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The evolution of HON’s Ignition seating line

History hasn’t been revealing in who invented the first chair, but it was likely back in the Neolithic Period. Stone tools allowed our ancestors to take some of the first steps towards developing furniture by chiseling away a bench out of a larger rock.

Chair Blog 1

A modern interpretation of the klismos chair. Photo credit: 1stdibs.com.

Around the time of the Egyptian pharaohs, chairs were status symbols. Common folk sat on stools while those of royalty or elite status sat in chairs with backs and arms. From the inception of the words chair and throne, there has seemingly been a difference. Chair can be traced back to the Greeks and means ‘to sit down’, whereas throne comes from an Indo-European base for ‘hold’ or ‘support’ (Jewell & Abate, 2001). As has been interpreted, the discrepancy in the two meanings shows how chairs are for anyone to sit in while the throne supported the elite.

In the 5th century B.C., the Greeks invented one of the most depicted chairs in all of antiquity, the klismos chair. The light-weight chair with curved legs is seen on many painted pieces of pottery, stone carvings, and other artworks. While elegant, without further structural support the legs can spread apart and eventually crack or break when someone sits down on the seat (Crantz, 1998).

Chair Blog 2

The throne of King Louis XIV of France. Public domain.

After a period of relative stagnation, chairs and thrones resumed their larger role in society in the Renaissance. They became refined, highly decorated, and comfortable. These places to sit became pieces of art, adorned with gold, silver, and precious stones (de Dampierre, 2006). Different types of chairs were starting to be widely used. Those who could afford them now had separate dining chairs, side chairs, armchairs, and other specific-use seating.

Today, as our lives become less about threshing and more about checking email, there are seating styles that are more practical and ergonomic for our hours in front of a computer. The classic task chairs are now designed to be comfortable and adjustable in a multitude of ways. There are different options for perching, for learning, and sitting at conference tables.

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The HON Ignition 2.0 task chair is an example of 21st century functionality. It provides a breathable mesh back, adjustable arms, lumbar support, and a synchronized tilt that allows the user to adjust the chair to meet his or her needs.

The rest of this post is a quote from Witold Rybczynski, the author of Now I Sit Me Down. It shows how a difference in seating habits can result in a wide variety of cultural norms.

“If you sit on floor mats, you are likely to develop an etiquette that requires removing footwear before entering the home. You are also more likely to wear sandals or slippers rather than laced-up shoes, and loose clothing that enables you to squat or sit cross-legged. Floor-sitters tend not to use tall wardrobes—it is more convenient to store things in chests and low cabinets closer to floor level. People who sit on mats are more likely to sleep on mats, too, just as chair-sitters are more likely to sleep in beds. Chair-sitting societies develop a variety of furniture such as dining tables, dressing tables, coffee tables, desks, and sideboards. Sitting on the floor also affects architecture: walking around the house in bare feet or socks demands smooth floors—no splinters—preferably warm wood rather than stone; places to sit are likely to be covered with soft mats or woven carpets; tall windowsills and very tall ceilings hold less appeal. Lastly, posture has direct physical effects. A lifetime of sitting unsupported on the floor develops muscles not required for chair-sitting, which is why chair-sitters, unaccustomed to sitting cross-legged, soon become uncomfortable in that position. And vice versa.” 

As you can see, humans have had a long history with the chair. From chiseled benches and wood-carved stools to task seating with ergonomic designs, we have come a long way.

Make sure that you aren’t left in the stone age and check out the new HON seating options at hon.com.

References

Crantz, G. (1998). The Chair: Rethinking Culture, Body, and Design. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

de Dampierre, F. (2006). Chairs: A History. New York: Abrams.

Friedman, U. (2016, August 30). A Global History of Sitting Down. Retrieved from The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/08/chairs-history-witold-rybczynski/497657/

Jewell, E. J., & Abate, F. (2001). The New Oxford American Dictionary. New York: Oxford University Press.

Rybczynski, W. (2016). Now I sit me down: from klismos to plastic chair: a natural history. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

 

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The Super Bowl may be over, but here’s how you can get in the game with HON – all year round! “Huddle” up and let’s set the scene…

Monday morning, the clock strikes 8 and your office doors open. You and your team members are suited up for the big day, hoping to make it to the “Super Goal”. But your success depends on the right team, the right strategy and the right tools.

You need an offensive winning lineup of seating to keep you moving forward, each chair playing a different role while working together as a team to be a comprehensive solution for your entire space.

You need to be backed by the strongest, most dependable defensive line in the industry – an unparalleled lifetime warranty.

Your team should practice hard, focusing on Rapid Continuous Improvement and using Voice of the Customer research so you never stop improving.

Play by the rule book of sustainability and uphold the highest standards of sportsmanship, with a HON Ready attitude and an emphasis on corporate responsibility.

Motivate your employees with the flexibility to update your team colors at any time with thousands of fabric and finish options.

Most of all, you need more than fans; you need members who are inspired by practicality and fully invested in helping you grow. When you recruit HON as your office Quarterback, you cheer for the winning team.

Want to “Coordinate” your next play with HON? Visit hon.com today to see how getting in the game with HON can help you reach your goals.

 

HON knows learning doesn’t begin and end in the classroom.  From the front office to the classroom – and every opportunity in between – we craft the products that inspire, engage and connect the ways in which students learn.

HON Learning Blog 1

Giving students the tools they need is all about getting them in the right zone.  HON has developed a concept of 4- and 6-zone classroom environments that include multiple types of furniture arrangements and the flexibility to reconfigure quickly to adapt to different learning styles.

4-Zone
Setting up a four-zone classroom puts the instructor in more control over the peer-to-peer sharing of information and positions the environment to respond to inevitable change.  All four zones can be swapped and moved to support any learning activity.

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6-Zone
A classroom with six distinct zones provides a variety of environments suited to different teaching and learning styles – supporting everything from attentive group focus to active areas for experimentation and idea-sharing.

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In today’s classroom, the teacher is now a facilitator rather than an instructor and these zones help create the environments to support this change.  The key aspects to a zone classroom are flexibility, mobility and reconfigurability.  We can’t predict how the progressive classroom will continue to evolve and change, so we have decided to create spaces that have the flexibility to adapt to all the changes.  Below are some additional examples on how our 4- and 6-zone classrooms can be reconfigured to adapt to different learning and teaching styles.

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A classroom atmosphere that keeps students’ attention is the ultimate goal, because it helps with communication and retention.  HON Learning collections embrace 21st century paradigm shifts in education to support a variety of spaces, pedagogies and technologies. At the end of the day, learning should be fun!

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For more information about trends in classroom design and learning solutions from HON, visit hon.com/learning.

View HON’s K-12 Learning brochure here.
View HON’s Higher Education brochure here.

I started at The HON Company in June and have enjoyed working here the past few months. Who knew there was so much to learn about office furniture? As a new member of our Sales team, I had the opportunity to participate in an internal contest where I won my very own Desktop Riser – a new tool from HON that allows you to easily transform your standard seated-height desk into a standing desk.

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Since I added this new workplace tool to my workstation, it has changed the way I work. In addition to the added flexibility and ergonomic benefits I have already experienced with this simple sit-to-stand solution, I have compiled a list of fun facts that I have learned and shared with my co-workers about the Desktop Riser’s functionality.

How wide is the Desktop Riser?

The top worksurface is 35’’. Don’t have a tape measure on hand? To put it simply, it fits 2 monitors comfortably.

Where do you take notes?

I love the feeling of checking something off a list, so it was important for me to still have space to write when I set the Desktop Riser on my worksurface. There is plenty of room on the top surface of my Desktop Riser to take notes, but it is still possible to use my existing workstation area as well. No matter your preference, there’s plenty of room to fit the way you work.

Is it easy to lift up and down?

Yes! I am confident that anyone would be able to operate this easy-to-lift and lower handle. Multiple coworkers in the office have stopped by to try it out and they are always pleasantly surprised by how easily it adjusts.

The moral of the story? The Desktop Riser is a great way to create the sit-to-stand workstation you desire, and then some! It’s a lightweight and easily installed solution that can be adjusted throughout your day to fit whatever height you need, without interrupting how you work.

Visit hon.com to learn more.

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It would seem these days that, if you want an ergonomic task chair that will stand the test of time while still being comfortable and looking good, you have to break the bank to pay for it. Or, if you can’t stretch the budget, you’re stuck with a chair that just doesn’t quite meet your needs. At HON, we saw the need for a budget-friendly chair that didn’t skimp on options to fill a gap in the marketplace, and from that observation, Convergence was born. A chair that will adapt to today’s changing workplace demands, be comfortable while doing it, and is backed by the HON brand is just what the doctor ordered—read on to find out more!

A Chair of All Trades
What do you want in your desk chair? Style, functionality, comfort, and a reasonable price are the first things that come to mind. And who says you should have to sacrifice one to get the rest? Convergence certainly doesn’t. It offers a contemporary design to fit in with new workspaces, but still has a classic look that will integrate seamlessly with an existing layout. Need to switch things up quickly? Easy—just grab onto Convergence’s handle integrated within the top of the chair’s back and wheel away. And if you want to save some money in an area where you don’t need all the bells and whistles, you can do that, too. Convergence comes with several options to give you everything from the budget-friendly basic to the fully decked-out work chair.

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Designed with Comfort in Mind
How do you define comfort when it comes to your chair? It’s likely different from the person sitting next to you, but everyone can probably agree that there are a few key features when it comes to a comfortable chair, and Convergence fits that bill. The first thing you’ll notice when you sit down is the seat cushion—three inches of contoured foam that gives you comfort that won’t quit no matter how long you sit. There’s also an integrated lumbar support that’s easy to move when you want to change how it hits your back as your day progresses, and this makes it perfect for co-working spaces to adapt to different body types and preferences. Lastly, the adjustable arms and optional seat slider allow you to fine-tune your sit so that Convergence is the perfect fit, no matter what you’re doing or how you’re working.

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Backed by HON
Most chairs that come in at a budget-friendly price point wouldn’t have much else backing them up, but Convergence is much more than just a budget-friendly task chair. It’s designed, engineered, and assembled in the USA, and backed by the HON Full Lifetime Warranty. Convergence is not just a response to a flash in the pan trend—it’s a chair that will stand the test of time in the office of today and tomorrow.

Visit the Spotlight Page at hon.com/Convergence to learn more.

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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Suffering from stressful deadlines? Plagued with too many things to do? Surrounded by 87 sticky notes crawling into your typing space? Well, here’s your answer: Organization. But don’t run away from the word just yet! While the seemingly harmless word conjures up thoughts of perfectly manicured closets, color coded folders, and plastic storage totes with typed labels, there’s more to it!

These five ways to ‘Organize Your Office’ will aid in your pursuit of a perfected workspace!

Write it Down!
…But you don’t have to buy stock in paper. Writing it down simply means to make a note of it. If you’re like me, relying on memory occasionally (read: usually) results in poor outcomes. Take a notebook with you, jot down notes on your printed slides, or even send yourself an email. But I recommend staying away from multiple, smaller notes; they only add to the clutter!

Go Crazy with Colors
Kindergarten teachers know the ropes – and pull out all the stops. As ‘elementary’ as it may be, color coding is highly effective! Using a color system to categorize documents, meetings, or binders can help you visually assess and process things much faster than taking time to read a label. Personally, I use color coding in my Outlook calendar – a quick glance is all I need to know where I’m headed and for what!

Declutter
While you’re reminding yourself to organize your notes and to dos, decluttering is also a good idea! Endless piles of paper and PowerPoints sitting on a disheveled desk isn’t doing you any favors. As I’ve alluded to in previous blogs, a clean workspace can do wonders. Paper Management tools, like our Voi® Cube, can clear that paper off your desk and transform it into a functional (and attractive!) work zone.

To Do List
There’s nothing like the satisfaction of crossing something off of your To Do List. But in order to feel that satisfaction … you must have a To Do List! Making a list (and checking it twice) will ensure that you complete those important tasks without them falling off your radar. For me, maintaining a list helps me prioritize and keep track of those projects that aren’t knocking on my office door.

Make a Schedule, Set Deadlines
Hustle and bustle at the office may seem like it equates to productivity, but it often does not. If you’re struggling to tread water, take a look at your schedule. Booked 125% of your day? Check if you need to attend every meeting. See a deadline coming up that you might not meet? Book some ‘Me Time’ on your calendar to work away in the closest Flock touchdown station.

Key takeaways? Write it down, colorize, declutter, make a list, and set that schedule! What are some of your tips for organizing at the office?

Interested in exploring some of HON’s organization solutions? Check out hon.com/storage.

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