Trends are a part of consumer life; there is no getting around it. Whether it is the latest, most technologically advanced smartphone or a new clothing style, trends influence our buying, plain and simple. The office furniture industry is not immune to this phenomenon. As a manufacturer, we are faced with the challenge of an ever-changing market and it is our job to meet the demands of a diverse mix of customers in which we serve.
A prominent movement of the modern workplace is an environment that welcomes a lighter and more open aesthetic quality. We see brighter colors around offices, and it is apparent that the user preferences have been shifting this way. Back in 2011, HON launched a new desking series; Voi. Voi translates in Italian to you and is all about conforming to the needs of any working environment and user.
Voi’s contemporary appearance allows great flexibility and creative options. It incorporates mixed materials such as steel O-Leg supports, laminate and veneer surfaces, and fabric applications; it really is a designer’s open canvas for expression. Not only is a Voi user free to roam conceptually with design elements, but they will not find themselves in a fixed or confined work area. Collaboration in the workplace is on the rise. More and more companies are realizing the beauty and benefits to an interpersonal workplace, and the physical environment in which this takes place is imperative to its success.
At HON, we take pride in the opportunity to pave the way for people and ideas to come together. With Voi, collaboration is made easy. It fosters this through furniture solutions that are versatile such as multiple styles of open plan configurations. It inspires impromptu meetings with colleagues through products such as credenzas and mobile pedestals that create a comfortable sit with ample workspace, as seen in the above image.
Open. Brighter. Collaborative. These are all words that describe the market needs that led to the inception of Voi. However, one more very important need that our users are calling for is coordinated. Voi does not stop at being a great desking solution for the open and collaborative concept. Voi has the ability to outfit an entire office from the mid level employee to the executives. It is a comprehensive selection of both laminate and veneer casegoods that can simultaneously accommodate simplicity and sophistication. In fact, at HON Headquarters in Muscatine, Iowa, Voi is utilized throughout all levels. Even the President of our company sits in Voi! For those looking for a coordinated look throughout their office, Voi is a perfect fit.
Growing up in Central Florida, we had three seasons; hot, hotter and kind of nice. In fact, the idea of changing seasons was so foreign to me that in first grade, I came home livid when my teacher told me leaves changed colors. Luckily, now that I live in the Midwest, I have the pleasure of experiencing the glory of fall every year. There is nothing I look forward to more than the beautiful colors that grace the landscapes around me.
Beautiful colors are something HON knows all about. With hundreds of fabric colorways to choose from, you are able to color coordinate your office furniture with any look you desire to achieve. Check out some of the autumn-inspired color palettes below to get your space ready for fall.
Yellow: Tradition Sun, Red: Infusion Autumn, Orange Red: Vox Snap,
Orange: Centurion Tangerine, Brown: Odyssey Cedar
Green: Disperse Lime, Yellow: Messenger Maize, Dark Yellow: Pause Saffron,
Orange Red: Vox Snap, Red: Centurion Tomato
Light Red: Infinity Macintosh, Dark Red: Ace Engine, Red: Pause Brazen,
Light Brown: Balance Beam Red Delicious, Brown: Odyssey Roast
To discover the whole host of fabrics and finishes HON has to offer, view our full collection here. Also, be sure to download Digital Swatch Cards available on many of our most popular fabrics or view the entire Surface Materials Binder here.
Storage solutions are a major strength of The HON Company and have been since we were established over 70 years ago. Beginning in the kitchen cabinets and recipe boxes market, we have since positioned ourselves as one of the industry’s leading manufacturers of workplace storage. While our dedication to practical storage has not changed, the way people use storage has. The footprints of workstations and private offices have dramatically decreased over the past several decades, making less room in the work area for storage. Parallel to this workplace shift is the impact of technology. The invention of flash drives and mobile devices allows people to save and access digital copies of documents that were once needed to be stored in vertical and lateral file cabinets.
This led us to wonder, what exactly are people storing today? To find the answer, we conducted extensive Voice of the Customer (VOC) research and categorized our findings within three categories:
Active storage is located within arm’s length of the user in the workstation and is used very frequently during daily workflow.
Anticipated storage is commonly found within a workstation or nearby and is accessed on occasion to support day-to-day activities.
Archival storage is typically located outside the workstation in a place not visited often such as storage rooms or basements. This type of storage is acessed infrequently and includes items kept for long-term record-keeping.
Through the VOC research, the HON product development and engineering team discovered that today’s storage needs go beyond just paper and office supplies. As the demographics of the workplace continue to change and the line between home and work blurs, more and more people are using storage for items such as food, purses, gym shoes, medicine and even apple slicers. In response to these research findings, HON recently launched a new credenza storage solution named Contain™. These credenzas allow users to file and pile within the same unit. With a variety of finishing options and configurations, Contain offers effective and attractive active storage within arm’s length of the user. You can learn more about Contain™ at hon.com/Contain.
Here are a few behind-the-scenes photos of what members at HON headquarters are storing beyond basic office supplies:
Other findings from our research show that people store paper in one of two ways: filing or piling. Here are snapshots of “pilers” and “filers” at HON headquarters:
How do you store?
At times, finding an open window of time to meet with an entire project group can be difficult. How can you make the most of your time? Let’s look at a few ways to keep meetings on task and more efficient.
In the meeting invitation, include an agenda and attendee expectations. The agenda gives the attendees an idea of what will be discussed. This allows them to have their thoughts together so they can join into the conversation. Letting attendees know if they need to have anything prepared will make sure everyone is ready to share ideas and keep the meeting rolling.
Set Your Space
In preparation for the meeting, ensure the room you reserve meets all of your space requirements. Determine if there is enough seating for all those attending the meeting so you aren’t searching for an extra chair when the meeting should be starting. Make sure the meeting space offers the equipment you need, whether this is a screen and projector or flip chart. Having your space prepared for success will keep the meeting running smoothly.
Start on time. The attendees know what time the meeting was scheduled to start. Therefore, it’s important to be respectful of their time, especially if it is just a short window of availability. Begin the meeting at the start time and immediately start covering items on the agenda.
Offer Support Materials
Bring handouts for all attendees if necessary. And if you will be handing something out, make sure you have enough for each attendee. Handouts can be helpful if a large amount of information is presented in a short time to allow the attendees to have a hard copy to review.
Close the Loop
Recap the meeting and the follow-up activities. If there are action items coming out of the meeting, it is good practice to send out a follow-up communication summarizing those items. Be sure to include what tasks will be completed by the next meeting and/or specific deadlines.
What tactics do you use to keep your meetings productive?
How many of you have a coworker that talks about their favorite football team every Monday during the fall? What about the person who tends to talk loud on their phone? Do you feel like you are constantly being distracted? According to the well-known architect and design firm, Gensler, the answer is probably yes.
Last year, Gensler redistributed their 2008 Workplace Survey to analyze differences in the results and identify shifts in workplace trends. Think back to 2008 for a moment. The world was in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Employment rates were at an all time low. Facebook and Twitter had hardly taken over the social sphere and the iPhone hadn’t even been on the market a full year. Just as connectivity and communication has changed dramatically in those five years, so did the survey results.
You can see from the bar chart that the amount of the day spent on focus work increased significantly. It’s important that the space planning of a workplace allows people to concentrate during their focus work time. At HON Headquarters, there are many small rooms where people can go to focus on their tasks at hand and nearby collaborative spaces where members can have quick conversations. If members are at their desk working, many use headphones to mask the sounds of conversations going on around them. Focus work that falls vulnerable to interruptions and distractions can greatly decrease a person’s productivity. Here are some statistics:
What percentage of your day is spent on focus work? What are some distractions you hear or feel in your workplace? And, how exactly do you overcome the distractions?
Whether you’re an avid basketball fan who knew the starting lineup of every NCAA team, or a novice basketball fan who just caught a game here and there, you most likely noticed that March Madness owned the airwaves over the past few weeks. If you are still unfamiliar with this annual college basketball sensation, look at your social media platform of choice and you’ll see at least one disparaged fan mention their busted bracket.
The March Madness basketball tournament garners excitement in basketball fans and basketball beginners alike. There is an opportunity for workplaces to create this same excitement, energy, and competitive spirit with their own contests or competitions.
Try some of these ideas to pump up the energy in your office while adding an element of friendly competition:
- Spring Cleaning Food Drive Contest: Place co-workers in teams and have a contest on who can bring in the most canned food, clothes, or home goods to donate to a local charity
- Throwback Thursday: Co-workers wear a throwback clothing item (throwback jersey, band shirt, etc) and the person with the best item wins
- March Madness Inspired Contest: Match team members (or teams) up with each other to create friendly competition. Instead of points in a basketball game, they advance to the next round by having the higher chosen workplace performance metric. For example: Your Customer Support team could be based on the number of customer touchpoints, your sales team could have the number of sales calls, etc.
March Madness creates a contagious energy where millions of people are completely engaged in an athletic event. Athletes perform some of the best games of their careers because of the high-energy atmosphere, cheers and fan support. Our workplaces can also perform exceedingly well by increasing the energy and engagement of employees. Think about implementing a fun contest or competition in your workplace to increase employee morale and build group cohesion through teamwork.
What games, contests, or competitions do you implement in your organization?