Office furniture that’s good for your health and bottom line

April 5, 2018 Kelsey Burgess

Today’s workplace is so much more than cubicles and conference rooms. It can often be a direct link to a company’s success. To stay competitive, smart companies know they need to offer a well-designed workplace that encourages real productivity and collaboration, promotes health and happiness, and helps attract and retain top talent.

But in an ever-evolving industry, it’s hard to stay on top of the latest trends. That is why we partnered with five of our preferred suppliers across key design areas—architecture, flooring, lighting, furniture and audio visual technology—to author a series of articles intended to showcase cutting-edge trends in planning and design that are enhancing workplace experience for our clients. Trends that will help get you in front, and even ahead, of the workplace curve.

This is the fourth article in a five-part series.

Going beyond the ‘look’… to the ‘feel’

Furniture is an increasingly important component of any office design. After all, your couches, chairs and reception desk are typically the first things you notice when you walk into an office space. That’s why having the right aesthetics and quality furniture in place can positively reflect your brand and who you are as a company.

But furniture selection goes far beyond merely aesthetics. In addition to ‘looking good,’ having the right furniture in place can help employees ‘feel good’ as well, impacting their overall morale and productivity – and ultimately your bottom line.

Designing the office space with the human experience in mind

The reality is when you spend hours at your desk every day, even the smallest features of your workspace – such as the position of your monitor or the height of your chair – can greatly affect your productivity and even your health. According to the American Chiropractic Association, back-related issues will affect around 80 percent of the American population at one point or another in their lives. To address this, more companies are designing their office space with the human experience in mind, incorporating everything from sit to stand desks and treadmill desks to ergonomic chairs into their designs.

The physical environment has a tremendous impact on how well we work. In fact, one study found that it’s the most important factor in determining productivity. Workers in better physical spaces are 20 percent more productive. Sit to stand desks are just one example of a furniture concept that’s largely contributing to these productivity increases. According to CNN, sit to stand desks not only help you burn more calories during the day and reduce back and neck pain, but they also boost productivity for some employees by an impressive 46 percent. Treadmill desks are another good example. According to a Human Kinetics Journal study, using a treadmill desk left workers with stronger focus and lower levels of cortisol, the hormone that causes stress. Even the right chair can help improve the human experience and boost productivity. The average office worker spends 5 hours and 41 minutes every single day sitting down at work. Considering this statistic, ergonomic chairs – which are designed to provide adequate lower back support and can be adjusted for posture – are a must have.

A chair that moves the way you do

Recognizing this need and important trend, furniture manufacturer Steelcase recently introduced SILQ – a new kind of chair designed to intuitively respond to the unique movements of the human body. The chair is extremely thin, very strong and highly responsive. Simply by sitting, it responds to the inputs you give it, which means that anyone can sit in it at any time and it will support you no matter where or how you’re working. 

In an office environment that has become increasingly more fluid, people are moving from one task to another, spending less time sitting in front of their own desks. With smart technology like SILQ, you don’t have to think about adjustments because the only adjustment is the chair’s height. The chair does the rest.

“Steelcase’s unrelenting focus on the employee and the overall human experience consistently comes through in their creative and flawless products such as SILQ,” commented Sherry Bonaria, Project Manager, JLL. “Not only are they ahead of the curve when it comes to innovative furniture concepts in the office space, they are leading the charge. I look forward to working with them again in the near future.”

As more companies look to attract top talent, they need to consider how these employees will ‘feel’ on a day to day. With so many hours spent at the office, ‘how’ they physically work can be critical to their health and productivity. Sit to stand desks, treadmill desks and ergonomic chairs are just a few of many examples recently introduced that are positively impacting the human experience within the workplace – for the good.

Steelcase is one of five preferred suppliers within JLL’s newly created and first of its kind Strategic Council (previously called Workplace Strategy Council). The Council was created across key design areas to reinforce JLL’s commitment to clients and their workplaces. For more information about these suppliers and the Council, click here.


Sherry Bonaria, Project Manager, JLL; Morgan Junia, Vice President, JLL PDS Sourcing; Naomi Tramontano, Director – Real Estate Alliances, Steelcase

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