When you sit at a desk for 8 or more hours a day, your office chair can be your best friend or your worst enemy. The questions below will help you learn whether your chair really has your back or not.
Office Chair: Friend or Foe?
1. Is your chair cushion comfortable?
2. Do the arm rests let you keep your elbows bent around 90°?
3. Does your seat height adjust so your thighs are parallel to the floor with your feet flat?
4. Do the seat and back tilt or adjust to the position that's most comfortable for you?
5. Does your chair have adjustable lumbar support?
6. Does your chair swivel a full 360°?
How Did Your Chair Do?
Yes to all 6: A True Friend — the kind that would help you move if it were a person. Comfortable, supportive and reliable, this chair is a keeper.
Yes to 3-5: Fair-Weather Friend — there when things are easy-breezy, but lets you down when work gets tough. You deserve better. For an upgrade, click here.
Yes to 2 or less: The Frenemy. On the surface, it seems to be everything you need. But really, it just makes you feel bad. It's time to move on — find better options here.
HON chairs always have your back — let us help you choose!
25 Years of Office Evolution Test Your Knowledge of Office Life, Circa 1989
Posted on: 3.15.17
True or False
See how many you get right!
1. In 1989 Microsoft® Office was introduced.
2. The World Wide Web was making a difference in office work.
3. Cell phones started to be used in offices.
4. The first swivel chair is invented.
5. In 1989 approximately 37% of workers reported using a computer at work.
6. The "Dilbert" comic strip debuted and became the poster boy for frustrated office workers everywhere.
1. True. Microsoft® introduced the Office Suite,1 now the go-to software on today's office computers.
2. False. In fact, in 1989 Tim Berners-Lee put out the first written proposal of the World Wide Web.
3. False. While not yet a common sight, 1989 was the year the first pocket-sized cell phone was introduced — at an average cost upward of $3000!
4. False. Although there have been many updates and innovations to his original, you can thank Thomas Jefferson for this invention. It has been reported that he drafted the United Stated Declaration of Independence from the chair in 1776.
5. True. And this was a substantial increase from only 5 years earlier when it was only approximately 8%.
When it comes to employee well being and productivity, comfort is crucial. Sitting on office chairs for 8 or more hours a day can take its toll, so ergonomic office chairs are important. The scientific principles of ergonomics can help prevent impaired blood circulation, sore and weakened muscles — even the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. And by ensuring that your office chairs have these five adjustable ergonomic features, you can help improve the comfort and productivity of your team members, no matter how long their day is.
Adjustable lumbar supports the lower back — helping to relieve pressure, prevent slouching and avoid back pain and body fatigue.
When adjusted to the user's ideal height, office chairs let employees sit with their feet on the floor, their knees comfortably bent and their back fully supported.
Proper seat depth adjustment can improve circulation while optimizing support — both from the employee's legs and from the chair back.
By adjusting seat tilt, employees can more evenly distribute their body weight for greater long-term comfort.
Adjustable arm rests let employees work with their arms at a 90° angle to their keyboard, helping to prevent neck and shoulder pain, while reducing arm fatigue.
Talk to your distributor about HON seating options for your team!
Personalities at work
Posted on: 3.1.17
A Guide for Helping Workplace Personalities Work Well Together
No two people work in exactly the same way. Sometimes work styles clash, and sometimes they complement. The key to maintaining workplace harmony and productivity can be as simple as understanding what makes different personalities tick.
According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®1, there are 16 personality types made up of four different aspects:
How we participate in the world — Extraversion vs. Introversion
How we process information — Sensing vs. Intuition
How we make decisions — Thinking vs. Feeling
How we structure our world — Judging vs. Perceiving
Let's take a look at some of the typical pros and cons of different personality traits.
Pro: Works well in large group settings
Con: Tends to act before thinking things through
Pro: Self-starters who can work well on their own
Con: Might overlook the need to seek outside input and opinions
Pro: Looks at all the facts to see the big picture
Con: Can become TOO focused on facts to consider other input
Pro: Approaches problems from multiple angles before solving them
Con: Can become too overwhelmed by the possibilities to reach a solution
Con: Often perceived as "cold," leaving "people" out of the equation
Pro: Good communicators who tend to have compassion for others
Con: Can struggle with tough realities; viewed as "idealistic"
Pro: Extremely organized and goal oriented
Con: Can overlook new input while focusing on the task at hand
Pro: Flexible and energetic; works well under pressure
Con: Tends to procrastinate; can struggle with making decisions
Mindfulness: Three Ways to Reduce Stress and Boost Productivity
Posted on: 5.31.17
Mindfulness is more than meditation — it can be a huge benefit in the workplace. Whether it’s something you practice on your own or encourage your entire office to do, studies have shown that mindfulness at work does a business good by increasing productivity, improving relationships and reducing turnover. Here are three exercises to get you started:
De-Stress with Mindful Breathing2,3
Sit upright in a stable, comfortable position and close your eyes while you focus on all of the physical sensations of your breathing — the temperature of air as it enters your nose, how it feels when the air hits your lips as you exhale. Visualize your breath moving through your entire body. Try to focus like this for 10 breaths, and don’t be discouraged or frustrated when your mind wanders. Just gently bring your focus back to your breathing until you have completed the exercise.
Less Multi-Tasking, More Uni-Tasking4,5
Multi-tasking is an unfortunate reality for many workers. And it seems the more we have to do, the less we get done — because even when we try to get one task out of the way, we’re thinking about all the others. So give this a try: decide on a set amount of uni-tasking time for each thing on your to-do list. 15 minutes to read through emails. 30 minutes to respond to voicemail. 45 minutes to tackle a particular project. You may not complete each task in the allotted time, but you will have given it your complete focus and accomplished much more than if you’d been stressing about everything at once.
Need to Focus? Observe, Accept, Adjust1,6,7
As human beings, and not robots, we are flooded with thoughts and feelings as we react to the events, interactions and needs of the day. The best way to keep it all from clouding your focus is to practice awareness. Instead of fighting your feelings or being overwhelmed by your thoughts, acknowledge them — and deal with them:
• Observe Your Thoughts: take a step back to identify what you're actually feeling, and why
• Accept Your Feelings: you aren’t wrong to feel as you do, but you may need to shelve your emotions for the moment and deal with them when the work is done
• Adjust Your Mindset: ask yourself, “What is my mental state?” — just being aware can help you shift your thinking and help you more effectively manage whatever's on your plate next
How tuned in are you to the cues others are sending with their body language? What kind of signals are you giving off with yours? Understanding body language can help office communication go more smoothly. Below are 7 common signals — let’s see how well you understand them.
When you combine commute time, deskwork and relaxing at home, Americans can easily spend 9 or more hours sitting each day. Back pain is a common complaint for people who sit at a desk most of their workday, but studies have shown that standing-height desks can significantly reduce chronic back pain:
For those who want the benefits of a standing desk, but don’t want to commit to standing all day, a sit-to-stand desk can be the perfect, flexible solution.
“Sit-to-stand desks and tables easily allow users to reduce sitting time and increase movement without decreasing productivity — a benefit to both employer and employee,” says Lauren Gant, PhD, CPE — Human Factors and Ergonomics Manager, HNI. “Additionally, research has supported that users of sit-to-stand workspaces report improved job satisfaction, feelings of job control and comfort.”
As more offices continue to incorporate sit-to-stand workspaces into the workplace, however, it is important to educate users on how to use and benefit from a sit-to-stand solution.
Dr. Bradley Bark of Bark Chiropractic and Rehab Clinic recommends alternating between sitting and standing throughout the day.
“With a sit-to-stand ratio of 3-to-1 during the afternoon hours, I find that I’m not experiencing the stress in my back and shoulders that I used to,” says Bark. “I also feel like I have more energy than before I had a sit-to-stand workspace.” If you find yourself becoming fatigued, slouching, or assuming awkward postures during your workday, it may be an indication that it is time for you to switch positions.
Get a Mini Workout at Work
Posted on: 5.3.17
Getting in a bit of cardio at work can be easy — walk over for face-to-face conversations instead of picking up the phone, take the stairs, walk to lunch instead of ordering in. Strength training, though, is another story. If the thought of doing push-ups, wall squats and planks in front of your coworkers makes you uncomfortable, give seated isometrics a try. Isometric exercises focus on the sustained contraction of specific muscle groups. While seated isometrics are unlikely to sculpt rockhard muscle, they can help maintain muscle tone. Here are three to try:
1. Sit up straight in a sturdy chair with your feet firmly planted on the floor.
2. Imagine you’re preparing for a hit to the stomach and contract your abdominal muscles.
3. With both hands on your stomach, press your fingers in, contracting your muscles harder to resist the pressure.
4. Hold for 15 seconds, then relax.
Do five repetitions.
1. With your tailbone pressed against the back of your chair, adjust your seat height so your feet are firmly on the ground and your knees are bent at a 90° angle.
2. Lightly hold your armrests or seat edges, flex your foot toward your shin.
3. Slowly extend your leg without locking your knee.
4. Slowly lower it to the ground.
For a complete set, do 10 - 20 repetitions for each leg.
Pecs & Biceps1
1. With your fingertips pointing toward the ceiling, put your palms together — make sure you’re sitting up straight.
2. Hold your hands in front of your chest and lift your elbows out to your side so your forearms are parallel to the ground.
3. As hard as you’re able, press your hands together and hold for 10 seconds. Release, relax.
Repeat 10 times.
Reality check: none of these suggestions are a replacement for regular cardiovascular exercise and strength-training. But on days when getting to the gym just isn’t an option, it’s nice to have a back-up option that can do your body a little bit of good.
Will you go urban chic or rock a cozy vibe? Are you ultra traditional or utterly lacking in office style sense? Take this quiz to find your office style and get tips for making it work your workspace.
What's Your Ideal Color Palette?
1. Dark blues and grays
2. Lots of green! Maybe a bit of orange or gold
3. Shades of aqua and sandy neutrals
4. Cool grays mixed with bold yellows
5. Beige is good
What Kind of Wood Do You Prefer?
1. Rich, red mahogany
2. Warm, golden oak
3. Cool, light ash
4. Deep walnut brown
5. Whatever's available
Now, What About Artwork & Decor?
1. Classic landscape & still life paintings
2. Nature scenes and funky found objects
3. Who needs art when there are windows?
4. Whoever the hottest local artist is
5. Maybe some motivational posters?
Mostly 1s — Traditional
Nothing wrong with going the ultra-professional route; just don't let it get boring — especially if you wan to attract younger clients or staff. Try adding a pop of bold, unexpected color.
Mostly 2s — Down to Earth
What a homey, inviting space you've envisioned! Welcoming and comfortable is great, but be careful the space doesn't get cluttered. Opt for smart organization and clearly defined spaces.
Mostly 3s — Tranquil
How zen of you! Creating a relaxing office environment is a smart idea. Add some high-tech touches — they'll blend in well and help promote a professional edge.
Mostly 4s — Über Hip
Sounds like the cool place to work! The energy your office look generates is sure to keep people motivated. Be careful of going overboard; it could alienate some potential clients.
Mostly 5s — Nonexistant
Unless your office is still in your garage, this is not okay. Having a cohesive office style shows professionalism, implies longevity and says you care about making an impression on clients.
HON® Ignition® 2.0 — Evolving for Today's Office
Posted on: 7.26.17
For years, office chairs were designed to support an "ideal" sitting position. Well, the way offices and people work has changed — and so has the way they sit. Today's offices are more fluid. More active. They need a chair designed to move with it. And thanks to designer Wolfgang Deisig, they've got it.
In designing the original Ignition in 2008, Deisig's goal was to create a chair that would comfortably fit every person in an office — no matter their size. Not one to rest on his laurels, he dedicated 18 months to evolving Ignition to keep pace with today's workspace. The result is a flexible, more responsive and more customizable chair that provides comfortable, all-day support in any position. Ignition 2.0. See how Ignition has evolved for comfort, support and style.
for customized back support
Synchro-Tilt with Seat Slider
for customized seat depth
gives passive support for active sitting
for soft support in any position
Molded Seat Foam
relieves pressure for long-term comfort
streamlined for an updated silhouette
More Mesh Colors
five colors to create a custom look
Two Frame Options
now available in Titanium and Black
Quick Connect Arms
to complete your new chairs in a snap
Six Fun Chair Facts
Posted on: 8.9.17
Did Abraham Lincoln invent the office chair? Were chairs present at the Last Supper? Most of us have never thought much about the chairs we sit in. As mundane as they may seem, chairs actually have a rich and interesting history. See if you can sort the facts from falsehoods in the Chair Trivia Quiz below.
1. Who was one of the earliest innovators of the office chair?
a. Abraham Lincoln
b. Thomas Edison
c. Charles Darwin
2. True or False:
In early history, chairs were reserved for higher society, while common folk used stools and benches.
3. How many times are chairs mentioned in the Bible?
4. For which U.S. President were early chair ergonomics pioneered?
a. Franklin D. Roosevelt
b. John F. Kennedy
c. Woodrow Wilson
5. True or False:
The word "chair" originates from the early Germanic language.
6. How many chairs do U.S. companies purchase each year?
a. 1.4 billion
b. 16.5 million
1. c, 2. true, 3. a, 4. b, 5. false, 6. b
Need to do more with less space? Create a stylish first impression with pennies? Many small businesses have even smaller budgets, but with some smart planning and creative thinking, your small business can be set up for big growth.
Map Out Your Budget
You've got the space, now you need to decide how best to use it. Prioritize your budget allocations on the spaces your employees will use most1 — brainstorming areas? conference rooms? Once that's figured out, consider these steps:
1. Overestimate your expenses2. The extra cushion will make it easier when one area or another goes over budget.
2. Get quotes from professionals1. Itemized plans from movers, designers and carpenters can help you better visualize your space and prioritize budget allocations.
3. Decide how much you can DIY1. When the team comes together to paint or move furniture, you can save thousands.
Your office decor is a reflection of who you are as an organization. It's also great place to test your ingenuity without stressing your budget. And as your business and profit margins grow, you can easily update at a later date. Try these ideas to get you started:
1. Say it with color3. White walls can make a statement — but is it the right one for your business? Whether your office personality is traditional, tranquil, bold or hip, the right paint colors will speak volumes.
2. Shop on the cheap4. Discount and secondhand stores, even garage sales can turn up inexpensive, useful and decorative items that help complete your office style.
3. Go for the green4. Fill in spaces with plants to freshen up the space. Just be sure to keep them groomed and watered — dried up plants are a no no!
Invest Where It counts
Finally, understand the impact of quality furniture on your long-term budget. High-quality chairs keep your employees comfortable and productive for years. And desk and workstation systems made for flexibility and modularity will stand up to repeated reconfigurations as your business needs change and grow. Paying a little more now will definitely pay off in the long run.
Do you save all your old notepads? Have filing cabinets that are overflowing with folders? Six cups of pens and pencils scattered across your desktop? Find out about your hoarding habits and learn about our storage solutions to help keep the clutter out of sight.
Select one answer for each of the below questions
1. You have at least 5 used notebooks on or in your desk.
2. You have several cups of pens/pencils stockpiled on your desk.
3. You still have coffee cups on your desk from earlier this week.
4. You still have newspapers or magazines from last month.
5. You have four or more finished project files laying around, waiting to be filed.
6. You can’t physically see 50% or more of the surface of your desk.
7. You still have an award on your desk that is more than five years old.
8. You have three extra pair of shoes in your filing cabinet.
9. You have extra articles of clothing in your filing cabinet.
10. You have a few months’ worth of personal snacks on or in your desk drawers.
11. You have motivational books that you’ve never read at your workspace.
12. You have a growing collection of action figures encroaching on your workspace.
13. You have chargers or cords for devices that you can no longer locate or use.
14. You have trouble finding something you need at least once a week.
15. You tend to keep old documents, just in case you need them later.
You checked 10 or more True:
Everyone has some hoarder tendencies. To curb yours in the office and make your workday more productive, try setting aside 5-10 minutes a day to get rid of the things you don’t need. Throw away anything you haven’t used in awhile and label all of the papers and notes you decide to keep to make filing and finding them easier in the future. Make sure you have adequate storage for personal belongings in your desk drawers or cabinet and file away finished projects for good.
You checked 5-9 True:
Organized Clutter: Your space may be on the messy side, but amongst those stacks of paper, projects and personal touches, you know right where everything is. Make your life even easier by taking 5 minutes a day to put away the things you’re no longer using and organize files into clearly marked folders —you’ll be amazed at the difference it can make in the long run.
You checked 4 or less True:
Neat and Tidy: You’re doing great—keep doing what you’re doing and don’t be afraid to personalize your workspace, just a little bit.
*Check out these easy, affordable storage solutions from HON to keep your workspace clean and organized.
[Brigade® 800 Series 2-Drawer Lateral File H872]
[Brigade 600 Series 5-Drawer Lateral File H695]
[basyx by HON® Manage® L-Workstation with Storage]
[Flagship® Mobile Pedestal H15923R]
Is a Collaborative Workspace Right for You?
Posted on: 10.9.17
Learn about the pros and cons of open office spaces and find out if this type of environment fits your work style.
It’s safe to say that you know collaborative, or open, offices are the latest trend in workspace design. But what’s the deal? Why are they so prevalent?
Although the concept of an open office has been around for a while, it’s gaining popularity as today’s companies and their workspaces are becoming more progressive. The characteristics of an open office usually include minimal interior walls, a benching system and/or cubicles with low walls or panels, fewer private offices, more meeting or huddle rooms and a variety of designated multi-purpose lounge or common areas.1
So what brought on this trend? Several factors, for one, advances in technology mean that everything is smaller and sleeker, allowing for a clean, modern and streamlined office space. As cities and businesses continue to grow, the cost of rent increases as the amount of available square footage decreases—which means maximizing a smaller space is a must to offset the cost of real estate.2
Organizations are also looking for new ways to attract talent—especially the latest generation of employees— one that thrives on collaboration as a result of school experiences that increasingly involve team projects and studying in non-traditional work environments. Modern employees not only want the perfect job, they also want an innovative office space that encourages creativity.3
In theory, this design promotes transparency and fairness: fewer walls and doors make management seem more approachable and encourage a free-flow of information for all employees. In reality, open-plan office layouts may inspire collaboration, but less privacy can also increase distractions and impede productivity. According to a recent New York Times article, noise is often a serious problem in the open-plan office. When conversations carry to employees who are trying to focus, their performance may decline in cognitive tasks such as reading, writing, and other forms of creative work.4
One solution is to divide the workspace into two areas, one for collaboration with an open design and the other for quiet, focused work.5 Introducing private huddle rooms or secluded workspaces in this area gives employees a choice between working together when communication is key and sitting alone when it’s time to buckle down and get to work. Of course this approach isn’t possible in all situations because of space limitations, management styles and other factors, but for many it’s already a reality.
So what should you consider? To recap: open workspaces continue to gain popularity in modern office design, but they don’t always work for every type of business or employee. This kind of workspace may be right for you if your office situation is similar to the ones below.
• Creative companies that thrive on collaboration and communication
• Growing businesses that need flexible furniture and multi-purpose space
• Offices with smaller workspaces that want to maximize their square footage
In the end it’s all about your personal work style and the type of work you do. If a collaborative, open-style office sounds right for you, give it a try and decide for yourself.
From customized comfort to stylish extras, find out what type of office chair is right for you.
Choose one answer for each question.
1. Where do you prefer to work?
a. At my desk/workstation
b. In a private office
c. In a collaborative/open space
2. What’s your chair style?
a. Modern design and custom options
b. Professional look with classic details
c. Stylish, comfortable and flexible
3. What do you need a chair for?
a. Long hours at my workstation
b. Looking and feeling like an executive
c. Collaborative, multi-purpose seating
4. How much support do you want in a chair?
a. Lumbar support and all the adjustable settings I can get
b. Higher back with a cushioned seat
c. I want it to feel like a lounge chair…or maybe a couch
5. What type of fabric do you like on your chair?
a. Fabric/mesh combination
b. Leather or upholstery
c. Soft fabric for relaxed sitting
6. What about color?
a. I’m all about options
b. Neutral and professional
c. Bright and bold, something that pops
If you answered…
4-6 As: You want a wide range of choices when it comes to your office chair and place high importance on customizable options, adjustability, and comfort. Take a look at task chairs including Convergence® and Ignition® 2.0.
4-6 Bs: Comfort may be king, but you also care about style. You want a chair that is professional, but flexible enough to work across your entire office. Check out executive and conference chairs such as Nucleus®, Ceres® or Park Avenue Collection®.
4-6 Cs: You have a need for bustling hubs and dynamic common areas where comfort and style is a must. Try collaborative seating like Endorse® and Flock®.
4 Ways to Promote Workplace Wellbeing
Posted on: 11.20.17
Make the most of your time in the office with these tips for a happier, healthier, more productive workspace.
During the week, you spend at least eight hours a day at the office—that’s a long time! Read through these pointers and learn four easy ways to help improve the health of your mental and physical wellbeing at work.
1. Ergonomic Chairs & Active Design
Everyone knows that people come in all shapes and sizes—so it’s hard to find seating that’s comfortable for every employee. Ergonomically designed office seating is engineered to work with the human body to provide comfortable support that promotes healthy posture. Height- and width-adjustable arms and back, cushioned seat, lumbar support, customizable options, like tilt control, and smart materials, like mesh, are all important features to look for when choosing a chair.6
While a supportive, comfortable chair can help drastically improve productive wellbeing, repeated long periods of sitting can increase the risk for many health issues including musculoskeletal disorders, heart disease, diabetes and cancer—so encouraging movement throughout the day is critical.7 Active office furniture solutions like sit-to-stand desks and tables allow employees to change their positions throughout the day, moving from a seated setting to standing at the touch of a button. Similarly, treadmill desks encourage employees to engage in physical activity (walking or jogging) while working, brainstorming or having a meeting.
2. Bring The Outside In
A recent study by The World Green Building Council showed that employees who sit near a window are 15% more productive at work than those who sit farther away from natural light. The report also found that close exposure to daylight resulted in better sleep at night and an overall happier demeanor.
Similarly, better air quality can result in an 8–11% increase in productivity and cognitive ability.8 So taking a quick ten-minute walk outside isn’t only great physical exercise, it’s great mental exercise, too.
Studies also show that more interaction with nature decreases stress and enhances emotional wellbeing. Decorating your workplace with plants is also an effective way to reduce airborne toxins and increase productivity. In fact, an 18-month project by Dr. Craig Knight of Exeter University, demonstrated that adding potted plants to an otherwise sparse office environment, increased wellbeing by 47%, increase creativity by 45% and increase productivity by 38%.9 While not all companies have the space or budget to incorporate gardens or nature walls into their office designs, it’s easy to add a few plants or flowers, open windows and integrate patterns, colors and materials into furniture choices to up the nature factor at work.
3. Change Your Perspective
Providing employees with alternative places to work allows them to be more active and move away from their desk for portions of the day so that they can concentrate, collaborate, recharge and focus. Taking time away your desk can help change your perspective. Whether it’s twenty minutes for a mental break or a just a new environment, the physical action of moving from one area to the other increases healthy blood flow and the fresh scenery helps clear your mind so you can get back to work.10 Comfortable, multi-purpose common areas that encourage collaboration are perfect for impromptu meetings and brainstorm sessions, as well as lounge areas for break time and socializing. Whereas private spaces, such as quiet nooks and huddle rooms are ideal for personal breaks, calm reflection, concentrated work and focused tasks. The best of both worlds—a mix of collaborative and private workspaces—helps greatly enhance employee wellbeing and productivity at the office.
4. Take Advantage Of Breaks & Perks
Whether you choose to go to the gym, take a walk or have a relaxed lunch, break time has a similar effect moving from one workspace to another to change your spatial perspective and refocus. Human brains aren’t built for to long periods of extended focus, so by taking a break, you allow yourself to mentally and physically recharge and come back ready to conquer the rest of the workday.11
In addition to standard benefits, many of today’s companies offer wellness perks, such as office gyms or supplemented gym memberships, work from home policies, access to healthy snacks and drinks, classes and planned social events to help promote better work/life balance and employee happiness. Don’t be afraid to seek out and take advantage of these extras—or suggest adding them if your current company doesn’t already offer something similar!
At the office, your desk is your command center—where you put your head down, focus and get to work. So it makes sense that how well it's organized can help set the tone for what you do. Want to be more productive? Check out the following visual and learn how to organize your desk for maximum efficiency.
Organize with files—keep related papers in folders and only keep folders you’re currently using on your desk.
For ergonomic computer placement, set your monitor at eye level, about an arm’s length away from you.
Set up your phone on your dominant side to avoid reaching across your body.
Avoid distractions—limit the amount of personal items on your worksurface.
Only keep the office supplies that you use daily on your worksurface.
Save an empty space on your dominant side for taking notes and organizing papers.
Get your layout right—here’s how:
If you’re like most modern employees, you spend a lot of time on you computer, so it’s important to make sure you’re comfortable working and typing for an extended period of the workday. Your desktop computer or laptop should rest directly in front of you at eye-level and about an arm’s length away from your body for maximum ergonomic comfort and, in turn, increased productivity.
To make your desktop more efficient, arrange the items you use most frequently, like your office phone and writing supplies, on your dominant side for easy access and to avoid having to reach across your body. On the other hand, the items and supplies you don’t use as often (a couple times a week or less) can be stored off to your non-dominant side or tucked away in your desk drawers.
Maintaining work-life balance can be difficult—especially when it comes to your desk—so try your best not to over-decorate your space. Photos, awards and other collectibles may provide positive feelings during the workday, but too many mementos may crowd your desktop and become a distraction. Instead, embrace the white space. Keep an empty, 8”X11” area on your dominant side as a designated workspace for taking notes, reviewing papers and signing documents.
Finally, make sure to reassess your space weekly. Keeping your desk organized requires frequent upkeep, so be sure to take a Friday-night scan of your workspace to figure out if all of the files, supplies and items you used will still be needed next Monday when you return to the office. If you’ve finished work, file your notes and documents away inside your desk to make room for new and upcoming projects.
Your workspace says a lot about your business. Is it on the cutting edge, tastefully trendy or in need of a design overhaul? Take this quiz and find out where your space stands.
Select one answer for each of the below questions.
1. What do your workspace walls look like?
a. White or beige with motivational posters
b. Boldly colored feature walls and industrial brick
c. What walls? We only have glass windows
2. What about the floor?
a. Carpet, carpet and more carpet
b. Hardwood and plush accent rugs
c. Sleek, polished concrete
3. What type of layout does your office have?
a. Private offices and a maze of cubicles
b. Mostly open workspaces with a few secluded areas
c. Completely open floorplan with lots of collaborative spaces
4. Where do your employees do most of their work?
a. Cubicles or desks
b. Workstations or multi-purpose areas
c. Touchdown tables or collaborative lounges
5. How long ago did you move into/design your office?
a. Definitely before 2000, maybe even before 1990
b. Less than ten years ago, with a few vintage exceptions
c. Earlier this year or last year
6. Which word best sums up the overall look and feel of your office?
7. What best describes your office organization system?
a. Filing cabinets from the ‘80s and stacks of paper everywhere
b. Papers etc. are stored in sleek, stylish filing cabinets and bookcases
c. Always clean and open—no papers to file, everything is digital here
8. Which movie office best fits your current workspace?
a. Office Space
b. Wall Street
c. The Internship
If you answered…
4-6 As: It looks like it’s just about time for an office update. Whether you decide to go for a full renovation or a simple redesign, check out HON’s best solutions from customizable workstations to filing cabinets that do more to take your space from fixer-upper to fun and fresh.
4-6 Bs: Your office is contemporary, comfortable and inviting. Your classic aesthetic is sure to stand the test of time—but take a look at HON’s tech-friendly storage and furniture solutions to keep up with your competition along the way.
4-6 Cs: Your workspace is just about as modern as it gets. With a minimalist style that’s digital, flexible and purposefully designed, your office is set for the future. Thinking about expanding your business? Make room for new employees with a sleek, expandable benching system, like Empower.
Ready to refresh your workspace? Check out the latest and greatest office furniture and storage solutions from HON.
How Humor in the Workplace Can Increase Productivity
Posted on: 02.19.18
For years, there has been a certain amount of hesitation surrounding humor in the workplace—even in the most casual office environments. This is because humor is often associated with a lack of dedication or seriousness about work. However, according to a growing body of research, workplace humor is actually proven to positively impact productivity, camaraderie and creativity among employees. The following facts explain how laughter and a light-hearted attitude are actually good for your business.
1. Humor helps boost creative thinking and collaboration.
Did you know that humor has been proven to help develop creative thinking in business settings? A more casual, playful office environment fosters openness and collaboration, which helps reduce the fear of criticism towards unusual or unexpected creative thoughts. Thus, when levity is encouraged in the workplace, employees are more relaxed about speaking up, sharing ideas and giving input.
2. Managers who use humor at work are seen as better leaders.
Leaders who embrace office humor as part of their management style have been proven to promote better overall performance, happiness and cohesion in their teams. Similarly, employees working under such fun-forward managers also reported being happier and more inspired at work—and view their supervisors as great leaders and motivators.
3. For many people, humor is more important than pay.
In a study of more than 2,500 participants, across multiple industries, 55% agreed that they would settle for less pay to have more fun at work. In other words, a majority of employees would literally take a pay cut to work in a more light-hearted, laugh-friendly environment.
4. Workplace humor helps decrease employee turnover.
This one may seem obvious, but studies show that light-hearted, laughter-filled office environments help keep employees happy and engaged at work. Humor in the workplace has been proven to enhance workers’ coping mechanisms and reduce fatigue, stress, burnout and turnover. So you could say: companies that laugh together, stay together.
5. Humor is healthy—laughing can help reduce sick days at work.
According to medical professionals, laughing boosts the number immune cells and antibodies in your immune system, which helps prevent infection. Thus, reducing your chances of getting sick and missing work. Humor also has a positive effect on your cardiovascular system. Laughing helps lower blood pressure, improve blood flow and can even help lower your heart rate to a relaxed, healthy rhythm—looks like laughter really is the best medicine.
6. Joking around does not distract employees from work.
Although many people assume that office humor and other fun, light-hearted activities will only cause distraction—studies show that increased humor in the workplace does not, in fact, diminish employees’ productivity or their ability to complete tasks that require concentration.
Humor is a simple, but effective way to bring people together. Since you spend so much time during the week with co-workers, it’s worth creating a friendly, playful environment that everyone enjoys coming to. Just make sure that if you make a joke to lighten the mood at the office, you do so in a way that’s always respectful and never malicious.
Did you know that the average employee wastes up to an hour a day trying to find misplaced items at the office? Save time and make your work life exponentially easier with these four simple tricks of the trade.
1. Paper Purge
To make the organization process go as smoothly as possible, every office refresh should start with a purge. Dedicating half a day to clearing your workspace of anything unnecessary can save you a surprising amount of time in the future. First, figure out the things you want to keep and the things that are safe to toss—de-cluttering your space makes it much easier to arrange the projects and supplies you need to have handy.
2. Color Code
Choose files in several different colors that you can use to separate and prioritize your workflow. For example: Red = Important/Urgent, Orange = Urgent/Less Important, Yellow = Important/Non-Urgent, Green = Non-Important/Non-Urgent. You can also use a larger standard colored file, such as gray or white, to sort all of the prioritized papers for each client or project into its own larger file. Knowing exactly where the documents you need to reference for the deadlines you have to meet will help you save time and complete your work in the most efficient way possible.
3. Label Love
No matter the method you choose, labeling each file is an important step in the organizational process. In addition to color-coding, labeling each file by project/client will ensure that it’s always easy to store, find and organize important work and documents. The act of labeling these files actually enhances your memorization of the order in which each project is stored—making future recall easier each time.
4. Store in Style
Whether your workspace has open storage cases or lateral files with drawers, using stylish storage boxes and containers can help compartmentalize the office supplies and personal items you need to have on hand. Go monochrome, make a statement with bold colors and patterns or keep it classy with black and white details—it’s your workspace, so personalize it with your own special style. When deciding what to store in each box or container, group like items and supplies together and sort them accordingly. Make sure to keep the supplies you use most often close within reach to make everyday tasks seamless and stress-free.
Sit-and-stand desks have been getting a lot of attention lately. And while there are certainly many health benefits to standing, like most things, it’s not black and white. This quiz can help you learn more about sitting vs. standing working styles, and whether a sit-stand desk is right for you.
For every statement that is true for you, assign yourself the letter indicated. Below to see what type of desk is best for you.
1. I stand or walk more than 1 minute every 30–45 minutes when I’m at work. (B)
2. Sometimes I have issues with my lower body — my ankles, knees or hips will hurt. (C)
3. At my job, I do a lot of precise work with my hands, like assembling small parts or doing lots of graphic design work. (C)
4. My job requires me to spend a lot of time at my desk. (A)
Yes! A sit-stand desk is for you.
Changing positions throughout the day from sitting to standing will give your body the motion and position variety it needs to stay healthy. Optimally, change from sitting to standing and vice-versa every 30–45 minutes.
You may not need a sit-stand desk.
While a sit-stand desk would do you no harm, you probably would not reap significant benefits from one. You already get the recommended variety of movement and position changes for your body’s health.
A sit-stand desk may not be for you.
Given the type of work you do or your physical issues, standing for a significant period of time could interfere with your work or your health.
But keep in mind that alternating between sitting, standing and moving throughout the day is beneficial to everyone. Remember to take breaks to walk around when you can!
Yes! A sit-stand desk is for you
Changing positions throughout the day from sitting to standing will give your body the motion and position variety it needs to stay healthy. Optimally, change from sitting to standing and vice-versa every 30–45 minutes.
What Does Your Birth Order Say About Your Work Style?
Posted on: 6.4.18
Though by no means infallible, birth order can provide a window into our personalities and how they express themselves at work. Personality traits shaped by birth order have to do with our place in the family and the competition for emotional, physical and intellectual resources from our parents. It’s our very first experience of group dynamics and competition, which makes it a good predictor of how we interact with our co-workers.
Here are the main birth orders, their strengths and challenges, and how they may influence your work style.
Characteristics: Extroverted, confident, more conformist and conservative, conscientious, academically inclined, dominant and authoritarian. Firstborns are natural-born leaders.
Strengths: Comfortable and successful in existing structures, achievement-oriented, good attention to detail
Challenges: Working in situations that require radical change or innovation, thriving in fluid structures or foreign cultures, working in subordinate roles
Tips: Learning to compromise and valuing others for their differences will bring balance to your leadership style. Pairing with innovative middle- or youngest-borns can be beneficial to all — your natural talent at structure is needed to make their visions reality.
Characteristics: Self-confident, take work seriously, naturally independent and reliable. Only children also have many of the same leadership qualities as firstborns.
Strengths: Self-starters who take the initiative, able to work independently, identify with work as an extension of themselves
Challenges: May be unaccustomed to working in a team or relating to their peers
Tips: Develop your teamwork skills and social side. Learn from your mistakes instead of taking them as personal failures.
Characteristics: Flexible and open to new experiences, empathic and altruistic, creative, innovative, rebellious, liberal, interested in foreign cultures, concerned with justice and fairness, adaptable, cooperative, professional
Strengths: Risk-takers, diplomatic, political, natural-born negotiators and jack-of-all-trades
Challenges: Asserting individual needs and wants
Tips: Strive to know yourself and your desires better, developing your distinct identity. When more of “you” shows up, everybody does win.
Characteristics: Creative, unconventional, adventurous, imaginative, trendsetters and trailblazers
Eye strain is a real concern when working with screens. By the end of a day on your laptop, desktop, tablet or phone, your eyes may be dry or burning, you may have headaches or your eyes may just feel tired. Eliminating screens is hardly an option, but understanding why screens cause eye strain and learning some immediate measures to alleviate the problem is.
How do screens cause eye strain?
Tears are our eyes’ natural lubrication system. Normally, we blink about 15 times a minute. One of the main functions of blinking is to spread tears evenly over your eyes, protecting them from irritation and keeping them from getting dry.
However, researchers have discovered that we blink less than half as often as normal when we’re interacting with a screen.
Environmental factors exacerbate this. The contrast of text to background on a screen, glare, flickering from digital screens and dry office environments all contribute to eye strain.
So, what can you do about it?
There are many measures you can take to alleviate eye strain. Including some you can do right away.
Adopt the 20/20/20 Rule. For every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen, look away from the screen and focus on something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Set yourself reminders or use an app like Eye Care 20 20 20.
Take breaks. When working or playing on your devices, take a 15-minute break every two hours or so.
Screen placement. Make sure your screen is about 25 inches, or an arm’s length, away from your face. The center of your screen should be about 10-15 degrees below eye level.
Make device adjustments. Change the brightness of your screen to more closely match surrounding light — you don’t want your screen to be lighter or darker. Lower the color temperature of your screen to give off less blue light, which is linked to more eyestrain. Adjust text size and contrast for readability and comfort.
Don’t forget to blink! Relax your eyes frequently by taking small breaks to look away from the screen and blink slowly.
With a Bit More Planning:
Get a matte screen filter for your device. They’re available for all types of computers, phones and tablets and can help reduce glare.
Lighting. Make sure your work area is well lit while avoiding harsh exterior light in your field of view.
Additional Measures and Good Practices:
Regular eye check-ups. You may need glasses, an updated prescription or to use different glasses when working on a screen. Your doctor can advise you. When ordering glasses, be sure to include an anti-reflective coating to reduce glare and minimize light reflections from your lenses.
Humidifier. If dryness is a chronic problem in your work area, it may make sense to invest in a humidifier.
Set Your Mind for More Present and Purposeful Work
Posted on: 5.21.18
To succeed in our work lives, we often seek out the next skill or achievement. But it’s equally important to set the foundation for growth, and that begins with our own attitudes, belief and self-care. In other words, it all begins with how we set our mind.
To consciously develop a more fruitful mindset, here are a few principles.
1. Focus on Your Values
Take time to consider what you truly value, and write a list! Decide which three to five are most important to you and reflect on how they might be present in your job. Maybe you value being of service to others or being creative. Maybe it’s being part of a community or excelling at your craft. Whatever those things are, take time to appreciate how they show up in your job and what you can adjust to bring more of these values into your office experience every day.
2. Flex Your Neautrality Muscle
Before automatically judging a situation as good or bad, take a moment to be open to the possibility that a positive outcome could come from events that seem negative on the surface. This stance will allow you to make clearer decisions and not get caught up in frustrating or negative emotions.
3. Focus on Your Values
Frustration and a feeling that you lack purpose can set in when you feel you’re in a rut. Once a month or so, seek to freshen up your experience by trying something new. It could be learning a new skill, taking a different route to work or proposing a new procedure. Growth in one area tends to lead to growth in other areas, and trying new things gets you in the habit of expansion.
4. Take Time to Organize and Prioritize
In today’s fast-paced work environments, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and lose your focus. Regain that focus by valuing the time it takes to organize your priorities and your workspace. There are many tools and systems to help with this, such as David Allen’s classic Getting Things Done. Find one that works for you. The time you commit to it will pay off in a clearer, more focused and present mind for whatever you are working on in the moment, which ultimately makes your work richer and more efficient.
Yes, it really does work. Consider taking a few moments at the start and end of each workday to jot down three things you’re grateful for about your job. It can be anything from the money you get paid to the co-workers you laugh with to the free snacks in the break room. Appreciation for the good things has an almost magical way of increasing their presence.
The word has been getting out—having fun at work has been linked to increases in productivity, higher job satisfaction, reduced stress and enhanced motivation. But did you know it can also make employees smarter?
Fun Leads to More Effective Learning
“Informal learning” is the way employees pick up new skills outside of structured and classroom forms of learning. It’s what takes place when employees pick up new skills and knowledge from their co-workers, or when they are learning new things independently at their desk. A recent study has discovered a link between informal learning and having fun at work.
A Fun Environment Makes You Feel Safer to Try New Things
The study’s authors found that employees in fun work environments are less stressed about trying new things and making mistakes. This leads to greater creativity and growth. A fun atmosphere also contributes to better resiliency and optimism, which improves attention on tasks.
Fun Can Bring Workers Together
Fun can create comradery among employees, bringing them closer together, and making them more likely to help each other, share their skills and teach one another. Better connections leads to stronger teams.
Humans Run on Fun
The most important thing to consider when setting the tone in your office is the needs of human capital. No matter how many machines you have in your office and how vital they are to your output, it’s your human resources that give you a unique edge and make what you have to offer meaningful to your customers——other human beings. Humans are inherently social, and need fun to offset the stress we face every day. Melting it away with a bit of fun makes for a more efficient, creative, positive workplace.
So when time spent having fun at work seems like time wasted, remember the resulting benefits prove it’s anything but.
This’ll only take a minute...
Posted on: 7.30.18
It’s a fact of modern office life, especially if you are in an open office—interruptions. Whether it’s from people or the incessant notifications from your various devices, there are multiple interactions vying for your attention at any one time. So, how do you handle it? Could you be handling it better?
A. Emails, emails, and more emails
How often do you check yours?:
1. Every time I’m pinged
2. Every time I’m pinged
3. I set aside a few dedicated times a day to check and answer email
You’re deep in a project. You’re finding your groove and it’s all falling into place when “Hey, have you got a minute?” one of your co-workers stops by for a chat, or a question, or some important bit of information you need to finish that project. How do you usually handle it?
1. I drop everything, of course
2. I tell them I can’t talk right now, but let’s set up a time later in the day to chat
3. They tell me it’s something I must know immediately. I say “ok, give me a moment,” then jot down a quick “ready-to-resume” plan for my project before giving my co-worker my full attention
C. The Interrupter Within
It could be the most insidious distraction of all: your own monkey mind. Say you are working on a necessary but rather tedious project. Several “important” alternate activities and ideas occur to you. How do you handle it?:
1. Well, that online shopping cart isn’t going to fill itself
2. I jot down my brilliant but not-relevant-to-the-task-at-hand ideas and promise I will return to them at a more appropriate time
3. I set a fifteen minute timer and just dive in to the project I’m trying to avoid
How you think about interruptions in general can impact their effect on you. How do you usually react and respond to interruptions?
1. I get extremely annoyed
2. I accept that they’re a part of work and try to deal with them as gracefully as possible
3. I accept that they’re a part of work and put a little wiggle room in my schedule to account for their inevitable appearance
“1” for every “1” answer
“2” for every “2” answer
“3” for every “3”
Add up the results and check out the number key below to discover whether you are the master of interruptions or if they are the master of you:
4-6: Time to set some boundaries. You are the master of your own time. There are ways to take the reigns back without insulting your co-workers or sucking the joy out of your life.
7-10: Not bad. But there’s always room for improvement, and it looks like you may have a few energy leaks in your interruption management system. Check out the tips below for how to take back the time and concentration that’s slipping away.
11-12 You are a master of time, attention and flow. For additional insight as to why your style works so well, or to get additional tips to keep it flowing, see below.
A. Emails, emails, and more emails
Setting aside specific times to handle emails is known as “batching” and can save a lot of frittered-away time. Pick two or three times a day where you’ll handle email for 20 minutes to a half hour. Optimal times are late morning (around 11am), early afternoon (3pm) and before you leave for the evening. This ensures that you will keep up with your email without it taking over your workday.
Communicating and being direct is usually the best way to deal with unwanted office visitors. Your co-workers will understand, they almost surely deal with the same types of interruptions as you. But if you absolutely must attend to your visitor and what they have to say, give yourself a “ready to resume plan”—this is just a few notes about what you were doing and where you were in your project that will help you resume and get back in the flow much more quickly.
D. The Interrupter Within
No matter the reason you’re avoiding your work, ignoring it won’t make it go away. Have a plan for minimizing temptations, like closing your browser if you don’t need the internet for your work, or temporarily turning off your phone. Jotting down any brilliant ideas you have for later will ease your anxiety over “losing” them. If you just can’t get going, do what you can to break the project down into smaller pieces, and commit to focusing on just one for fifteen minutes. Set a timer. Usually once you get going, you’ll have your momentum, and you’ll want to finish.
The most important thing to remember about interruptions is that they are going to happen. While there are certainly times that they become so frequent you want to blow your top, it’s generally better to just accept that they are part of office life, and that leaking your energy by being constantly annoyed with them is neither productive nor healthy. Cultivating a more matter-of-fact attitude about their existence will go a long way towards neutralizing their power to derail you. True interruption masters take it a step further and actually schedule interruptions into their day by putting extra “wiggle room” around tasks. And if they don’t show up and you’re left with extra time? Well, that online shopping cart isn’t going to fill itself…
For Small Offices, a Little Thought Goes a Long Way
Posted on: 8.27.18
When planning for your small office, the two most important considerations are thoughtful design and smart organization. Here are a few tips on both.
Give Your Small Space Big Personality
Just because your office is small doesn’t mean it should be a shrinking violet. Bold design choices may seem like an odd choice when you don’t have a lot of square footage, but standout accents can paradoxically open up a small space. Here are a few ideas:
1. Bold Color
Every inch counts in a small office. Adding some visual energy to your space can actually help it feel more spacious and more energizing to work in. Consider painting one wall a bright green, blue, orange, or whatever fits your color palette. If painting the walls isn’t an option, hang a colorful print or poster, or install LED up-lighting to shed some colorful light on an otherwise plain wall.
2. Light-reflecting Accents
Pale colors in furniture and work surfaces reflect light and make the space seem larger. The Sadie 5-thirteen chair, made of white bonded leather, is a stylish choice that offers a sense of spaciousness to any office.
3. Lighting Makes All the Difference
Don’t forget to carefully plan your lighting. It’s especially important if you have little or no natural light. Make sure you have bright lighting for tasks that really need it. Reduce eye strain by installing subdued back-lighting on your monitors and make sure to have general lighting to brighten the whole space.
Organize, Organize, Organize
The key to making any small space work is smart organization. When organizing your small office, keep the following in mind:
1. Be ruthless about clutter
The first place to start with any office organizing scheme is getting the clutter under control. Purge as much as you can and create a system to deal with everything that comes in to your office. A simple in-box and filing system are a great place to start.
2. Before asking where something goes, ask how often you use it
This is the first question to ask when organizing and storing your office supplies. Keep the most frequently used items at hand and store less-frequently used items away from precious desktop space.
3. For more storage space, look up
Don’t forget vertical spaces when you need more storage. While covering all of your walls in shelving could lead to a claustrophobic feeling, utilizing one to-the-ceiling shelving unit will give you prime storage space.
4. Contain the clutter
While it’s almost impossible to keep surfaces clutter-free, containing your clutter can go a long way towards cutting down on the distraction of visual clutter. Utilize baskets and drawers to contain smaller items and make it easier to move them out of the way when you need more desk space to spread out for a project.
As your local office supply partner, we’re here to help. For everything from paperclips to furniture, we’ll help you get the supplies you need right away.
You have a long to-do list; and as important as it may be, researching “office trends” probably isn’t on it. The Biz Buzz takes care of that for you — keeping you up-to-date on affordable furniture solutions that help you improve productivity and keep pace with what today’s smart offices are doing.
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