Archives for the month of: July, 2012

I am a reality TV junkie.

For those of you who know me…I realize that may be shocking. But even more amazing is that some of the well known reality shows could be used as a platform to promote HON.

If I were to rewrite some of the most popular reality shows with a focus on The HON Company, this is what you might see:

America’s Next Top Model – Instead of the ultimate contest for high fashion models, this is the runway version starring HON seating. Glitz, glamour and lots of fabulous photos…all as a way to introduce HON’s newest seating models. Watch in wonder as Nucleus rolls down the runway in its blinged-out polished aluminum base and arms. Envy the detailing and dazzling design of the Ceres as it spins through the spotlights.

The Amazing Case – HON’s famous Flagship laterals and pedestals are the focus of this prime time phenom. Based off The Amazing Race where teams travel the world completing challenging tasks, the files go through its rigorous testing adventure…the bumps, the drops, the hits. How it endures the abuse is truly amazing.

Say Yes to the Desk – In Say Yes to the Dress, brides choose their perfect wedding dress. In this version, a HON laminate desk is chosen. This is can be a challenging feat as there are so many from which to choose and who can resist their quality and design? Some are more traditional, some are more contemporary. Most of them you can dress up with a bit of flair, and some come in modular pieces that you can mix and match as you wish. So many choices…options, prices, finishes. How do you choose?

The Biggest Loser – Unlike the very popular weight loss series, where all the participants are ultimately winners…the HON version of The Biggest Loser could be about the office furniture manufacturer (you can fill in the blank) that you most recently won a HON project against. This would be a weekly, ongoing hit and you come out the winner with HON!

Project Oneway – Heidi Klum would approve of this Project Runway knock-off. Designers from all over would work with difficult customers,  challenging room layouts and agonizing aesthetic requests to develop typicals utilizing HON’s broad offering of product and finishes. The customer is the judge, and there’s one way they want it….their way. As Tim Gunn would say…”Make it work!”

And now, in conclusion, my favorite…

Survivor: Muscatine – This shares the experience of visiting Muscatine, IA, home and headquarters of The HON Company. If you are traveling from the big city (and when I say big city, I’m referring to anything over 30,000), Muscatine can be a survival of the fittest.  You will be dropped into a world where taxis don’t exist and if you raise your hand to hail a taxi, someone will just wave at you; a long commute to work is 10 minutes; exotic, local food options include world famous Muscatine watermelons; if you ask for a Coke, you will get a Pepsi and if you ask for a soda you’ll get a pop; and the oldest grist mill west of the Mississippi is a popular location for a photo op. But something you will have no problem finding in Muscatine is Midwest hospitality and the spirit of hard work. You will form many alliances with the family of HON members. It’s a real trip worth taking.


Few things are as rewarding as a DIY project. Let me clarify— few things are as rewarding as a completed DIY project. Big difference. Below are some of my favorites via our “DIY Office” board on Pinterest.

*Disclaimer: I have yet to actually try any of these DIY projects. I am hopeful that this blog post will inspire me to take the plunge… stay tuned!

DIY Cookie Sheet Magnetic Board

Cover a cookie sheet with fabric, and you have a magnetic board.

DIY Keyboard

Colorful keyboard makeover with masking tape.

DIY Office Supplies

Fun way to spruce up plain desk accessories.

DIY Chalkboard Frames

Buy inexpensive frames, paint the frames, and paint the glass with chalkboard paint. Cheap & easy!

DIY Lamp

A quick update with a Sharpie paint pen can bring this lamp to life.

DIY Storage

Old book spines glued to a box- great idea for hidden bookshelf storage.

DIY Paint Sample Calendar

Quick and easy dry erase calendar out of old paint samples.

DIY Cork Container

Cover containers with cork to make fun and practical pencil cups.

DIY Wall Art

Take something you really love- letter, envelope, photograph, ticket stub- and take it to a printing place and have them blow it up for you to hang as wall art.

DIY Internet Router

Re-style your wireless internet router by camouflaging it with a vintage book.

Now it’s your turn. What DIY projects have you completed lately?

Lately it seems as though we have all been living out of boxes here at HON Headquarters.  But have no fear, it’s for good reason!  A good portion of our beautifully designed building is being transitioned over to new furniture.  My workstation is being switched from Initiate® to Voi® and Abound® as we speak!

The first area to transition was our first floor, which is where our Solutions Account Group is located.  Before, this area was full of Abound workstations.  These have been changed to Voi in some areas and a combination of Voi and Abound in others.  Throughout the first floor you will see Voi used in several different applications, highlighting its versatility.

First we begin with Voi benching.  This is a very open and collaborative environment without any overheads, but it still offers plenty of storage with the credenzas down on the floor.

Next we have a combination of Voi and Abound.  This gives a more private feel but is still very open.

The third area we have is a more private Voi solution but still very functional in an open office environment.  Adding in the overhead units gives more separation between the workstations as well as more storage capacity.

The last area we have is a full integration between Voi and Abound.  We have taller Abound panels with Voi overheads, as well as Voi worksurfaces and credenzas.  This allows for a much more private workstation.

As you can see there are many different ways you can incorporate Voi in to any office environment.  From what I’ve heard everyone is really enjoying their new spaces here at The HON Company!

The HNI summer internship program is quickly coming to a close. This past week all interns attended a skills presentation workshop to prepare us for our final presentations. During these presentations we will give an overview of the projects we worked on this summer to various managers, mentors, and department executives. We all need to be ready. Perhaps even HON Ready…

I will definitely use the information I learned during the skills presentation workshop when constructing and delivering my final presentation, but these tips do not exclusively apply to interns. They can be beneficial for any position which requires speaking in front of others! Listed below are the main takeaways I learned that can be helpful in a variety of presenting situations.

3 Speech Components

  1. Delivery – If you have ever attended a college lecture, you know of the professor that simply drones. When speech material is dry or the presenter appears sleepy, the audience will leave bored rather than stimulated. During the training session, I learned it’s important to always bring interest and enthusiasm to a speech regardless of the topic. This will energize the audience and hold their attention. 
  2. Image – Most people want to look their best when standing in front of an audience because appearance is an initial indicator of professionalism. However, I learned that business professional is not always an appropriate go-to. It’s important to dress at the same level of your audience or one level above. For example, if you are leading a meeting in front of a blue jean-clad audience, khakis would be appropriate but a suit and tie may be too formal and inappropriate. I realized the importance of this tip because a presenter needs to relate to the audience and convey a similar image. 
  3. Content – “If the horse you’re riding is dead, dismount!” I liked this quote because it remarks on the importance of balancing time during a speech and avoiding a situation of too much or too little detail. The skills workshop provided tips on organizing the content of a speech so that a presentation is detailed yet concise.
  • Opening – hold the audience’s interest with an attention-grabbing fact, question, or story
  • Facts & Benefits – present the facts and how the audience will benefit from the facts
  • Evidence – substantiate the facts with proof such as numbers, testimonials, etc.
  • Closing – summarize key takeaways
  • Questions – welcome questions with the phrase, “Who would like to ask the first question” or “I am happy to answer any questions at this time.” Avoid asking, “Do you have any questions” which prompts a yes/no response and is mechanical.
  • Official closing – thank the audience for their time

 For more tips, check out this article via Inc. on how to prepare for a presentation and polish your speaking skills for a successful pitch.

We are all busy these days with installs, project layouts, chair demos and processing customer invoices.  However, don’t give up on attaining the body you’ve always wanted!  Little do we know, but we are all in an industry that supplies numerous ways to stay in shape while on the job.  Here are some exercises you can perform during a typical day in the furniture industry.

–  Jack Knife:  Use any HON chair with casters to perform this ab-blasting move.

–  Serial Number Flip:  Mimic the cardio intense tire flip while determining the model and serial number of your customer’s chair.

–  Sumo Squat:  Volunteer to load chairs and other products into the delivery truck.  Remember to lift with your legs!

–  Installer Walk:  Carry a chair or pedestal under each arm for a few extra feet to build your grip and shoulders.

–  Worksurface / Table Press:  When attaching legs or electrical management, get a few reps in.

–  Chair Cart Push:  Stack the maximum amount of chairs recommended and push across the cafeteria or meeting room.

–  Upright Rows:  Grasp a chair with fixed arms and raise it up to your chin.  That’s one rep.

With every new HON order, you will be able to perform extra “sets” of these exercises.  Please consult your SAA or BDM for any exercise variations or suggested product weights.

Note:  Thank you to HON Members for their assistance in posing for exercise photos.

Once upon a time choosing a chair was easy … even a small golden-locked girl could do it (albeit while causing general chaos and incurring the anger of 3 giant furry mammals).  But in today’s world of endless choices and possibilities how is one individual to determine the right chair?  Will this tilt tension rock my world?  Could this seat glide send me on the trajectory to greatness?  Will this pneumatic lift give me the boost to rise from obscurity?  I don’t know.  But I DO know it’s fun to put people in boxes (no, not like that) and then relate their preferences to something completely unrelated.  And so begins my delightful furniture blogging series:

If You Like This … You’ll Like That: Seating Edition.

(DISCLAIMER: much of this blog post is written with tongue firmly planted in cheek and in hopes that it might bring you some joy whilst choosing a chair that works for you.  I will make many blanket statements and judgments in the process.  Any resemblance to you … or anyone you know is purely coincidental.)


You are a person with very specific tastes, mostly for summer clambakes and a nice madras plaid.  You love that your life is full of order, and your wife/husband Bunny/Chip feels exactly the same way.  You own every pastel colored cable-knit sweater from the J. Crew catalog, a mean collection of boat shoes, and a pair of white linen pants so perfect that they make other white linen pants super jealous.  You need a chair that will conform to you because, let’s face it … everything else has been handed to you on a silver platter.  Why should this be any different?

Your Chair: Nucleus®, with its unique suspension seat construction and contoured knit-mesh back, it truly is a chair that requires very little adjustment to make it your own.  All of your friends will be envious of the complete comfort you sit in all day (when not yachting of course), and all of the women will want to emulate its slim and sleek Hamptons-ready beach form.


You are classic.  You love clean lines, beautiful shapes, and minimal extra fluff.  While your family/children think you are cold and unfeeling, you know that you are just controlled and … well, controlled.  Your hair is perfectly coiffed, your clothes immaculately pressed, and you have a deep appreciation for things of beauty … like yourself.  Your 800-square-foot loft space with concrete floors, track lighting, and floor-to-ceiling windows is perfectly, and spartanly, decorated and only a chair that can live up to your high standards of design and function will make the cut.

Your Chair: Ceres®, with its contoured knit-mesh back and constant lumbar contact this chair will truly offer you complete support of your, likely lithe, form.  You will be drawn to its clean aesthetic, as all of the knobs and levers have been removed and the controls are instead integrated into the seat itself.  It is available in a multitude of colors, but more importantly in your two favorite colors: black and grey.


You have simple tastes.  And when I say you have simple tastes, I mean you are somewhat cheap.  You are still living in those good ol’ college days with drawers filled to the brim with team t-shirts and foam fingers. You revel in the glory days of sleeping in, ramen noodles, and ultimate Frisbee on “the quad.”  Your domain: your parents’ basement.  Your uniform: whatever is clean(ish).  Your dreams: mostly unfulfilled.  You need a chair that you can afford and that appeals to your simple, value-minded tastes.

Your Chair: Volt®, with its simple design and low price point is right in your wheelhouse.  Not to worry. You won’t lose any gaming time dealing with pesky control functions.  Your tension, lock, and pneumatic lift are all you will have to deal with.  This chair is all that and a bag of chips and the bag of chips you may or may not be consuming as you read this blog … seriously, get some fresh air.


You are unique, yet strangely similar to all other hipsters out there.  If you’re a dude, you probably sport a mustache.  If you’re a lady, you might also have one.  Your pants are tight, your glasses are thick, your coconut water is cold, and your iPod is filled with obscure-while relatable-indie music.  You don’t like many things … but what you do like, you like ironically.  You are a unicorn in a herd of other unicorns that are really horses with the June issue of “Nylon” rolled up and affixed to their forehead.  You need a chair that you can really make your own while still fitting in with the cool kids around town … ironically, of course.

Your Chair: Ignition™, with its multiple-back heights and design options you can be just different enough while still being just about like everyone else.  Once the chair is yours, adjusting it to you is a breeze with the ratchet-back mechanism and consolidated controls, so you won’t have to work too hard … we wouldn’t want you to get any actual sweat on that sweatband.  Not to mention, we can outfit your whole hipster crew: Holden in the Executive High Back, Tallulah in the Mid-back Mesh, and Zooey in the Stool.

Intern activities are now in full swing!

On Thursday, June 21st a group of interns and I were able to visit one of our manufacturing plants. I have never been inside an operations plant before so it was quite an experience to go beyond the office setting and see the manufacturing side of HNI. It’s easy to forget the perfectly constructed workstation I sit at for work every day started out as pieces of raw material. Before the tour began, we all had to don protective wear for our eyes and connect to a recorder so that we could hear our guide through his microphone. Of course I had to snap a picture of myself and some fellow interns in our gear.

The message our guide reiterated throughout the tour was HNI’s concept of RCI: Rapid Continuous Improvement. We stopped at six different production areas within the plant that had been altered with either efficiency or waste-reduction in mind; sometimes both! For example, rather than using lasers to cut fabric, we implement a fast alternative that utilizes sound-wave technology to separate fabric molecules. Cutting material with sound? Seems straight out of a sci-fi movie!

As the tour progressed, our guide explained how a constant delivery system had been developed within the plant that distributes multiple daily deliveries to individual workstations. This delivery system transports bite-sized, sequential materials which reduces inventory space and eliminates the wasted time workers spend walking back and forth across the plant to the materials racks. I also learned that our plants developed a way to reuse old paint which avoids sending much of the wasted paint into a landfill and paying a garbage fee. We are able to combine a portion of the excess paint and reformulate it to create the color gray which is now incorporated into the production of our storage cabinet drawers.

My experience at the plant was eye-opening for me because I witnessed how innovative and efficient ideas have been translated into feasible actions that produce cost-saving results for the company and its customers.

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