WHAT'S NEW?
We've always got stories to share. Here's what we've been up to.

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Happy New Year, boss!

January is here. And, even at work, it’s time to capitalize on the planet’s collective fresh start.
 
We’re not talking about new year’s resolutions. They’re a little trite (plus they don’t work, anyway). We’re talking about setting meaningful intentions that will last the whole year. Here’s what we mean:

1. Strike 2017’s to-do list
Close out (or reprioritize) the lingering projects that, for one reason or another, have fallen by the wayside. Maybe it’s finalizing your Q1 goals, signing a task chair
 order for your team (we like this one) or pulling the trigger on a new hire. The sense of accomplishment will set the tone for the year to come.

2. Set team goals
Sit down with you team and talk about what the group wants to accomplish in 2018. Collaborative goal-setting feels less dictatorial and encourages buy-in, which breeds success. And while you shouldn’t be afraid to set a few stretch ambitions, make sure the majority are realistic and achievable.

3. Update security
Seeeeeriously though. Hackers’ whole job is to exploit vulnerabilities. Make January the time to beef up your firewall, upgrade your systems, change your passwords, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with securing your data.

4. Invest in culture
We say this a lot because it’s important. Today’s workforce is increasingly
 demanding a dialed environment, with meaningful amenities, and real work-life balance. Life-work balance, in fact.

Can 2018 be the year you implemented flex time? To calendar a weekly office happy hour? Maybe it’s the year of the standing desk (we like this one, too). Take a poll, see what people want. Show you’re listening. They’ll stick around.

5. Focus on WELLness
We’ve talked about how all four IOS showrooms will be WELL certified in 2018 (#humblebrag). Whether it’s stocking the kitchen with fruit or motivating people to take the stairs by hanging art there, encouraging wellness can mean better employee health and improved productivity. Less time off. Fewer disability claims. A better staff narrative.
 
And an awesome 2018.

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Interior Office Solutions is proud to announce the rebrand and rename of our custom division. Ideation Lab is now SLATE Custom Studio.

CHANGE. ANYTHING. SLATE is a custom design, engineering and fabrication studio. Live edge conference tables instead of laminate. A piece of glass in place of a whiteboard. Hot-rolled steel instead of fabric. Powder-coated desk legs in brand colors.

IT'S ALL TOTALLY POSSIBLE. SLATE convenes the best manufacturers, engineers, fabricators, and designers to innovate, add, subtract, improve, modify, build, switch, resize, kick, shine, replace, adapt, and adjust to make end user dreams a reality. The bottom line: With SLATE, it’s all totally possible.
 
It’s scalable, it’s warrantied, and it’s one of the coolest things we do.


Check out some of the cool ideas on our SLATE page. Want to visit a SLATE project? Connect with Debra Haas, SLATE’s Director of Innovation.
 
In the meantime, here’s more on our custom division story:
 
In 2012, we recognized a pattern. Customers were coming to us with requirements for furniture that simply didn’t exist. This went beyond custom finishes. They were looking for lab tables that could bear huge weight loads. Desks with crazy built-in power and data capacity. Vented steel CPU holders. On casters. In brand colors. Quilted leather workstation panels (yep).
 
When customers have a need, our default is to find it, immediately. So what do you do when there’s literally no solution? We did what anyone would do. We started a custom division.

The decision to start a new line of business was in service to one thing: Our customers. They want it, we figure it out. That’s what we do.
 
Blank. Slate.

 

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Not too long ago, one of our collaborators, someone who works at an A+D firm, came to our Seattle dealership with an interesting ask.

Could we empower his team to speak to clients about workspace planning?


He told us our furniture is great. It’s beautiful, it’s functional… but so is a lot of other furniture. He wanted to elevate the internal conversation. How else could we help him? How could he take his team from knowing the “what” to asking the “why”?

In short, he told us: It’s not about the furniture. It’s about the people.

And we almost jumped for joy. Because we say this. All. The. Time.

In fact, it’s one of our key positioning statements. Sure, our work often results in great spaces full of workstations, private offices and conference rooms. That’s true. But ultimately, a real live human person needs to exist in those spaces. And that person is important.

The work environment is a physical reflection of a company’s culture, and how it values its workforce. You have to start with the people.

So, we brought his team in and began to unpack.

We talked about all the reasons a company, any company, would choose to invest in their physical workspace. We talked about what questions to ask about candidate attraction, and employee retention. We demonstrated how to identify different work styles, requirements for different work functions. We explored the need for daylighting, and the power of an amazing chair. We talked about how this fits into our own Proven Process, and how valuable and necessary the Discovery phase is.

This collaborator, and in fact his whole team, now know how to explore the “why” with their clients as they build an exceptional workspace for the people who matter most: their people.

That’s powerful.

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Hello, office friends. We’d like to take a moment to talk about solutions.

The word ‘solutions’ is part of our name for a reason. We help companies solve problems to meet their business goals. It’s a core component of our Proven Process. And believe it or not, these solutions sometimes have… nothing to do with all-new furniture.

It’s part of our larger mission as trusted advisors. Our Portland office gave a great example of this recently. A few weeks ago, a customer called us to their space to offer consultation. Employee morale was low. Productivity was off. Could we help?
 
Of course.

When we arrived and did a brief tour, we noticed a cluster of six empty workstations. We asked how that space was being used. Was it flex workers? Touchdowns? No, they said. They’re empty.
 
Not being used now, and confirming they could be warehoused until needed, we suggested putting in a lounge area. A new place for employees to collaborate, to take a phone call, or just step away from their monitors.
 
Our customer loved the idea. And good news- it worked. Their employees loved it, too.

We often visit customer’s spaces to discover that a lot is good, and a few changes can make it great. We come in with clear optics to address issues like productivity and employee dissatisfaction with answers like better lighting or noise abatement. We make real, actionable recommendations that solve real problems, and those don’t always begin (or end) with desks and chairs.

Yes, we are proud of the furniture we sell. Our workstations, private offices, collaborative and lounge areas are beautiful, functional, and well considered. We believe every space, every employee, deserves that.

But our name isn’t Interior Office Furniture; it’s Interior Office Solutions. Sometimes the answer is deeper. We’re here to help you find it.
 

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Remember when casual Friday became a thing? It was after New Kids on the Block, but before we were Livin’ La Vida Loca. Back then, a business could bump internal stock with Hawaiian shirt day.

Thankfully, we’ve all grown up a bit.
 
In 2017, workplace engagement is less about dress code and more focused on topics swinging from flexible hours to saving the planet. It’s about how people feel about what they do, where they do it, and who they do it with. It’s called culture, and it’s a big deal.

And guess what, boss: great culture is what the workforce wants. About 67-percent of CEOs predict that in five years, workplace talent will focus more on corporate culture and values than they do on pay. Hiring is expensive; firing can be more. Retention is a huge priority, and smart companies are moving forward culture-first.

So if culture is king (it is) and employees crave it (they do), what next? Here are three starter steps to building a positive culture that heroes your businesses and keeps the good ones around.

Adopt a cause.
What does your company stand for? Are you all about your customers? Do you support charities? Write down what you care about. Developing a set of corporate values elevates your brand story, and employees who share these ideals are likely to work harder and longer for you.

Show the love.
Studies show millennials are willing to give up, on average, $7600 in salary every year in favor of a genuinely awesome work environment. It means environments that support a variety of work styles, serve great coffee, and invest in beautiful, functional spaces are winning. Big time.

Save the planet.
“Going green” isn’t a movement anymore; it’s table stakes. More than 90,000 business spaces globally have some level of LEED certification. Even if you’re not going for LEED gold, you can use energy-saving products, beef up office recycling, and eliminate purchases that come in crazy-level packaging.

There are tomes on the subject of culture building, of course. One of our favorites? “Change Your Space, Change Your Culture.” You can read excerpts on Amazon. Or visit one of our four showrooms to see it in action. It will be fun. We promise.
 

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Hey, boss. There's been a lot of digital 'ink' devoted to workplace wellness. For a while, it was about monitor resolution. Then it was about task chairs. But today, the conversation goes way beyond who sits on what and for how long. 

The International WELL Building Institute has created a movement to advance buildings that help people work, live, perform and feel their best. Essentially, they share how human hearts, minds and bodies (and by extension, businesses) can benefit by implementing certain specific workspace standards. 

We think that's a big deal. 

Achieving WELL certification is a highly specific and detailed process that can take months, start to finish. Here are seven WELL-inspired changes to improve your workplace. Like, now.  

(Why seven? Because that's how many we picked.) 

  • Eat an apple. Snacks at work sometimes define "lowest common denominator." If you're providing chips and chocolate, provide some fruit, too. Your mom was right about that. 

  • Stop the soda. Do the La Croix thing. A billion millennials can't be wrong. Or at least trade in 12-ounce soda cans for 7.5-ounce versions. 

  • Lighten up. Move workstations or soft seating near windows. Studies show daylight improves mood, and in turn, performance. Miniblinds? Take 'em down. (And let's be honest- miniblinds are tragic.) 

  • Move it. We've heard a lot about this. Folks need to get up from their chairs. Encourage mid-morning walks, or group trips up a flight of stairs. They'll do it if you do. 

  • Breathe air. No, seriously. Not every company can flip the switch on a brand-new HVAC, but EVERYONE can take a minute to step outside and smell... whatever's out there. 

  • Drink hydrogen and oxygen. Water, as we say at IOS, is life. Even at work. So drink up, people. Eight glasses a day. 

  • Talk to your humans. Gather your teams to talk about these and other small changes to improve their work lives. They probably have ideas too. 

 

Is making seven changes in a day going to set you on the path to WELL Certification? Well, no. But these seven small adjustments do two major things: One, they demonstrate a company cares about its people and two, they make people feel and perform better at work. Really. 

You may have heard that not one, not two, not three, but ALL FOUR of IOS' west coast showrooms are becoming WELL Certified workplaces. It's a detailed, comprehensive process, and no small feat to achieve. Come see us to learn more. 

We'll probably give you a tiny soda.