your sticky note or calendar and see a particular time is busy, express this and work to set a timeline that can be accomplished. At times, you may not be able to adjust a deadline, so work on a priority basis and complete the tasks with the most priority first. However, if there is flexibility, give a realistic timeline, because it’s better to deliver before the deadline than late.

The key to staying organized is to find what works for you and follow it – even if your workstation is covered in neon sticky notes.

What organization strategies do you use to stay ahead of the game?

9000028112_ffcef87f9f_zWithout fail, there are always moments in my day when I’m asked to be creative and imaginative. Usually I greet these moments with open arms, but other times, I’m not mentally prepared. This usually stems from being focused on analytical and logical projects all day and not completely utilizing my creative, right-brain capabilities. Nonetheless, these requests for creative inspiration still occur and it’s my job to deliver my thoughts and insight. I’ve found that the tactics outlined below help fuel my creative capabilities.

Start Writing

Jot down topics, words and phrases related to the creative project you’ve been presented with. Next, try seeing if any of these terms and phrases can overlap to create new meanings and ideas. Whenever I do this, I end up with a web-like chart sprinkled with some Venn diagrams, which reveal dozens of potential creative concepts. You just may find that creativity will spark by using something as simple as a pen a paper.

Explore Social Media

When my creative task calls for something more visual or tangible, I tend to look at other’s work for inspiration. Social platforms like Pinterest and Tumblr allow you to search by keywords for user-uploaded content. Of course you should only use these sites for inspiration and not duplication of somebody’s work!

Ask Questions

Sometimes the best answer to a question is another question. This Socratic method of discussion traces back to ancient Greece as a way to stimulate critical thinking and illuminate ideas. If you’ve been assigned a creative task, ask the project owner questions to get a better sense of what they’re looking for. Try asking others associated with the project for their thoughts and insight. Present possible ideas or concepts to someone whose opinion you respect.

As Albert Einstein once said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” I hope these quick tips have helped guide you on an enjoyable path to creative brilliance.

How do you get your creative juices flowing?

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