Archive for July, 2014

Stand In the Place That You Work

livello table

Livello Livello stand

A little knock off of R.E.M.’s, “Stand”, (there I go, “dating” myself again), but the conversation of standing at work is a hot topic of late.  Perhaps there were murmurings before Nilofer Merchant’s, Harvard Business Review article touting that, “Sitting is the Smoking of Our Generation,” but the health ramifications associated with prolonged sitting had not previously been so blatantly spelled out via cold, hard, data.

Merchant’s article sites research that states your life is cut short by 22 minutes for every 8-12 hours you spend sitting sedentary.  Aside from the physical/skeletal nightmare’s that can occur with bad posture,  poor chair design, and other ill- habits, it’s the reluctance of workers to recognize the impact of day in, day out, misuse or miss alignment of their body that contributes to its long-term effects.  Moving beyond carpel tunnel, back and shoulder aches, stiff knees, eye strain, etc….There are chemical shifts in your body while sitting.  Data shows that the enzyme the burns fats in the body, declines by 90% after just one hour of sitting! If that’s not incentive to get up and move, at least every hour, if not more frequent, I don’t know what is!

On any given day I spend up to 9 hours of sitting at work; I may switch spots – say, task chair, to conference chair to car seat, (repeat), but I am largely spending those 9 hours – sitting. On a good night, I’m talking a really good night, I am fortunate to get 6.5- 7 hours of sleep. Therefore, I sit more than I sleep each day- as that 9 hours is strictly accounting for my work day. Not drive time, not “watching TV on the couch time” or other sitting based activities.  Merchant was heralded in sharing this revelation, as the impact of our longer work days, hyper connectivity (speaking technologically) has done a number on our bodies, and not just the stress related to heavier workloads and longer hours, but the physical downfall of so much sitting.

Enter, “Stand in the Place Where You Work;” standing at work is not a passing trend in my book. With the interest in healthier work forces, reducing worker’s comp claims, and the like,  I wouldn’t be surprised if “sitting at your desk” exclusively, doesn’t go by the way side of the once, 2 “smoke breaks” a-day concept.  Furniture manufacturers have answered this need with the “Sit/Stand” table option. These work surfaces go from a traditional sit height, to a standing height – with a push of a button, a turn of a crank or a squeeze of a paddle, depending on the mechanism.

Teknion’s table lines offer several sit/stand solutions to the sitting epidemic- offered in Electronic, Incremental and Counterbalance mechanisms. The  LIVELLO counterbalance option is their most recent addition. The internal spring mechanisms counteract the weight on the surface for a fluid, seemingly intuitive, motion.

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The Wall

Just about every conversation surrounding the trend of more collaborative spaces and open office concepts also includes the issue for privacy and how to address it while maintaining the open plan aesthetic. This is where reconfigurable wall can paint a very compelling picture. The variety of materials that can be used to establish huddle rooms, private office, conference rooms and “phone booths,” to fill those needs range from fabric to white board to butted-glass storefront and all points in between.

Teknion Wall Install

Optos Low profile Walls_4_w_Model_B (1) Optos low profile md_Walls_3_Model_B altos optos 2 altos optos 3 optos altos

Our Teknion Optos/Altos product is a frequent conversation starter due to its non-marring installation, “green story” – based on its stick built qualities and the fact that reconfigurable wall is looked at as furniture and depreciates at the same rate, which is 4 times faster than that of fixed wall construction.

Many people have the perception that reconfigurable wall is inaccessible; the thought is often that it will be more costly than fixed walls. While the product cost may/may not price out more than some fixed wall applications- the speed of installation, the versatility of applications and reconfiguring down the road, the greatly reduced amount of time the area/workspace is non functional, the “waste not, want not” features, and the aforementioned tax benefits certainly are considerable benefits to weigh in on when comparing the two.

Our organizations and workplaces are in constant flux in some capacity or another; smaller footprints, evolving head count and being a relevant business today means you must be fluent to survive. The Optos/Altos product allows that versatility, while also proving to be a prudent investment.

 

 

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What I Did On My Summer Vacation…

If you are of a certain age, writing an essay on this topic was status quo sometime the first week of school for most of your youth. Some teacher’s are still assigning this task; only they are likely not done with freshly sharpened #2 pencils and wide rule loose leaf paper as they were, “back when I was in school” (where I walked up hill, in the snow, both ways, etc…), but rather, on tablets and projection keyboards!

No matter the mode of communication, here at our BA Designs Kansas City office, we can say that we have spent a large part of our summer “vacation” (if by vacation you mean work week), readying spaces for those writing tasks to take place!  We have been fortunate to partner with several schools on projects this summer, with quite a few of those being in the Olathe School District.  One we imagine Olathe USD# 233 is extra excited about is their newest Elementary School, Millbrooke Elementary.

It’s always exhilarating to see a school come to fruition from empty building – to being adorned in colorful hallways and bulletin boards, rooms outfitted with new furniture, and books carefully organized on shelves, ready to instill a love of learning for the students.  An extra special privilege for those that will call themselves the very first, Millbrooke Mountain Lions!

Take a look at what the students at Millbrooke are about to see at their ‘Sneak Peek’ August 11th; the school is ready and the teachers are too. With that,  get in some more summer while you can – that means school is back in session in just a month!

Millbrooke cafe to stage Millbrooke Classroom 1 Millbrooke Classroom BRC Millbrooke Construction Millbrooke Elem- cafe Millbrooke Main Millbrooke sign

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In a world of Buddy, Harry, Chloe, Scout…meet Larry. Our office fish.

Larry blog

Yes. Our office fish. If you haven’t been privy to the latest data regarding pets in the workplace, here’s the skinny:

Pet’s in the workplace are becoming commonplace. What may have started by virtue of their humans working longer hours, and a pet’s “needs” remaining the same; a pet in the workplace has turned into quite commonplace, especially in certain professional fields.  And studies show…not only do we love them being here, but we benefit from them sharing our work day.

With more demanding work loads, constant stressors, and longer hours, by virtue of having to tend to a pet, it forces us those much needed, highly beneficial short breaks from our heads-down work. Data reveals that several short breaks throughout the day, allows for greater productivity when we return to task work. There are physical perks as well- our autonomic (think cortisol levels), and cardiovascular function improves, as our blood pressure lowers, when we engage with animals. While there are very distinct camps on the “my pet is better than your pet” front, cats edge out dogs in yielding the best body benefits, or at least so says the data, (those of you allergic to cats would likely oppose these findings!)

Aside from physical personal health, having a pet in the workplace brings people together in a unique way; making the office appear friendlier, more welcoming and unifies the employees in a way typical team building cannot, says pollsters.  Let’s face it, it’s hard to not drop the professional façade when you are knee deep into a pressing deadline, stressed to the max, and “Buddy/Harry/Chloe/Scout” (insert your office pet name here) is relentlessly nudging at your arm for a kind stroke, or has placed his/her head in your lap despite your averting movements and position, with those puppy dog eyes longingly set on you.  At some point you cave. We all do.  We concede to their assertions and science says it’s a good thing we do!

Here at BA Designs, we too have an office pet. He is a very quiet guy that keeps to himself and many times, we forget he is even here. Meet Larry- the fish. Ok, so it’s not quite the furry, loveable office pet that will likely yield the aforementioned health benefits, but he works for us. Sure, I’m the only one that talks to him (at least audibly) and at least 2x in any given week someone while waiting for the coffee to brew proclaims, “Larry’s dead” (his favorite game is to play opossum), but he’s ours and the office just wouldn’t be the same without him.

So we’re curious, who has an office pet out there?

 

 

 

 

 

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Let Furniture Ring!

Flag

The 4th of July conjures up a variety of Americana-esque images for most of us:  the flag, fireworks, bbq’s, and of course, our Independence! So as the well-celebrated day approaches, we our honoring our own Independence and saying in unison, “Let Furniture Ring!”  Ok, so the saying is, “Let Freedom Ring,” but we are a Furniture and Flooring Dealer, people, work with us!

We would like to take a moment this holiday week and not only focus on the fact that so many of our vendor- partners are American made businesses, but that so many of those businesses started decades ago based on the time-honored American work ethic that this fine nation was built. Not only did they start from humble beginnings, but they have weathered the economical storms and ever-changing buying practices and have evolved to meet those changing times and remain standing today! USA! USA! USA!  (Perhaps I shouldn’t be writing this with the World Cup in full swing?)

Along with honoring those businesses, we’d also like to send a shout out to all our fellow small, locally owned businesses who have managed to stay relevant and financially sound amidst years of economic turmoil and change. Is there a one of us who hasn’t had to play “Fortune Teller,” to some extent as to how/when/what the next turn will bring, or in a moment of reflection think about how things,  “used to be” and long for a more predictable time?  We honor you for your investment in your community by way of jobs/ investing in local property/infrastructure, for your fortitude in putting in all the hours in front of and behind the scenes, and the personal sacrifices you have made to have a piece of the “American Pie.”  May it be topped with a generous helping of your favorite ice cream, whipped cream and a cherry on top for good measure for many years to come!

 

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