March 4, 2024 | Weekly Editorial
Finding Balance in the Digital Age
Written By Rob Kirkbride, Editor-in-chief, OI Publications
Most headlines these days seem to revolve around technology: Apple pulling the plug on its car project; Microsoft partnering with OpenAI; and rovers landing on Mars are just a few from the past week alone. I’m certainly not surprised by our obsession with technology. We are living in the Information Age.
I’m sure you use tools like CET Commercial Interiors, Cyncly, INDEAL Spaces, KiSP and MRL. All of them make your life easier by improving your efficiency. They are needed tools and our industry is lucky to have them…
Economic Outlook for Commercial Interiors
A recent story in the Wall Street Journal with the headline “Data Show the Economy Is Booming. Wall Street Thinks Otherwise” is a good example of the confusion over the economy right now...
It is important for our industry to cut through the clutter and not focus on perceived negatives that really don’t affect our industry. I don’t know about you, but I’m bullish about the future — especially when it comes to the industry...
Is Pet Furniture the Industry’s Newest Vertical Market?
As you might imagine, I receive many press releases during the course of a week, but the headline “Global Pet Furniture Market Revenue is Estimated to Reach $6.13 billion by 2030, Growing at a CAGR of 6.1%” got my attention.
Throughout my life, I’m grateful that our family has had: four dogs, three parakeets, two ferrets, one chinchilla, a henhouse filled with chickens and countless (often short lived) goldfish. Sorry cat lovers. I’m not sure if that reaches the level of a menagerie, but it’s probably close. I can say that we have never purchased furniture for our pets, though many of them made themselves at home on our furniture.
Surviving Industry Supply Chain Disruptions
The pandemic taught us many lessons including this one that is especially important to the office furniture industry: Supply chains are fragile and when they break down, they seriously affect our business.
Ernst & Young research shows severe disruption during the pandemic is driving companies to make their supply chains more resilient, collaborative and networked. In its survey, they found serious supply chain disruptions affected 57% of companies, with 72% reporting a negative effect (17% reported a significant negative effect, and 55% mostly negative).
Exploring AI's Influence on Our Industry
I recently attended the BIFMA 360° Leadership Conference and the speakers, as usual, were excellent and thought provoking. Since the conference is about preparing industry leaders for the future, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that two of the speakers discussed artificial intelligence and how it will change the world — including our industry.
And while I’m all for technology and embrace it, often as an early adopter, I’m skeptical and more than a bit fearful about AI and all its implications...
10 Traits for Effective Mentorship
Everyone deserves at least one good mentor during their professional career. I’ve been lucky enough to have a number of them.
A few came early in my career at a time I really needed them. There’s Ed Wendover, former publisher of The Community Crier newspaper in Plymouth, Mich. Although I’m in the middle-late part of my career, I’m grateful to have Bob Beck, publisher of officeinsight as a mentor as well.
So how do you find a mentor? Read on for some suggestions.
Personal Branding and Online Presence: Keys To Networking Success
It is difficult to straddle the line between highly effective personal branding on one end of the spectrum and P.T. Barnum-style showmanship on the other side.
Luckily, our industry has a number of people who do a great job on social media providing important information and leading conversations about our industry...
Virtual Events, Webinars, and Online Forums for Networking in the Digital Age
One of the positives that emerged from the pandemic is the value of virtual events as a supplement (not a replacement) of in person gatherings. I shudder to think about the hit to the economy if Zoom and Teams meetings were not available. While virtual meetings saved our bacon during lockdown, they weren’t perfect. There is no replacing true human-to-human connection...
5 Tips for Navigating Industry Events
The BIFMA 360° Leadership Conference is right around the corner and is one of the must-attended events of the year. I know, I know. It’s tough to attend conferences, events and seminars following the pandemic. Though I really do enjoy all the events the industry has to offer, I find I have to pry myself from my office chair to attend. Not sure why going anywhere after COVID is such a chore for me, but it is...
Building Community Within the Industry
The industry has literally shaped my community. Steelcase, MillerKnoll and Haworth are all based in West Michigan and regardless of what you might think of them as furniture makers, it is undeniable that all of them — along with all the other smaller manufacturers and suppliers here — are fantastic corporate citizens. They do a lot for the community...
A welcoming reception area is a key component of a customer-facing business. It not only acts as a place for visiting guests to wait or pass through, but it is also often their first impression of your organization. With that in mind, what kind of statement do you wish to make? Do you want to be perceived as bold and high-energy? Sleek and modern?
Meeting the Needs of Patient Care
The design of any healthcare space should go beyond aesthetics and tap into the systems that keep the facility running efficiently and effectively. This requires products and solutions built with highly specialized healing environments in mind. This Space Solutions feature focuses on the important requirements of today’s healthcare spaces.
Workspaces with Personal Appeal
Today’s private offices look a lot different than the private offices of the past. While still designed to give workers an individualized, focused space to work solo, they are often being designed with different work zones in mind. Read this Space Solutions feature to learn the key to successful private office design.
What Capabilities Are Essential in the Workplace?
Workers are seeking dynamic environments that allow for flexibility. Employers seeking to draw and retain talent are creating healthful and respectful spaces with their workers in mind. Explore trends that are driving change, forecasts future workplace attributes and provides insight into design leaders.
The Role of Technology in Spaces
The role of technology in our spaces is changing. In addition to visual inspiration, we’re sharing articles that explore how technology is at the forefront of our space solutions, how change is imminent, some creative analysis to change, and a project that embodies that change.
Design the Conversation with Sustainability
Sustainability: a familiar term that has made its way into every facet of the contract design industry. Taking a hot seat at client meetings, it’s at the forefront of the conversation. On a grand scale, WELL and LEED certifications are driving the need for increased wellbeing within the built environments, through process, materials, environment, comfort, mindfulness, etc. and some of these needs are being addressed at an accelerated pace as a direct result of the pandemic.
A Look at Sustainable Materials in Commercial Interiors
A lot has been written about the need to produce more sustainable office furniture. Going green. I agree that this is an important goal for the industry. It isn’t unusual to focus on new furniture and the process of making it. I read that seven of the most sustainable materials used in office furniture are wood, bamboo, natural fabrics, steel, aluminum, recycled materials, and new innovative products.
The Results Are In from the Latest I Care Employee Wellness Survey
The I Care Employee Wellness Survey, developed by INDEAL Cares, is an annual initiative that aims to better understand the health and well-being of individuals working in the commercial interiors industry. Now in its third year, this year’s survey was securely hosted by work experience data provider, Align.
Developing and Enhancing Your Team's Potential
If you re-read the title of this article, you might be inclined to think that it’s only directed at managers or supervisors but it’s not. I’m addressing the way peers can impact the development of their team’s potential and performance, on their own. This is not about excluding a manager or supervisor but about all team members taking responsibility for the team’s success or failure.
Expanding Into Vertical Markets
This month’s topic is “Expanding Into Verticals.” On the surface this sounds simple; just identify and start selling into business types that comprise all the potential purchasers in a particular occupation or market; healthcare, GSA, education, hospitality, etc. – but there’s more to it than that.
Empowering Your Team To Live Well
We know that inspired leadership will connect, develop, and enhance healthy workplace communities. Studies show that when leaders put their thoughts and attention toward improving employee health and well-being, employers are 4x more likely to see improved health outcomes.