WDM Newsletter – November/December 2016

November 21, 2016

This article was originally emailed as our monthly Workplace Design & Management newsletter at 11:00 on 17/11/2016. You can view older newsletters here and register to receive them monthly.

ORGATEC 2016
New Visions of Work

wdmheader2016-11I have attended every biennial Orgatec since 1994 and the most obvious difference between then and now is how much smaller the exhibition has become. Conspicuously, the fact that only 8 halls were in use meant that the piazza and some of the central boulevard were closed. As a result, walking from the South to North Entrances involved some rather circuitous routes through halls, reminding me of Las Vegas casino design. My visit this year was somewhat disrupted by a cancelled flight and resultant delay arriving. However, with dogged determination, I managed to visit all 8 halls, covering about 35,000 steps and nearly 24 km according to my FitBit! My thoughts and observations are summarised here.

HÅG SoFi MESH
Latest family member

sofi_meshIncorporating the proven HÅG Balanced Movement MechanismTM, the SoFi chair range is well established. Recent research at the Karolinska Institutet has demonstrated that users of the SoFi can outperform the body movement of both those sitting in traditional office chairs and even those standing at their desk. The SoFi Mesh chair is a logical and successful addition to the portfolio, demonstrating contemporary aesthetics for the design-led office without compromising all the key features and ergonomics of the existing range. Contact us for a demonstration.

ADVERTISING IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR
Extending the brand message

advertising_public_sectorVolume 23.6 of Government Business magazine includes an article by BIFM about the current outlook for the FM industry (pages 19-23). We saw this as an ideal opportunity to reflect our growing activities beyond the traditional furniture sector in key areas such as wellbeing and training (page 22 of the article or here).

CLERKENWELL SHOWROOMS
Growing portfolio of partner premises

clerkenwell2Our key partners have showrooms in Clerkenwell and this gives us the perfect opportunity to demonstrate a broad range of concepts and designs within a small geographical area. Conversations are often more about how people work than about specific products. As a result, clients always leave with new ideas. Whether you have specific needs in mind or you are just looking for inspiration, we are happy to show you around. Contact us for further information.


Orgatec 2016

November 17, 2016

orgatec_2016_entranceI have attended every biennial Orgatec since 1994 and the most obvious difference between then and now is how much smaller the exhibition has become. Conspicuously, the fact that only 8 halls were in use meant that the Piazza and parts of the Central Boulevard were closed. As a result, walking between the South and North Entrances involved some rather circuitous routes through halls, reminding me of Las Vegas casino design.

Despite the size reduction, there was still more than a million square feet of exhibition space and more than 600 organisations displaying their wares. My visit this year was somewhat disrupted by a cancelled flight and resultant delay. However, with dogged determination, I managed to visit all 8 halls, covering about 35,000 steps or nearly 24 km according to my FitBit! This article is therefore my own view of what I saw and makes no attempt to provide a comprehensive review of the entire event.

img_6268Sit-stand continues to be a topical issue in the UK but exhibitors i Cologne fell into very distinct categories: European office furniture manufacturers now treat sit-stand as ‘business as usual’ so sit-stand variants were displayed alongside more traditional seated-height options. By contrast, frame manufacturers, especially the substantial number of exhibitors from the Far East, displayed all the variants of their frame designs without tops, focussing on function rather than appearance. Interestingly, neither of these approaches recognises the culture change issues surrounding sit-stand or the need to manage their introduction with a Change Management approach rather than a simple case of desk replacement.

img_6290A wide variety of perching stools also reflected the interest in sit-stand desks. As well as the established specialists like the Aeris Muvman and Hag Capisco, there were many cheap copies and a variety of saddle stools. Again, the majority were displayed simply as products. Only a very small number came with a story.

Some manufacturers of seating and desks are starting to introduce apps and electronic tools to encourage movement. However, most of these look like an afterthought, many are just branded versions of someone else’s software and I think it still seems sensible to look to third parties for good furniture/app integration.

img_6276Moving away from workstation furniture, designs for soft seating and other breakout areas were well represented but most ideas here seem to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. A key factor is the integration of acoustic benefits into the larger pieces. The importance of reducing noise distraction to improve productivity is now well recognised and many manufacturers reference this. One of the more interesting concepts was the Team Up Study which offered easily movable breakout seating with magnetically  linking side panels.

img_6280Also in evidence were many examples of multi-function chairs. Commonly, these are based around a single seat and back moulding with multiple leg and upholstery options. This creates a single family that suits breakout, canteen, training, breakfast bar, meeting room and other applications.

On the accessories front, fully configurable monitor arms to provide instant adjustment for two large monitors in an elegant manner are now widely available and a handful of monitor arm manufacturers also offer some sort of IT integration in the form of a multi-adaptor hub built around the arm mounting.

If you need to improve acoustics, retro-fit pads are available in every conceivable shape and size. The days of concealing such products are long gone and the common approach now is to make the acoustic provision into a design feature in its own right.

img_6294-1Continuing the acoustics theme, pod manufacturers continue to explore the ‘office within the office’ concept with units varying from single telephone boxes to pop-up boardrooms. This office-meets-study-meets-garden-shed concept particularly appealed to me as a short-term breakout area.

In summary, therefore, I found nothing revolutionary and some of my favourite items lacked practicality for everyday use. However, the world’s furniture manufacturers continue to evolve their designs to meet the rapidly changing needs of today’s market.

 

For more pictures, visit our Pinterest page.

 


Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin November 2016

November 11, 2016

This article was originally emailed as our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 09/11/2016. You can view older eBulletins here and register to receive them monthly.

INTEGRATING STANDARD & BESPOKE SEATING:

headerimage11-2016Providing bespoke chairs for individuals with musculoskeletal problems continues to be a core part of our business but, as our larger scale project business evolves, we have been working with clients for greater integration of standard and bespoke offerings. This is particularly important when budgets are constrained.
One key way of approaching this is with our Capsule Collection (CC) approach. Put simply, a CC includes a small, medium and large model of one chair using three different backs and three different seats. Crucially, these elements are all interchangeable. This creates the potential for nine different variants, all at the same price and all with independent seat and back adjustability, inflatable lumbar support and seat slide as standard.
Add a few key optional extras such as neckrest, coccyx cutout and a choice of armrests and the CC portfolio offers a wide mix of rapidly deployed, quick-fix solutions which will address a high proportion of individual needs. Inevitably, there will always be personnel who are outside the dimensional norms or have more complex requirements and, for these cases, it is easy to implement an escalation process to accommodate them (we have been doing that for over 20 years!).
Choosing one or more models of such a CC as your principal operator chair simplifies procurement and provides an even more cost-effective capability because standard chairs can be modified on site by swapping seat or back pads or adding an option. This methodology has proved particularly popular in the public sector.
Contact us for more information.

OUR SYSTEMS VALIDATED:

iso_iipOctober was a busy month for system reviews. Both our ISO9001/14001 Integrated Management System and our Investors in People Gold status were due for two-day inspections and renewal. The ISO IMS was renewed without any non-conformances, or even any advisories, and the IiP inspection scored us even higher than 3 years ago (as we hoped!). For us, these are not just ‘plaques on the wall’ but external validation of our organisational DNA, reflecting the hard work and commitment of our excellent team.

NEW OCCUFIT CATALOGUE:

new_occufitOur portfolio of medical, healthcare and industrial seating products has been extended significantly in recent months and our new PDF catalogue can now be downloaded here. It shows all the variants of key models – more than 170 in total – and includes answers to many of the most common questions such as key dimensional data, upholstery options and warranty information.

ORGATEC:

orgatec_visitMy Orgatec visit this year was somewhat disrupted by a cancelled flight and resultant delay on the way out. However, I did get round all the halls with more than 32,000 steps recorded on my FitBit! Sit-stand furniture is now (finally) mainstream and only the Chinese frame manufacturers were really making it an issue. Of our existing supply partners, the Sofi Mesh chair was the most significant new introduction. I shall blog a more comprehensive report after my holiday.


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