Archives for the month of: May, 2013

Enjoy!  …and of course, they’re furniture related!

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HON at NeoCon

As a professional completely new to the office furniture industry, the first time I heard the word “NeoCon” mentioned by a colleague of mine, I assumed it had something to do with the once-wildly popular internet game Neopets. “Finally! Someone who shares my middle-school obsession with digital animals!” is what I said to myself. As the conversation continued, I soon learned that NeoCon® was in fact a large trade show of sorts, where office furniture manufacturers come together to show off their latest and greatest products. This year’s event is being held June 10-12th at the Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago and I have the great fortune of being able to attend.

HON’s theme for NeoCon 2013 is “Unrivaled Solutions”, which emphasizes our continued commitment to producing a premier product offering and solving the needs of our customers. We’re excited to show off our newest products and our legacy lines.

Find Your Purpose at NeoCon

To add some extra excitement to these year’s NeoCon, we will be hosting a “Find Your Purpose” contest. To participate, join us in Suite #1130 during the first day of NeoCon (Monday June 10, 2013) and break open a special HON green fortune cookie! Inside your fortune will be revealed. Three lucky individuals will win a new HON Purpose™ chair instantly! If you aren’t one of our instant winners, you still have a chance to get your very own Purpose! Simply Tweet or Instagram a photo of you sitting in a Purpose chair at NeoCon with the hashtag #HONFYP and we will choose a winner at random! You can find the complete rules for the contest here.

Make sure to stop by the HON Resource Center to see if you are among the fortunate to win a new HON Purpose chair! I’m looking forward to my very first NeoCon experience, and hope to see you all there!

Do you remember what kind of desk you sat in when you were in grade school or middle school? Chances are it wasn’t anything like the desks we see in our classrooms today.  The style and design of the school desk has changed greatly over the past few decades.   The desks used twenty to thirty years ago were constructed of all wood or a combination of wood and bulky metal, making them very heavy and almost impossible for an elementary school student move around. The older slanted opening top desks (shown below) did not allow for much workspace and the only thing they were good for was smashing your fingers.  With most desks having the chair attached, there was little to no flexibility to accommodate a larger student, wide or tall.  It was as though one assumed all students were the same exact size and shape.

Old Classroom

When I was in middle school, it seemed like every couple months my teacher was coming up with new seating arrangement. I remember pushing my heavy desk full of books and supplies with all my might across the room to my new home. It was only a few days later that we would be temporarily reconfiguring our desks yet again to form a circle to discuss the latest edition of Weekly Reader. Because of the design of the older desks, these temporary reconfigurations did not allow for much flexibility while working in groups.

It was only recently that office manufacturers began to address a desk design that allows for teachers and students to quickly and conveniently reconfigure a classroom. HON’s education series, SmartLink®, is lightweight and streamlined, and students are able to move and reconfigure with little or no effort.  With the increase in the use of technology, the desks not only need to accommodate laptops and tablets, but also still allow ample workspace for the student.  In the modern classroom, collaborative work between several students is becoming the norm.  SmartLink is so versatile and can be used in group pods or lined up in traditional rows. Below are the most popular classroom layouts using SmartLink.SmartLink
SmartLink

SmartLink

For more ideas on products that can be collaborated with SmartLink student desks, be sure to check the entire SmartLink collection as well as Motivate® and Huddle training tables.

HON Loves Interns!

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to attend a college friend’s wedding.  During that adventure there were many stories shared among friends about the good old days and what has happened to all of us since graduation.  Babies, kids, new jobs, new homes – it is always interesting to see where everyone ends up in life and how some choices we make can have such a huge impact on our future.   Maybe it is my recruiting background tinting my lens a bit, but to me, one thing is for sure.  If you get a good education and a good foundation, you are setting yourself up for success.  What you do with that opportunity is up to you from there.

Every week, I have the good fortune of being able to interview individuals for opportunities with our company.  It is always interesting to hear what different candidates have to bring to the table in terms of skills, abilities, knowledge, and experience.  Seasoned career professionals generally have no problem sharing with you how their robust background aligns with what you are looking for.  Sometimes the hardest decision in those cases is figuring out who has the best skill set.  Early career professionals, on the other hand, often struggle to bring much relevant experience to the table.  They may have a little business experience here and there but overall lack substantial hands-on exposure to daily work and tasks that they can effectively articulate into a well framed response.  This is where the importance and power of an internship comes in.

I liken finding the right internship to finding the key to opportunity.  With the right one you can have countless options in the future.  You may be reading this thinking – but I’m done with school, this doesn’t apply to me.  But wait – it may.  Do you have kids, friends with kids, neighbors, or acquaintances who will be heading off to college sometime?  Then read on for some advice to share.

Internships come in all shapes and sizes.  They can be paid or unpaid, full or part time, in your major or arbitrary, challenging or not.  So what does the right internship look like?  There are no wrong internships, but there are some that are definitely better than others in terms of setting you up for success.  When deciding on an internship there are many things to consider.  What tasks will you do?  Who will you work with?  Are there opportunities for employment with the company post-graduation?  Will you be paid?

Internships can give you a window into the world of work.  They should provide you with a good foundational knowledge of a company, a strong picture of what a future job in that line of work would be like, and some great hands-on experience to build on in the future.  They may include a series of projects or work experiences that build in complexity over the weeks in the role.  You might gain experience in presenting to leaders of the company.  You may be diving into day to day tasks which are similar to those of your full-time peers.  All in all you should walk away from it feeling like you really grew and were able to relate what you learned in school to what you were tasked with.  You should also come away with a great network of connections in the business community that you can look to for guidance and support for years to come.

I always find it disappointing to hear from students about past internships where they spent their time fetching coffee and making copies.  Although a fancy title and the company name on your resume may look great, these types of opportunities will not prove to be as valuable of an experience.  So before you sign on the dotted line make sure you do your homework.

  • Research the company and their website
  • Ask questions of the interviewers about what you will be doing
  • Inquire on the corporate culture
  • Ask questions about future opportunities
  • Understand what the role is currently and what may or may not be different about it if you were hired post-graduation

You should be interviewing the company for a fit just like they are interviewing you.  All of these things are critical to finding the proverbial key to opportunity. What door you unlock with that key and where you go from there is up to you.

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