Editor’s Choice: NeoCon 2022 Winners

NeoCon 2022 Winners

What’s in store for the future of office furniture? NeoCon 2022 dazzled the world this month with game-changing innovations and revolutionary new products unveiled by more than 400 leading companies.  As the single most important event in the commercial design industry, this annual show drew nearly 40,000 attendants to Chicago to celebrate upcoming trends in furniture, textiles, building materials, lighting, wall coverings, accessories, outdoor products and more. Every year a selected panel of industry professionals announces the “Best of NeoCon” winners,  honoring outstanding new products in 54 product categories.  Below are some of ourfavorite NeoCon 2022 winners and standouts, capturing our imaginations with their thoughtful designs, unique features, and the promise of better, exciting times ahead.

Amobi by AMQ

INNOVATION WINNER / FURNITURE SYSTEMS – AMQ has long since been a reliable company that regularly produces modern products on quick timelines for a great budget. At NeoCon 2022, AMQ’s Amobi won the Innovation Award for the Furniture Systems category. Amobi gives us a glimpse of the future of work; it exemplifies a more collaborative and fluid style of working and recognizes the need for rapid configuration for a more flexible workflow. The Amobi Desk is a mobile workstation with easy transport and storage design, as well as additional privacy options. Amobi Team pairs well with the desk, featuring a family of mobile carts and walls that double as collaboration hubs or privacy walls.


Photo: AMQ Amobi Agile Workspaces

Focaccia by Koncept

GOLD WINNER / LIGHTING: TASK – The Focaccia Desk Lamp is another leading product that showcases the recent trends of the workplace: flexibility. With its sleek metal frame and slim base, Focaccia is an unobtrusive addition to your desk. Focaccia also offers an adjustable soft, diffused light from 2700k to 5000k, making it perfect for professionals that need minimal shadows and maximum luminescence.


Photo: Koncept Focaccia Desk Lamp

Fleet by OFS

SILVER WINNER / COLLECTIONS FOR COLLABORATION – OFS strikes again with the Silver Award winner Fleet Collection. Made to adapt to the everchanging flow of work and life, Fleet is made through “Soft Architecture,” architectural furniture designed to never make you feel like you’re boxed into a cubicle. Fleet’s tables are oval-shaped and come with optional casters for easy mobility. Their conference tables can be personalized with a canopy and media screen. Fleet seating complement their tables with their three different stool models to fit the user’s needs. Fleet planters add a pop of green in a variety of shapes to energize the office.


Photo: OFS Fleet Series

Kaleid by OFS

GOLD WINNER / WORKPLACE ACCESSORIES – In line with the philosophies of the Fleet Collection, Kaleid  was made to match increasingly dynamic offices. The Kaleid Collaborative Division Shelves are crafted with warm wood and come in multiple configurations and options for media units. Whether you want to use it as a board, self-watering planters, or shelving unit, Kaleid can adapt itself to fit your needs.


Photo: OFS Brands Kaleid Collection

Plot Twist by OM Seating

GOLD WINNER / SEATING: STOOLS – Whimsical, playful and lightweight, Plot Twist by OM Seating brings people together in a creative and collaborative way.  Featuring the fun, warm comfort of a pouf and robust optional adjustable height tablet surfaces, the collection reimagines casual brainstorming sessions, impromptu meanings and sharing of ideas – all the while being easily mobile.  They can also be configured with or without a backrest, and are available in multiple vibrant colors.

Photo: OM Seating Plot Twist

Adapt Wall by Senator

GOLD WINNER / COLLECTIONS FOR COLLABORATION – The Adapt Wall Partitions are Senator’s solution to the change of the individual’s daily work routine. Crowned the Gold Award for NeoCon’s collaboration collection category, Adapt serves as a mobile partition with additional functions such as a drawing board, shelf, coat hanger, and more. With four configurations in mind, Adapt enables a more agile, fluid, and flexible dynamic within the office.


Photo: Senator Adapt Wall Partitions

CellPod by Senator

2010 EDITOR’S HONORABLE MENTION – Innovation meets collaboration with Senator’s CellPod series. Senator gives a nod to the importance of collaboration with CellPod, a fully demountable room that still provides all the architectural qualities and services you would expect from a traditionally built environment. The CellPod has four configurations: Cabana, Focus, Meeting, and Round Personal. Cabana features a more open setting with its three-sided walls for larger meetings, while Focus and Round Personal were created to help the user immerse themselves in their work with no interruptions. The Meeting CellPod offers a more intimate meeting and collaboration space for smaller groups of people.


Photo: Senator CellPod

Reya by SitOnIt

SILVER WINNER / WORK FROM HOME SOLUTIONS – Reya is the desk for everyone, whether this means official or family business. Marketed as a work-from-home piece, Reya provides a dedicated place to escape the clutter with customizable options. This desk features rounded corners and a slim, modern design, capable of fitting into almost any room. Reya also boasts a patent-pending, lightning-fast assembly, meaning users don’t have to break a sweat putting this desk together.


Photo: SitOnIt Seating Reya Desk

Umo by Stylex

SILVER WINNER / TABLES: OCCASIONAL – Turn heads with the Stylex Umo Table. With its unique base and wood materials, Umo serves multiple functions, from adding visual warmth to any space to its efficient utility as an accent table. Featuring 4 wood finishes, the Umo Table is perfect for spaces that blur the lines between residential and commercial.


Photo: Stylex Umo Table

Jeté by Via Seating

SUSTAINABILITY WINNER / SEATING: CONFERENCE – The Via Seating Jete Chair is a conversation-starter with its distinctive European aesthetic and multitude of features. Jete is a combination of Via Seating’s signature comfort, unmatched design, and sustainable innovation. Available in high and mid back forms, as well as a variety of customizable upholstery and arms options, Jete creates an uncompromising standard for all executive-conference chairs.


Photo: Via Seating Jeté Chair

All NeoCon 2022 Winners

For a complete list of Best of NeoCon winners, please visit the official NeoCon website here.

Interested More in NeoCon 2022?

Looking for more info or inspiration?  Explore all the latest office furniture possibilities with the specialists at 2010 Office Furniture. Our team has nearly 50 years of combined experience working with Southern California’s most distinguished corporations, universities, and small business from Los Angeles and Orange Counties to the Inland Empire.

Contact us and let us know about your potential project needs.  We can help you create the modern office that fits perfectly for you and your employees.

Read Also: NeoCon 2022 Trends: The Future of Office Furniture
Main Photo: OM Seating Plot Twist, OFS Fleet and Senator CellPod
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: NeoCon
AMQKonceptOFS BrandsOM Seating, Senator, SitOnIt Seating, StylexTrendway and Via Seating

NeoCon 2022 Trends: The Future of Office Furniture

NeoCon 2022 Trends

Every year, NeoCon takes our breath away with the unveiling of new and revolutionary designs in commercial office furniture. This year is no exception as the largest event of the industry introduced all the long awaited NeoCon 2022 trends earlier this month. Since 1990, NeoCon has been the leading hub of the commercial design community, giving designers, architects, end-users, manufacturers, dealers, service providers, associations, educators, students and media the chance to educate and, at equal turns, learn about game-changing products and services from more than 400 leading companies and emerging competitors. Countless products are entered for the chance of recognition at the world’s leading platform.

With 10 categories ranging from Best of Competition to Textiles, NeoCon is pivotal to setting trends. So what’s new in the world of commercial design?

Trend 1: Micro Spaces

Micro spaces—such as pods, dens or booths—are receiving an upgrade as one of the biggest NeoCon 2022 trends. It was the solution to the issues of the open office, a floor plan meant to foster collaboration, but instead can result in very distracting, noisy environments where employees find it challenging for concentrated work. Micro spaces on the other hand create a comfortable workspace that allow people to focus. They provide a quiet, less exposed environment for individual work, but glass doors and open doorways also ensure people aren’t completely cut off from the pulse of the company. Even better, in light of the pandemic, micro spaces can reduce the spread of diseases by preventing too many people from inhabiting a crowded area.

Groupe Lacasse PanGram Social Distancing Office Design and Nevins Phone Booth provide excellent micro spaces that tastefully transforms otherwise unused spaces to functional private work environments.


Photo: Groupe Lacasse PanGram and Nevins Phone Booth

Trend 2: Flexible Furniture

If there is anything office interior designers observed from the past three years, it’s that we no longer need X desks for Y people. We are no longer in the era of cubicle farms. How we work has changed and the office has changed with us. The office can now be rearranged to support different ways of working. Areas like open-plan benching, micro spaces, and breakrooms will give your team more chances to personalize their work experiences and boost productivity.

The OFS Fleet personifies adaptability. The Fleet table can be reconfigured for individual, group, and organizational needs.


Photo: OFS Fleet

Trend 3: Resimercial Inspiration

The resimercial aesthetic has been a popular trend in recent years and continues to be seen as one of the NeoCon 2022 trends. It’s a furnishing style meant to bring the relaxed feel of home into the formal office environment. Since quarantine, workers have been enjoying the ability to work from the comforts of home. To draw them back to the office, designers have taken inspiration from where they’ve been working in, bringing in furniture that emphasizes comfortable seating, ambient lighting, durable upholstery, and accessories like rugs and lamps.

Check out the National Collette Seating, a product that inspires employees to work in a space that exemplifies comfort and is reminiscent of home.


Photo: National Collette Seating

Trend 4: Bold Colors

Bold colors are making a comeback after years of using calm, neutral colors. Adding a beautiful pop of color can liven the office up. How organizations use colors often set the tone for the company’s culture, from calm to cheerful.

NeoCon 2022 showcases flexible ways to bring color into your space through accessories. For instance, this Stylex Trim Table setup features different brightly colored privacy walls and accessories that add an air of playfulness to the setting. ERG’s International Parma Table has accents of vivid colors that liven up offices.


Photo: Stylex Trim Table and ERG International Parma Table

Trend 5: Acoustic Materials

We’ve learned from past office trends that the cubicle farm made workers feel isolated and dehumanized. In an effort to find a more flexible solution for privacy and quiet, designers had to look away from hard surfaces because they cause sounds to echo and magnify. Soft surfaces like acoustic walls are the perfect sweet spot for the office because it not only reduces noise but have the mobility to be set up and rearranged at any time.  It’s no wonder that it’s one of this year’s top NeoCon 2022 trends.

Snowsound’s Botanica is a modern, lightweight acoustic screen made with high-quality sound absorbing elements that reduces ambient noise.


Photo: Snowsound Botanic Acoustic Panel

Trend 6: Touch Down Spaces

Throughout the years, we’ve been seeing more and more rigid work structures in our offices change and evolve with the people. No longer are meeting rooms only for large groups of people doing formal presentations. Employees are looking for more personal meeting spaces that are more informal and can easily be set up or reconfigured and separated in a flash.

This HON Preside Table and Flock Seating setup, as well as the OFS Obeya Architectural Structures, provide two perfect examples of touch down spaces. Whether you’re there for a group project or “me time,” these support your needs to get work done.


Photo: HON Preside Table and Flock Seating and OFS Obeya Architectural Structure

Trend 7: Retro Influence

We’re seeing a resurgence of old trends. The 70’s design style is usually touted as an ugly mistake with shag carpets and strange color combinations, but in a time when color can represent optimism and play, we’re glad to see it back as part of NeoCon 2022 trends.

National’s Hobsen Chair exhibits obvious 70s influence with its earthy, warm color scheme, psychedelic patterns, and wood accents.


Photo: National Hobsen Chair

NeoCon 2022 Trends Showcases Innovation at Every Turn

NeoCon has been a trendsetter for commercial design since 1990 and continues to be so to this day. From new trends such as touchdown spaces and callbacks to retro inspiration, NeoCon gives the stage to leading competitors to stun the world with new office products and solutions.

Interested More in NeoCon 2022 Trends?

Looking for more info or inspiration?  Explore all the latest office furniture possibilities with the specialists at 2010 Office Furniture. Our team has nearly 50 years of combined experience working with Southern California’s most distinguished corporations, universities, and small business from Los Angeles and Orange Counties to the Inland Empire.

Contact us and let us know about your potential project needs.  We can help you create the modern office that fits perfectly for you and your employees.

Read Also: Office Furniture Trends 2022: What’s New in Commercial Office Furniture
Main Photo: Senator Adapt Wall
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: ERG International, Groupe Lacasse, HON, National, Nevins, OFS Brands, Snowsound & Stylex

Office Furniture Trends 2022: What’s New in Commercial Office Furniture

Stylex Seating

Over the last decade we’ve seen tremendous changes in our offices and how we work — especially within the last couple of years. Office furniture trends of 2022 are no doubt a reflection of these important changes.  As we recover from a world pandemic, our schedules are less structured, our interactions more organic and our technology more advanced. Innovations in office furniture have allowed us to complete our tasks much faster and be more mobile at work.

From the way we complete our daily tasks to how we meet and share ideas – our offices are changing in remarkable and exciting ways.  As we review 2022’s office furniture trends, let’s ask ourselves, “How did we get to here today? And what do we have to look forward to?”

Workstations

Workstations Then
Photo: The Open Office Plan Setup

THEN: Open-plan benching systems have been the go-to workstations ever since their revival in the early 2010s. Designer Frederick Taylor pioneered the idea of the open office back in the early 1900s, claiming it was the secret to productivity. And over the last decade or so, they’ve regained much popularity especially among health-conscious millennials who found cubicles to be somewhat oppressive and confining.  Open-plan benching systems, on the other hand, promoted open communication and collaboration, and kept productivity in mind while fostering team camaraderie and employee wellbeing.  They also helped ease high costs of construction, utilities and office equipment, because they’re typically modular and can be set up and reconfigured much more easily in huge open spaces without having to partition areas by building walls.  The open-plan set-up is not without its drawbacks, however.  They can be noisy and have been criticized for imposing too much distraction to workers, making it difficult for focused individual work.

NOW: To remedy the shortcomings of open-plan benching systems, semi-private workstations are now taking center stage as the optimized solution for the open office.  Providing just enough barriers and partitions, they are not as severely closed-off as traditional cubicles.  They work better to offer needed quiet and privacy while still open enough to facilitate collaboration, interaction and exchange of ideas.  Moreover, to avoid costs of having to implement entirely new workstations, many offices are now retrofitting their existing open-plan benching systems to be more semi-private, by attaching raised panels or adding storage bins and cabinets, as well as glass or plexiglass dividers.  With improved separation between workers, this promoted better social distancing and sanitation practices in the workplace, especially during the post-COVID era.

Office Furniture Trends 2022: Workstation NowOffice Furniture Trends 2022 Photos: Groupe Lacasse Paradigm Workstations & Senator Workpod

Private Offices

Private Offices ThenPhoto: Traditional Private Office

THEN: Private offices have thrived since the Taylorist 1900s era, and continue to be popular even today. Executives and managers especially benefit from private offices, which provide the needed privacy for focused work over extended hours and allowed them to meet with clients privately.  Often furnished with a complete office furniture suite, the private office generally consists of a large personal desk, a return for additional work surface real-estate, chairs for guests, and credenza and hutch with shelves and cabinets for storage.  This private room setup offers maximum privacy for confidential meetings and concentrated work, and most of the time includes windows overlooking employees to supervise them as they work. It’s the ideal setup for 9-to-5/five days a week schedules for many professionals.

NOW: While private offices are here to stay, office furniture trends in 2022 are seeing a rise of touch-down spaces. Touch-down spaces are smaller, more casual private or semi-private spaces for on-the-go professionals and executives to work. Today’s much more dynamic lifestyles and technology have allowed and granted more flexibility in our work culture.  We can now complete most of our tasks anywhere on a laptop and be able to meet with clients in more comfortable informal settings.  These less structured setups best accommodate the hybrid work-from-home/work-at-the-office schedules that have emerged from the COVID era.  Professionals are able to come to work, interact with colleagues and coworkers, have a designated space for focused work, but are still mobile to be able to pick up their work and relocate.

Office Furniture Trends 2022: Private Offices NowOffice Furniture Trends 2022 Photos: Trendway Volo Walls create individual workspaces; Global Priva Acoustic Pods & Hat Collective M-Series Wall Mount Worksurfaces

Meeting Spaces

Meeting Spaces ThenPhoto: Traditional Conference Room

THEN: Meetings are as old as time, and they have always had one thing in common: one location. Starting from the 1900s, office furniture has stayed generally the same in terms of the meeting room. These spaces, most commonly referred to as conference rooms, are typically private and spacious areas with a large and stately table in the center to seat a group of people for power meetings, presentations and exchange of ideas. Traditional conference rooms are designed to impress and slightly intimidate; they’re the place where executives would meet, negotiate important decisions and strike million-dollar deals.

NOW: The past several years have seen a sort of democratization of the workplace. The open office has especially paved the way toward a more inclusive work culture where employees have free rein to roam about, and have access to all areas of the workplace.  There’s less need for huge, traditional meeting rooms that feel too formal. More professionals are gravitating to smaller meeting areas, sometimes referred to as huddle rooms, which are designed to be leaner, meaner, more efficient to use and accessible to everyone. The past couple of years of COVID especially have pushed for improved telecommunications and popular video-teleconference platforms such as Skype and Zoom. Meetings no longer need to take place in one location. Fully equipped with power and state-of-the-art A/V equipment, these new and improved spaces now allow for a quick gathering, brainstorming or impromptu collaboration without even having to be physically together. A more appropriate solution for the times, they help promote social distancing safety by keeping fewer groups of people together and allowing them the flexibility to meet virtually.

Office Furniture Trends 2022: Meeting Spaces NowOffice Furniture Trends 2022 Photos: OFS Heya Meeting Lounge, Scale 1:1 Telemeet Media Table & OFS Obeya Architectural Structures 

Training and Collaboration

Training Then
Photo: Traditional Training Room Setup

THEN: Training and collaboration spaces are crucial to every company. These spaces are generally made up of numerous rows of chairs and tables lined up auditorium-style, inside a room specifically designed for training employees, group orientation or team-building exercises. Typically designed to be very capacious, they’re able to seat a great number of people all at one time, and typically orient a group audience toward a speaker, not unlike a classroom or lecture hall.  Oftentimes these setups can feel severely rigid, formal and overly spacious, especially when only a handful of people need to use them.

NOW: Today, training and collaborative spaces are very much designed with the interaction of people in mind.  The philosophy behind the design focuses on harboring a sense of community while facilitating a more intuitive and organic flow of interaction and communication among people.  Now, we see breakrooms, lounges and other common areas that double as training spaces, in a less formal way. Comfortable modular furniture works best for this purpose, as they can nest together to accommodate group sessions, then be rearranged after to serve another purpose such as for lounge or individual work. Sometimes, it’s a mixture of sofas or individual seating with built in laptop and tablet tables.  Sometimes, stools, benches and ottomans are used with occasional, nesting or bar-height parsons tables, along with mobile white boards and TV displays.  Whatever the type of furniture, they’re meant to be dynamic, and are often on casters for ease of mobility and reconfiguration. These modern training and collaborative spaces are all about adaptability and flexibility, working to accommodate people’s natural way of interaction. The lines of formality are blurred, and optimized communication and comfort are prioritized.


Office Furniture Trends 2022 Photos: Senator Play Collection, Hat Collection M-Series Nesting Tables & OFS Coact Mobile Chairs and Heya Screen

Continued Evolution

With continued innovation in office furniture, there really isn’t one way to design an office anymore. Office layouts are fluid, and every generation focuses on different aspects of our professional lives and cultures to create what they believe is the perfect workplace for the times. Whereas the 1900s may have prioritized employees’ productivity and efficiency, many today weigh a significant value in employees’ happiness and wellbeing – because of the belief that worker satisfaction ultimately drives better productivity and efficiency. One thing will always remain however, and that is the constant improvement of the office to meet the ever-changing demands of businesses and the individuals who work for them. With a watchful eye on office furniture trends in 2022 and years beyond, we can look forward to new designs and solutions that will always reflect the culture of our times.

Following Office Furniture Trends of 2022

If you need help planning or designing your office space, please contact us and share your needs.  Our team at 2010 Office Furniture has about 50 years of combined experience working with Southern California’s most distinguished corporations, universities, and small business from Los Angeles and Orange Counties to the Inland Empire.

Read Also: Designing a Healthy Office
Main Photo: Stylex Seating
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Global, Groupe LacasseHat CollectionOFSScale 1:1, Senator & Trendway

2010 Office Furniture Wins El Monte/South El Monte Business Of The Year Award

South El Monte Business of the Year Award

2010 Office Furniture is proud to receive the 2020 South El Monte Business of the Year Award and its recognition as Southern California’s leading retailer of new and used commercial office furniture.

San Gabriel Water Company has also received the 2020 El Monte Business of the Year Award for providing safe, reliable water service to El Monte and South El Monte for over 80 years.

10 Years and Going Strong

Established for over 10 years, 2010 Office Furniture is a small business with over 45 collective years of experience and is partnered with over 100 distinguished manufacturers dedicated to satisfying its customers with its broad selection of the highest quality office furniture and exceptional customer service.

2010 Office Furniture joined the El Monte/South El Monte Chamber of Commerce in 2009. They’ve maintained a close relationship with the Chamber by sponsoring fundraisers and joining in on the efforts to support the community.

Praise for 2010 Office Furniture

“Small businesses are the heartbeat of our community. Today we honor 2010 Office Furniture, a valuable part of this community,” EMSEM states.

“I hope that you have many more years of success and thank you very much for all that you have done. It’s not easy to run a company during times like these, but you guys continue to succeed,” Mayor Gloria Olmos said.

El Monte/South El Monte Chamber of Commerce

EMSEM— the El Monte/South El Monte Chamber of Commerce — is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to represent the unified voice that advocates for strength in education, membership and government legislation in economic development.

It’s a community made up of local businesses in El Monte and South El Monte that works with the Chamber to keep tax dollars local, support local businesses, and encourage local employment.

EMSEM memberships come with many benefits: they gain easier access to authorities such as City Council Members, community organizations, schools, and local law enforcement. They also offer networking opportunities like internet exposure and newspaper mentions in the form of flyer inserts and membership rosters. They give an edge to competitors as a consequence of exclusive training opportunities on relevant topics.

Read the Full Article

Visit the EMSEM Chamber website and learn more about the organization: El Monte/South El Monte Chamber of Commerce

Read Also: Sophia Alexander Receives Greater Irvine Chamber Lifetime Membership
Main Photo: (From left to right)  Gloria Olmos, Mayor of South El Monte; Kenneth Chang, 2010 Office Furniture President/CEO; Alex Pons, 2010 Office Furniture General Manager; Rachel Barbosa, City Manager of South El Monte
Resources & Special Thanks to: El Monte/South El Monte Chamber of Commerce

The Best Office Spaces are Responsive to Employee Needs

Best Office Spaces ERG International Connos, Newport and Tango Collection

Office spaces that are responsive to a changing marketplace and the circumstances impacting society have a competitive advantage. Employees should be able to focus even when change swirls around them, and they can use different spaces that give them the freedom to work as effectively as possible.

Keeping your team healthy and well is a high priority due to Covid-19 and ailments from colds and the seasonal flu. Sick employees, upticks in sales that create demand for more workers, or economic downturns affect how many permanent and temporary staff occupy the floor space.

Best Office Spaces Friant My-Hite
Photo: Friant My-Hite Tables

A strategic office design and space plan charts the regular workflow through the workspaces and environmentsneeded to meet your goals. Each space contributes to employee productivity and achieving the results you want for your organization.

Assigned Spaces

The responsibilities that you have as an employee often begin at your assigned workstation or desk. Whether you’re the CEO, Vice President, a mid-level manager, or just starting out with a new company this is where you’re expected to perform at a maximum level.

Strategic space planning will allow for an effective workflow between individuals and departments.

Workspaces that are responsive to the needs of employees are considered ergonomic and make use of flexible furnishings like the Friant My-Hite Height Adjustable Workstation or the Hon Accelerate Workstation. Multiple configurations are possible to safely accommodate individual workers side by side or in small groups.

Best Office Spaces HON Accelerate
Photo: HON Accelerate Collection

Remote Spaces

When stay-at-home orders were issued during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, remote spaces became a necessity and not just a cool option. Employees who were accustomed to the layout of a corporate office were suddenly asked to work from home, competing with personal needs like children taking online classes in the living room or their bedrooms.

In today’s world, if a team member has a bad cold, but is still well enough to work, then staying at a home office or other remote space is a smart option.

Best Office Spaces Friant Collection
Photo: Friant Work From Home Collection

Looking ahead, one-third of full-time employees in the U.S. are expected to work remotely in the coming decade as noted in TechRepublic.

What makes an effective remote space?

Uncluttered space is important, one where an employee can step out of their personal life and into their professional role. An adequate surface, an ergonomic chair, and an Internet service that has satisfactory transmission rates all help to make a productive work area.

And just like in a corporate office setting, have access to natural light and move often to change the body’s position and posture.

Collaborative Spaces

Getting together to lay out challenges and find solutions is an important part of any business. It’s possible in an open office environment to create collaborative spaces that don’t interfere with the work of individuals who need to focus.

Look at what you can use to define the space:

Best Office Spaces OFS Obeya Architectural Structure
Photo: Obeya Architectural Structures

These products create flexible, or responsive, environments. You can move different pieces to fit the needs of the moment, keep the furnishings and accessories in one place or rearrange them to create a new area.

Add personality with the OFS Obeya Architectural Structure. You can add audio-visual equipment, curtains, additional panels, planters, and other accessories.

A collaborative space can also double as personal areas for employees when a group isn’t meeting.

Restful Spaces

Don’t confuse restfulness with a lack of productivity.

Whether it’s legend, fact, or a combination of both, it’s widely reported that Albert Einstein slept for about 10 hours every night and, in addition, he’d take regular naps during the day. He’d let his sub-conscious tackle problems and then come up with solutions while he dozed.

The lesson for us today is that an office that’s all work and no personal reflection is draining. We can thrive on fast-paced excitement, but many times we also need to withdraw and quiet down.

We can’t live non-stop in a fight-or-flight response, as noted in Understanding the Stress Response on HarvardHealth.com. Chronic stress “contributes to high blood pressure, promotes the formation of artery-clogging deposits, and causes brain changes that may contribute to anxiety, depression, and addiction.”

What does a restful place look like?

Define the space by creating a boundary that’s similar to collaborative spaces. If possible, allow for a flow of natural lighting and use plenty of indoor plants to bring in nature. Plants help the air remain fresh, they boost moods, ease stress and deflect sound waves for a quieter area.


Photo: Nevins Climb Seating Series

A modular arrangement like the kind available with the Nevins Climb Multi-Level Seating solution allows the furniture to be used for individuals or group meetings.

You can make a rest area look more like a living room and less like an airport lounge for the most personal touch possible.

Patios are a bonus. Install sliding glass doors to connect an indoor space with the outdoors where team members can retreat to for quiet moments. You may choose to have one space like a lounge for phone calls, and another space for reading, writing and reflective thinking.


Photo: Nevins Synk2 and Climb Seating Series

Resource Spaces

No industry is immune from some sort of change today, whether that due’s to a worldwide phenomenon like the Covid-19 virus or technology changing how business is done.

Staying up to date is essential. Dedicate a small space as a learning center. You can have books and magazines on a shelf, a computer dedicated to research, and a bulletin board where you encourage employees to post an article they’ve read that lead to an aha! moment or breakthrough.


Photo: Global Linking Panels

Defining spaces shows that you expect more than people showing up, putting in their time, clocking out and then going home. You’re investing in them and you see them as the company’s most valuable assets.

Different spaces have specific purposes. Put them together and you’re working to create community and a shared experience. The team stays engaged with their work and with each other.

Get Professional Guidance on Creating the Best Office Spaces

An effective office layout takes deliberate planning around your corporate goals.

2010 Office Furniture can help to maximize productivity and create the best office spaces possible for your company. Share your space planning and office furniture needs to get the input you need.

The team at 2010 Office has nearly a half-century of combined experience advising and supplying the most distinguished companies in Southern California.

Read Also: Office of the Future: Plan an Office that Meets Your Company Goals and Personal Needs
Main Photo: ERG International
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: ERG International, Friant, HON, OFS, Nevins, and Global Furniture Group

 

Office of the Future: Plan an Office that Meets Your Company Goals and Personal Needs

Office of the Future Global River Lounge

Businesses around Los Angeles have seen how the Covid-19 stay-at-home orders had a sudden impact on their office workplace and operations. Many small businesses have had to fire more than half of their staff. A neighborhood clinic in Pasadena immediately switched to tele-medicine appointments because they had to cancel in-person visits.  Many are wondering: what does the office of the future look like and what does it mean for us?

Our communication tools make it easier than ever to have user-rich experiences when people are physically separated.

The complexities of Covid-19 created what consulting firm McKinsey referred to as a “large scale work at home experiment to reimagine how work is done.”

Office of the Future Friant Work From Home
Photo: Friant Work From Home

As technologies develop and people adapt to new circumstances, will workers want to return fully to the office, work remotely, or have flexibility in where they work?

That answer is key to understanding the office of the future.

A Brief History of Offices

The early to mid-20th century was the age of heavy industry in the United States. Steel was king in many cities. Automotive manufacturing turned Detroit into Motown and, locally, Southern California had its own automotive headquarters. Toyota once had its main U.S. offices in Torrance with over 5,000 employees.

In the industrial age, executives of all ranks, plus tradespeople like graphic artists, were expected to work completely in-house. Companies were run top-down and offices were rigid in their rules and expectations because steel, cars and other similar products were manufactured in a linear fashion.

The technology that was needed to run a company, like large mainframe computers, was housed solely on the company’s property.


Photo: DeskMakers ReFit Adaptable Headers

All work got done in the office. End of story.

Then along came:

  • the study of ergonomics
  • personal desktop computers
  • cell phones
  • laptops
  • cloud-based applications

You can see what happened.

And then Covid hit.

Little by little, technological changes and societal shifts have transformed how and where we do our work, giving us a peak at what the office of the future look like.

Offices that Support Employees

Studies reveal that about 62% of full-time employees in the U.S. worked at home at the peak of the Covid-19 virus. A majority of those workers, up to 80%, said they enjoyed working out of their houses.

Photo: Photo: Nevins Arlo Table

The distinction between the office and personal lives has blurred. It’s possible for many workers to perform their functions from anywhere that they have an Internet connection. Virtual meetings quickly became normal and apps can let someone perform a variety of functions remotely, like setting the temperature at home or tracking inventory shipments.

Employees, though, are drawn to an office that’s planned for maximum productivity—and one where they know they’re supported through quality furnishings and tools.

A company that offers a supportive environment can find it much easier to rally its team in one place and boost morale in ways that aren’t possible for a worker whose only at a remote location.

Office of the Future Allermuir and DeskMakers
Photo: Allermuir Famiglia and DeskMakers Adaptable Division

An office that supports people will have assigned workstations, collaborative spaces for small group meetings, teleconferencing, and areas for quiet and personal reflection.

The office of the future has flexible options that extend beyond the walls.

Flexible Office Expectations

Work must get done, but the way it’s approached is less structured now than in the industrial offices of the 20thcentury. Technology gives us mobility that was once impossible. The challenge for employees isn’t running off somewhere to hide, but it’s getting unplugged because the office can follow you wherever you go.

Here’s one way Covid-19 brought about changes. In the old days, if you had a bad cold then you’d tough it out and head into work. Today, you’re told to stay put and work from home. No more Mr. Tough Guy.

Inside the office, flexibility is also possible thanks to the many styles of modular furniture and safety devices available.

An example is a small company with 20 employees who are divided into four different departments. Business starts booming and suddenly new progammers or marketing team members are needed. Modular cubicles are easy to set up to accommodate a group of four or five people and either add additional workstations or reconfigure for smaller numbers as necessary.

Office of the Future Enwork Skyline
Photo: Enwork Skyline and Edge Desktop Screens

Now here’s something else to consider about today’s office setting. A growing company can rent space for added flexibility.

Let’s say the XYZ company in El Segundo is expanding and wants to hire a few new employees who live in the Inland Empire. The commute would be outrageous, and yet ABC wants to bring the small team together in one space.

Renting a shared workspace in a city like Ontario or Riverside could be the answer. The space can be set up for maximum productivity just like the main office.

There are truly many flexible options for staffing and supplying offices today and into the future.

Office Communication is Key

Clear communication is essential in an office that’s functioning well. Online meetings make it possible for workers to hear and see each other, but the non-verbal cues we pick up on in-person are missing. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will help.

Microsoft has created Together Mode, a new meeting experience that “digitally places [meeting] participants in a shared background … that makes meetings more engaging by helping you focus on people’s faces and body language.”

The goal is to reduce fatigue that comes through video conferencing and create realistic interactions.

Together Mode can also create the shared experiences that people value, even if they’re working remotely.

An Office Blends Core Strengths

Companies have a core strength and that’s the product line or service that they build their reputation on. Global brands like Coca-Cola have a different core than, say, a regional dental practice with several locations, a law firm, or university.

A successful company or non-profit organization knows its core well and then hires talent to achieve profitable results.

The employees themselves have their own individual core strengths, and that means they have to be supported in different ways. A graphic designer who lays out presentations and marketing collateral has different needs than a project manager or a vice president of sales.

The key is planning an office to maximize the strengths of each team member, or, the departments where they work.


Photo: Groupe Lacasse Stad Workstation and Allermuir Phoulds Chair

This is a timeless principle—one that will still hold true within the office of the future—valuing people as the company’s greatest asset and supporting them as effectively as possible.

How do you achieve this?

By arranging office spaces that take into account:

  • Inter-office workflow
  • Remote workers
  • Employees who choose either on-site or off-site
  • The different zones needed in an office for work, meetings, and quiet

Get Professional Guidance on Starting Your Office of the Future

Share your project here and get the office layout and furnishings you need to support your team.

The team at 2010 Office Furniture has nearly 50 years of combined experience advising and supplying Southern California’s most distinguished companies.

Read Also: Energize Your Office with Movement
Main Photo: Global River Lounge
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Global Furniture Group, Friant, Nevins, DeskMakers, Allermuir, Enwork & Groupe Lacasse

 

How to Help Protect Workers in Open Office Floor Plans from Covid-19

How to Protect Workers in Open Office Floor Plans From Covid-19

(IMPORTANT NOTICEThe recommendations on this article on how to help protect workers are NOT from health experts, and have not been medically tested nor proven as an effective cure or prevention for COVID-19 or any other diseases.)

Open offices are facing changes as companies work to maintain a healthy workforce and answer today’s most critical question: How to protect workers from the risks of Covid-19.

Don’t expect drywall to suddenly appear and start separating workers. Risk mitigation plans can include modular furniture solutions to maintain an open office atmosphere while helping to protecting

How Open Offices Became Popular


Photo: National Epic

As Silicon Valley started booming in the early 2000s, start-up tech companies needed talent to work closely in collaboration with each other. Office spaces without walls provided a non-traditional communication flow that worked well.

The rest is facility history as companies in all industries found that open offices were budget friendly and flexible. It was easy to add workstations when hiring more workers or change floor plans to accommodate fewer workers. Permanent walls were a mess and costly to re-configure.

Why Open Offices were Criticized

Privacy became something of the past and the hoped-for collaboration took a hit as employees wore earbuds and noise cancelling headphones to block out the conversations and phone calls of co-workers.

Instead of providing a place to focus, critics said the open office was filled with distractions.

Open Offices Needed Private Spaces


Photo: Senator Group Chemistry

That shift created the need for personal break areas and one-on-one or small group meeting spaces. Office furniture reflected that demand with innovative meeting pods and the design of flexible workstations.

Open Offices Risked Germs Spreading Before Coronavirus

An office space is a breeding ground for bacteria and germs passed from one person to another. Moist droplets travel whether they’re in the restroom, the breakroom or on the main office floor. In 2011, a Danish study found that open office workers had a significantly higher incidence of sick days than those working in “cellular” or individual offices. The findings were published by the National Library of Medicine.

But there’s no need to cancel the open office floor plan. Help protect employee health using modular furniture and accessories.

How Open Offices are Using Modular Solutions for Protection


Photo: Friant Shield Panels

Open offices faced criticism, but just think of all the open spaces people normally gathered in like neighborhood pubs and restaurants, sporting events, concerts and parks. Innovative solutions are already available.

An array of protective office shields and dividers are available through 2010 Office Furniture:

The different styles of dividers allow you to help protect workers without making them feel isolated or cut off from other co-workers. You can help reduce the risk of spreading viruses but maintain an atmosphere of collaboration.

Space Planning for the Office in the Post-Pandemic Era


Photo: Friant Novo & Dash

Adjust floor layouts to create physical distancing. The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) takes a comprehensive approach to planning offices for employee health and well-being. In its online coronavirus resource center, the IFMA recommends thorough space planning.

Adjust workstations to give employees the recommended six-feet of physical separation or purchase new, flexible workstations.

Know how many office visitors to allow in at one time and eliminate items in high-touch areas like light switches. Update traditional doors that have handles with automatic doors. Provide plenty of anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitizer. Encourage workers to wear masks when necessary.


Photo: DeskMakers ReFit

The team at 2010 Office Furniture has decades of expertise helping established corporations and small-to-large sized businesses plan their space to adjust to changes in the marketplace and respond to the question of how to help protect workers in our current pandemic.

Use this time to re-imagine how your office is laid out. Check the 2010 Office Furniture office inspiration center for designs ideas to help create privacy and focus.

More Tips for a Healthy Workplace


Photo: Loftwall Split Space Divider

Remember other key office wellness tips like encouraging your team to take breaks and go for walks outside to keep the blood flowing. Stay hydrated throughout the day and maximize the use of office plants to bring nature indoors and keep the air fresh.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recommends that businesses give employees flexibility to:

  • Work from home if not feeling well
  • Care for ill family members
  • Return to work without a health provider’s note if the employee has a respiratory illness

Helping to reduce the risks of spreading the coronavirus doesn’t have to halt your office operations. Make the needed changes and get your employees to join in and take ownership for their health and the well-being of those around them.


Photo: OFS Staks Workstations

Making adjustments shows that you care about your team and that you want the best for them.

The organizational consulting firm McKinsey concludes that there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach for offices on how to protect workers against the spread of coronavirus. How offices will look “will be based on what talent is needed, which roles are most important, how much collaboration is necessary for excellence, and where offices are located today, among other factors.”

Get the input you need on planning, ergonomics and desking solutions. The team at 2010 Office Furniture has more than 45 years of experience working with large corporations, non-profits and small businesses throughout Southern California.

Contact them with your project needs and questions.

For Your Reference

Here are links to public health agencies in Southern California:

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Orange County Department of Public Health

San Bernardino Department of Public Health

Riverside County Department of Public Health

Read Also: Social Distancing Tips and Adjusting to the Realities of Covid-19 in the Office
Main Photo: Friant Interra
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Friant, National, Senator Group, Loftwall, OFS, DeskMakers

(IMPORTANT NOTICEThe recommendations on this article are NOT from health experts, and have not been medically tested nor proven as an effective cure or prevention for COVID-19 or any other diseases.)

Modular Home Office Furniture to Improve Working from Home

Modular Home Office Furniture to Improve Working from Home

The idea of work from home has gained popularity in recent times. Many organizations provide the facility of working from home to the employees to cater to the needs of the staff and to ensure convenience. Also, there are already many artists, freelancers, and startup entrepreneurs who are spending their days working at home. To ensure that sufficient infrastructure is available, home office furnishing has been introduced which offers an excellent level of comfort and space to organize work at home.

Home office furniture can be a simple table and chair or can be a sophisticated set to manage the space and organize the paperwork at the home workspace. Depending upon the need, a person can select from a wide range of designs available. Home office furniture is aesthetically and ergonomically designed to provide the best comfort while working. There are modular home office furniture items available in the market that are created by specialists to avoid space restraints at home.


Photo: HON Voi Modular Desk / Workstation

Modular Home Office Furniture

Modular furniture is composed of small sets called modules that are arranged together to form the complete furniture. The autonomous sets are designed to be arranged and rearranged to form the perfect home furniture. These are pre-made or ready furniture pieces for different spaces.

Some of the benefits of setting modular furniture at home are:

Flexibility: Modular furniture can be arranged as per the space requirement and convenience of the person. The modules can be fixed together to form a work station, desk, or separate space for the files. This provides flexibility in managing the space and organizing the work.

Space Saving: The available space at most homes is not adequate to manage the whole office infrastructure and the traditional office furniture is stocky and takes an ample amount of floor spacing which restricts movement. Modular home furniture, on the other hand, occupies less space and makes the most of the space available at home. Even when not in use, the modular furniture can be downsized to be stored in storerooms.


Photo: Groupe Lacasse Concept Modular Desk Set

Aesthetically Built for Homes

Office furniture designed for homes comes in different configurations and sizes and can be matched to suit the space and interior of the room. Various colors are available in the market and on platforms online to choose from.

Sleek and Appropriate: No one wants big cabinets and shelves to occupy the space and make the place overwhelming. Modular furniture is sleek and light and will easily fit in small spaces. With modular furniture, separations can be created so that each desk, chair, chest of drawers, file organizers, copying machines, and printers all have their separate spaces.

Easy to Move: The best part of modular home furniture is that it can be easily moved to a different place whenever needed. If you are relocating to a different place, then there won’t be a need to leave behind your favorite furniture. The furniture can be disassembled and the modules can be packed separately and transported.


Photo: Friant Dash Revitalize Modular Office Furniture

Factors to Consider While Buying

If you have decided to buy home office furniture, then keep in mind the following pointers as they will help you in selecting the right furniture for your home:

Functional Designs: Rather than going for contemporary designs, select the designs that are adjustable and easy to fit. The desks and chairs available in the market have adjustable heights and you can easily move them up and down at your convenience.

Comfort Always Comes First: Since you will be spending a lot of your time sitting in front of the computer writing a business plan or having meetings online with your colleagues, the design of the chair should be selected to provide comfort to the body. If you spend long hours on the desk, then you should go for ergonomic chairs that provide extra comfort to the spine and ensure contoured back support. The armrests, headrest, and height of the chair are adjustable to provide movement while sitting for long hours.


Photo: DeskMakers Ascend Modular Desk Set

Proper Lighting: As you will be continuously working on the desk, it is imperative that there is adequate lighting on the desk. Modular home office furniture has exclusive designs of lamps which are adjustable in height and illumination. Be sure that you check the lights available with the furniture while making a purchase.

Ample Storage Space: You will have a lot of files and paperwork to take care of and to manage that, you should check the bookcases provided with the furniture or other storage solutions. This will help in organizing any vital paperwork that you might need later.

Your home office is the place where you can’t compromise on comfort, as it will lead to less efficiency and productivity. To make working at home more comfortable and enjoyable, many furniture companies offer customized home office furniture solutions to meet your needs.


Photo: National WaveWorks Height Adjustable Table and Storage Solution

Get the Modular Home Office Furniture Expertise You Need

Get input from 2010 Office Furniture on your space planning needs and laying out an office that meets the needs of employees and departments.

Our team has more than 45 years of experience serving corporations, universities and small businesses throughout Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire.

Read Also: Reasons to Refresh and Improve Office Layout
Main Photo by: Arcadia WorkSmith Table
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Arcadia ContractDeskMakersGroupe Lacasse, Friant, HON, National, and ODS / Office Design Studio

Modern Cubicles Office Workstation

Modern Cubicles Office Workstation

Office layout plays a very important role in creating a work environment in the office. A healthy work environment can bring in more leads and sales for companies and increase the productivity of the workforce. Office layout defines company culture. When companies are starting, they pay a great amount of attention to the details on what type of office furniture should be used and what layout will go with it. Providing updated, comfortable furniture such as modern cubicles and planning an attractive layout of the office helps in hiring and retaining top employees. On the other hand, uncomfortable furniture and poor office layout impacts the health of the employees in the long run and causes a sense of discomfort when stepping into the office. Top companies make sure that the comfort and satisfaction level of the employees is taken well care of since they consider them to be their greatest asset.

Types of Workstations

Office workstations take a fair share in building the office layout. Over time, the idea of an ideal office workstation has evolved. From the cubicle to open to modular office workstation, companies have constantly adapted to the changing demands. Many companies opt for an open office environment by removing barriers and cubicle walls. This design is often known as a “benching system,” which includes close seating arrangements for the employees with carefully planned power integration. Though the benching system is fairly a new concept and many companies are opting for it, it has its disadvantages. That is the reason many companies have remained with the cubicle systems over the years. They might have modernized their workspaces but the main inspiration behind the arrangement is the traditional cubicle system.


Photo: National WaveWorks Open Plan Workstation

Modern Cubicles

Many companies are reverting to office cubicle workstations by making some improvisations in their idea. The idea of the cubicle was first proposed in 1967. The idea was to give the worker the feel of personal office while managers can monitor their activities and performance. Modern workstation cubicles help in isolating workers, which decreases the distraction level and increase their concentration on the task. Overhead bins, shelving, and drawers are the major components of the cubicle to meet the basic requirements of the employees. The following are few of the benefits of modern cubicles.


Photo: Friant Novo Modern Cubicle Panel System

Increased Productivity

Research has shown that the employees who work in modern cubicles have 50% more productivity than those who work in an open office. The reason for the increase in productivity is because of a significant drop in distraction from the other employees and lesser noise. The percentage of error-free work also dramatically increases when employees work in cubicle workstations.


Photo: HON Accelerate Workstations

Privacy

Another advantage of using these modern cubicle office workstations is that they provide a sense of security and privacy when dealing with sensitive data and materials. Some employees find it hard to focus on their work because they feel like they are always being watched, which in turn affects their productivity negatively. To facilitate these kinds of employees, managers tend to be inclined towards using cubicles to maintain discipline, aid focused work, and help the employees meet the given deadlines.


Photo: Trendway Choices Modern Cubicle Panel System

Modern Cubicles Price Factor

Modern office cubicles serve the purpose of facilitating employees with their personal space without getting too heavy on the pocket. Rather than providing individuals with their separate room or office, companies can go for modern office cubicles. The average space of a cubicle in 1994 was 90 sqft, which shrunk to 75 sqft in 2010. The rent of offices has drastically increased through the decades, so to optimize the workspace, the size of the cubicle was decreased. The cubicles have been downsized to 5′ x 5′ ft space from 8x10ftspace. The average cost of a cubicle ranges from $1000 to $2000, which doesn’t include tax, installation, or delivery charges. The construction of office cubicles is a one-time cost, and the same cubicles can be used in case the company decides to shift its office or decides to expand. These cubicles are durable and reliable.

Design Improvements

Some improvement has been made in the cubicle design; for example, now office cubicles use sliding doors, which helps in using the designated space more efficiently. Instead of providing each employee with the locker room, overhead bins are used, which are cost-effective and saves space. Employees can also stick their pictures and motivational quotes in their cubicle and personalize them according to their needs. This way, they will get a sense of belonging to the workplace, which can positively impact their work.


Photo: ODS / Office Design Studio Crossroads Modern Cubicle Panel System

Mobility

Materials used in building office cubicles are easily available and inexpensive as compared to the traditional office room. Concrete office rooms use a lot of materials to be constructed, and they’re not mobile either. While on the other hand, office cubicles can be made from plywood or special cardboard. It is also easily set up and can be moved easily.

Standardization

Modern office cubicle workstations also give employees a sense of standardization since every employee gets the same working space. It increases the spirit of employees and also increases the cohesiveness between them and the management. The company’s office layout helps in promoting the brand of the company. The appearance of the workplace matters a lot. Neat and functional workspaces boost the morale of the employees and create a sense of belonging to the work culture.
Photo: Global Divide Workstations

Flexibility

Office cubicles are a popular idea in today’s age because it doesn’t require to be built all at once. For example, if a company has 30 employees, they can build the required number of cubicles. As new hiring is completed, new cubicles can be constructed accordingly, which cuts the upfront cost for the office.

Things to Also Consider

Though it is important to get it installed by professionals and experts to save time, proper planning on the structure and size of the cubicle is required. Many offices create cubicles that are too small for the employee in which they cannot work comfortably. The other disadvantage of a cubicle is that it causes hindrance in coordination with the other employees in case proper meeting channels are not practiced in office.


Photo: Groupe Lacasse Paradigm Workstations

Get the Modern Cubicles Expertise You Need

Get input from 2010 Office Furniture on your space planning needs and laying out an office that meets the needs of employees and departments.

Our team has more than 45 years of experience serving corporations, universities and small businesses throughout Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire.

Read Also: Easy Ways to Reduce Office Stress and Create a Welcoming Atmosphere
Main Photo by: Groupe Lacasse
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Groupe Lacasse, National, Friant, HONTrendway, ODS / Office Design Studio and Global

Creating Ergonomic Workstations for Office Well-Being and Productivity

Creating Ergonomic Workstations for Office Well-Being and Productivity

Creating and designing an ergonomic workplace with ergonomic workstations isn’t just a passing fad. Here’s why.

You’ve known plenty of dedicated employees who struggle with maladies such as carpal tunnel syndrome, back strain, or spend hours squinting at the computer screen. In the break room or in social settings, how many times have you heard co-workers or friends moan and say they’re getting older?

What do you think?

Do you know the impact that the right desk, chair and lighting can have on office well-being and productivity?

Find out how ergonomics came about so you get a good understanding of not just how to create ergonomic workstations but why it’s important.


Photo: HON Empower Height Adjustable Tables

What is Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the study of how employees interact with their work surroundings. The purpose is creating an environment to meet the needs of workers instead of making employees fit into the work setting.

Can you identify with this familiar situation?

A person types away hours every day on a keyboard and strains the wrist. Who hasn’t heard of carpal tunnel syndrome? The employee has to take time off to get treatments or can’t work as productively.

Keyboards, chairs and desks are now designed to support good posture instead of making workers potentially suffer more problems. The equipment is designed to help people do their tasks well and reduce the risk of injuries.

Ergonomics, also known as human factors, creates efficiencies while minimizing problems that come from doing repetitive tasks. The discipline is appropriate for both white collar workstations and factory floors.

How Ergonomics Came About

An Italian physician in the late 1600s noticed how metal mining workers suffered poor health. Respiratory illnesses were prevalent but also their bodies were affected by awkward working positions.

They forced their bodies to meet the demands of the working environment and paid a price in poor health.

Skip ahead to 1857 when a Polish biologist is credited for creating the word ergonomics based on the Greek words ergon (work) and nomos (natural laws).

Now head into the late 20th century and into Southern California where local universities like UCLA started to improve working conditions through ergonomics. Since 1987, UCLA’s Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program has “trained thousands of workers and supervisors in office ergonomics.”

A company of any size can design a work environment to adapt to the needs of its people. Let’s see how this is done by looking at something as simple as the office chair.

What Ergonomic Stations Reduce or Prevent

In the late 1800s, the growth of railroads in the U.S. made it possible for businesses to reach customers across the country. A heavy emphasis was placed on office administration to track orders.

Bookkeepers, secretaries and other support staff needed something to sit on. Wooden office chairs were a one-size fits all solution. End of story.

The chairs were sturdy and you didn’t have to worry about them breaking or falling apart. They were completely stationary. If you had to bend and take paper from a desk drawer your hips and back had to pivot since the chair was built to stay in one place.

If your hips or lower back got sore, then you’d take anti-inflammatories to temporarily reduce the pain.

Along came executive chairs that looked fancier and had wheels. Now you could glide to the nearby filing cabinet or to the phone. By the 1970s, more executive chairs were designed to support a person’s body.

Executive office chairs were more comfortable, but they still didn’t address two underlying maladies facing the modern office worker:

  • Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)
  • Repetitive Strain Injuries

This is more than just bad backs. MSDs affect nerves, ligaments, blood vessels and tendons as noted on a write-up of ergonomics on the OSHA website.

When a person does the same work constantly at a desk or chair that’s at an improper height and they have poor posture, they’re at risk for repetitive strain injuries. MSDs lead to frequent absences from work.

Employee absenteeism became widespread and serious studies evolved on how workers interacted with the workplace. That’s the focus of ergonomics.

Flip the calendar back to the early 1900s and you’ll find in-depth work appearing on ergonomics. The growth and use of aviation in the world wars that followed made the U.S. military see how they could make crew members better able to handle their duties. Engineers studied the intersection of airplane design and the limitations of the human body.

Now, back to the office.

Here’s where this extensive research has taken us—to high quality solutions that are readily available.


Photo: 9 to 5 Seating Ergonomic Chairs

You work in an office every day but can you name the basics element of a workstation?

If not, no problem. It’s listed below.

Principles of Ergonomic Workstations

What makes up a workstation?

  • Desk or Worksurface
  • Chair
  • Monitor and Keyboard or Laptop
  • Mouse and Mouse Pad
  • Lighting


Photo: Humanscale M10 Monitor Arm

Do those last two items surprise you? They shouldn’t.

Learn why as you read along.

When setting up an ergonomics workstation, pay attention to the space design of the room, a key part of the 2010 Space Planning Strategy.

Also look at the placement of accessories and the equipment layout on the desk as noted in a detailed write up on computer workstation ergonomics by The University of Western Australia. A person’s joints shouldn’t be stressed while sitting and working.

Here’s a summary of how an ergonomic workstation keeps a person in a neutral position:

Be seated so you’re eye level with the top of the computer screen.

Use a wrist pad when not typing to rest your wrists at a neutral position. Wrist pads aren’t meant to be used while typing.

Adjust armrests so elbows are close to the side of the body and are bent at a 90 degree to 100-degree angle.

Adjust the chair so feet are sitting either comfortably flat on the floor or on a footrest.

Be aware of good posture. An article and infographic from the province of Alberta, Canada notes that your ears should be above the shoulders. Those should be over the hips. This position reduces back strain. Use a lumbar pillow or roll against the lower back for extra support.

Now, let’s look at individual items.

Desks

Here’s a tip for working comfortably at a desk. Make sure the surface has everything within easy reach so you don’t have to turn and twist unnecessarily.

How does your desk adjust to your body so you can be more productive and reduce the risk of injuries? Height adjustable desks are an ergonomic solution in many offices.

Desks that support good health can be used in private offices and serve the needs of one person or they can be used in a pod of four people or more. Each person can adjust the desk to suit their preferences so they can work using the best posture possible.

If you’re wondering what to look for in the best ergonomic desks then consider this: make sure the desk changes heights quietly and is easy to reset.

How heavy will the items be on the surface? You don’t want equipment that creates instability.

Height adjustable desks fit well in compact spaces, executive suites and open plan offices.

The equipment does more than provide a place to work. Desks that adapt promote office wellness. A 12-month workplace study from the Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai found that height adjustable desks are linked to increased productivity, better concentration and improved health overall.


Photo: HON Empower Height Adjustable Worksurface

 


Photo: Humanscale QuickStand 

Office aesthetics are important, and today’s desks fit traditional office spaces and the latest floor plans.


Photo: HON Empower Worksurfaces with Privacy Screens

A private office desk like the Krug Adesso Height Adjustable Desk has a finely crafted appearance while the Hon 10500 Series Height Adjustable Desk is minimal for a compact work place and collaborative open floor plans.

Desks are a good way to improve ergonomics, but now let’s look at chairs.

Chairs

Sitting for a long period of time simply isn’t a natural position for the body. That’s why it’s important to move. Stretching every 20 minutes to a half hour and take a quick walking break every 90 minutes to two hours.

Moving gives your muscles and tendons a chance to reset.

Make sitting easier and less harmful to your body by using an ergonomic chair that supports a body’s natural movement.

Think of it this way.

You’re not sitting still on a chair. You’re reaching for files, turning to look or listen to a co-worker, and, yes, sitting with good posture, we hope, while typing up your latest report.


Photo: Humanscale Freedom Chairs with Headrests

Remember that ergonomics is meant to keep the body in a neutral position, meaning little to no strains on the joints and lower back.

If you’re looking for the best ergonomic chair, then you need a chair that has a comfortable tilt to it with good lumbar support. Make sure your knees are bent at about 90 degrees. Use a footrest if your feet don’t touch the floor.

Choosing a chair that works is subjective since no two bodies are the same. Evaluate the material, the durability, and overall comfort. Make sure the chair provides support so you’re not hunched over or leaning forward excessively.

Ergonomic Computer Accessories

Posture has a tremendous impact on overall well-being. Your head weighs as much as 12-pound to 14-pound bowling ball so you don’t want to learn forward to squint at the computer screen.

The more your head tilts forward, the more you’ll strain your muscles at the base of your neck and along your shoulders.

Keep computer screens at an eye level so you don’t have to lean forward to read the screen. Accessories like a keyboard and mouse should let the arms remain horizontal. Be careful that your wrists aren’t bent or extended upright.

Office lighting also affects your work and posture.


Photo: Humanscale Keyboard Tray Systems


Photo: Humanscale Keyboard Tray Systems

Light


Photo: Humanscale Vessel Pendant Lights

Light does more than just let you see what you’re doing. Controlling the proper amount of light flowing from windows and lights is part of an ergonomic office design.

The right amount of light in an office boosts your employees’ morale. Natural light is a proven mood booster that promotes a restful night’s sleep as well.

There are three basic types of lighting:

  • General
  • Localized-general
  • Local, also called task lighting

General lighting covers a large area such as ceiling lamps that cover a wide area.

Localized-general lights include ceiling lamps that can direct light to specific areas.

Task lighting is much more focused and lets specific users adjust light levels. Desk lamps are a good example of task lighting.

Good lighting tips include arranging light fixtures so they’re not creating glare on computer screens, but providing enough focused light so users don’t have to squint.

Light “enhances the mood and desirability” of work spaces and public places as noted by the International Association of Lighting Designers.

Now consider the various elements of an ergonomically sound workplace? Can you understand what it ultimately delivers?


Photo: Humanscale Infinity Desktop Light

The Ergonomic Workstation Solution

Sitting comfortably with good posture, being able to handle repetitive tasks with little discomfort and working with proper light are all elements of an ergonomic workstation, and healthy work environment.

How we feel physically also impacts our thinking and our emotions. Investments in the right equipment are investments in people and their health.

Make this a team effort. One person in the office doesn’t have to decide how to carry out improvements and changes. Employees typically want their voices heard.

A successful ergonomics program involves employees in worksite assessments, solution development and implementation.

Here’s the end result of an office that’s planned well.

Expect a reduction in absenteeism from ailments like carpal tunnel syndrome, aching shoulders and bad backs. Employees will be more engaged and alert with proper workstations and a supportive environment.

Give your team the opportunity to function at their optimal levels.


Photo: Friant System 2 Workstations


Photo: Humanscale Ergonomic Workspaces

Get the Expertise You Need

Get input from 2010 Office Furniture on your space planning needs and laying out an office that meets the needs of employees and departments. Call or submit your questions.

Our team has more than 45 years of experience serving corporations, universities and small businesses throughout Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire.

Read Also: Designing an Office Layout for Maximum Productivity
Main Photo by: ODS / Office Design Studio
Resources & Special Thanks to: OSHA, University of Western Australia, UCLA, MyHealth.Alberta.Ca, IALD, & Respective Product Manufacturers: ODS / Office Design Studio, 9 to 5 Seating, Friant, HON, and Humanscale