Nov 6th, 2014
It’s no secret that the workplace as we know it is rapidly transforming. Globalization and the changing needs and expectations of workers, as well as the pursuit of talent and the increased focus on sustainability, are changing the nature of work. But nothing has quite the impact on the rate and manner in which the workplace is changing than technology.
In decades past, furniture designers had plenty of time to anticipate the direction in which technology was headed and come up with designs to support workers’ evolving work styles. Nowadays, with the rate of technological change getting so fast, designers are facing the biggest challenge yet: to win the blurring of technology and furniture in such a way that the latter doesn’t get in the way people work anymore – but enhances their comfort and productivity.
Here are 7 examples of office furnishings that have successfully integrated the latest technology to support the way modern people work.
1) Keyboard-Integrated Ergonomic Task Chair
Designed by Edwin Cruz, the “Origin” task chair emphasizes natural ergonomics and correct posture reinforcement during work by preventing workers from leaning forward to access the keyboard and mouse, both of which are integrated into the armrests. The best part of this chair is that it allows the user to perform work tasks while sitting and relaxing, putting him in full control of whatever happens on the computer’s screen while the spine remains supported at all times.
2) Power-Generating Office Furniture
To prevent seeing your laptop, smartphone, or tablet running out of power while at work, furniture designers have started creating chairs and desks that double as device-charging stations. Intel’s decorative bowl uses magnetic resonance technology to charge several devices at the same time, while Deutsch design firm Studio Mak’s Cloud Table refills the battery of all devices placed on it via wireless charging pads embedded in the wood.
3) Touch-Sensitive Work Surface
Imagine an entirely-adaptable work surface that doesn’t just act as a storage space for your tech devices, but also interacts with them. The Adam Benton’s iDesk acts as a touch-sensitive display able to sync with any Apple devices placed on it, allowing the user to run multiple applications simultaneously. An area of the table functions as a trackpad, where the user has a keyboard and a mouse to use with an iMac.
4) The Locus Standing Workstation
With all the research showing the many ways in which prolonged sitting at the office can slowly kill you, the standing workstation has become a regular in many office settings. But the Locus Workstation does so much more than just allow users to alternate between sitting and standing. Designed for the digital age, this futuristic desk has height- and incline-adjustable systems that respond to the new work style and postures of the modern worker.
5) Climate-controlling office chair
The air temperature is often a complaint in many office settings, and employees’ comfort and productivity are directly impacted by the failure to ensure optimal thermal comfort. In the 21st century, this issue is solved by the Tempronics chair, which features a heating/cooling system that allows workers to adjust the temperature according to their personal needs. Because it uses only 75W to keep users comfortable (between 16 and 29 degrees Celsius, according to tests), the climate-controlling office chair is seen as a great way to save energy and costs.
6) Hi-Tech Lighting
A LED desk lamp with touch control dimmable lighting, automatic timer, and smartphone charging port – this are the features of the revolutionary Satechi office lamp. Featuring several light-intensity and brightness levels, the lamp can fulfill any worker’s lighting needs; it also saves the company a lot of money, since it only consumes about 1/8th of a regular incandescent lamp and half the power of a fluorescent lighting device. Flexible, multifunctional, and able to charge several USB-rechargeable devices, the Satechi lamp is a perfect addition to any work environment interested in diminishing its environmental footprint.
7) Responsive Backrest Seating
Many people working office jobs cannot reduce the amount of time they’re sitting down – but they can increase their comfort and decrease health risks with office chairs that provide the needed support for their spine column, such as the RBT Task Chair, designed by Zooey Chu and Gary Bacon for Teknion. Fully height- and depth-adjustable, the chair features a synchro-tilt mechanism that “adapts synchronously to every body movement, providing optimum support during seating with active and passive adjustments.” It also provides flexible backrest to ensure users’ comfort in all their postures.
If you are looking to find office products that can address your company’s specific furniture needs, contact an experienced office space planner to help you find solutions that will increase both your workers’ productivity and your company’s bottom line.
About the Author
Lynne Lemieux, Founder and President of Alliance Interiors, has devoted more than 20 years of experience developing and implementing growth opportunities for some of Canada’s leading office furniture dealers. Her ability to provide clients with inspiring and versatile interior solutions for both business and home office environments has garnered her title of Aboriginal Business Woman of the Year in the city of Toronto for 2012. In her spare time, Lynne takes an active interest in politics, public speaking, and philanthropy, but also enjoys gardening, interior decorating, cooking, yoga, and traveling.