HBI Inc. :: Blog http://blog.hbi-inc.com Mon, 16 Oct 2017 15:05:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.9 Future Office with Microsoft Azure http://blog.hbi-inc.com/future-office-with-microsoft-azure/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/future-office-with-microsoft-azure/#comments Mon, 16 Oct 2017 15:05:19 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=17906 Continue reading ]]> Future Office with Microsoft AzureSteelcase introduces Workplace Advisor and Personal Assistant, built on the Microsoft Azure IoT platform, helping organizations harness big data to create better workplaces.

Steelcase Shapes Future Office with Microsoft Azure

Recently, at Microsoft Ignite in Orlando, Steelcase unveiled new ways to improve people’s experience at work in front of a crowd eager to learn about the future of technology. Earlier this year, Steelcase and Microsoft worked together to design Creative Spaces, an ecosystem of spaces created to boost creative work. Now, Steelcase is announcing news that represents the continued work it is doing with Microsoft to explore the future of work. The IoT solution, built on the Microsft Azure platform, will help organizations create workplaces that respond to the needs of people while optimizing real estate investments.

Steelcase revealed its new solution, Workplace Advisor, a sensor-based system that collects anonymous workplace data, with incredible accuracy. It deliver advanced analytics for real-time, 24-7 reporting, with enterprise-reliability and security. Steelcase also previewed a companion mobile app, Personal Assistant, which will access this data to give people more choice and control over where and how they work, and will encourage them to offer feedback about what spaces are effective and which ones need improvement.

New Tools for a New Work Place

Research conducted by Steelcase and Microsoft shows that work today has dramatically changed as organizations require more creative work to drive innovation and growth. Most workers—72 percent—believe their future success depends on their ability to be creative. Yet, 42 percent of employees do not think their office is a great place to do creative work, citing issues such as lack of privacy, conference rooms unequipped for collaboration and uninspiring environments. At the same time, up to 46 percent of office space may go unused at any time as people search for better places to do their work.

“Organizations and their employees know they need to work differently, yet most offices are stuck in the past. People say they can’t find the right places to work yet valuable real estate sits empty. There’s a lack of real-time data about what’s working in the office and what’s not,” said Jim Keane, CEO Steelcase. “Working with Microsoft we envisioned a digital transformation in which we cloud-enabled technology and big data help organizations serve the needs of human beings at work, and create workplaces that can respond quickly to the ways people are actually working. The technology also fosters a feedback loop in which employees can tell organizations what places are successful and why – they can vote with their feet and rate spaces on the app.”

On the Ignite state, Keane, and Sam George, director, Microsoft Azure IoT at Microsoft Corp., demonstrated how two new workplace technologies embedded in the workplace will augment the experience of employees and the organization.

Steelcase Workplace Advisor

Workplace Advisor is a cloud-enabled, space sensing network built on Microsoft Azure IoT that collects and analyzes anonymous data to provide organizations meaningful insights about how its people work and how its office is performing.

Steelcase Workplace Advisor001Steelcase Workplace Advisor empowers organizations to improve their workplace with easy-to-understand, actionable data accessible through an online dashboard.

Steelcase Workplace Advisor002

With the Workplace Advisor dashboard—timelines, charts and tables make it easy to see when spaces are being used, when they aren’t and for how long.

Steelcase Workplace Advisor003

Organizations can track the changes over different days and different rooms. Trends and patterns emerge, unique to each company. All of it is searchable.

Steelcase Workplace Advisor004

Steelcase applies a layer of intelligence to the data to help organizations create meaning and take action to improve their workplace.

The Workplace Advisor Dashboard enables leaders to:

  • Make better decisions about their workplace – 24/7 real-time, online reporting delivers metrics like overused vs. underutilized spaces and scheduled use vs. actual use with the ability to compare this data against historical trends. Workplace Advisor helps leaders gain insight into why spaces are more popular than others, by evaluating room amenities and sharing ratings.
  • Optimize use – Workplace Advisor senses and automatically cancels “no-show” room reservations, making more spaces available to more people.
  • Improve the experience people have at work – The technology presents comprehensive reporting that includes user reviews and advanced algorithms to help leaders identify issues and make recommendations for corrections in the workplace.

Get started now with easy-to-understand, actionable data that empowers organizations to measure the effectiveness of the workplace.

Accepting Orders

Steelcase Personal Assistant

Personal Assistant mobile app is expected to function as a workplace concierge to help workers quickly find the people and places they need. Powered by Microsoft Azure, the app accesses Workplace Advisor data, searching based on the size and type of meeting, amenities, tools and technologies needed. A map of each available space shows its schedule for the day and allows workers to find and reserve available spaces in real time then share the room location with others.

Steelcase Personal Assistant001

Steelcase Personal Assistant mobile app accesses Workplace Advisor data is expected help people quickly find the people and places they need.

Steelcase Personal Assistant002

Personal Assistant helps people quickly find an open room with the amenities, tools and technologies they need.

Steelcase Personal Assistant003

The Personal Assistant “shot clock” alerts people when their meeting is almost over and proactively checks if the room is still available in case more time is needed.

Steelcase Personal Assistant004

When a meeting is over, Personal Assistant allows employees to rate the room and evaluate things like technology, privacy, distractions and more.

Steelcase Personal Assistant005

Workers can quickly find colleagues by searching Personal Assistant to see if they are nearby.

The Personal Assistant app enables people to:

  • Find colleagues – Workers can quickly find colleagues by searching the app to see if they are nearby.
  • Find a room – The Personal Assistant app will help employees find an available room with the amenities, tools and technologies they need.
  • Rate and improve their experience at work – The Personal Assistant “shot clock” alerts workers when the meeting is nearing completion and proactively checks future availability in case additional time is needed. When the meeting is over, attendees can rate their experience in the room evaluating things like technology, privacy, distractions and more.

“Microsoft Azure IoT enables companies across all industries to drive digital transformation by addressing business problems in new ways, gain new insights through connected solutions and create greater efficiencies in business processes,” said Sam George, director, Microsoft Azure IoT at Microsoft Corp. “Today’s announcement with Steelcase is an example of cutting edge work in the smart spaces industry that brings together people, technology and place to increase productivity and employee satisfaction.”

For more information on Steelcase Workplace Advisor and Personal Assistant built on Microsoft Azure see Smart + Connected Spaces.

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Meaningful Workplace Decisions Require Accurate Data http://blog.hbi-inc.com/meaningful-workplace-decisions-require-accurate-data/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/meaningful-workplace-decisions-require-accurate-data/#comments Mon, 18 Sep 2017 12:00:35 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=17573 Continue reading ]]> Meaningful Workplace Decisions Require Accurate DataIf your smartphone gets you within a mile of your destination, is that close enough? If a store delivers the shirt you bought, but in the wrong size, can you wear it? If you order steak and the waiter brings you a burger, will you be satisfied? In life and in business, close isn’t good enough. You can’t make meaningful decisions, if you don’t trust how you’re making them. So, when it comes to an organization’s two most valuable assets, people and real estate, it isn’t surprising to learn that accuracy is paramount.

“We have at our fingertips access to more data than ever before in history, and technologies to exponentially augment our own natural abilities. By embedding technology into the work environment, we are creating the workplace of the future,” says Scott Sadler, Steelcase Smart + Connected manager. “We can measure and identify patterns in how and where people are working. But, data alone is meaningless; to improve performance individuals and organizations need trusted insights into what works, what doesn’t and why.”

Steelcase Workplace Advisor

Get started now with easy-to-understand, actionable data that empowers organizations to measure the effectiveness of the workplace.

Visit Steelcase Workplace Advisor

Old Measurement Tactics

Measuring the workplace is not necessarily a new idea. Right now, businesses try a number of different tactics to figure out how people use their space.

  • Manual – People canvas the building and record notes about occupancy.
  • Anecdotal – Managers make notes about when certain rooms appear unused.
  • Assumptive – Sensors collect data assuming each person has an assigned space.

Old assumptions and measurement styles lend to inaccurate, inconclusive and unactionable data. Mobile workstyles and new kinds of shared spaces need to be considered as an organization tries to figure out how their space works for their people. The bottom line: Data, even big data, is only meaningful when precise information is combined with valuable insights.

The bottom line: Data, even big data, is only meaningful when precise information is combined with valuable insights

Be Accurate

With more than a century of experience researching, observing and designing for workers and the workplace, Steelcase began exploring how to partner with organizations to provide a smart and connected work environment to help people have a better day at the office. As the team developed Workplace Advisor, a cloud-enabled space-sensing network that collects and analyzes workplace data, it knew accuracy had to be at its core.

Understand Place

“Steelcase understands the configuration of space and how people move within space,” says Sadler. He says this rich knowledge base lends to more precise placement and unique tuning for each sensor. In addition, the algorithm created and extensively tested by the team accounts for the realities in which people work today.

Actionable Insights

In order for data to add a competitive edge, it needs to be easy for organizations to interpret and take action. Steelcase designed the Workplace Advisor dashboard to be real-time, all-inclusive and intuitive. Leaders are able to pinpoint overused and underused spaces, which space attributes are connected to each location (video conferencing, natural light, whiteboards, etc.) and make insightful decisions about their work environment.

Latest Technology Updates

Find out how data can transform your workplace to help people have a better day at work.


Data Over Time

The pace of business today requires agility. Leaders have to keep on top of what’s happening on the front-lines not just today, but tomorrow, next year and into the future. A dynamic way to stay informed is by accurately measuring how people are using the work environment. Steelcase Workplace Advisor is powered by Microsoft Azure, a best-in-class cloud platform with industry-leading security and scalability. This collaboration means accuracy is never compromised no matter how the environment evolves.

Evolution, after all, is inevitable. Accurate data and easy-to-understand analysis can help leaders support their people as changes happen.

Written By: Steelcase


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Five Steps to Be Creative Despite Constraints http://blog.hbi-inc.com/five-steps-to-be-creative-despite-constraints/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/five-steps-to-be-creative-despite-constraints/#comments Wed, 06 Sep 2017 12:00:08 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=17534 Continue reading ]]> Five Steps to Be Creative Despite ConstraintsBreakthrough ideas require new ways of thinking and new ways of working. Unlimited resources and limitless possibilities can produce incredibly innovated products. But, more often than not, the most creative problem solving occurs within a set of boundaries.

Creating Series 1

That’s the story behind Series 1 — a new task chair from Steelcase. The product development team was asked to do something the organization had never done before — build a chair to reach a new market that retains first class ergonomics and provides a unique level of customization.

The Series 1 team had a finite amount of resources. They refused to waver on performance, yet had to reach an accessible price point. Every part of the chair had to be hard working and not just be an aesthetic feature. Team members explored every part of the global manufacturing, packaging and delivery process to maximize efficiencies, reduce cost and optimize quality.

Bruce Smith, Steelcase director of global design, explains why the story behind Series 1 is a remarkable as the chair itself.

“Instead of putting design at the forefront of the problem, we put the other disciplines at the forefront of the problem. This illustrates the fact that creativity isn’t exclusively a design problem,” says Smith. “Creativity is a problem for all disciplines and all functions. So, anything we can do to elevate creativity for all disciplines is a powerful thing.”

Engineers, Bob Battey and Gordy Peterson, helped shepherd the project from idea to actuality. They shared five crucial steps they used to accomplish what many deemed impossible.

1. Make an Emotional Commitment

After leaving a deflating project meeting overseas, Battey and Peterson sat in the Frankfurt airport and contemplated giving up. Similar projects had failed to reach the market. Why stay the course?

“It takes passion to be willing to try things differently and to take ownership and say ‘We are going to be successful.’ We took it as a personal challenge,” says Battey.

“People said, ‘We can do it.’ We said, ‘We can. We just have to be more creative,'” says Peterson. “You have to take ownership of a concept, nurture it and help it grow. We decide to defend it and own it, care for it and love it.” With a combined 57 years of seating experience, the two men vowed to do things differently this time.

2. Define + Display the Problem

They started with a single piece of paper in the airport — clearly defining their problem and writing down how they would go about solving it. When they got back to their project room in Grand Rapids, that definition went on permanent display on the wall.

“Until you write it down, it’s just words in the air. We needed something people could see and respond to,” says Battey. “We started having a really open discussion about what we needed to do differently. Gordy and I have played this game a long time. We knew normal would fail.”

3. Prioritize + Visualize Constraints

Battey and Peterson worked with their team to prioritize the boundaries for the project and quickly help others understand the problem they were trying to solve.

“You need the right balance of constraints to keep you moving forward, but enough freedom to make something desirable,” says Battey. “Too broad, you end up with something unattainable. Too narrow, you end up with something boring.”

The men used their project room to display a visual representation of the constraints. If team members wanted to change one part of the project, they could quickly see the impact on the entire operation.

“There’s something visceral about seeing the constraints and making them real. This is where we began to cause angst,” says Battey. “Angst is good if you want to do things differently because it requires you to make difficult decisions.”

Once the team’s priorities were clear, the project moved quickly because people could make faster decisions. Nobody had to “check into something” or “circle back after investigating an issue,” all-too-common steps that can slow progress.

4. Cross-Functional, Spontaneous Collaboration

Both engineers found it invaluable to involve other disciplines early. Instead of starting with design and engineering, they also brought in colleagues with expertise around materials, supply chain and global processes. Each team wrote down their point of view.

They inhabited a physical project room for their co-located team and created a virtual project space for global collaboration. Product development is a messy, creative process. The environment helped them showcase learnings, experiments and progress. Both areas quickly filled up with artifacts, models and materials or videos, digital notes and learnings.

Their project room included a video conferencing system to help those in North America collaborate with team members in Europe and Asia. Both in-person and virtual project spaces provided the opportunity for spontaneous interactions. Sometimes it would be an unexpected meeting in person, other times an engineer from the U.S. would meet up with a designer in Hong Kong in their virtual document and begin to chat.

“Spontaneous discussions are frequently the most useful ones,” says Battey.

5. Rapid Prototyping

The project room is adjacent to the model shop where engineers and designers began to experiment, sometimes creating a prototype in just a couple of days.

“Having the place where we generated our ideas and concepts right next to our maker space was critical,” says Battey. “We were able to rapidly go from the markerboard to the computer screen to the artifact. We can try things and iterate on a small scale before creating a full-scale model.”

They prototyped once a week and incorporate design into the learning cycles to help further define variables. The result” The fastest early concept generation either man had ever seen.

Steelcase kept Series 1 under wraps until NeoCon 2017 when it was unveiled and instantly created industry buzz.

Inside Steelcase Series 1

Steelcase Series 1 delivers on what’s important — performance, style and choice. It retains everything that’s valued in a chair, while making it attainable for everyone.

Inside Steelcase Series 1

Inside Steelcase Series 1

Inside Steelcase Series 1_003

Inside Steelcase Series 1

Inside Steelcase Series 1

Written By: Steelcase


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The New Office — Ideas to Fuse Inspiration and Performance http://blog.hbi-inc.com/the-new-office-ideas-to-fuse-inspiration-and-performance/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/the-new-office-ideas-to-fuse-inspiration-and-performance/#comments Mon, 14 Aug 2017 21:52:00 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=17442 Continue reading ]]> The New OfficeThere’s no question about it. Employees around the world are rejecting standard, bland offices and demanding something fundamentally different. This anti-corporate backlash is loud and clear. But the solution isn’t as clear.

Organizations have added spaces that feel more like home, which are emotionally comfortable, but can become physically uncomfortable and often lack the tools required to get work done. So, what’s the “recipe” for a high-performance space that is informal and inspiring? Why are some spaces always busy, while others remain empty?

Here’s what we’re learning:

1. Healthy Postures

You don’t have to sit up straight all day, regardless of what your mom told you. People need to be encouraged to shift postures throughout the day, move around and sometimes even given permission to put their feet up—research shows a more relaxed lounge posture promotes creative thinking. Make sure to provide a broad range of options so people can sit, stand, perch, lounge and move.

Healthy Postures

2. Bring the Outside In

People thrive in environments that incorporate natural sunlight or provide accessibility to the outdoors.

3. Materials Matter

Activate people’s senses with a wide range of textures, patterns and colors that can be soothing and relaxing, or energizing and stimulating and choose a variety of products and materials that display a level of craftsmanship.

Material's Matter

4. Make it Real

Place meaningful artifacts and accessories to encourage innovation and playful thinking.

5. Consider Proxemics

When people need to collaborate, provide enough space between them so they spaces feels comfortable.

Consider Proxemics

6. Create Boundaries

Use screens, walls, other furniture or even plants to define spaces. This will create spaces that feel more permanent, and provide a place for focus when needed.

Create Boundaries

7. Location, Location, Location

Be intentional about where to locate a space based on what type of work will happen there and what behaviors you want to encourage. Areas for socialization and informal collaboration should invite people to interact.

8. Power Play

Beautiful spaces get even better when they provide access to power that’s within easy reach.

Power Play

9. Make it Personal

Allow people to personalize the space and make it feel their own.

Make it Personal

10. Nourishment

A well-designed café can invite spontaneous collaboration or offer an energized place for individual work.

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How the Verb Active Media Table is Driving Student Engagement http://blog.hbi-inc.com/how-the-verb-active-media-table-is-driving-student-engagement/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/how-the-verb-active-media-table-is-driving-student-engagement/#comments Tue, 08 Aug 2017 12:36:54 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=17484 Continue reading ]]> Verb Active Media Table Activates Large ClassroomsA new generation of tech-savvy and connected students arrives with radically different experiences and expectations. Aware of the global economy and the competition it represents, students and their families are placing increasingly higher demands on education at all levels. Educators are responding with a refreshing openness, evolving teaching methods, incorporating technologies and looking for ways to promote active learning in more places.

Active learning is fluid and dynamic. The space in which it takes place should be flexible as well. Yet, the majority of classrooms and lecture halls were built as traditional passive-learning settings with inflexible and immobile furniture that can inhibit interactions between students, instructors and content. Many of these outdated classrooms aren’t capable of supporting the varied technologies, activities, and mode-to-mode transitions necessary for today’s active learning environments.

The Verb Active Media Table will be available late 2017. Register to be notified as soon as it is available.


Texas A&M University

One university that has recognized the need for active learning to achieve student success is Texas A&M University. With one of the top-rated engineering programs in the U.S., Texas A&M plans to increase its engineering student enrollment by more than a third, in large part through student retention and the college’s strategy to “transform engineering education.”

To reach this goal, educators realized they needed to transition from traditional classroom and lecture hall approaches. The central question was: How can a large classroom support both active learning and lecture-driven instruction while effectively integrating technology?

Together, the university and Steelcase Education worked to create a classroom solution that will amplify collaboration, engage students and simultaneously resolve technological obstructions. The table created for the university is mobile for flexibility classroom setup, offers access to power for a variety of devices and hosts a 32-inch monitor with an automatic monitor lift. The table facilitates technological needs, improved sightlines, and increased student engagement with professors, peers and content.

Texas A&M1 Texas A&M2

Verb Active Media Table

Inspired by the needs of many other schools to implement active learning at a larger scale, Steelcase Education has since taken the insights from the Texas A&M collaboration and applied them to develop new components to the Verb collection of classroom furniture including the Verb Active Media Table.

The new Verb Active Media Table builds on the Texas A&M requirements to offer additional benefits to education spaces of any size. It includes a pendant to raise and lower the monitor, an integrated wire manager and analog whiteboard storage. It maintains the ability to host a 32-inch monitor, but also offers the capacity to host a 42-inch monitor. This table implements the same versatile technology support for idea-sharing, allowing for mobility and durability to withstand a variety of education environments.

Verb Active Media Table

The automatic monitor lift eliminates the need to mount technology to a wall or column, offering clear sightlines and providing quick transitions between learning modes. Housing built-in, retractable media within this table bridges the gap between students and content, and optimizes student engagement.

Learn more about the Texas A&M Case Study.

Written By:

Tylee Bush

For Steelcase


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The Creative Shift – How Place + Technology + People Can Help Solve 21st Century Problems http://blog.hbi-inc.com/the-creative-shift-how-place-technology-people-can-help-solve-21st-century-problems/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/the-creative-shift-how-place-technology-people-can-help-solve-21st-century-problems/#comments Mon, 24 Jul 2017 11:30:50 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=17349 Continue reading ]]> The Creative Shift
“Ideas are the currency of the new economy.”

That quote came from Richard Florida, an economist and social scientist who authored The Rise of the Creative Class… over fifteen years ago in 2002.

Florida argued that creative work is not exclusively about artistic pursuits but rather a focus on generating new ideas and solving complex problems. He maintained that creativity was a critical skill for people to develop and for cities and businesses to foster if they wanted to thrive in the coming century. It was an idea that took time to build momentum.

Design thinking, the notion of using the same creative strategies designers employ to solve problems, was gaining traction around the same time. Ideas about creative work generated plenty of conversation — and Florida’s work spawned its share of debate — business leaders weren’t losing a lot of sleep over the creative output of their organization. They were far more focused on efficiency, getting lean and going global.

CreativityFast forward to today and creativity is an idea whose time has come, on multiple fronts. Cities around the world that fostered great environments for creative work have thrived, as Florida suggested. People who lived through the cost squeeze of multiple recessions are looking for a deeper sense of meaning and purpose from their work, and stretching their creative muscles helps scratch that itch. Meanwhile, recent college graduates aren’t content to sit in a beige cubicle and do routine work just to make a paycheck, causing employers to rethink their strategies for attracting new talent.

Emerging TechnologiesAt the same time, emerging technologies have grown so exponentially that they’ve ushered in “The Fourth Industrial Revolution,” according to Klaus Schwab, founder of World Economic Forum. “We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another,” he states. “In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before.” Faced with these kinds of advances — which offer opportunities as well as stiff competition and disrupted markets — businesses realize that they can’t cost cut their way to growth. They need to refocus innovation. And it’s this drive for innovation, in increasingly complex conditions, that is causing a macro shift toward more creative work.

“Creativity isn’t a linear process. It’s not even a predictable process. It has a rhythm of different activities and requires both convergent and divergent thinking.”

James Ludwig | Vice President, Global Design, Steelcase

Understanding Creativity

In many organizations, however, creativity isn’t bubbling up spontaneously. Most employers say their organizations aren’t creative enough and most employees say they’re not living up to their creative potential on the job, according to Adobe’s State of Create 2016 study. Contrary to popular myth, creativity isn’t about a “Eureka!” moment that happens among truly brilliant people. Creative work is a process in which everyone can engage, if the conditions are right.

Steelcase and Microsoft joined forces to begin thinking about the challenges organizations and people face as they try to engage in more creative work. Understanding that both space and technology have a role to play in supporting this work, it was critical to begin with insights on how creativity happens.

“Creativity isn’t a linear process. It’s not even a predictable process,” according to James Ludwig, head of global design and product engineering at Steelcase. “It has a rhythm of different activities and requires both convergent and divergent thinking, with people coming together in small or large groups, and moving apart to do work alone.”

Linear WorkLinear Work: Segmented tasks completed in a progression

Creative WorkCreative Work: People and ideas diverge, converge and iterate

“Creativity is an inclusive process in which something new emerges,” says Ralf Groene, general manager of Microsoft Devices. “As creativity becomes central to our work, the importance of where we do it is being reaffirmed. The cloud and mobile technologies may be untethering us from the office, but our need and desire to do creative work is luring us back in.”

Yet, despite the desire to be more creative at work, the majority of people don’t believe they’re living up to their creative potential. The solution is finding the right balance between convergent and divergent thinking, and having the right range of spaces and technology to support all the diverse stages of creative work. In a recent Steelcase and Microsoft study, people reported the things that would help them be more creative are to have more time to think and time to be alone without disruptions.

“The way to support people is to provide the ability to move between individual time and collaborative time, having that rhythm between coming together to think about a problem and then going away to let those ideas gestate,” says Donna Flynn, vice president of WorkSpace Futures at Steelcase.

Dive deeper into our creativity research. Register to download 360 Focus immediately or have it mailed directly to you. Find out more.

Maker CommonsMaker Commons: Socializing ideas and rapid prototyping are essential parts of creativity. This space is designed to encourage quick switching between conversation, experimentation and concentration.

The collaborative side of creative work is not without its challenges either, despite the investments organizations are making in group work spaces. The vast majority of leaders feel they’re providing the right kinds of spaces for group collaboration, but only 25 percent of respondents in the Steelcase/Microsoft study said their spaces for groups and teams are good places for creative work.

“We’ve come to realize there’s so much value in people coming together,” notes Groene. “We’re no longer coming to work because that’s where your files and phone and computer are, or because it’s the only place where your laptop connects to the corporate network. Now we’re coming to work because it’s where we share, collaborate and build on each other’s ideas.” That makes supporting the modes of thinking, communicating and creating a super relevant task.”

Creativity is fundamentally about problem solving. This means it’s difficult, iterative and messy — an often nebulous exploration of unknowns. It also means creative work is intensely demanding — physically, cognitively and emotionally. Just one type of solution can’t support the range of people’s needs.

Focus StudioFocus Studio: Individual creative work requires alone time to focus and get into flow while also allowing quick shifts to two-person collaboration. It’s a place to let ideas incubate before sharing them with the group.

“We’re starting to see movement away from the traditional corporate office toward workplaces that are more like creative studios—a plurality of spaces, each designed to support people and the technologies that can make their work easier.”

James Ludwig | Vice President, Global Design, Steelcase

Creating the Conditions for Creativity at Work

Steelcase and Microsoft are collaborating to explore how the workplace can more successfully drive creative performance. Accelerating creativity, they say, starts with understanding the behaviors and modes of creative work, and then envisioning how place and technology can help.

Ideation HubIdeation Hub: A high-tech destination that encourages active participation and equal opportunity to contribute as people co-create, refine and share ideas with co-located or distributed teammates.

“It’s really all about the intersection of the digital and the physical — having the right place and the right technology at the right time,” says Ludwig. “That’s why we’re starting to see movement away from the traditional corporate office toward workplaces that are more like creative studios—a plurality of spaces, each designed to support people and the technologies that can make their work easier.”

Duo StudioDuo Studio: Working in pairs is an essential behavior of creativity. This space supports a trust relationship in which two people can co-create shoulder-to-shoulder, while also supporting individuals work. It includes a lounge area to invite others in for a quick creative review or to put your feet up and get away without getting away.

“Traditionally, technology has not always been leveraged during the early stages of the creative process,” says Groene. This can put people and teams at a disadvantage. Something arises in our heads. It’s usually incomplete and we jot it down, find a whiteboard and pull in colleagues. Computers usually came in at later stages. But now technology can be a tool to amplify our thinking throughout the entire process. We can take our content with us wherever we want to work. It will always be there, with the right security and the speed of light,” he explains.

The Creative Spaces Ecosystem

To help organizations accelerate the shift toward more creative work, Steelcase and Microsoft co-developed Creative Spaces, an interdependent ecosystem of spaces and technologies designed for the diverse modes of creative work, such as uninterrupted focus, developing ideas in a pair, generating solutions as a group, converging around ideas and allowing time for diffused thinking — allowing the mind to wander. They are places that build trust, inspire new ways of thinking and fuel experimentation. This initial collection of thoughtfully curated destinations bring together design and materiality without compromising performance to enable creative work.

“The future will be powered by ideas,” says Ludwig. “How we create, identify, foster and makes ideas tangible — that’s how value is created. Our spaces and technologies need to help ups solve problems, not cause friction or get in the way. When space and technologies come together to really support people’s work and really support their wellbeing — then we’re removing the drag on their experiences. They can naturally be centered on ideas instead of what’s not working for them. And, as a result, ideas will flow through the organization faster.”

Respite RoomRespite Room: Creative work requires many brain states, including the need to balance active group work with solitude and individual think time.

The Creative Spaces Ecosystem People + Place + Technology

To help organizations accelerate the shift toward more creative work, Steelcase and Microsoft co-developed Creative Spaces, an interdependent ecosystem of spaces and technologies designed for the diverse modes of creative work.

These spaces deliver key spatial attributes that address:

Privacy: acoustic, visual, territorial and psychological
Posture: seated, standing, lounging and perching
Proximity: people-to-people, people-to-tools + technology

Maker Commons

Maker Commons_2Posture:
This space supports a full range of posture—seated, standing, lounging, perching—encouraging movement without breaking flow.

Brody® Workounge is a micro-environment for privacy and focus in open areas with included amenities, like integrated lighting, power and bag storage. The Brody screens create a cocoon within the open plan to sketch or take notes on your Surface Pro4 between brainstorms.

Centrally located in the ecosystem, this space is a communal atmosphere to gather and play with new ideas. It allows people to shift easily from “me” to “we” activities and different stages of the creative process.

Focus Studio

Focus Studio_2Posture:
The Gesture™ chair supports the wide range of postures people take when using the Surface Studio with Surface Dial and Surface Pen to create; The AirTouch™ table lifts with just a touch to switch quickly and effortlessly from sitting to standing to encourage movement and boost energy.

The space is configured to keep information private and reduce visual distraction. V.I.A.® walls keep ambient noise out so you can stay in flow.

The AirTouch™ table facilitates brief, shoulder-to-shoulder collaboration. Storage with integrated lighting slides open to secure your bag and become an extension of the work area.

Ideation Hub

Ideation Hub_2Posture:
Stool height seating encourages movement and quick shifts from interaction with personal devices to group collaboration at the Surface Hub™.

V.I.A.® walls integrate the Surface Hub and provide unparalleled acoustic privacy to prevent disruptions and enhance remote user participation via Skype for Business.

The furniture elements are scaled to allow ample circulation and the ability to engage or step back from the action and reflect or gain a different perspective.

Duo Studio

Duo Studio_2Posture:
Ology™ height adjustable tables are side-by-side, making it easy to sit or stand, work individually in parallel or lean over to collaborate, maintaining flow and consistency using Surface Dial and Surface Pen. Umani™ lounge creates a place to relax and reenergize during intense work sessions.

V.I.A.® walls help mitigate distractions from ambient noise and allow private conversations — in the room or with remote participants on Skype for Business — to stay that way. The “I’m Done” security feature on Surface Hub safely removes all content from the previous session to encourage rapid starts for new collaboration.

The configuration is an intimate environment that supports easy access to technology, storage analog content and your teammates. It offers an informal, theater-like setting for reviewing work at the integrated Surface Hub™.

Respite Room

Respite Room_2Posture:
Relaxed postures can help support diffused attention and allow the brain to wander which can lead to ‘Eureka!’ insights. It also supports active brainstorming while away from your personal workstation.

Boundaries create visual relief reducing external stimuli, and allow the brain to rest, form new connections and access spontaneous ideas.

Thread™ Modular Power makes it easy to charge devices.

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Restoration Office – How Biophilia Reduces Stress and Promotes Renewal at Work http://blog.hbi-inc.com/restoration-office-how-biophilia-reduces-stress-and-promotes-renewal-at-work/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/restoration-office-how-biophilia-reduces-stress-and-promotes-renewal-at-work/#comments Mon, 10 Jul 2017 11:30:59 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=17313 Continue reading ]]> Restoration OfficeToday, more than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, and according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average American spends nearly 90 percent of their time inside. Yet nature and the outdoors have a powerful hold on our wellbeing.

These are the places we’re drawn toward, the elements that we recharge in and that bring us respite. Humans evolved in nature’s rich, varied environments. So how do we learn from nature and create equally varied environments inside? As modern work is evolving to require more creativity and connection, designers are turning to biophilia, the principle that human beings have an innate desire to connect and bond with nature, to help workers thrive. The elements of biophillic design have been found to be building blocks of emotional, cognitive and physical wellbeing, including productivity, happiness, stress reduction, learning and healing. One study of workers in Europe (Human Spaces Global Report by Interface) reports levels of wellbeing and productivity increase by 13 percent in environments containing natural elements. Far from being superficial or ornamental, nature is an integral factor in the creation of vital workplaces.

Researchers at Steelcase studying wellbeing discovered that the presence of nature was a predominant advantage that could be explored for healthier outcomes in the workplace. Based on the work of pioneers E.O. Wilson and Stephen Kellert and culled from other wide-ranging sources, Steelcase researchers and industrial designers developed a framework for the range of ways humans interact with nature. This led to recommendations about design inspirations and applications specifically for the work environment.

It’s about tricking our brains to feel like we’re in a natural environment by triggering underlying patterns that we’re programmed to recognize and feel good in.”

John Hamilton | Design Director, Coalesse

The problem is that workplaces have become draining, dull and disconnected over time as they’re optimized for efficiency and scale. The average antiseptic, gray office can literally signal to the deepest part of the brain that it’s a barren place that won’t sustain life, which is why people generally can’t wait to get away from them. A surprising number of workers are still deprived of simple access to nature: According to the Human Spaces Global Report, 42 percent of office workers have no access to natural light, 55 percent have no greenery and seven percent lack of window within their environment. “We wanted to see how the restorative effects of nature could reverse that deprivation and inform our approach for designing healthy work experiences that are both creative and productive,” explains Beatriz Arantes, senior researcher at Steelcase.

Dotted PatternThis dotted pattern reflects things we surround ourselves with in the workplace, such as pin boards, while also referencing the irregularity of nature: how nothing in nature is perfect or too orderly.

According to environmental psychologist Stephen Kaplan, nature powerfully engages the mind with “involuntary fascination,” which actually helps to restore directed attention and focus. The result is an effortless mindfulness that promotes stress reduction and renewal while stimulating curiosity and imagination. Kaplan further holds that people can concentrate better after spending time in nature. The Human Spaces Report confirms that people with a view of natural elements, such as trees, water of countryside, report greater levels of wellbeing than those looking over more urban settings of buildings, roads or construction sites.

Geometric FiguresFractals are the curving or geometric figures which exhibit a repeated pattern at every scale. When they occur in nature these shapes create visual complexity, which is automatically accepted as order and form by the eye. A fabric from the Coalesse-Designtex collaboration, whose pattern abstractly evokes the irregular rippling of water, sand or wood grain, engages and calms the senses without being consciously recognizable as natural.

Design is the tool that can interpret nature in many accessible ways, to activate our innate sense of places that are calming, pleasurable and secure. Arantes adds that these expressions of nature aren’t limited to an explicit or literal translation. “It’s about tricking our brains to feel like we’re in a natural environment, by triggering underlying patterns that we’re programmed to recognize and feel good in.”

It is striking to consider that sizable worker absences can be attributed to office design that provides no contact with nature. Spaces developed with properties of biophilic design consequently make a compelling business case. By reincorporating the pull of nature into multi-sensory experiences, businesses can attract and retain talent in evocative environments that alleviate many modern stressors and improve employee perceptions. Biophilic design will help people gain the feeling that they have the places to settle, explore, adapt and be creative. Those benefits lead to stronger connection and collaboration as well as trust in the ability to rejuvenate at work.

Four Facets

The Four Facets of the Human Experience with Nature

Many attempts to integrate nature into the workplace design remain shallow or literal: a screened print of a field of grass; leaves etched onto a glass tabletop. The following facets offer a more nuanced perspective:

Sensory Richness

Sensory-rich environments include layers of color, pattern, texture and other elements that surround the senses. Engaging multiple senses creates experiences of renewal and inspiration and many design sources of sensory richness will boost attention and reduce stress. For example, the severe right angles and flat colors often used in office spaces don’t appear in nature. Instead, nature provides a vocabulary of beautiful organic shapes, such as hexagons, spirals, spikes and spheres. Rounded forms like domes, arches and vaults provide psychological comfort. Natural colors and materials drawn from the landscape and the elements add depth and feel refreshing and grounding. Live elements within an office space, such as plants, have been shown to help prevent fatigue around tasks that demand high concentration.

Natural Rhythms and Signals

People will acclimate to the indoor environment better and experience improvements in mood and sleep when factors such as views, or fluctuations in light, length of day and temperature are more attuned to what’s happening outside. Natural light and color of light can support these rhythms by counteracting the flatness of artificial lighting and the over-stimulation of bright screens. Where windows are not available as a primary light source or view, new technologies can help provide the spectrum of light we need to feel alert, optimistic and well. Air flow is a dynamic natural element that connects us to a sense of climate, freshness and seasons.

Biophilic Design Will Help People Gain the Feeling that They Have the Places to Settle Explore, Adapt and Be Creative

Challenges in Nature

Encountering challenges in natural settings, from navigating a landscape to creating shelter, is part of how humans learned to overcome adversity and build resilience, according to social ecologist Stephen Kellert. Facing challenges inspires us to creatively solve problems with resourcefulness, empathy, teamwork and awareness. In the physical workplace, wayfinding through environments helps people to build cognitive as well as perceptive skills. Encouraging movement with an element such as an “irresistible staircase” rewards those who forgo an elevator with a spatial experience and active design–exercise.

Local Distinctiveness

Celebrating locally distinctive features, people and events help to create grounding in place and community. In this way, local natural colors and materials have long been part of the architectural and design character of most places. From wood to stone and clay, people instinctively prefer natural to artificial or foreign materials. These elements can provide a positive associations and an antidote to the antiseptic, anonymous look of standard offices and office furniture. Showing past presence and preserving local symbols adds more attachments to community, especially in spaces such as renovated and repurposed buildings.

Through these applications, biophilia is on its way to defining fuller possibilities and priorities for a new wave of workplace design. Ultimately, more creative potential will be unlocked in a replenishing work environment—where nature fosters mindfulness and vitality, and people can find a sense of meaning, belonging and wellbeing.

Colors and DesignsColors and designs that resemble grass may be one approach to biophilic design, but even more subtle cues that trigger our brains to perceive a sense of nature can help create a more peaceful and calming atmosphere.

A Biophilic Design Partnership

Biophilic design is increasingly being integrated into furnishings as well as architecture. Steelcase brands Coalesse and Designtex have co-created a series of patterns, color palettes, textiles and print capabilities in North America that bring the principles of biophilia to core product applications for the design community.

“This process isn’t just about a fabric or an isolated thought about biophilia,” says John Hamilton, director of global design at Coalesse. “We’re interested in subtle cues we can design into products, because the brain is wired to see abstract representations and fill them in. What are the key triggers that we can introduce that will create a deeper emotional experience? With Designtex we’re developing solutions that will suggest nature across a variety of surfaces. We want our fabrics and furniture to make a space feel more connected and emotionally satisfying to the user.”

The collaboration was symbiotic. Designtex had a variety of technical applications that it wanted to implement, such as quilting, embroidery, woven pattern, print methods on a variety of films and material surfaces and leveraging new techniques with non-natural fibers. Coalesse had been developing and employing printed pattern in more colors in its product line, leading to a deeper exploration of natural inspirations and palettes.

To create a biophilic pattern, the process has been one of progression, from direct natural sources through many steps of manipulation and reduction. Ultimately, the motifs have the resonance of a natural form of rhythm, but are experienced as a simple geometric of dimensional texture.

Dimensional Texture

“Solid wood planks or veneer will be less dissonant for the brain than a simulated wood grain printed on tile.”

John Hamilton | Director of Design, Coalesse

In designing fabrics for upholstery, the partnership has also uncovered practical information about the preference for small- and large-scale patterns that can meet irregularly at seams. These scales avoid visual disturbance, echoing the uneven repetition of visual signals in nature.

“We can now weave or embroider or quilt those patterns in right sizes, for example into Designtex’s fabric,” adds Hamilton. “There’s a whole series of fabrics that are coming out in new more natural colors, and other ground cloths with a variety of patterns woven into them.”

For prints and printed surfaces such as film on grass, patterns can be further manipulated digitally or designers can provide their own pattern work for production. Responding to the growing trend for more customization as well as the need to make choices simpler, the Coalesse-Designtex collection is offered as a set of standards to work from. “For a designer, the blank slate can be its own challenge. So, we’ve done the research for our clients around these colors and patterns. They can be used as starting points for further customizing,” notes David Siegel, director of Surface Imaging Designtex. “That process of theme and variation happens to echo exactly how pattern exists in nature.”

Written By: Steelcase


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Healthcare Students Engage in New Classrooms http://blog.hbi-inc.com/healthcare-students-engage-in-new-classrooms/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/healthcare-students-engage-in-new-classrooms/#comments Mon, 03 Jul 2017 11:30:24 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=17265 Continue reading ]]> Healthcare Students Engage in New Classrooms Learning happens everywhere. For Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences students, this is especially true. The school is designed exclusively for the healthcare field blending classroom and experiential learning. In the fall of 2016, PCHS opened its doors to the Center for Excellence in Practice. Research, case studies, and student surveys led to a partnership with Steelcase Education and the renovation of two campus buildings. Designers created areas to meet everyone’s needs including; 26 classrooms, 18 collaboration areas or study pods, and simulation and learning labs.

Evelyn Potoka, Nursing Course Coordinator and Faculty member, and Joseph Corvino, Director of Simulation Learning and the Center for Excellence in Practice, spoke with 360 about the lasting impact these new learning environments have had on their program, their students and their college.

360: One of the goals of your new facility is to create a flexible, active learning environment. Have you changed your approach to teaching since the renovation?

Evelyn: It’s been a night and day difference from the past several years! It’s just so nice to be able to quickly maneuver all of our equipment to suit whatever it is we’re doing at the time. We have a four-hour lecture twice a week, and we now have the opportunity to very quickly change our classroom setup. This has allowed us the chance to do more breakout sessions and more group activities. Sometimes we reconfigure the furniture in the classroom two or three times throughout that four hour session where before the renovation this was such a chore.

New Healthcare Classrooms360: What kinds of changes have you seen in the students since the renovation?

Evelyn: One hf the things that we’ve noticed among our students is that they’re coming to class and they’re staying in class. Like I said, we have a four hour lecture, which is unusual. I know it’s tough to sit for four hours. However, we take attendance each class session and now they’re staying the full four hours, where before class might begin with a total of 55 students present and end only 40 students remaining for the entire class time. We don’t see that anymore.

I think it’s helped that we’re able to get the students up and moving. We’re always doing something different and we’re able to keep the students engaged. They have their content outline, they know what subject matter we’re going over, but they don’t know what activities we have planned for the day. It’s almost as if they’re excited because they never know what’s coming next.

Joseph: We’ve also seen a large increase in the number of learners who are coming to our clinical skills labs. Spring of 2016, we had about 500 students come through that space, this year we’ve had over 1,000. Part of that’s the accessibility, part of it is changes in curriculum, and part of that is the design of the space.

360: Where else do you see learning taking place?

Joseph: We see it in the collaborative spaces. It’s rare that you see less than two students in one of those. They’re writing all over the whiteboard walls, and on the glass which leads me to believe that they’re having conversations, studying together, and talking about what they’re writing. They’re scaffolding their learning by getting it in the classroom then talking about it afterwards, maybe applying it in clinical or in our lab spaces. It’s pretty much essential for learning to happen anywhere.

Collaborative Spaces360: It sounds like your space meets your needs now, but can you see it adapting to future demands?

Joseph: Most, if not all, of the areas were designed to be flexible in a way that things can be changed on a day-to-day basis or a yearly basis. If we have a space designed to have a specific function, it can evolve based on changing needs of the program. One of the ways we did this was working with Steelcase to install module furniture and cabinetry so it can be easily reconfigured.

360: Have you seen any difference in the overall dynamic on campus since the renovation?

Evelyn: The students really enjoy being here on campus, where before that was not the case. We saw the students here when class was in session. Our study pods are always full now. They come. They stay. They linger. Sometimes, we can’t get rid of them. That’s a good problem to have.

This week was finals week, and I had a student come up to me and say, “I can’t find a study room, they’re all full.” I’m thinking, “What a terrible problem to have.” Honestly, they love writing all over the walls in those study rooms. They rooms equipped with technology are used as well. We can see students put things up on the screen and work through different applications we’ve provided them with. There’s so much collaboration and peer learning that you’re seeing among students, where we definitely did not notice that before.

360: Like most new things, day one in your new space was probably pretty exciting. Has that feeling lasted?

Evelyn: Oh my gosh. Every day is an adventure to come to work. It’s just so exciting!

Joseph: It sure is. I’ve been here 11 years and I’ve felt that throughout. Before we had this space I felt we had a great group of colleagues who share a common purpose, a mission, to educate future health care providers. I felt like we did awesome things as an institution in our previous less than inviting environment. We’re now empowered to take calculated risks, to be creative, and to come up with new and different ways to do things. Now, when I come to work here, it is like what Evelyn said. You don’t know what the adventure is that you’re going to get into.

Written By:

Tylee Bush

For Steelcase


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Steelcase Partners with HBO’s Silicon Valley http://blog.hbi-inc.com/steelcase-partners-with-hbos-silicon-valley/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/steelcase-partners-with-hbos-silicon-valley/#comments Mon, 26 Jun 2017 11:30:31 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=17244 Continue reading ]]> Steelcase Partners with HBO's Silicon ValleyAs Silicon Valley creators prepared to film the fourth season of the popular HBO comedy, the tech hub’s favorite fictional startup had a new opportunity. Some of the main characters were moving into a venture capitalist’s office. The move had significance to the storyline. Would the rag-tag team of coding geniuses hit it big? Set decorator, David Cook, was tasked with creating the perfect places for this new story play out. He knew the space had to tell a story and communicate a new way of working for the characters. After doing some research, he reach out to Steelcase to help create the ideal work environment. Cook sat down with 360 to discuss the partnership.

360: As a set decorator, tell us about the importance of place to your characters?

David: Setting and place tell everything about the characters. Often those visual references are the audience’s initial introduction to the characters. They help relay everything about them.

Size, space and furniture give you a visual idea of who the characters are. They are a window into their personality. They help viewers understand how they work and how they live their lives.

360: How did you develop the look and feel of the workspace you created in Silicon Valley?

David: When we began working on the Bream Hall office set, we spent a lot of time researching and developing an overall aesthetic that we were aiming to achieve. We scoured everything that was available to us. We did a lot of online research looking at venture capitalist offices and technology company offices. We looked all over the world from Russia, to other countries in Europe, to Silicon Valley itself, of course. In the end, we made selections based on particular characters. We wanted their offices to best represent them and their personal brand.

360: What’s different about decorating a set than designing for home or commercial interiors? What elements need to be considered on set that other design professionals may not need to consider?

David: For one thing, nothing on a set is permanent. That gives us a lot of freedom, but also has its restrictions. It’s always fun to develop a new set and come up with ideas of how you want it to look and feel. Obviously, with a show like Silicone Valley, most of these characters have such strong personalities — it helps form our decisions because we know and love the characters so much.

Our most difficult obstacle is the element of time. Often, we get a new script and have to have it finalized and ready for shooting by the end of the week, sometimes even faster.

Silicon Valley Set360: Your set this season features Steelcase, Coalesse and turnstone furniture. What was the reason behind this partnership?

David: I reached out to Steelcase early on because after just beginning our research I knew these offices would need to look like they were a working, thriving and successful venture capitalist company. I wanted to convey a level of status to the audience as quickly as possible. At the same time, I wanted it to look tasteful and refined. Because of who the characters are, I wanted them to have a level of elegance within the workspace.

Silicon Valley Set360: Tell us about your decision to choose a natural material like wood in many of the settings?

David: We wanted this set to look polished, new and strong. We wanted it to feel approachable, not hard and shiny. Mostly, we wanted something that was strong but also reflect our female venture capitalists’ personalities. We used a graphic walnut finish that was clean and modern. I think it balanced well with the characters.

360: Did any of the choices you ended up making for your set surprise your team?

David: We were very fortunate with the partnership. The entire team — directors, actors, everyone — was blown away at how perfect everything worked on our sets. We would not have been able to achieve the look we were after or had it seem so seamless and appropriate if it weren’t for the furniture provided by Steelcase, Coalesse and turnstone.

Most of the options we are given as set decorators come from prop houses. They’ve been used, and often, aren’t the most current. This was a huge opportunity for the show, and us as an art department, to do something special.

You can watch Season 4 of Silicon Valley to find a variety of Steelcase, Coalesse and turnstone products at 10 pm ET on HBO.


Written By:

Rebecca Charbauski

For Steelcase


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How Patient Room Design Impacts Healthcare Environment http://blog.hbi-inc.com/how-patient-room-design-impacts-healthcare-environment/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/how-patient-room-design-impacts-healthcare-environment/#comments Mon, 22 May 2017 11:30:47 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=17196 Continue reading ]]> How Patient Room Design Impacts Healthcare EnvironmentFamily members support hospital patients emotionally and physically, but these important people in the healthcare process are often underutilized and undervalued. Now, new insights from Steelcase Health released today reveal how patient room design can impact family experiences and engagement in a loved one’s care, and influence patient satisfaction and outcomes.

New Health Insights: Families Face Unmet Needs

With the rate of chronic disease growing, the population aging, and a projected shortage of healthcare professionals, the role of family members to partner with healthcare professionals during a patient’s care is more important than ever. The landscape is complicated by financial incentives tying healthcare providers’ reimbursement to patient satisfaction and the prevention of re-admissions. This complex healthcare picture elevates the value of family members and other loved ones who surround the patient and are often left without many of the essentials they need to be comfortable, productive and supportive.

This complex healthcare picture elevates the value of family members and other loved ones who surround the patient

These mothers, fathers, children and other family members may be the only consistent partner along a patient’s journey, and with guidance, can help hospital staff by providing relevant information, assistance in care, and helpful symptom monitoring during or after the patient stay.

“The benefits to family involvement in care are well-documented in clinical literature,” said Michelle Ossmann, MSN, PhD, Director of Healthcare Environments at Steelcase Health. “Family and friends who are present at the bedside can reduce patient stress, enhance trust, contribute to safety by helping the staff know the patient, and, ultimately, support positive health outcomes. Well-designed healthcare environments can be a powerful tool in supporting a family’s ability to meaningfully engage in their loved one’s care, but many hospitals have yet to fully harness their spaces to maximize this engagement.”

Well-designed healthcare environments can be a powerful tool in supporting a family’s ability to meaningfully engage in their loved one’s care

Steelcase Health sought to better understand how families are involved in the healthcare experience, uncover the contribution of environmental influences on family involvement in patient care, and examine how family members adapt to living in a patient room. Its researchers observed clinicians, patients, family members in maternity and pediatric settings, and interviewed healthcare executives, nursing and facilities staff responsible for inpatient adult care across several service lines, including intensive care. Additionally, the team explored peer-reviewed research and industry trend data, and examined case studies about family involvement in patient care.

The Steelcase Health research team found that the ways in which the physical environment can support the family member in the patient room are not well understand. Healthcare environments are often not designed to support the roles that family members play in a patient’s journey.

Researchers identified five key issues that can affect family wellbeing and engagement in a patient room:

1. Family Members Blocked From Critical Communications

Family Members Blocked From Critical CommunicationsFamily members often want to be active participants with clinicians and the patient, but the layout of most healthcare environments does not promote communication. They may be seated in a corner or on the other side of the room — away or blocked from where medical information is delivered to the patient. If able to participate, family members can share medical and dietary information, take notes and review test result among other things. Effective communication can help family members make a patient’s transition from hospital to home easier, and help the patient follow discharge plans preventing emergency room visits and hospital re-admission.

2. Difficult Sleeping Conditions

Difficult Sleeping ConditionsMany healthcare environments cannot comfortably accommodate family members who stay with their loved ones overnight. Family members worry that they will disturb their loved one as they shift and try to get comfortable in the middle of the night. Chairs, temporary cots and in-room sleepers can be uncomfortable making it more difficult to sleep. Steelcase Health researchers found family members improvising their own “beds” using chairs, duffel bags and pillows.

3. No Place to Share a Meal

No Place to Share a MealFamily members often prefer to eat with their love ones rather than in the cafeteria, but current healthcare environments do not support families sharing a meal. Researchers watched as people tried to improvise with whatever furniture they could find. Besides being inconvenient, the situation frequently displaced items needed by the patient and clinicians.

4. Uncomfortable Hospitality Environment

Uncomfortable Hospitality EnvironmentIn many hospital settings, limited furniture makes it more difficult to host visitors. There’s a few places to store guests’ bags, coats, computers, and bedding adding to crowding that awkward and frustrating for guests, patients and hospital staff. Crowding can block access to medical equipment and impede clinical staff’s ability to do their job.

5. Nowhere to Plug In

Nowhere to Plug InOften family members try to maintain some of their routines, including working from the hospital, while supporting their loved one. In most cases, this requires the use of technology. Researchers saw family members struggle to create ad hoc workspaces while their loved ones slept. Their efforts were often complicated by a lack of access to light, power sources, and surfaces to hold paperwork.

“Family members are eager to be involved in their loved ones’ care, but our research shows that healthcare environments often don’t support their participation,”

Patricia Wang
Researcher, WorkSpace Futures, Steelcase Health

“Family members are Eager to be Involved in their loved ones’ care, but our research shows that healthcare environments often don’t support their participation,” said Patricia Wang, researcher, WorkSpace Futures, Steelcase Heath. “Uncomfortable or temporary furniture, lack of storage for personal items and feelings of stress about getting in the way of clinicians can leave family members feeling more like an audience than an active, valued partner in care. This can impact patient, family member and clinician experience.”

Welcoming Environments

Steelcase Health findings show that family members need intuitive, welcoming and hosted environments that both support fundamental needs, such as sleeping, sharing meals and working, and assists them in productively partnering with clinicians to meet their loved one’s healthcare needs.

“Creating spaces that encourage family involvement is a critical challenge that those who design healthcare environments can work to address,” added Wang. “Space constraints, layout, storage concerns, and access to light and power are all important considerations, along with dynamics such as how simple it is to effectively clean a room or piece of furniture. And, of course, flexibility and adaptability are paramount because they is no one-size-fits-all approach that will meet the needs of every healthcare setting.”

The findings from Steelcase Health bolster research on current healthcare trends such as patient and provider satisfaction as quality indicators, the focus on patient-and-family-centered-care, and the adoption of patient and family advisory boards and councils at hospitals and health systems.

For more information about Steelcase Heath’s insights on how healthcare environments can support family involvement in patient care, visit www.steelcase.com/health.

Written By:

Rebecca Charbauski

For Steelcase


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