Design, Research, Well-Being
September 15, 2011
A “new” trend is emerging among workers in Silicon Valley: the standing desk. We know sitting all day is not ideal for the human body. The low physical workload and rearward rotated pelvis puts you at risk for back pain. Not to mention, excessive sitting slows your metabolism and can even negatively affect cholesterol levels.
But the truth is, standing all day isn’t any better. In fact, the high workload placed on the body while standing is equally as harmful as the inactivity in sitting.
What the body wants is movement. Alternating from sitting to standing several times throughout the day reduces the chance of back pain and improves circulation. Both are essential to productivity.
The standing desk is far from a new concept. In the 1960s, designer George Nelson developed the first stand-up, roll-top desk for the Action Office line. We continue to encourage movement in all our furniture. Everywhere and Envelop tables enable multiple height-adjustments. Paired with a work chair, you can sit, stand, and move, all of which will help you feel better and work better.
July 19, 2011
The answer depends on your perspective. Certainly, the daily distractions and interruptions we experience in the office are annoying. They can be costly, too. According to one estimate, distractions cost American businesses $650 billion annually. And a recent poll of office workers found that 53 percent said distractions affect their productivity.
Distractions affect the one commonality we all share—our minds. And in a work world increasingly focused on ideas, we need uninterrupted time to think and concentrate. But, in many ways, distractions are not only unavoidable, they’re desirable. “Fortuitous encounters”—those hallway, coffee-station, and copy-room conversations—allow people to get work done.
Then, too, there is the fact that so many of us are working together more than ever. “The collaborative nature of knowledge work involves socializing, sharing, and connecting,” says Herman Miller’s Ginny Baxter, “and that in itself can be distracting. Even so, people in today’s collaborative work environments need to be involved and accessible.” So how do you balance concentration and being connected? Some think glass walls may do the trick. We’d love to hear your ideas.
July 18, 2011
The Coffee Bar is a vibrant place for Herman Miller employees to work, relax, socialize.
Have you made a great work connection by bumping into a co-worker at the coffee pot? Or at the proverbial water cooler? Or the copy machine? Increasingly these spaces are being recognized as vital places where information is exchanged and things get done.
In education we call them “hubs,” but in the office you can think of them as community areas: places where people gather to work, relax, and socialize. They’re often close by and comfortable, natural places for people to interact.
Ours is the Coffee Bar, a centrally located casual space for us to grab a cup o’ joe, and expresses the warmth, creativity, and whimsy inherent in our organization. It’s a place to share a highlight from the previous day’s game, and a chat about a current assignment before we go on our individual ways.
When we don’t need the formality of a conference room, the Coffee Bar is a place to have a meeting. There are booths, high tables, or–Michigan weather permitting–an outdoor courtyard. Because people are always passing through, a two person meeting might morph into a three or four person meeting when we wave someone over–or they invite themselves to join.
Community areas like the Coffee Bar interest us, and Herman Miller researchers are currently studying these spaces. Share your office’s community area with us and you could win a Herman Miller work chair of your choice. Send us a photo of your company’s community area along with your name, geographic location, and thoughts on what makes it a great place to work – and we’ll register you to win.
Send submissions to: email@example.com
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