Renew Link

A new level of individual choice for shared work environments
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Renew Link

Product Story

Renew Link delivers everything organizations like about benching systems (specifically, their high density), while addressing many of the things workers would like to change about them (low privacy and high distraction). And by accommodating both sitting and standing working postures, it brings a new level of individual choice to shared work environments.

Renew Link

Making Benching Better

Some companies are choosing to condense their real estate footprint, to control costs and reap the benefits of collaboration. With the grid layout of traditional benching, however, their people often find themselves seated directly across from each other. Eye contact, while seemingly an innocent distraction, has serious cognitive costs; estimates of the average time it takes to get back into the flow of work after a disruption range as high as 25 minutes. Addressing these distractions to make benching better is the idea behind Renew Link.

Renew Link

Human-Centered Design

Renew Link reduces distractions by shifting the shape of the work surfaces to an angled pattern. This offsets the seated (or standing) orientation of people working close to one another and creates individual comfort zones that feel generous and private. Individuals are turned at a shallow angle so they have open sight lines for concentrating on their work; turning slightly allows them to check in with colleagues nearby. They can choose to orient their attention while varying their postures naturally.

Flexible Working Postures

Renew Link’s intuitive adjustments promote movement at work, which ergonomists agree counteracts the negative health effects of staying in any one posture for too long. A soft, paddle-shaped switch moves up to raise the table and down to lower it—an idea so sensible people can use it without looking or even thinking about it.

An open underside allows room to move. Power, cables, and cords travel neatly through a central spine and trough underneath the work surface so they’re easily accessible but out of sight for a visually quiet aesthetic.

Design Story

In designing Renew Link, Brian Alexander was acutely aware that some organizations are choosing to condense their real estate footprint. They’re doing so as much to control costs as to foster collaboration: putting everyone at a bench setup means someone has simply to turn left or right to converse with a coworker. Alexander knew there was great merit to this thinking. His challenge was to bring a new level of individual choice to these shared work environments.

A studious observer of human behavior, especially in the workplace, Alexander noted that, “High density and low privacy can lead to high distraction and low performance. Working in close proximity increases the odds of people being distracted by sound, movement, or simply by feeling the presence of others nearby.” Addressing these distractions to make benching better is the idea behind Renew Link.

By staggering the work surfaces at a shallow angle, Alexander dramatically reduced one of the biggest sources of distraction: looking up from one’s work and being met by the gaze of a coworker directly across the bench. Yet, the proximity that promotes interaction remains. A straightforward yet very insightful accommodation results from Alexander’s human-centered approach to design. “Giving people a new level of individual choice in shared work environments,” he says, “shows respect for the contributions they make to an organization by helping them to be as comfortable and productive as possible.”