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!
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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