Outside the Box: How the Office Opened Up

imageNikil Saval's Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace, charts the rise of the modern open office plan. See a summary below.

1958: No More Walls
German brothers Wolfgang and Eberhard Schnelle come up with the Bürolandschaft (“office landscape”) concept. It replaces private offices with free-form, flexible desks, a communal break room, and a few mobile partitions.

1967: Opening Up
DuPont is the first American company to realize that a flexible office is a cheaper office. But the open plan doesn’t muffle telephone calls or typewriters, and “some crucial values for the performance of work were lost.”

1968: The First Cubicle
Robert Propst, a researcher at furniture company Herman Miller, creates the Action Office II. It has three movable, disposable walls at obtuse angles, sitting and standing desks, and pushpins to add décor.

1980s: Tiny Cubes
Workers are hemmed into cube farms, arranged in “six-packs.” By the 1990s, cubicles had shrunk as much as 50 percent; by 2006 the average size is 75 square feet. “One wonders to what extent the extravagant growth of the American bathroom  … is a reaction against the shrinking of cubicles.”

1993: Virtual Failure
Los Angeles ad agency Chiat/Day eliminates walls, desks, and cubicles. Instead, workers are handed a cell phone and laptop and told to work together in a conference room. The experiment backfires: Employees stop showing up.

2005: You’re Stuck Here
Google sets the Silicon Valley standard in Mountain View, Calif., where employees move among meeting rooms, quiet libraries, and tents. That flexibility, combined with food and amenities, discourages them from ever leaving.

2014: Office Goodbye Party
“Contingent laborers”—freelancers, temps, etc.—will soon comprise 40 percent of the workforce, according to one Intuit study. Saval says cubicles, corner offices, and white-collar jobs could shortly cease to exist.

Originally published on the Bloomberg Businessweek, July 10, 2014.

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You May Want to Take a Seat (or Not)

by Scott Spector

Approximately a decade ago, the first adjustable-height desks hit the market. These “sit/stand” alternatives to traditional office seating could be manually adjusted or, with the help of an electric motor and push of a button, shifted according to a worker’s needs and preferences. They were intriguing, but costly, as they were considered specialty items.

Over the past few years, and even as recently as the last few weeks, a number of studies have come out pointing to the health detriments of sitting too much, from back and neck pain to increased risk of organ damage and circulatory issues. Experts from the National Institute of Health, Mayo Clinic and more began speaking out about the benefits of motion. Companies, in turn, are starting to listen.

How do I know? This summer alone I’ve encountered several clients who have asked about incorporating adjustable-height desks and other seating alternatives into their office design. Our firm recently completed a project where 20 percent of the office’s desks were adjustable. In addition to clients proactively approaching us, we’re also bringing adjustable-height desks up as part of the programming and workplace strategy reviews and it’s an option they are increasingly selecting. And it’s not just social media and tech firms that are buying into the trend. While not as widespread, some financial services and creative firms are embracing these alternatives and weaving them into the furniture choices they make.

As these options become more commonplace and readily available from office furniture manufacturers, they also become more cost-effective and better. Like any other technology–think of the iPhone or flat screen televisions–now that they’ve been on the market for some time, the price has gone down and the products themselves have vastly improved, thanks in part to user feedback and testing.

Solutions, however, are not limited to adjustable-height desks. There is a plethora of mobile desks on the market, which can allow the wireless worker to roll his laptop and workspace from one meeting area to the next, a model known as activity-based working. VaynerMedia, on Park Avenue South, has successfully used this option for a portion its office furniture plan. Mobile desks, hoteling and benching all allow for greater flexibility, particularly for firms whose workers travel several months out of the year for their jobs (think accountants who spend four months of the year auditing internally at a company before returning to their desks). Mobile and sit/stand desks better utilize space and square footage–a huge benefit for companies.

Whether it’s incorporating ergonomic workstations, placing stairs between two floors to encourage workers to get up, move around and interact, or other wellness measures such as spacious pantries and outdoor meeting areas for employees to get daylight and fresh air, it’s clear that healthy, flexible workplaces have made their way into the mainstream.

Originally published on the Commercial Observer, July 14, 2014.

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If Sitting Is The New Smoking Is Standing The New Patch?

by Fran Ferrone

Over the past 18 months, I’ve gained almost two inches (2 inches!) in a place I don’t need to, primarily because I changed jobs. My last job consisted of ten to twelve impossibly hectic and mobile travel days per month meeting with colleagues and clients, followed by several days working virtually at home. The travel was stressful and the workdays were long, but I was compensated by more flexible hours on my days at home that allowed me to catch a mid-day Vinyasa class a few times a week. While changing jobs afforded me the chance to move from one great company to another, it was also a drastic change in my work style. Now I’m in an office Monday through Friday, and although my work is varied and stimulating, I often feel the physical and psychological effects of being tethered to my desk; and I miss that Vinyasa class.

imageIncreased Concern for Health and Wellness

I’m not alone. Ever since the Wall Street Journal’s July, 2012 article, “Sitting for More Than Three Hours a Day Cuts Life Expectancy” appeared (to be endlessly echoed by myriad media sources) it’s been clear that health and wellness has become a serious business concern. Yet compared to sustainability, which came to prominence in the mid-2000’s, and took years to produce real bottom line proof statements, compelling health and wellness statistics have quickly emerged. Insurance giant, AON, reports that for every dollar invested in wellness programs, companies can expect a $3.00 to $6.00 return. And the cost of not doing anything is even more dramatic. The Institute for Healthcare Consumerism estimates that the indirect costs relating to poor health can be 2-3X direct medical costs. As a result, health and wellness has become the latest clarion call of the office landscape. This is a big topic that would take much more space than this writing allows. To give you an idea of scale, at one end of the spectrum developers are offering more life-style amenities in new and repositioned properties. At the other end of the spectrum, sit-to-stand furniture options have taken center stage.   

Solutions to Meet a Rising Need

Bruce Wells, Director of Marketing and Development for benching and trading desk manufacturer Innovant, reports that just in the past six months, 90% of his conversations with clients have centered on sit-to-stand options. Key motivators for concerned employers are the potential health benefits of standing (or more specifically, not sitting all day) and the opportunity to give something back after transitioning employees to smaller benching applications. In providing a choice, the sit-to-stand option offers workers some control over their immediate work environment.

Because this represents a significant workplace investment, there are factors to consider before committing to the sit stand option. First, “who gets it?” Providing everyone with standing desks avoids inequality but could strain the budget. Firms struggling with this might consider supplying them to workers - like traders, call center operators and receptionists - who are less mobile during the workday. Second, a thorough cost/benefit analysis of day one vs. retrofit day two installations is recommended for anyone considering a phased approach. Other considerations include power sources, wire management and monitor arms for retrofit applications; requests for foot rests and stools (vs. chairs); potential HVAC adjustments; and user safety and office etiquette protocols. Finally, at a cost of $1000 or more per unit, sit-to-stand desks are likely to be part of a holistic solution rather than the solution itself.

image“Inconvenient Planning Strategies”

On the aforementioned spectrum between the amenities being included in new construction and sit-to-stand desks, are some planning options designers have been employing for some time to get people up and out of their seats. Called “Inconvenient Planning Strategies” by my colleague, Ricardo Nabholz, these scenarios evolved over the past decade as companies sought to increase transparency, spontaneous interaction and collaboration throughout the workplace. Conveniently, these same planning tactics also get people moving. Placing staircases in prominent locations encourages people to take the stairs; making them wide enough allows them to stop and have a chat. Dispersing support functions means people have to travel to get to copy/print rooms, pantries, cafés and bathrooms. The proliferation of laptops and wireless technologies have called traditional departmental adjacencies into question, prompting some companies to adopt an unassigned seating policy and/or provide more informal work and collaborative settings – including fixed, standing height benches - that require workers to change locations during the day. More recently, we’ve seen reports of stand-up meetings (that also save time and get people more engaged), and featured in a recent TED talk, even walking meetings.

The Choice Is Ours

Ultimately, while the workplace can indeed support healthy habits, the onus cannot be on the workplace alone. Consider that before we had email and texting, people often had to get up and go find someone to get the answers they needed. And before computers, where it’s easy to gaze and graze, it was difficult to type and eat a sandwich at the same time, so people tended to leave their stations and join colleagues for lunch. Today, it’s up to us to choose options that break our routine, even if they are less convenient. I’m reminded of childhood summers when, before central air conditioning, I spent hot days in my cool basement reading a book while my mother implored me to “put that book down and go get some sun.” Appeasing Mom, I also knew that changing it up was good for me. If Mom were here now she’d say “leave the laptop and go take a walk, think, have a conversation.” With Mom’s voice in my ear, I’ve begun to find ways to take breaks much as I did when working at home. Happily, I’ve found that not only can I still get my work done, I’ve also begun to feel more in control. I now save my Vinyansa for the weekends, but I’m delighted to say that the little changes in my work routine have started to make a dent in those 2 inches.   

Originally published in The National Real Estate Investor, July 1, 2014.

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8 Secrets of the Modern Workplace

imageTaking down the cubicle walls isn’t enough anymore. Retaining talent now also requires quiet places, work-from-home-flexibility, and an eye on the bottom line, according to panelists at Bisnow’s NY Office of the Future event, held Thursday, June 12.

1) Employees Should Be as Happy as Pharrell Williams

WeWork is one of the office sector’s most innovative players, but co-founder Miguel KcKelvery says the company wasn’t founded to create futuristic office; it was founded for the here and now. The idea was to create a place for companies trying to start something new for the world, companies that could use a spark. Folks working nonstop like that, he says, need to be empowered by their workspace and feel happy when there.

2) Cult of Equality

By the end of the year, 9,000 of Credit Suisse’s 50,000 employees will be working in open workspaces, says Americas Head of Workplace Strategy Phil Kirschner. No exceptions will be made for managers at any level - if you want a corner office, you better bring a protractor and some tape.

CBRE Managing Director of Workplace Strategiy Lenny says companies spend 75% of their capital on people, so a good workplace can’t be about just efficiency; it has to consider the employees. CBRE’s own Workplace 360 program has already converted 18 of its offices, including its LA HQ, into open spaces with no assigned desks, even for the CEO. Ten years ago, Bloomberg took the bold step to put all employees on trading desks, says Global Head of Real Estate & Facilities Lauren Smith. It was a cultural strategy, she adds, not motivated by real estate.

Culture as a workplace factor is a simple concept but far from mainstream. Moderator, Macro Consultants’ Michael Glatt, did a recent change-management presentation for a 10M SF client that didn’t have an HR rep involved in the process.

3) Working from Home Is a Reality

Considering employees are required to work from anywhere at any time, remote working is a logistical necessity, says Lauren. But Bloomberg also believes it’s important for each employee to have his or her own space, a “home” to come back to. JetBlue Corporate Real Estate VP Richard Smyth says 95% of the company’s Salt Lake City call center employees work from home. The company’s LIC HQs (two-and-a-half years old) offers open, collaborative space with no exterior offices and few interior ones. For all that the company demands of its employees, giving them the ability to work from home makes sense, he notes.

4) Amenities Matter

For the young employees at Twitter, the workplace is their life, says the company’s Facilities Project Manager Rowen Ash. They don’t leave for lunch. Instead, they take their laptops somewhere else in the office to eat and work in a more social environment. For this younger generation, their coworkers are their friends, blending work life with social life. The workplace, then, is like an extension of the college dorms. Twitter takes pains to make the office a pleasant place to work and socialize.

5) Flexible Workplaces Are Long-Term Hedges

Recruitment plays a part in real estate decisions, but corporations do not know for certain what environment employees of the future will find most productive. Consider a company that signs a 10-year lease today. The entry-level employees it will be recruiting by the end of that term are in 8th grade right now. Flexibility means more than just open workspaces, Lenny says. Employees need a place to work solo when they need to concentrate. Without that option, workplace satisfaction drops. Bloomberg made the mistake of going too dense, Lauren says, with 100 SF per person. What she hears from new recruits is that they want the choice of both open and private spaces.

6) Change Is Inevitable

An office in a rectangular, steel building used to signal that a company had arrived, says Colliers Tri-State Region President Michael Cohen. Now, Sony is moving into an 80-year-old Flatiron property that was built for Rose & Rose Actuaries. He cautions that as conversions to office continue and SF per person ratios compress, landlords should be aware of their certificates of occupancy.

7) Experimentation Is the First Step

Sony is completely rethinking its workplace strategy in advance of its early 2016 relocation, says Facilities Project Manager Jennifer Fordham. That includes reducing space by half while increasing amenities and maintaining the same number of employees. GSA Planning & Design Quality Director Mina Wright, who works under tight budget scrutiny, advises those who want to try a new format should pilot-test it, even if on a small scale. Move into closer quarters, and have executives push their desks together. When the benefit is proven, it can be rolled out more broadly. Director of Workplace at Perkins+Will Rachel Casanova agrees, pointing out that design is an art, not a science. She add that designers should not be afraid to test and refine their work. Avison Young Tri-State Region President Arthur Mirante notes that most companies love turnkey office space nowadays for the blank slate it offers.

8) Neighborhood Is Key

RXR Realty’s Bill Elder says the right environment will guarantee a building is a winner, regardless of submarket. David points out that hip locations like RXR’s Starrett-Lehigh Building or others near the High Line often trump proximity to transit. Meanwhile, Philippe Visser of Related is counting on the combination of Hudson Yards’ retail (three times as much as at Time Warner Center) amid millions of SF of office to attract tenants.

Adapted from Bisnow, originally published June 16, 2014.

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See for yourself what all the buzz is about with Innovant’s FORm_AV product video. Developed in partnership with some of the world’s largest tech firms, Innovant’s suite of FORm_AV conference products is particularly suited for high growth, global companies with intense video conferencing requirements. 

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How to Help Counteract the Negative Effects of Sitting All Day

imageTo help track and engage in the daily activity that can limit the negative effects of sitting, start by finding your daily baseline with a pedometer. Whether with a pedometer, Fitbit, or even a phone app, take a 30-minute walk and see how many steps you take. This number will vary based on how quickly you walk and how large your steps are.

Next, you want to find a baseline of your daily activity. Start using the pedometer when you first wake up in the morning and keep it in your pocket, on your wrist, or running on your phone until you go to bed. This will give you an estimate of your regular daily activity. For some, this may be frighteningly low on the days without purposeful exercise.

To help meet your daily activity target, all it takes is a slight alteration to your behavior. Here are a few ideas for how to do it without really trying:

  • Park near the back of the parking lot.
  • Stand up to visit the file cabinet instead of rolling your chair.
  • Walk over and talk to a coworker instead of emailing them.
  • Take the scenic route to the bathroom instead of the most direct.

Meeting your target activity level is just the first step. The second is much simpler and only requires you stand up now and again.

You can reduce the negative effects of sitting all day just by standing up for one or two minutes every hour. Technically, you don’t even have to move, the act of standing alone helps. Since this may be difficult to remember while focused on your work, so it helps to set an hourly reminder. For Mac users, click Settings > Date & Time > Announce the time. Windows users can set up a similar hourly reminder as a task by clicking Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Task Scheduler.

If the alarm isn’t enough, you can download dedicated software to remind you. Windows users can use free programs like, Workrave or Breaker to set up automated alerts. For Macs, Time Out seems the best free option. These programs will remind you to stand and dim the desktop to force you out of your chair.

It’s up to you how you use these micro-breaks. You don’t even have to move if you don’t want to, but if you want to squeeze in a little activity, here’s a quick way to do it without leaving your desk area:

  • Stand up.
  • March in place for twenty seconds.
  • Reach down and try to touch your toes for twenty seconds.
  • Wander around and pick up or reorganize for the last twenty seconds (eventually your desk area may even be clean).

Remember: stand up once an hour and get at least 30 minutes of purposeful activity in a day. Those two simple choices will help counteract the negative effects of sitting.

Originally published on Lifehacker, January 26, 2012.

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How Sitting All Day Is Damaging Your Body & How You Can Counteract It

If you sit in an office chair or on your couch for more than six hours a day, then here are some disturbing facts: Your risk of heart disease has increased by up to 64 percent. You’re shaving off seven years of quality life. You’re also more at risk for certain types of cancer. Simply put, sitting is killing you. That’s the bad news. The good news: It’s easy to counteract.

Our bodies were simply not meant to sit all day. Sitting for long periods of time, even with exercise, has a negative effect on our health. What’s worse, many of us sit up to 15 hours a day, which means that some of us spend the bulk of our waking moments on the couch, in an office chair, or in a car. Though sitting all day isn’t hard to counteract, you have to keep your eye on two details: your daily activity and the amount of time you sit.

It is difficult to get an accurate assessment of what sitting all day will do to a person because of the various factors (like diet) that affect health. However, based on a relatively healthy person (who does not drink in excess, smoke, and who isn’t overweight) the following estimates are reflective of what sitting for over six hours a day can do to the body.

1. Immediately after sitting the electrical activity in your muscles slows down and your calorie-burning rate drops to one calorie per minute. This is about a third of what it does if you’re walking. If you sit for a full 24-hour period, you experience a 40 percent reduction in glucose uptake in insulin, which can eventually cause type 2 diabetes.

2. After a few days of sitting for more than six hours a day, your body increases plasma triglycerides (fatty molecules), LDL cholesterol (aka bad cholesterol), and insulin resistance. With a sedentary lifestyle, your muscles aren’t taking in fat and your blood sugar levels go up, putting you at risk for weight gain. After just two weeks your muscles start to atrophy and your maximum oxygen consumption drops. This makes stairs harder to climb and walks harder to take. Even if you were working out every day the deterioration starts the second you stop moving.

3. After one year of sitting more than six hours a day, the longer term effects of sitting can start to manifest subtly. According to this study by Nature, you might start to experience weight gain and high cholesterol. Studies in woman suggest you can lose up to 1 percent of bone mass a year by sitting for over six hours a day.

4. After 10-20 years of sitting more than six hours a day, you can cut away about seven quality adjusted life years (the kind you want). It increases your risk of dying of heart disease by 64 percent and your overall risk of prostate or breast cancer increases 30 percent.

Though this list looks incredibly grim, there are two simple actions which can be performed to counteract the negative effects of sitting for extended periods of time:

1. Remember to stand once an hour.
2. Get about 30 minutes of activity per day.

Whether you’re a couch potato watching hours of TV at a time, or an office worker sitting in front of a computer, an Australian study suggests short breaks from sitting once an hour can alleviate most of the problems described above. This isn’t about working out (which is positive, but doesn’t completely counteract the effects of long periods of sitting alone). It’s about creating pockets of moderate activity throughout the day and giving your body a respite from sitting. Moderate activity is equivalent to a brisk walk, which would include yard work or cleaning your house — anything that gets you moving counts. Whether taken in a single 30 minute chunk or broken up throughout the day (in the recommended 10 minute intervals), these bursts of activity can help build up endurance and alleviate the strain of sitting.

Please check back for specific tips to help track and engage in the daily activity that can curb the damage of sitting.

Content originally published on Lifehacker, January 26, 2012.

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Standing up for Productivity, Comfort and Health

imageImage: News 13

As discussed in a previous post on the history of standing desks, the old practice of working at a standing height desk has begun making its way back in vogue. Though much of today’s conversations have focused on the application of desks for standing in the workplace, a buzz has begun around applications in educational settings.

A Florida school has adopted the standing desk trend by deploying adjustable height desks on castors in Melissa Irving’s fourth grade classroom. This furniture decision was motivated by the same reasons for standing in the workplace: productivity, comfort and health.

Sitting for hours in the classroom or office is completely counterproductive to learning and working. One of the many hazards of sitting for extended periods of time is the negative effect on the brain. When people are sedentary for a long time, everything slows, including brain function. On the other hand, moving muscles pumps fresh blood and oxygen through the brain, which triggers the release of both brain- and mood-enhancing chemicals. These chemical contribute to a person’s productivity and creativity. 

Ms. Irving has “seen a marked change in her students ever since the desks made their [classroom] debut.” Not only have students begun to feel more alert and involved in class, but they have also experienced a new level of comfort. Students who now have the option to sit or stand no longer struggle to stay still at their desks. The same goes for people in the workplace who now have a range of options for finding a comfortable way to work.

Remember this the next time you struggle to find focus or comfort while working. Take a stand.

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Innovant to Present Two Breakthrough Office Furniture Products at NeoCon 2014

imageInnovant is proud to announce its display at the Merchandise Mart for NeoCon 2014 in Chicago, June 9-11.

The new FORm_AV series of conference room furniture solidifies Innovant’s position as a go-to partner for companies seeking a robust, yet flexible video conferencing solution. Also on display, FORm_office Standing Height is an advancement of Innovant’s award-winning FORm_office Adjustable Height product. This standing height innovation is a result of Innovant rethinking and reinventing its FORm_office product for greater ergonomic, aesthetic and cost benefits.

Innovant has been repeatedly recognized as a renowned industry leader and pioneer of workstation design. In 2012, the manufacturer won Best of NeoCon in benching for FORm_office Adjustable Height. In 2010, Innovant’s FORm_office product received the Silver Award for Innovation at IIDEX (NeoCon Canada). This year, Innovant hopes to take home an award for its innovative designs in Contract Magazine’s Best of NeoCon or Interior Design’s HIP at NeoCon competitions.

Innovant’s products will be exhibited in booth 3130C on the 7th floor of the Merchandise Mart, where NeoCon is held. NeoCon is the largest design exposition in North America, featuring more than 700 showrooms and exhibitors and nearly 100 CEU-accredited seminars for over 40,000 architecture and design professionals. Other products can be viewed in Innovant’s Chicago showroom at 440 North Wells Street, Suite 310, located just around the corner from the Mart.

The FORm_AV and FORm_office Standing Height products on display are available to all Innovant clients, with or without tailored elements.

For more information about Innovant, its FORm_AV or FORm_office product lines, please visit http://www.innovant.com. Register now to receive Innovant’s latest product updates and company news.

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5 Tips for Working in a Shared Office Space

Image: IT Pro Portal

In the tech sector, where telecommuting is rampant and inexpensive office space is not, working from co-working spaces has become a viable and affordable option. The typical co-working space is an open-plan office space that allows its members to work in a more professional environment than their garages or bedrooms.

Think of a co-working space as a big, open office, filled with dozens of different companies, all under one roof. Picture long tables full of laptops and busy workers tapping away or making phone calls – almost like what you’d see at some coffee shops, but with more resources for getting work done, and less hissing from cappuccino machines.

To work effectively from a co-working space, you need to be as self-sufficient as possible. So get yourself organized with these five tips.

1. Always bring headphones and chargers

When I asked for tips on staying productive in a co-working space, practically everyone said they bring headphones. Go one step further and buy an extra set of headphones you can always keep in your laptop bag. That way, you’ll never forget them.

Some people use standard earbuds to play music or talk radio, while others invest in more expensive noise-cancelling headphones for a truly quiet experience. If you intend to play music or other audio, make sure the volume is low enough that no one around you can hear it.

In addition to carrying headphones, you must keep charging cords and cables for all your devices on you at all times. If you’re prone to forgetting them and leaving them at home, buy back-up cords and leave them in your bag.

2. If you forget something, ask

If you do forget something essential, such as a phone charger, set of headphones, or HDMI cable, ask someone who works at the co-working space if he or she has one that you can borrow. Some co-working spaces, such as WeWork (which has locations across the US, and one in London) may even have more unexpected resources. Ben Kessler, Director of Marketing & Communications at WeWork says community managers typically have a stock of disposable toothbrushes, mouthwash, and even sewing kits.

3. Book meeting rooms for quiet time early and late in the day

Martha Smith, head of social media for the online shopping and swapping site Swapdom.com, works from an open-plan co-working space that she sometimes finds distracting. When she needs to focus on projects that require a lot of concentration, she makes use of the conference rooms and meeting rooms, but she tries to only reserve blocks of time at the very beginning and end of the day, when fewer people need them.

4. Use temporary, private spaces when you don’t need a full membership

Sometimes even a private meeting room isn’t private enough to get your work done, depending on what your work is. For example, actors need a space to rehearse where they can speak out loud – and they might only need a space for two hours every so often rather than all day, five days a week. Julien Smith founded a company called Breather that rents small, private, office-like spaces to individuals who need them for as little as 30 minutes. Breather’s locations cover New York and Montreal, with offices in more cities, including San Francisco, said to be coming soon.

5. Treat common areas like sacred spaces

Co-working environments almost always have their own bathrooms and kitchenette or break room. In both co-working spaces and more traditional office settings, people are very sensitive about the condition of these shared spaces, so tread lightly. Scrupulously clean up after yourself. Never leave anything in the sink (ever), and report problems like a lack of soap in the dispensers immediately.

Originally published on IT Pro Portal, April 28, 2013.

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Innovant Announces Partnership with Luna Textiles

image

Innovant is pleased to announce its partnership with Luna Textiles to offer five Luna patterns in its standard selection of fabrics. These finish options can be chosen for any of Innovant’s textile applications, including privacy panels and cushioned products in open plan, trading, private office and conference environments.

Luna Textiles was founded in San Francisco in 1994 to introduce new style to commercial interiors. Since then, Luna’s textiles and showrooms have gained numerous accolades and industry awards. Sharing Innovant’s pursuit of excellence, Luna Textiles is an excellent Innovant partner due to its desire to be the best source of well-designed, elegant, and refined textiles.

For privacy panel applications, Innovant now offers Luna’s Linea collection, woven of 100% recycled polyester and available in five standard colorways. Odeon’s dimensional pattern is offered in twelve colorways, with Luna’s faceted Radar pattern available in five tonal colors.

In addition to these panel fabrics, Innovant has standardized two dual purpose patterns, Nifty and Trapeze, which provide the flexibility of both panel and cushion applications. Nifty’s bold array of colors pop on a textured, dimensional fabric. Trapeze offers simple colorways in both vibrant colors and neutral tones.

“We have already seen great success with this partnership through such projects as Pandora Radio in Midtown New York, which feature Luna Textiles prominently on Innovant’s FORm_office product.” – Deborah Herr, Marketing Designer at Innovant

Anything outside of Innovant’s standard Luna Textiles range must be tested and could potentially require longer lead times and higher cost due to backing requirements. This includes Luna fabrics from Odeon, Linea and Radar that fall outside of Innovant’s published standard.

Innovant will promote this partnership at NeoCon 2014 in Chicago with Luna Textiles’ Nifty fabric incorporated into its exhibition product. For more information about Innovant or its material and finishing options, please visit http://www.innovant.com.

Want to learn more? Register now to receive Innovant’s latest product updates and company news.

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(Re)Designing the Workplace, Strategically

imageAs stated by Gina Berndt, Principal at Perkins + Will, in an IIDA Perspective issue, “people and an organization’s culture trump the physical environment. The environment can reinforce culture, but it can’t create it.” This idea lies at the root of effective workplace strategy, which must “encompass an organization’s goals and values.”

Work Design Magazine recently published an article outlining the elements of strategic design. The first point of strategic design requires designers to evaluate the “corporate vision and values” of a company to determine how they can be manifested in the office environment. When the environment is designed to reinforce these ideas, the physical space has the potential to maximize performance and boost “employee engagement, loyalty, and innovation.”

To develop an effective workplace strategy, designers must gather cultural information, business objectives and note challenges the company faces “through observation, focus groups, surveys, and interviews.” This information will allow designers to “address the physical space and technology issues needed to achieve the desired employee behaviors… and greater business results.”

Once the strategy is determined, it must be reinforced among the employees who are “the key” of every organization. By sharing the company’s mission and strategy, employee engagement can be boosted and cultivated through an effective, well-designed workplace. This, In turn, “foster[s] a culture that makes it easier to attract and retain an engaged workforce.”

Asking the “right” questions will lead designers to helpful answers for crafting a “people-centered and strategic approach” to workplace design. As outlined by Work Design Magazine, these include:

- What are the organization’s goals and values?

- What can companies do to energize and engage the workforce?

- How can the workplace impact productivity?

- How can design innovations help improve quality of life and work?

- What does success look like?

Please check back next week for some common design challenges and their strategic workplace solutions, which can help boost employee happiness and output, thereby increasing business results.

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Ring in the Spring

Thanks to all the industry friends who came to the New York Showroom to celebrate the coming of spring with Innovant!

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See what makes Innovant a renowned industry leader:

  • - Intelligent, adaptable furniture for the modern workplace
  • - Collaborative design & development process with clients
  • - Exceptional products in terms of aesthetics & functionality
  • - Unique capability to tailor standard products to solve a problem
  • - Thought leadership on workplace design trends 
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