The Workplace Redefined: HON's Guidance to Business Furniture Clients

4. July 2020 21:21

 

HON office panels are available in cleanable vinyl or laminates to help prevent the spread of germs in individual workstations.
Glass stack-ons can be added to increase height, while still letting in natural light.

When businesses saw signs of a flattening curve emerging in the COVID-19 pandemic, they began looking to plan for two possibilities: a continued period during which employees would be working from home; or a health-conscious return to the workplace. The HON Company, the largest unit of commercial furniture giant HNI, shares its insights into likely strategies for supporting both developments among its clients. 

How to Plan for a Health-Conscious Return to Work

Work-from-home arrangements were made almost overnight as the pandemic forced the implementation of stay-home orders. While the transition was sudden, American businesses and workers have risen to the occasion. From a trying situation has come a revelation in the way we work, and how it might look going forward.

When signs of a curve flattening in many states emerged, elected officials began rolling out plans to get employees back to work – or simply back to the office. 

Preparing for a New Normal

While we don't know for certain what work and office environments will look like in three weeks or three months, we do know they will look different. And the new dynamic could feature more permanent changes designed to support health and well-being of employees. Experts agree that making employees feel safe and comfortable about being in the office should be at the forefront of every decision-maker's mind as workers across the country get ready to return.

"The biggest thing that companies are focusing on is the mental and physical well-being of their workers," said Holli Renaud, Account Merchandising Manager for The HON Company. "Employees need to mentally feel good about coming into the office, and that translates into some of the physical things companies are doing to promote that comfortability."

"It's going to be about space, cleaning and separation between workstations and in common areas, too. That's how a lot of people are thinking about this situation as they prepare for this change." The changes required won't all be easy, though.

Finding a happy medium between appropriate spacing and a people-focused environment is the task facing companies now. Companies may be trying to juggle the open workplace and collaborative areas with options that can be conducive to social distancing.

"How do we incorporate those elements into the working environment? How do we make sure we continue to build a workplace that people want to work in, while also being able to maintain social distancing? These are key considerations for companies as they look to reopen," said Jim Foster, Vice President & General Manager Merchandising & National Accounts at The HON Company.

Flexible Solutions for Every Home Office

The way you work is changing every day, and you're most likely still figuring out your perfect set up. Whether you have a dedicated room or share the space with the rest of the home, it's important that you have the right products that fit you and your home office needs.

Twitter employees are working from home as long as they choose, even permanently if they want. Google employees are remote until 2021, at least. Other tech companies are moving to remote work in the COVID-19 era and it's brought into focus some long-held principles about work.

Whether you have a designated office or share the space with the rest of the home, it's important that you have the right products that fit you and your home office needs.

The Small Home Office

You might not have space for a formal home office, but HON's multifunctional desks and ergonomically friendly seating are designed to fit in small spaces—and if you're cramped for space, you can stow your desk away when the work day is done.

For workers who want a productive space that can also multi-task after hours, "having a nesting table like the Between is helpful," said Evan Sanford, Category Merchandising Manager for The HON Company. "Also, the Coordinate desktop riser is great because it sits on top of an existing work surface."

Coordinate desktop risers allow you to stand or sit, offering ergonomic flexibility and comfort throughout the day. When working with a small footprint (like an apartment), it's important to utilize furniture that fits when you need the space to work, but doesn't get in the way when you need the space for something else.

The Shared-Room Home Office

As you continue exploring new workstyles in your own home, you may have found a nook that is just right. Those who are outfitting shared rooms look for style and function, and typically, they want the furniture to coordinate with their home environment (we call it "resimercial"). For a shared room, the fully-upholstered Matter chair is an excellent choice, providing comfort and a look that can blend into any space.

"When you walk into the room, you won't necessarily say 'that's an office chair,'" Sanford said. Another option in the shared-room category is the Voi work surface. Its contemporary and modern design gives off a minimalistic vibe, and it has various laminate top and paint options that fit many different aesthetics.

The Dedicated Home Office

A designated office space can be key to maximizing productivity. HON offers products for a traditional or modern office solution designed to ergonomically support you and fit the aesthetic of your home. These products are similar to what you might see in an office space.

For those with the space for a designated home office space, traditional or modern office solutions are designed to ergonomically support the workstation, and the aesthetic of the home.

"Some of our best options are the Coordinate height-adjustable tables. When we talk to people about what products they want, height adjustability is at the top of the list," Sanford said.

With the market shifting toward more workers being remote and/or working from home, a comfortable and ergonomic solution will make your home office more inviting, and you may find yourself more productive as well.

For more information, check out https://www.hon.com/industry/healthy-workplace-solutions

SOURCE: The HON Company

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