Archives for the month of: August, 2012

I was born in a filing cabinet. I bleed HON. Ok, not really, but what does it mean to bleed HON?  Here is my story and my reasoning for claiming this beginning to my existence— only fitting for my first post, right?

Think about it. HON has been through a lot of changes since its early days, but I can affirm that my blood lines run that deep…three generations to be exact.  My grandmother worked for HON when it was still called Home-O-Nize and worked in what is now called Member and Community Relations department.  In a time when equality was not at its peak, my grandma Mary Ann was never seen differently or looked down upon.  In fact, her hard work and determination were always rewarded.  The member owner culture was just as AWESOME as it is today.  And the opportunities that this organization provides is commendable.  During my grandmother’s stint at HON, it was the very first time that I saw a glimpse of HON. It was at the ripe old age of about 4 when we attended her retirement party with many of her friends and co-workers (some of which still have successful careers here today) in what was a huge celebration of a long career.

It didn’t stop there. Besides my grandma Mary, my mother, Ann, was also working at HON.  She held several roles – including customer service, procurement, factory manager, and industrial engineer.  She is currently at a sister company of HON’s.  These memories are the most vivid I have of HON. It is where I first learned the industry lingo of casters, casegoods, cylinders, laminates, veneers, quality, and an array of other terminologies and what they meant.  I would also accompany her among the halls here at HON (at that time decked in 70s décor) and now have a huge appreciation for the workstation that I sit at in the recently renovated HQ building.

We all do it; we are all furniture people.  We walk into buildings and search the product in pursuit of the reassuring white label with that palpitation-calming serial number clearly showing HON’s name. Crisis averted! The furniture world is actually a community of individuals who, once initiated, cannot find it in their hearts to ever leave the industry and always tend to find their way back into it one way or another.  Bleeding HON runs deep.  Bleeding HON is not just kind of a big deal, it is THE big deal.  What does bleeding HON mean to me? It’s about working for an outstanding, forward-thinking company that rewards its members for hard work and gives you the tools to assume your own destiny just as it has done for two very important individuals ahead of me.  Now, my story isn’t unique as HON/HNI is Muscatine’s largest employer, but it is my story.  I am proud of it.  So with that, I feel it is safe for me to say that I bleed HON and was, yes, metaphorically born into the world of filing cabinets and outstanding office furniture solutions.

Until next time, how do you bleed HON?

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As a designer I always find it extremely exciting when the color forecast comes out for the next year.  It’s a good indication of what will be popular in the coming year as far as interiors are concerned.  According to Pantone, there are nine color palettes that are predicted to influence upcoming 2013 interior design trends. Take a look at Casa Sugar’s recent post to learn more about all nine palettes.

These are my 2 favorites:

Pantone’s 2013 Connisseur Palette:  This palette draws from cool neutrals like alyssum white and beechnut green, contrasted with warmer tones of violets and orchids, liquid pink, and deep mahogany, all set against accents of champagne beige and silver.  The palette puts a fresh spin on old-world elegance, with decorative pieces that layer texture.  It’s refined and sophisticated with just the right amount of understated drama.

Pantone’s 2013 Glamour Palette:  This palette conjures the polished sexiness of the art deco era.  Rio red, Monaco blue, tap shoe black, chinchilla, ethereal gray, moonmist and jasper teal make up this color board.  Moodier tones definitely dominate.

Based on the palettes that have been predicted I thought it would be fun to come up with a mock-up rendering using our Voi® line.

HON Finishes used: Worksurfaces – Brilliant White, Storage – Columbian Walnut, Seating Fabric – Gio Ocean, Cushion Fabric – Hoopla Cool Cucumber

World's Tallest Filing Cabinet

According to Guinness World Records, “knowing the extremes – the biggest, the smallest, the fastest, the most and the least – offers a way of comprehending and digesting an increasingly complex world overloaded with information.”

Which brings me to… Samuel Yates’ Untitled (Minuet in MG).

Materials: MG Midget (1974), steel, paper, plastic, concrete
Dimensions: 15 in. × 26 in. × 65 ft.

The seven-story tall sculpture, made using HON filing cabinets, contains a 1974 MG Midget sportscar that was donated, shredded, steamrolled, photographed, bagged, labeled, numbered, and filed by weight from heaviest to lightest in milligrams (mgs)- an MG in mgs.

The sculpture now holds the Guinness World Record for the “tallest file cabinet on earth,” and the DMV registration for the shredded car filed inside the cabinet officially indicates possession by its owner.

For more information on this sculpture, check out www.samuelyates.com/.

World's Tallest Filing Cabinet

World's Tallest Filing Cabinet

World's Tallest Filing Cabinet

As a HON Sales Trainer, I get the opportunity to travel across the United States and train HON sales reps on the features and benefits of HON’s full line offerings. Last week Jordan Hougham and I led a HON University – Selling HON Now training in the Washington D.C. showroom. Here’s a look into the life of a Sales Trainer with The HON Company.

Early Morning Drive

Early Monday morning drive to the Airport. For all of the wonderful aspects of Muscatine, IA an airport isn’t one of them.

 Travel Tip: If you’re using Long Term parking at the airport, use the camera on your phone to take a picture of your car’s location so that you’ll have a reminder of your parking spot when you get back. I learned this the hard way on a cold night at the Quad City International Airport. I may have cried. Don’t judge me.

Oh hey there Washington Monument! This was my first time in Washington, D.C. so I had to snap a few pics in the cab on the way to the HON Showroom. Getting a clear shot between the parked cars, trees and tourists while in a moving car wasn’t easy. But this one turned out ok, and it only took me 19 tries to do it. Alfred Eisenstaedt I am not. You may not know his name but you’ll know his pictures.

Welcome to the D.C. showroom! This trip was my first to the showroom, and I was super impressed by the amount and variety of the HON product. You can see more about the DC showroom here.

Here’s another Sales Trainer Jordan Hougham extolling the wonderful virtues of HON Flagship storage. Do you know the 4 key competitive advantages of the HON Flagship series?

 

Selling HON Now trainings are a mixture of new and experienced reps as well as HON members. This was a great group eager to learn and share their experiences selling HON…but staged photography was not one of their strong points.

Being a sales trainer is a lot of hard work but the opportunities that come with it are far greater. Getting to meet new faces in new places is one of the biggest reasons that I enjoy my position here with The HON Company.

What does your dream workplace look like?  Here are a few of my favorites from our Pinterest site.

How are you NOT inspired by this? Leo Burnett, Singapore office.

The Googleplex. What neat little spaces to hold meetings!

What a fun and inspiring place to work! Pons & Huot in Paris, France.

HOK London, picnic green. Would love to come here on a lunch break! This one comes from Inc.com, article on “World’s Coolest Offices.”

Nothing like a 3-story slide to help you lighten up in the middle of the day! Woo-hoo!

The HNI summer internship has come to an end. 12 glorious weeks have come and gone, and now it is time for a bit of intern reflection. I learned many lessons throughout this summer about the broad field that is marketing and feel I am better equipped to handle business and everyday problems in the “real-world.” For my final blog post, I narrowed it all down to the top ten lessons I learned from my internship. These ten basic, yet highly influential points, will help any intern have a successful summer!

1.       A change of scene works wonders

One of the best tips I can give is to move around the workplace. A desk is not a confinement cell, and whenever I had a serious mental block, I found it was alleviated by a strong dose of change. With a new environment comes a fresh perspective which is a boost for anyone’s productivity. Time seemed to fly by whenever I set up shop in a remote and quiet corner.

2.       The power of a “thank you”

During my internship I definitely learned how impactful a simple thank you can be. Showing appreciation goes a long way and in my experience, it showed my interest and respect. Throughout my projects, I knew the feedback I received was meant to help me grow. All interns should keep this in mind when accepting criticism because it is a great benefit to receive. Be thankful!

3.       Conciseness is a virtue 

Being concise is a skill. I had an opportunity to improve my conciseness this summer and learned to balance briefness with detail. Whether in writing or in verbal responses, I realized the importance of being concise.  Get to the point with communications because there is no need to waste valuable time or resources in over-explanation.

4.       No such thing as “sitting idle”

A tip I would offer to any intern is if you find yourself with some downtime, offer your assistance to someone. There is always so much going on in an office and people appreciate and notice a helping hand. In my experience, this showed my concern and involvement in the work of my team members. Everyone likes a team player!

5.       Introduce yourself

Getting to know my colleagues, department managers, and executive leaders was extremely beneficial. I learned this simple act pays dividends in the future. It improved my knowledge of HON by learning different roles and responsibilities and it familiarized myself with the leaders of the company. Putting a face to a name made the office seem less intimidating and could potentially open a door for me in the future.

6.       Mixing work with pleasure

Work can be fun and should be enjoyable. I learned joking and laughing with fellow colleagues and interns was a great way to build relationships and mutual respect. By doing so, I learned about individual personalities and work patterns which improved overall collaboration in the future.

7.       When in doubt, ask

At the beginning of my internship I was nervous to ask questions because I didn’t want to appear ignorant. However, I quickly realized asking questions was the best way to get quick answers. Asking questions is a sign of inquisitiveness and demonstrates a desire for accuracy. Clarification leads to completion and provides the best total value for any project. The need for questions doesn’t have an “awkward stage” we interns grow out of; even top executives do it!

8.       Lunch anyone?

Ask your colleagues to lunch. I found a lunch date is a great way to get out of the office and to get to know one another in an informal environment. It also is a great excuse for networking or pitching ideas. If anything, initiating a lunch group shows you want to be a part of the team you are working with.

9.       Professionalism isn’t just for dress codes

One of the main things I learned during my internship was that professionalism is not just about your appearance. Instead, it is primarily based off demeanor and actions. Carry yourself with confidence, respect the ideas of others, and enter every situation as an opportunity to demonstrate your capability and character.

10.   Be a sponge

In any job or internship, every situation is an opportunity to learn. You can never reach a learning quota. By absorbing all my surroundings, I learned about individual personalities, details of the company, and picked up on miniscule observations that indirectly taught me about “the way things are done.”

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