Returning to work and to the office is at last on the agenda and also the topic of much discussion for workers and employers. How to navigate the new normal is the question on everyone’s lips and Herman Miller is here to help.
July 16th, 2020
“The times they are a changing” so sang Bob Dylan all those years ago and never has a song been more relevant in capturing the spirit of today. With many of us to return to the office after months of working at home it’s the first phase of some sort of normalcy during this strange and challenging time of COVID -19. However with all the aspects of change to incorporate into our daily lives, the office environment is of paramount consideration at this time.
As a trusted and acknowledged leader in the supply of furnishings to the commercial sector, Herman Miller understands the needs and requirements of workers and, as an agile and progressive company, it has instigated new ideas to help with the new workplace. Integral at this time are the architects and designers that create and implement plans to help with the integration of the workforce back into the office and at this time their expertise is an imperative.
As a sponsor of the 2020 INDE.Awards and partner of The Design Studio category, Herman Miller is intimately connected to the multitude of architects and designers that are ready to meet the challenges of the new office paradigm and there are a many ways that Herman Miller is helping to assist.
Of major importance is the reshaping of floor plans to provide physical distancing and real and perceived boundaries for safe and secure interaction by users. The Catena Office Landscape is a partitioning system that can easily be reconfigured and repurposed as the needs of a workplace flexes after COVID-19. The Italian word for catena means ‘chain’ or ‘connected series’ and perfectly encapsulates the idea of this lightweight connective system that supports the agile workplace of today. As a mobile system, movable and not fixed to the floor and with an ultra slim spine, the Catena Office Landscape’s adaptability is absolute and able to cater to every application from rectangular and grid formations to triangular and honeycomb settings. This system also has acoustic and visual privacy benefits that are important for employees returning to work having worked at home alone for so long.
As a shortlisted practice in The Design Studio category Cera Stribley’s Managing Principal, Dom Cerantonio is well placed to speak on the changing face of workplace design and he explained, ”In terms of the actual workplace, I think the separation and social distancing will eventually stop. It could be two years away but eventually, people will, I think, return to the workplace. However I do think working from home on a flexible arrangement is definitely something that will happen more and more and we are introducing policies like this now at Cera Stribley.
Cerantonio also commented about the future of product design, “I think there’s a big opportunity for designers and furniture houses to develop new innovative products that allow for easy customisation to suit individual needs, but there also needs to be some level of education in office ergonomics. Herman Miller is a leader in design and ergonomics and is at the forefront of customisation with products so they are well placed to contribute.”
A product that reflects the words of Cerantonio is Herman Miller’s Atlas Office Landscape that can meet a variety of requirements and through its flexibility, it shines in the work space environment. The system features height-adjustability but is not just another sit-to-stand desk as it allows for physical distancing through the creation of workstation orientations that provide a ‘staggered desk’ formation. The Atlas Office Landscape can also be configured and reconfigured with ease to meet the demands of the changing office throughout the phases of COVID-19 without the need for new parts. There is also the opportunity to customise to suit individual requirement and with a combination of desks, screens, tables and storage elements, the Atlas Office Landscape is everything to everyone and becomes an essential addition to every working environment.
Along with re-organising the workspace and ensuring that products are fit for today’s environment, a critical issue is that of hygiene and an adherence to sanitation processes. Ease of cleaning becomes a major factor to ensuring the safety and welfare of workers and here Herman Miller can help. The suspension material they use is a practical alternative to traditional woven textiles and allows for easy cleaning. It’s just one less thing to think about, cleaning is easier and the outcome is a safer environment for those who work in the office.
As Herman Miller celebrates more than 100 years in business it is clear to see that the company has grown and prospered because it has moved with the times and anticipated needs. For a company, experience such as this cannot be bought it must be earned and, with a century of knowledge, Herman Miller is once again proving that it is an unrivalled leader with superior products and support for architects and designers in 2020.
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