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As we gather the fallen leaves, pick the ripening apples, and overstuff the quintessential bird, we occasionally tend to forget that it’s the season to be thankful. Alas, not this year! We’ve gathered a list of all the things that we’re thankful for here at The HON Company. So, grab a smoldering hot chocolate, kick up your flocked feet, and settle in!

1. Our Amazing Customers

First and foremost, we’re thankful for our amazing customers! Your dedication to selling the HON brand and promoting our products is without parallel; we appreciate your support! From east coast to west coast, and everywhere in between, we value the fact that our customers choose the HON brand. Thank you for your continuing partnership!

2. Our Dedicated Members

What makes The HON Company tick? Our members! Everyone from Supply Chain to Marketing, Customer Support to Sales, Training to Product and beyond has a hand in the daily upkeep of this amazing company. Whether we’re working on garnering the next shipment of lock assemblies or designing a new prototype, we all work together to make this a well-oiled machine.

3. Our Commitment to Being a Great Place to Work

Chili Contests, Jeans Days, volunteer and professional opportunities … who wouldn’t want to work for HON? As a member going on her seventh year of working for this fantastic company, I can’t imagine working elsewhere. We continually improve our members through leadership programs, HON University courses, and frequent training sessions. Now that’s something to sink your teeth into!

4. Our Evolving Products

On average, we launch about 10 new product lines a year! We stay ahead of this ever-changing industry by constantly evolving our product assortment, revolutionizing our materials and textiles, and introducing innovative new product lines. Check out our newly launched seating textile In Season (aptly named for a fall blog!), view our recently expanded Flock collection, or try out our Build Tool on hon.com today!

5. Our Community

Nestled in the heart of the Midwest, Muscatine, Iowa was the Pearl Button Capital of the World in 1905, accounting for nearly 37% of the world’s buttons. Since then, Muscatine has become home to The HON Company where we take a vested interest in upholding our strong community. Whether we’re fundraising for local or national charities with the HNI Charitable Foundation or helping the community in partnering with City of Hope, we strive to make a difference!

Though we’re not serving hot apple cider and green bean casserole just yet, there’s plenty to be thankful for here at The HON Company! Anything you’d like to add to the list? Tell us below!

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Most products that we use in our daily lives go through some form of testing before they are launched into the market. This is an important step to verify user safety, environmental compliance, and ultimately a positive overall experience. Have you ever thought about how your office furniture is tested? Here at HON we have an A2LA Certified Product Test Lab, an A2LA Certified Pack Lab, a Parts Approval Lab and a Color Lab, so you could say we take our testing very seriously!

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HON engineers test Empower Benching above and beyond BIFMA with 7900 lbs on 20 stations!

The first test we conduct is part-specific, and it takes place in what we call our Parts Approval Lab. For this test, we scan our parts with a laser and the software generates a 3D color map that will tell us exactly how much, if any, the part varies from the print. For example, when we model the back of a chair, we scan those parts to verify that all contours are exactly how we modeled it.

The second test validates our colors, and this takes place in our Color Lab. Dedicated members verify the colors of each part match the exact color composition that is specified, regardless of the material that is used. We check for consistency so parts don’t vary, which gets us the same great look every time.

The third test is shipment testing, where we simulate what could happen during the shipping and handling process. This category has three areas:

  1. Compression testing – simulates products being stacked in a warehouse
  2. Drop testing – simulates the possibility of products being dropped during a delivery or installation
  3. Vibration testing – simulates placing the packaged product in a semi-trailer to make sure the packaging doesn’t cause any scratches

We pay attention to details and obsess over small things, so we even go as far as testing in both freezing and humid climates to make sure our packaging can withstand any end destination.

The fourth test is structural and fatigue testing to ensure the safety of the end user. This testing simulates different situations in which the end users may find themselves, such as an individual putting books into an overhead in a panel system.

To deliver long-lasting products, we also test fatigue scenarios, such as the “caster durability” test.  In this test we simulate the chair rolling for a pre-determined distance to ensure the casters will remain dependable through the lifetime of the product.

These are abusive tests, meaning the forces we use are beyond what would be generated in normal use. Using both BIFMA test standards and our own, we make sure the safety of the end user is not in jeopardy.

The fifth test looks at the user interface and it includes standards that HON created to guarantee the consistent comfort of our products. For example, have you ever thought about the amount of force required to push the button for raising and lowering your task chair arms? Well, our engineers did, and alas a test standard was written for it! We standardize on this to make sure the user experience is as comfortable as possible.

The last test is what we call Live Environment Testing. Considering we work in an office ourselves, we are often asked the question “would you use this product in your own office?”. So, to answer this question, we made it a test requirement! As part of our full test plan, our engineers seek out members in the office with fresh eyes to the product and ask them to test it out. For example, I was once asked to use a prototype Ignition® 2.0 task chair at my workstation for a few days and provide feedback. This test is also a fun way for HON to engage with our community, such as getting feedback from the local community college or doctor’s office. After this process, the project teams compile the feedback and make any final improvements to the product. This type of testing is very important to make sure we can deliver the best possible product.

So, now you know the science behind what it takes to deliver the best office furniture on the market. If you would like to see inside our test lab, check out this video and be sure to visit hon.com to view our product brochures!

“BIFMA” stands for “Business + Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association”, and it is the “not-for-profit trade association for business and institutional furniture manufacturers”. They create and maintain the industry safety standard, as well as sustainability standard, and educate customers on the importance of product performance. You can read more about BIFMA here.

“A2LA” stands for “American Association for Laboratory Accreditation” and it is an organization that gives accreditation to all types of laboratories in accordance with ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards. At HNI we place such a high value on quality assurance that we go through this accreditation process and gain the accountability of this third-party. You can read more about A2LA here .

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Working at HON has taught me the importance of corporate responsibility and giving back to your community – not to mention just how easy it can be. For example, HON headquarters hosts member Jeans Days on Fridays to give employees the opportunity to donate to a cause in exchange for a more casual dress code. Throughout the year, members vote on the charities that mean the most to them so that everyone feels a close connection to the mission. In 2016 alone, member Jeans Days at HON headquarters raised over $12,000.  This amount was then matched by the HNI Charitable Foundation, a group dedicated to fulfilling the HNI vision to “Be a Responsible Corporate Citizen”, for a grand total of almost $25,000.

HNI, The HON Company and Allsteel have joined together for many years to support City of Hope – an independent research and medical institution recognized as a leader in the fight against cancer, diabetes and HIV/AIDS – raising a record $635,000 in 2016.

This simple act of donating to many amazing organizations as a company inspired a personal challenge that I took on this year to donate to a new charity every week throughout 2017. I have picked local charities that serve my immediate community, as well as national and international causes by which my life has been personally affected.

HON’s dedication to its community has shown me that small acts can make a huge impact, both in our local neighborhoods and around the world. And it’s not always just about financial donations. In addition to gifts of money, it can be just as meaningful to write handwritten letters or personally thank your coworkers, customers and community members. I recently sent a thank you basket of treats to my local doctor’s office to recognize what they do for our community and thank the receptionist who impressed me with her professionalism at my last visit. It was an inexpensive way to show appreciation for a strong, local business and to make others feel valued.

What can you do to help out your fellow coworker, your customer, or your local community? If you don’t have the money to give, try simple things like writing a personal thank you to the teammate who helped you on an important project. Thank the person that held the door open for you as you walked back in from your lunch break.  Wave the guy through in the intersection on your commute to work. Even the simple act of paying for someone’s coffee can cause a huge ripple effect that puts a smile on everyone’s face. With the help of HON and HNI, I have been exposed to and learned a lot about the wonderful causes that our members find important and can’t wait to find new opportunities to give back.

How does your office give back to its community? What causes are important to you?

Boosting employee morale

With the influx of Millennials coming into the workforce, companies are having to look at more creative ways to attract and retain new candidates. A quick search for articles on Millennials in the workplace will return thousands of hits on everything from generational gaps, motivational tips, how to work with Millennials, and ways to keep new talent. Below are 5 tips that will not only boost attention from Millennial candidates, but also help improve morale for your existing workforce:

  1. Recognition and Responsibility

Recognizing those who contribute to the overall benefit of the company provides the feeling of accomplishment that almost every employee desires. Whether it’s a process change, customer feedback, a new account, or personal achievement, giving recognition for a job well done is one of the easiest changes management can make to increase energy levels in the office.

Not only is the new workforce motivated by recognition, but also by responsibility. Across generations, employees want to feel like they are contributing to something greater and want to see that they have a real impact on change. For employees who prove themselves, adding additional responsibilities can not only have a positive impact on their performance, but also inspire them to contribute new innovative ideas.

  1. Fun Fridays

There are many different ideas for a fun Friday in the office, but the main point is to give employees something to look forward to throughout the work week. Companies across the country have developed different versions of Friday afternoon fun ranging from casual days, cooking classes, employee outings, or games. The most important thing to consider when planning these events is to make it consistent, ask for employee recommendations, and make it something everyone can participate in.

  1. Coffee, Juice, & Water

These three items are quite possibly what motivate me the most. I look forward to having a good cup of coffee in the morning followed by fresh juice and water throughout the day. People are becoming more and more health conscious, so many new workers are not impressed with the junk food and soda pop offered in vending machines. What better way to show you care about your employees’ wellbeing than to offer healthy options as a perk to working with your company? Yes, even coffee has some health benefits.

  1. Bring Home to the Office

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to install “napping” pods, but consider the overall environment in your office. Is there enough natural light? Do employees have the option to bring their pets to work? Have you incorporated comfortable, inviting touch down spaces into your design? Even a little color throughout the office, whether through pictures, rugs, wall coverings, or panels could help bring new-found energy to the workplace.

  1. Give Back and Celebrate Local Businesses

My last tip is a little outside the box, but one of my favorites. New and veteran employees can all appreciate wanting to support local businesses, especially if your company is also a local business. Why not bring those businesses to your office? Once a month or quarter have a day which showcases a local business or multiple businesses by setting up a “shop” in your conference room. During the summer months, offer a farmer’s market in the parking lot where employees can shop during their lunch break. HON recently participated in a business day for local middle school students in Muscatine to come and learn about manufacturing, providing an opportunity to tour our buildings and learn about an industry they might not otherwise have exposure to. This is just one of the many ways HON likes to give back to and take pride in its community.

What are some of the perks that you especially enjoy at your office?

When designing a new office or workspace, there are several questions to consider. What size desk do I need? How do I need my furniture to function? What kind of storage should I include? What fabrics or finishes will best fit my design goals? In addition to all of these important elements of office design, I always encourage customers not to forget the accessories! Here are three reasons why.

Many of today’s office design trends are focused on finding ways to encourage movement while people work. As sit-to-stand stations become more popular, monitor arms, power options, and wire management are accessories to consider incorporating. When using a monitor arm in a standing or seated workstation, for example, the user is able to easily maintain an ergonomically-friendly position as she transitions between sitting and standing throughout the workday. If you are using a standing-height desk, worksurface height power can give you power capabilities at your fingertips with a simple power module add-on. All of these accessory options can help create a healthier and more efficient workspace.

Don't forget your standing height power accessories

A second benefit of accessories is the ability to adapt to a smaller work environment. With a smaller footprint comes smaller worksurfaces, but in this case you can maximize your workspace by lifting the computer monitor off with a monitor arm. Not only does this accessory serve as an ergonomic solution, but it provides more room in which to work and promotes productivity!

Leave a smaller footprint with workspace accessories

Clearing out the clutter to create a tidier workspace minimizes distractions and allows workers to focus on the task at hand. By adding paper management, or filing storage solutions, you can instantly clear your space and clear your mind. It’s a bonus if these storage solutions are available in bright, vibrant colors that can add to your office design and keep the space full of energy.

Use workspace accessories for organization

Whether you need to improve ergonomics, maximize space, or increase organization, there are several reasons to take advantage of workplace accessories! Visit the Accessories Spotlight Page on hon.com to learn more.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, today’s workers spend an average of 4.6 years in each job position. If you’re between the ages of 25-34, you may only be in your current role for three years. With so much of the workforce exploring new opportunities as this trend continues, how can you make yourself stand out? It’s actually easier than you think.

Get to work on time

Get to work early

We have all heard the phrase “the early bird catches the worm.” There is still some truth to that. You may not need to be early, but getting to work on time is a great way to demonstrate work ethic. Of course, we all have mornings where everything seems to go awry and we end up strolling in a few minutes late. But don’t make a habit of it. The small act of getting to work on time can boost your character and shows you are dependable, responsible, and professional – qualities that go a long way when you’re trying to move up in your career.

Look the part

Dress how you want to be addressed

Speaking of professionalism, be sure your appearance reflects your work. Come to work rested and put together. Not adhering to your company’s dress code or just making unprofessional wardrobe choices could be giving your colleagues the wrong impressions of you. My best advice is this – if you have to ask “does this look okay?”, the answer is probably no. You can also take it a step further and dress for the position you want and not the position you have. If you want to move up, look at what people in that position are wearing and follow their lead. This simple trick can have you looking ready for the next career move.

Be a team player

Be a Team Player

Many of us (me included) are guilty of thinking we can control everything. But if you are looking to make a good impression, adopt a “we” mentality. Some small, simple things can help you be a team player and network with coworkers. Ask those around you about their weekend or current projects. Next, give credit where credit is due. If someone helped you on a project, be sure to share the credit. Also, give out thanks and compliments when deserved. You don’t have to compliment everyone on every little thing, but when hard work was put forth, acknowledge it. If someone helped you out or supported your successes, let him know he is appreciated.

Ask questions

Ask Questions

Finally, if you want to stand out, start asking questions.

  • Ask for clarification when needed but, more importantly, be sure to ask questions to understand the larger organizational reasons behind why a particular task or project is important. Taking this initiative shows that you’re engaged.
  • Also, ask questions to help you gain more responsibility. In what ways can you assist on another project? Is there any follow up that can be completed? Are there future projects you could get a head start on, if time permits?
  • Ask questions to expand your experiences. Is there a seminar or conference you could attend? A skill set you could work on? Many companies provide classes or other learning opportunities, so ask if you can participate. Even if you anticipate the answer to be “no”, it’s worth asking because it shows you are taking action to improve yourself and your work. Just asking the question can change someone’s thoughts of you and put you ahead of the pack for the next position.

What are your tips for getting ahead?

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