Posts tagged adjustable height
Innovant Case Study: Private Investment Management Firm
image

THE CHALLENGE
In 2014, a private investment management firm sought out a new workstation standard for its New York City headquarters. Despite recent workplace trends shifting towards primarily open plan offices, the client wanted a significant portion of its staff to retain private offices. With these parameters in place, the design firm proposed a work wall solution for private offices measuring 9’x12’. Efficiently sized, these offices required furniture with reduced footprints and untraditional dimensions.

THE INNOVANT SOLUTION
Through a unique development process, the client gained direct access to Innovant’s team. This enabled Innovant to match the client’s original scheme with a cost-effective solution. Designed in partnership with architecture firm Shelton, Mindel & Associates, Inc., in association with A+I, Innovant crafted a PRIVATE_office product with cantilevered, adjustable height desks integrated directly into self-supporting workwalls.

image

In addition to these streamlined private offices, Innovant installed over 140 adjustable height FORm_office positions and constructed over 170 millwork pieces. These pieces included benches, tack boards and conference room workwalls with Day-2 capabilities for integrating adjustable height desking.  

THE RESULT
Innovant created a one of a kind product by tailoring existing private office casegoods to incorporate cantilevered adjustable desks. Having applied mass production knowledge to all of the bespoke elements, Innovant also delivered the best price.

Photograph: Michael Moran/OTTO

Innovant Announces New Partnership with Architype

Innovant, a leading manufacturer of innovative benching products, conferencing solutions and other contract office furniture, has formed a partnership with Architype, a highly respected manufacturer’s rep firm based in Los Angeles.

Since 1991, Architype has been a trusted resource for architects, designers, general contractors and developers. Offering in-depth technical and design knowledge to the A&D community across Southern California and Nevada, Architype represents some of the industry’s leading manufacturers of furniture, lighting and other architectural products. Now, Innovant joins the ranks of these esteemed makers.

“For Innovant to successfully bring our unique, tailored product design process to the Southern California market, we needed an experienced partner to effectively communicate our message to the design community. Jean-Guy Poitras and Joe Fitzpatrick of Architype are just the kind of experienced and connected professionals we were hoping to join forces with,” explains Bruce Wells, Director of Marketing & Development at Innovant.

With principal backgrounds in both engineering and architecture, coupled with deep passions for design, Architype has long served as a trusted A&D community partner offering education, insight and technical expertise. As a representative to manufacturers of premier A&D products across furniture and case goods, solar control and shading solutions, lighting, glass wall and store front systems, ceiling and wall systems, as well as custom architectural and design manufacturing services, Architype strives to demystify complexities and translate project goals and design objectives into tailored, deliverable solutions across a range of design environments. Architype proudly represents industry leaders that include Innovant, Arktura, Halcon, Kartell, MechoSystems, Moroso and Muraflex.

Innovant’s NIGEL Desking, FORm_office benching and FORm_AV video conference products will be prominently displayed at Architype’s showroom in downtown Los Angeles. The showroom is located in Suite 801 of The Collection Building, 527 W. 7th Street. Innovant’s furniture is available for viewing by appointment.

For more information about Innovant or its products, please visit http://www.innovant.com or http://www.architype.net/#!innovant/c2ri.

Innovant Case Study: Biopharmaceutical Company
imageTHE CHALLENGE

With the joint venture of two pharmaceutical firms came the challenge of merging two distinct cultures, brands and office environments – one European, one American. Thus, the focus for the companies’ new office design was to create a fresh, contemporary and singular workplace signature.  Adjustable height desks were specified from the onset as the European partner already used similar products. This decision was also motivated by the influx of firms choosing to improve their desk and staff performance with height adjustability. The challenge, then, was to find office furniture of a high enough caliber for companies that rely on cutting-edge technology for their work.

THE INNOVANT SOLUTION

Innovant’s product was evaluated in a formal review process against Steelcase. With its superior performance and quality, FORm_office Adjustable Height was selected as the companies’ new national workstation standard. Every employee was instantly granted improved ergonomics with a well-designed desk for sitting, as well as the opportunity to stand at the simple push of a button.

imageMeasuring 78 inches wide, the large scale desks offer plenty of workspace. Configured in short rows separated by wide aisles, the benching clusters create a pleasant, open experience. Low-level, but deep storage elements offer plenty of room for stowing items and help to delineate personal space for the end users.  These cushion-topped storage elements were injected with brand personality using a variety of colored fabrics grouped by segments around the office floor. Side dividers finished with whiteboard material function as both writing surfaces and privacy elements. All of these details and product features have helped render this workplace a “state-of-the-art facility.”

THE RESULT

Though it is not always easy for a client to achieve its complete furniture wishlist when adopting a new workplace strategy, these pharmaceutical companies found in Innovant and the FORm_office product a solution to meet all their objectives. Not only is IT pleased with the furniture’s performance, but the end users also enjoy their workspaces and the facilities staff feels that the new environment has helped in the merger of two very different firms. Initially deployed in the Fort Washington office, FORm_office Adjustable Height has also been installed in Tampa with an expansion to follow.

tumblr_nezzlcwV4K1qlzgnxo1_1280.jpg
tumblr_nezzlcwV4K1qlzgnxo2_1280.jpg
tumblr_nezzlcwV4K1qlzgnxo3_1280.jpg
tumblr_nezzlcwV4K1qlzgnxo4_1280.jpg
tumblr_nezzlcwV4K1qlzgnxo6_1280.jpg
tumblr_nezzlcwV4K1qlzgnxo5_1280.jpg

I Think, Ergo I Stand

By Bara Vaida

imageEvery week, ergonomics expert July Landis walks into offices and observes workers slouching in their chairs and leaning over keyboards with hunched shoulders. Some are straining their necks to view too-high computer monitors and others are awkwardly twisting their bodies to grab their phone or read documents.

She sees recipes for pain.

“There are all kinds of ways that people, without realizing it, are doing things to injure themselves at work,” says Landis, president and CEO of Ergo Concepts, a suburban Germantown, Maryland ergonomics consulting firm hired by large and small companies to create pain-free office environments.

Every year, about 1 million people strain their necks, hurt their backs or sprain their wrists so badly that they need serious medical attention and can’t return to work for days, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That lost work time and the medical costs relating to treating disabling workplace injuries cost U.S. businesses more than $20 billion in 2011, according to a 2013 report by Liberty Mutual Insurance, a Boston-based company that analyzes federal ergonomics data to create its national Workplace Safety Index.

Further, new research shows that the amount of time people spend sitting is causing injury to their health. Adults who sit for more than four hours a day, compared with those who sit for just two hours, have a 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause and a 125 percent increased risk of health problems related to cardiovascular disease, says James Levine, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic.

“Sitting is the new smoking,” says Landis.

Whiles some smaller companies and single-individual-run businesses may feel they don’t have the money or time for ergonomics, there are quantifiable savings, says Bruce Lyon, director of risk control at the Hays Companies, an employee-benefits brokerage firm based in Kansas City, Missouri. For every $1 that a company spends on workplace safety, its return on investment is about $4 to $6, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates.

“Employers and employees often don’t think of sitting as dangerous,” says Lyon. “But if you are static and sitting in an incorrect posture for an extended period, that constricts blood flow. Eventually, the restriction causes soft tissue damage, and for some it can be debilitating.”

To prevent injuries, Landis, a physical therapist by training, and her staff help companies purchase ergonomically correct office equipment and provide evaluation and training to employees. They teach how body positions and daily work activities can lead to the development of chronic pain.

“There is no one-size-fits-all method of pieces of equipment,” says Landis, whose company has consultants in 45 U.S. cities. “You have to evaluate each person’s height, weight and body type, whether they are right- or left-handed, the amount of time they are sitting in front of a computer, and then, through a collaborative discussion, tailor a solution to that person.”

Consistent themes do arise. For example, in a recent evaluation visit to the American Institutes for Research (AIR) in Washington, D.C., Landis worked with Sohni Anand and Chris Graham. Anand suffered from chronic, tingling neck pain, while Graham had occasional lower back pain. After talking and watching while they worked, Landis spotted the problems: incorrectly positioned chairs, computer monitors, keyboards and feet. She gave both AIR employees lessons on using and positioning their equipment, and then offered advices on ways to stay active during the day.

A half hour after Landis had made the fixes, Anand said, “I already feel better.”

Originally published in the Costco Connection, August 2014.

How to Help Counteract the Negative Effects of Sitting All Day

imageTo help track and engage in the daily activity that can limit the negative effects of sitting, start by finding your daily baseline with a pedometer. Whether with a pedometer, Fitbit, or even a phone app, take a 30-minute walk and see how many steps you take. This number will vary based on how quickly you walk and how large your steps are.

Next, you want to find a baseline of your daily activity. Start using the pedometer when you first wake up in the morning and keep it in your pocket, on your wrist, or running on your phone until you go to bed. This will give you an estimate of your regular daily activity. For some, this may be frighteningly low on the days without purposeful exercise.

To help meet your daily activity target, all it takes is a slight alteration to your behavior. Here are a few ideas for how to do it without really trying:

  • Park near the back of the parking lot.
  • Stand up to visit the file cabinet instead of rolling your chair.
  • Walk over and talk to a coworker instead of emailing them.
  • Take the scenic route to the bathroom instead of the most direct.

Meeting your target activity level is just the first step. The second is much simpler and only requires you stand up now and again.

You can reduce the negative effects of sitting all day just by standing up for one or two minutes every hour. Technically, you don’t even have to move, the act of standing alone helps. Since this may be difficult to remember while focused on your work, so it helps to set an hourly reminder. For Mac users, click Settings > Date & Time > Announce the time. Windows users can set up a similar hourly reminder as a task by clicking Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Task Scheduler.

If the alarm isn’t enough, you can download dedicated software to remind you. Windows users can use free programs like, Workrave or Breaker to set up automated alerts. For Macs, Time Out seems the best free option. These programs will remind you to stand and dim the desktop to force you out of your chair.

It’s up to you how you use these micro-breaks. You don’t even have to move if you don’t want to, but if you want to squeeze in a little activity, here’s a quick way to do it without leaving your desk area:

  • Stand up.
  • March in place for twenty seconds.
  • Reach down and try to touch your toes for twenty seconds.
  • Wander around and pick up or reorganize for the last twenty seconds (eventually your desk area may even be clean).

Remember: stand up once an hour and get at least 30 minutes of purposeful activity in a day. Those two simple choices will help counteract the negative effects of sitting.

Originally published on Lifehacker, January 26, 2012.

How Sitting All Day Is Damaging Your Body & How You Can Counteract It

If you sit in an office chair or on your couch for more than six hours a day, then here are some disturbing facts: Your risk of heart disease has increased by up to 64 percent. You’re shaving off seven years of quality life. You’re also more at risk for certain types of cancer. Simply put, sitting is killing you. That’s the bad news. The good news: It’s easy to counteract.

Our bodies were simply not meant to sit all day. Sitting for long periods of time, even with exercise, has a negative effect on our health. What’s worse, many of us sit up to 15 hours a day, which means that some of us spend the bulk of our waking moments on the couch, in an office chair, or in a car. Though sitting all day isn’t hard to counteract, you have to keep your eye on two details: your daily activity and the amount of time you sit.

It is difficult to get an accurate assessment of what sitting all day will do to a person because of the various factors (like diet) that affect health. However, based on a relatively healthy person (who does not drink in excess, smoke, and who isn’t overweight) the following estimates are reflective of what sitting for over six hours a day can do to the body.

1. Immediately after sitting the electrical activity in your muscles slows down and your calorie-burning rate drops to one calorie per minute. This is about a third of what it does if you’re walking. If you sit for a full 24-hour period, you experience a 40 percent reduction in glucose uptake in insulin, which can eventually cause type 2 diabetes.

2. After a few days of sitting for more than six hours a day, your body increases plasma triglycerides (fatty molecules), LDL cholesterol (aka bad cholesterol), and insulin resistance. With a sedentary lifestyle, your muscles aren’t taking in fat and your blood sugar levels go up, putting you at risk for weight gain. After just two weeks your muscles start to atrophy and your maximum oxygen consumption drops. This makes stairs harder to climb and walks harder to take. Even if you were working out every day the deterioration starts the second you stop moving.

3. After one year of sitting more than six hours a day, the longer term effects of sitting can start to manifest subtly. According to this study by Nature, you might start to experience weight gain and high cholesterol. Studies in woman suggest you can lose up to 1 percent of bone mass a year by sitting for over six hours a day.

4. After 10-20 years of sitting more than six hours a day, you can cut away about seven quality adjusted life years (the kind you want). It increases your risk of dying of heart disease by 64 percent and your overall risk of prostate or breast cancer increases 30 percent.

Though this list looks incredibly grim, there are two simple actions which can be performed to counteract the negative effects of sitting for extended periods of time:

1. Remember to stand once an hour.
2. Get about 30 minutes of activity per day.

Whether you’re a couch potato watching hours of TV at a time, or an office worker sitting in front of a computer, an Australian study suggests short breaks from sitting once an hour can alleviate most of the problems described above. This isn’t about working out (which is positive, but doesn’t completely counteract the effects of long periods of sitting alone). It’s about creating pockets of moderate activity throughout the day and giving your body a respite from sitting. Moderate activity is equivalent to a brisk walk, which would include yard work or cleaning your house — anything that gets you moving counts. Whether taken in a single 30 minute chunk or broken up throughout the day (in the recommended 10 minute intervals), these bursts of activity can help build up endurance and alleviate the strain of sitting.

Please check back for specific tips to help track and engage in the daily activity that can curb the damage of sitting.

Content originally published on Lifehacker, January 26, 2012.

Standing up for Productivity, Comfort and Health

imageImage: News 13

As discussed in a previous post on the history of standing desks, the old practice of working at a standing height desk has begun making its way back in vogue. Though much of today’s conversations have focused on the application of desks for standing in the workplace, a buzz has begun around applications in educational settings.

A Florida school has adopted the standing desk trend by deploying adjustable height desks on castors in Melissa Irving’s fourth grade classroom. This furniture decision was motivated by the same reasons for standing in the workplace: productivity, comfort and health.

Sitting for hours in the classroom or office is completely counterproductive to learning and working. One of the many hazards of sitting for extended periods of time is the negative effect on the brain. When people are sedentary for a long time, everything slows, including brain function. On the other hand, moving muscles pumps fresh blood and oxygen through the brain, which triggers the release of both brain- and mood-enhancing chemicals. These chemical contribute to a person’s productivity and creativity. 

Ms. Irving has “seen a marked change in her students ever since the desks made their [classroom] debut.” Not only have students begun to feel more alert and involved in class, but they have also experienced a new level of comfort. Students who now have the option to sit or stand no longer struggle to stay still at their desks. The same goes for people in the workplace who now have a range of options for finding a comfortable way to work.

Remember this the next time you struggle to find focus or comfort while working. Take a stand.

It's About Time You Get a Standing Desk

imageThe latest issue of the New York Times Sunday Magazine provides a brief chronicle of the history of standing desks. In the article, standing desks are introduced as “nothing new. Nor is their use as therapeutics.”

Though the increasing mounds of data compiled in recent studies “warn that time spent sitting correlates with heart disease and early death,” it appears that these health concerns go back centuries.

According to Presbyterian minister Job Orton, “a sedentary life may be injurious. It must therefore be your resolute care to keep your body as upright as possible when you read and write; never stoop your head nor bend your breast. To prevent this, you should get a standing desk.” If Orton’s language sounds dated to you, that’s because it is. He made these comments 217 years ago in 1797.

In 1836, American minister and professor of rhetoric Ebenezer Porter also joined Orton’s pro-standing desk team, arguing that “the standing desk was a good remedy for ‘those who have the animal vigor to sustain the exhaustion it occasions.'” Even earlier, Swiss physician Samuel-Auguste Tissot outlined some of the ailments brought on by too much sitting: "Deskbound intellectuals, he wrote, suffered from poor circulation and engorgement of their innards. Bad posture and lack of exercise made them susceptible to dropsy and hemorrhoids.”

According to the article, “office life in the 19th century involved much less sitting than it does today.” In fact, before the advent of such technological devices as the typewriter and computer, most professionals “practice[d] penmanship on their feet… at standing desks.” Even once these writing aids became popularized, people founds ways to work while standing, like Ernest Hemingway who propped up his typewriter on a bookcase “even though he had a 'perfectly suitable desk in the other alcove.’”

It’s time we take these old practices to heart and find more ways to get on our feet while getting work done - out health demands it.

Innovant's FORm

image

by Rob Kirkbride of The Monday Morning Quarterback

In a world where a lot of companies do a lot, but none of it extraordinarily well, it can help to focus on doing one thing right. In a nutshell, that’s the story behind Innovant, an open plan desking company born out of the boom in New York City’s financial firms.

The company makes desking systems and that’s it. But what it lacks in SKUs, it makes up for in quality and corporate connections. Innovant recently won two major contracts: one with a financial services firm and another with a global pharmaceutical company – both highly recognizable names and jobs worth thousands of workstations.

Innovant’s FORm_office Adjustable Height bench was chosen as the workstation standard for the financial firm’s 2,300 worker Newport Beach, Calif. headquarters. The pharmaceutical company chose the product as its new national workstation standard last month. The pharmaceutical company has already ordered desks for 500 at its Tampa and Philadelphia locations and more sites are coming on each month.

They represent two major wins for Innovant, who beat out Steelcase on the desking deal at the pharmaceutical company. Both clients evaluated the products in a formal review process before making their selections. After weathering the financial downturn in 2008, Innovant has gained significant momentum in the height adjustable open plan benching marketplace, especially since launching FORm_office in 2012. “What sets this product apart is the level of consideration given to all of the consequences created by an adjustable height, open plan workstation,” said Bruce Wells, Director of Marketing & Development.

Both companies selected Innovant’s FORm_office Adjustable Height bench over products from the top five major furniture manufacturers. It is notable that Innovant is not competing through a lower price either. The company’s products are at – and sometimes above – its larger competitors. The FORm_office product line won Best in Show at NeoCon 2012. It addresses the significant health concern associated with employees sitting at a desk for hours a day.

According to Innovant, 50 percent of all incoming requests for proposals for new workplace standards incorporate height adjustability into workstation specifications. Height adjustable requests are coming in exponentially more in recent months, Wells said.

“We added adjustable height to benching (in 2012), which wasn’t something completely new to us since we have sold them to financial customers (for some time),” he said. “Height adjustability is becoming a near universal requirement in open plan environments. Very few products allow that option in open plan.”

Up until recently, designers have been reluctant to specify height adjustability in open plan environments because it can look messy if not executed correctly. Desks scattered at different heights can make an office look sloppy. But when aesthetics are kept in mind and the design of the product helps keep the look of the office neat, designers are happy to specify height adjustability. Few manufacturers have height adjustable desks as an option in open planning. The pace of acceptance seems to be accelerating, Wells said.

“We are being asked for height adjustability on almost everything,” he said. “Even in the last 60 days, we are getting more and more requests to participate in projects – and these are large projects – from $100,000 to $10 million. We are seeing adjustable height on at least half or more and that is helping us win those projects.”

Part of the company’s success comes from its focus on a few products. It has desking, storage, conference room tables and the ability to do custom work. But that’s it. It does not sell seats, lounge furniture or anything else for the office. Still, the products they do have are opening the door for large projects. For example, 2,300 workstation financial firm win came first from a request from the customer for Innovant to bid on the trading desk portion of the contract.

“We told them we would be happy to bid on the trading desks if they allowed us to bid on the open plan as well,“ Wells said. “We were able to win the entire building on the merits of our benching product.”

At first, Innovant was looking to supply the customer with static benching desks. The customer asked for height adjustability, which was added later. It is a huge project – a 24-story building that Innovant will fill with desks from top to bottom. Other office furniture makers will supply the seating and other products. Innovant is thrilled to have the desk portion.

“Innovant has a narrow range of products, but we have never been a cubicle manufacturer. We are specialists in the open plan. Historically, we were only a trading desk manufacturer, but with everyone going to open plan, we saw the opportunities there too,” Wells said.

Innovant is not winning projects because it is cheap. In fact, the company takes pride in the fact that its products are superbly engineered with a well thought through product line. The company focuses on the details as well such as safe and effective cabling, pinch points, privacy and other concerns that come when height adjustability is added.

The company has quietly emerged from the New York financial market and is beginning to gain traction in other sectors. “We are doing our best to get discovered,” Wells said. “We have been walking the alleys of New York City and Chicago for the last 20 years, but we have really emerged strongly out of the last recession. We are becoming a darling for big specifiers.”

Based in New York, Innovant has manufacturing in Long Island. It also has showroom offices in Chicago and San Francisco. The company was started in 1990 by industry veterans Charles Braham, Garrett Pluck and Joan Gullans and it fed off the growth of the financial sector, specializing in the relocation of banks, investment firms and hedge funds. The company continues to branch out from there.

This article was originally published in the October 7-13, 2013 edition of The Monday Morning Quarterback, "The Business of Furniture.”

Innovant Wins Major Commercial Contracts with FORm_office Adjustable Height

image

Innovant, a leader in collaborative work environments, announces two major commercial contracts for height adjustability. 

A large financial services client selected Innovant’s FORm_office Adjustable Height bench as the workstation standard for its 2,300 person Newport Beach-based headquarters. The product was also chosen by a global pharmaceutical company as its new national workstation standard.

Both companies selected Innovant’s FORm_office Adjustable Height bench over solutions from the top five major furniture manufacturers. According to Innovant, 50 percent of all incoming requests for proposals for new workplace standards incorporate height adjustability into workstation specifications.

“While adopting a new workplace strategy, it’s not easy for every client to achieve their complete wish list when it comes to furniture. I believe [this pharmaceutical company] found in Innovant and the FORm_office product a solution to meet all their objectives.” – Charles Braham, President at Innovant

Both clients evaluated the products in a formal review process before making their selections. With these latest victories, Innovant has truly taken a leadership position in the height adjustable open plan benching marketplace since launching the groundbreaking product in 2012.

“What sets this product apart is the level of consideration given to all of the consequences created by an adjustable height, open plan workstation.” – Bruce Wells, Director of Marketing & Development at Innovant

This FORm_office product line won Best in Show at NeoCon 2012. It addresses the significant health concern associated with employees sitting at a desk for hours a day.

For more information about Innovant or FORm_office Adjustable Height, please visit http://www.innovant.com.

Innovant Designs Breakthrough Standing Height Version of FORm_office Benching System

image

For collaborative offices concerned with employee health, workplace aesthetic and cost, Innovant’s standing height system is the ideal choice.

The standing height bench bridges the gap between Innovant’s standard FORm_office system and its adjustable height bench by raising the height of the work surface. At this elevation, users have the option to stand or sit at the desk using stool-like task chairs.

“Many clients are challenged both by the cost of adjustable height furniture and the aesthetic it creates.  A sophisticated standing height benching system may be the answer that has been hiding in plain sight for years.” - Bruce Wells, Director of Marketing & Development

The standing desks are a breakthrough for office health concerns. As more studies and news articles convey the ill effects of sitting for extended periods of time, Innovant’s standing height bench provides a comfortable and healthy choice, without the additional cost required for an adjustable height mechanism.

Aesthetically speaking, Innovant’s standing height bench overcomes some of the concerns posed by adjustable height. Unlike adjustable work surfaces, which can compromise the appearance of a workplace landscape when set at different heights, standing height desks produce a clean, uniform look. Additionally, since it can be difficult to hide stray cabling under a moving work surface, Innovant’s standing height bench keeps unsightly cables hidden from view.

“The product has just been deployed in a downtown New York City location for an international media company. Our entire office is buzzing with the health, aesthetic and financial implications of standing height benching. It’s a revelation.” – Deborah Herr, Marketing Designer

For more information about Innovant, its FORm_office line, or any other products, please visit http://www.innovant.com.