All Systems Go!
Purchasing the right work systems for an organization—or teams within an organization—isn’t exactly like picking up a gallon of milk and a dozen eggs. But with our new structure for understanding their use and application, we’d like it to be.
For decades the tried-and-true methods of selecting a system and applying it across the office landscape proved to be efficient at an organizational level. But as the world changed, that efficiency became deficient at the individual level. When Herman Miller conducted the research that led to Living Office, we found that workstations were unoccupied for 60 percent of the day. So much for efficiency (to mention nothing of attraction and retention, engagement, and happiness!). As Dilbert and Office Space made all too clear, the workstation-at-its worst (the so-called “sea of cubicles”) had become an object of almost unanimous cultural contempt—a physical presentation of the pervasive negative sentiment most of us harbor toward “faceless” organizations.
As Herman Miller worked to help customers realize their own Living Offices, it became clear that a single standardized furniture system would no longer solve all of their problems. Rather, we saw that delivering a purposeful variety of settings required a purposeful variety of furnishings—and a process for their purposeful application. At the risk of being overly deliberate, we realized that purposefulness was the missing link. Even start-up-type offices—with their beanbag chairs and foosball conference tables—while perhaps offering a refreshing alternative to the status quo, presented their own set of design clichés and practical dilemmas. Our research found that these kinds of “highly collaborative” spaces weren’t optimized for the realities of work, couldn’t scale, and, at the end of the day, were no more heavily utilized than their generic counterparts.
Taking all this into account, we reevaluated our furniture offerings using two lenses: that of Living Office, with its settings based on the specific purpose, character, and activities of each organization, group, and individual; and that of our customers, who desire a practical means of understanding what to purchase, in which quantities, for which people, and why it matters. We soon recognized that our systems furnishings fell into two distinct categories: Landscape Systems and Focused Portfolios.
Canvas Office Landscape
With its cohesive, versatile kit of parts, Canvas simplifies the creation of highly varied workplaces that can easily grow and adapt as organizations evolve. The system supports a wide range of individual and group work activities across most Living Office settings. Regardless of the configuration, Canvas delivers a refined architectonic aesthetic and the flexibility to respond to years of business and work change.
With an ideal balance of versatility and affordability, Layout Studio offers a refined, minimal aesthetic that harmonizes with a wide range of environments. Its streamlined leg- and support-beam structure allows for efficient configuration and the ability to scale from simple tables to fully outfitted workpoints. Levels of privacy and storage adjust depending on the desired application and budget. These thoughtful details and options contribute to an environment where employees feel valued and supported at every level.
Public Office Landscape
Public Office Landscape is founded on the ideas of social connection and collaboration, and the value they create. This is enabled by a high-performance Social Chair that serves as the foundation of individual and group settings. The design of Public is informal and contemporary—ideal for entrepreneurial, growing businesses, or any organization that seeks the vibrancy of such a culture.
We at Herman Miller recognized that even the most adaptable system was failing certain individuals and groups of people doing specific work—more often than not, the highly creative and innovative work that helps create value for an organization. Our Focused Portfolios were designed to meet these unique and divergent needs. With Living Office, Herman Miller offers a more nuanced view of the activities that constitute collaboration, and the resulting systems have been specifically designed to support the needs of people engaged in those activities. Want to create the ideal working neighborhood for a project team? To support coders working in pairs? To give individuals ultimate control of their space? We have Focused Portfolios that express the unique purposes, characters, and activities of people doing specific tasks and can help them progress toward their goals.
Work processes and tools have changed dramatically over the last decade, but the majority of group spaces intended to promote those activities and utilize those tools have not. Exclave holistically addresses the problems that constrain collaboration and inhibit knowledge sharing to create environments that support people and keep ideas moving forward.
Designed based on research into the unique working habits of high-performance teams, Locale helps deliver the creativity and innovation that leading executives deem critical to their organizations’ success. It enables the creation of unique neighborhoods of work that define a team and culture, let people move fluidly between activities, and support social connection and individual focus. Locale is an invaluable tool for an organization’s most valuable workers.
Like an open-source operating system, Metaform offers a platform to create hyper-flexible, highly customizable, individually controllable settings for work. It is designed to support individuals and groups who benefit from this on-demand versatility. These are agile teams who frequently adapt their size, structure, or working processes to meet the needs of the tasks at hand—characteristics that are embodied in the system itself.
With a space-efficient 120-degree angle at the core of its design, Resolve supports the creation of densely populated group settings that nonetheless feel humane and livable. This angle is also consistent with the natural size, reach, and movements of people—aiding productivity by putting all necessary tools and technology within arm’s reach. Resolve offers an ideal balance of privacy and focus with openness and connection.
Renew Link helps create high-density environments for workers whose tasks often require extended periods of focus. This height-adjustable system offers the greatest postural flexibility and ergonomic support in its category, with subtle considerations that enhance concentration and contribute to an individual’s feeling of support.