Category Archives: Q&A

Sustainability: What Are Sustainable Workplace Solutions And How Can You Make A Direct Impact?

Sustainable Workplace Solutions

Q&A: Sustainable Workplace Solutions with Neill Malone

 

Is your office using sustainable workplace solutions? Have you switched from paper to electronic? These are questions that people hear more and more lately, but one thing that often isn’t considered is the furniture in your office. What do you do with it when you want to upgrade? Is there a way to get rid of that office furniture in an environmentally friendly manner? Are you considering a company that focuses on sustainability when it’s time to get new office furniture?

Neill Malone, New Business Development team member at Office Revolution, discusses the sustainable workplace solutions of Office Revolution, how sustainability is incorporated into projects, and the shift in environmental best practices and how he sees that process progressing in the years to come.

 

What sustainable workplace solutions does Office Revolution implement?

Office Revolution does all invoicing electronically to cut down on paper usage, and we have eliminated water bottles in the offices and the company subsidizes Divvy memberships. We strongly encourage the use of public transportation, as cars and trucks are damaging the quality of our air every day. It is our goal to be as green as possible. We partner with companies that keep the environment in the front of their minds because it is possible to make a strong impact, and though sometimes it may cost more, we firmly believe protecting the environment is worth it.

Office Revolution sustainable efforts in the workplace

Office Revolution’s entry way

 

How do you incorporate sustainable workspace solutions when working on new projects with clients?

We try to put this at the forefront of our client’s minds. To do this, we work with manufacturers that utilize environmentally friendly manufacturing processes. We are proud to be the premier Teknion dealer in Chicago. Their priorities as a manufacturer are to minimize the environmental impact of our activities and to provide educational outreach to advance sustainability for our industry. This lines up directly with our goals at Office Revolution. Other companies we often work with that are always conscious of their sustainable efforts are Humanscale, National, Nienkamper, SitOnIt, Allermuir, and countless others.

By utilizing environmentally friendly manufacturing processes, we help reduce the overall carbon footprint we have on a project. We always look for opportunities to save on energy as well. Whether that be capitalizing on an opportunity to use natural lighting or to swap out certain bulbs for energy saving bulbs, we’re always keeping energy in mind.

 

Have you noticed a shift in the furniture industry towards more awareness of being environmentally friendly and conscious of sustainable solutions?

I have noticed this has become expected rather than a bragging point for manufacturers. A decade ago it used to be a standard question on all RFP responses. Now that manufacturers have paid more attention to the environmental impact of their manufacturing, it has become expected.

Companies are willing to spend more in order to have a more positive impact on the environment. There is always a way to lower your carbon footprint, whether at a personal or company level. As I mentioned earlier, we take great pride in working with companies that value sustainability in the workplace as much as we do. It is our goal to have the smallest carbon footprint that we can.

 

What simple, sustainable workplace solutions can an office worker, or an office as a whole, use in order to reduce their environmental impact?

Everyone could print less and recycle more. Even offices that consider themselves paperless could still benefit from a new push to recycle more. Don’t forget, you can recycle more than just paper and plastics. “The EPA reported 9.8 million tons of furniture waste in 2011, and our goal is to help decrease that number year after year.1

Natural lighting is something that can be taken advantage of as well. I understand that not every office space has floor to ceiling windows. However, exposure to natural light affects your immune system, sleep cycle, and studies have linked lack of sunlight to depression. We always look to capitalize on natural lighting opportunities. The LEED certification system doesn’t spend much time on lighting. There are several things you can do to save on energy when it comes to your lighting. You can change your bulbs to energy saving bulbs to have an instant impact. You can also get lighting that’s motion sensitive so energy is not being wasted when no one is around2.

 

What happens to office furniture when a client no longer needs it, and what does the end of life process look like for furniture?

At Office Revolution, we are fortunate enough to have a great partner in Rework. We utilize their recycling and responsible disposal methods to cut down on landfill waste. I truly believe this helps us differentiate ourselves as we continue to do more for the environment. Rework is a business built on sustainability, and their creative ingenuity helps reimagine workplaces. Since 1993 Rework has been repurposing, refurbishing and refreshing office furniture and “Greening-Up” workplaces all across the country.

Rework Sustainable Office Practices and 5 rules of sustainability

 

How would you like to see this process of removing and recycling furniture change/adapt over the next several years?

I think we have made great progress where sustainable and responsible manufacturing has become the norm. However, we can still cut down on landfill waste. Sustainable packaging will make a great impact as manufacturers can get away from using an abundance of cardboard.

Approximately 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the U.S. Americans use 85,000,000 tons of paper a year — about 680 pounds per person. The average household throws away 13,000 separate pieces of paper each year. Most of it is packaging and junk mail 3. There is always more that we can be doing.

 

Choosing sustainable, forward thinking manufacturers, and efficient, energy saving lighting, and even taking advantage of opportunities to use natural lighting can all make a big difference when it comes to your sustainable efforts. Encouraging public transportation instead of driving, choosing your materials wisely, and recycling whenever possible can greatly reduce your carbon footprint.

When combining and implementing these efforts on a company level, the sky is truly the limit. We can all learn from each other and help our environment in a time where it needs our help most.

 

 

1 “EPA Reports 9.8 Million Tons Per Year in Furniture Waste,” Joanna, Planetsave blog, May 5th, 2011

2 “GREEN BUILDING 101: Indoor Environmental Quality—Clean Air and Comfort for Homes and Office Spaces,” Evangeline, inhabitat blog, May 22nd, 2014

3 “Recycling Cardboard: A Never Ending Task,” Margaret Kemp, Wolf Point News, August 28th, 2013

How Does Office Space Impact Productivity? – Q&A With Office Revolution’s Mattei Britten

Mattei Britten Q&A Office Space Productivity

Mattei Britten- Project Manager & Designer

Typically, the first thing that you notice when you walk into an office is the amount of space it takes up. It may even be subconscious, but you become aware of the amount of physical space. It’s easy to trick yourself into thinking a space is enormous, or even tiny, and that has a lot to do with the furniture.

Open layouts that tend to encourage collaboration, movement, and casual meetings tend to give off a more relaxed vibe, while spaces that still use cubicles or even older workstations will often feel cramped and can even create anxiety. Every space has pros and cons. However, the topic we’re focusing on today is productivity. Mattei Britten, Project Manager & Designer at Office Revolution, lends her thoughts as to how office spaces impact productivity and how it can affect workplace relations.

 

What qualities/characteristics of an office space cause it to encourage and promote productivity and creativity?

An open office encourages employees to get up and move around. This leads to a higher likelihood of impromptu meetings, which can generate conversations that result in creative solutions. All of the smaller meeting spaces, common areas, and break out spaces encourage collaboration. The more heads you put together the better/more creative the solution.

 

How do older, closed-style offices compare to the new open concept offices in terms of productivity?

Older style offices seemed to encourage heads down work, sitting in a cubicle all day. You had to be at your desk in order to get your work done. In today’s offices, there are so many more opportunities to work not only at your desk but from almost anywhere. Work seems like less of a chore when you can answer emails from a building lobby, or rooftop, and is actually resulting in employees working MORE than in the older style office.

 

How can an office space encourage/discourage employee relations?

If you’re in an office where everyone sits in their own cubicle, and/or private office, you aren’t as inclined to collaborate because the environment itself feels more restrictive. In an open office, there is more of a sense of “we’re all in this together,” and that feeling, to me, sparks friendships and creates a camaraderie among co-workers. This tends to lead to a higher morale and overall happier vibes in the office. 

 

What type of space do you find to be most productive?

I personally get the most done when it’s quiet, but with a bit of background noise. 

 

Is there a solution you really enjoy for providing both a collaborative space, but at the same time offering employees a place to work independently?

I think that booth or high back lounge seating gives you the best of both worlds. If you need to move from your desk to focus, this is a type of furniture that can offer privacy. Simultaneously, if you need to have a quick meeting, it is more informal than reserving a conference room and offers up a space for quick collaboration.

 

Are there certain office products you really like that help increase productivity?

Of all the products out there, a height adjustable desk is probably my favorite. We (as humans) aren’t meant to sit in one position all day. A sit-to-stand desk allows me to feel more alert throughout the day without resorting to that 3pm cup of coffee.  

 

Ergonomics In The Workplace – Q&A With Office Revolution’s Ken Ayers

Ken Ayers Office Revolution Q&A Ergonomic Products

Ergonomic products in the office are not just a trend. They are making work environments healthier, increasing productivity and efficiency, and raising happiness levels in employees. Ken Ayers, Corporate Account Manager at Office Revolution, shares his experiences and thoughts about ergonomic products in the workplace and how they can have a positive impact on your work culture.

 

Why are ergonomic products important to you?

Proper ergonomic support is critical for an individual’s health and comfort.  Working long term in improper positions can cause long-term health issues. I think it’s great that employers have been realizing this lately and are incorporating these products into their own spaces.

 

How do you think ergonomic products impact employee health?

As I have aged and experienced changes in my body and vision, I have recognized the importance of adjustability to comfortably and safely work for long periods of time without short-term discomfort, and long-term injury. Products and tools that help promote a healthy office environment can make a big difference in the office and even increase overall office morale.

 

What are some simple everyday things people can do to be healthier at the office?

I would highly recommend standing for periods of time throughout the day. Changing positions every 30 – 45 minutes when possible keeps me more engaged. In addition to changing positions frequently, I also take the time to walk and stretch throughout the day.

 

After using ergonomic products, how hard do you find it to go back to a product that doesn’t offer the same features and health benefits?

When working out of the office or at my home office, I miss the comfort and efficiency of having dual monitor arms. My sit-to-stand desk is something I take advantage of daily. It allows me to quickly change positions, which helps increase blood flow. I would also find it very difficult to work without monitor and keyboard adjustability.

 

What is your favorite ergonomic product and why?

My sit-to-stand desk offering me the opportunity to change my work position throughout the day. I use it daily, and it greatly increases my productivity.