New Survey Highlights Important of Privacy and Flexibility in Today’s Office Space

American office occupancy hit a post-pandemic high in mid-October according to Kastle Systems, as U.S. workers adapt to the new workplace trends and find a hybrid model that works for them. While workers may be back at their desks, their old workplace preferences may not be what they once were.

The increase in remote and hybrid work in the past few years has given many American office workers a chance to learn what they value in their workspace and the type of working environment that brings them the most success.

Fellowes Brands conducted a survey of American office workers that provided some insight into how offices can leverage workspace design to address the dynamic needs of their employees. Notably, the survey found that 58% of office workers said access to a private work area at their office is very important to producing their best work. Unfortunately, just 35% of respondents completely agree that their employers currently provide a workspace where they can concentrate and produce their best work.

Nearly half (45%) of survey respondents reported they continue to work in a hybrid model (working from home at least one day a week), which places in-person offices in competition with home offices and other remote working locations. The autonomy and flexibility that hybrid employees experience in their remote workspace is guiding their in-office workspace preferences: greater privacy and more adaptable work areas are paramount for an employee to feel they can do their best work.

So, how can employers address this deficit to ensure their workplace is one where employees want to work and can feel their most productive?

Forgo open floor plans and low-height cubicles in favor of modular office spaces that offer more privacy.

Because American workers prioritize private work areas twice as much as collaborative spaces, it’s critical that employers provide access to more private spaces that employees can use to focus. Adding more private work areas into a space doesn’t have to be a floor-to-ceiling renovation, either: Fellowes’ moveable wall solutions can transform an open floor plan into private spaces without major construction, and can adapt as the needs of your organization change over time.

Focus on flexibility.

According to the survey, most American workers desire flexibility in their desk setup (82%) and computer monitor setup (80%) to produce their best work. Provide a variety of desk and monitor solutions to fit the varying needs of your workforce, and communicate to employees that they should feel empowered to make their workspace work for them. Check out Fellowes’ desk and monitor arms for inspiration into how to offer a flexible space for employees when they’re in the office.

Get employee feedback – and apply it.

Just 24% of respondents completely agree that their employer cares about their input when setting up personal employee work areas. With such little confidence in their voice being heard, it’s not surprising that many employees may prefer a remote work setup where they can have greater autonomy. To understand your workforce’s changing needs, ask for feedback from your employees on a consistent basis, and prioritize your investments to be in line with what your workforce says will make them feel the most successful.

Creating a workspace where employees feel their best helps them get “in the zone” to do their best work, which translates to greater productivity for your organization. Small changes to your office space or individual workspaces can make a significant difference to an employees’ productivity. Contact Fellowes today to get started on building the ideal workspace for yo

Survey Reveals Employee Opinions on Workplace Indoor Air Quality

The push for cleaner indoor air in our workplaces has been led by public health researchers, national associations and the White House, which have all recognized the role employers, contractors and consultants can play in designing and improving workplaces for better indoor air quality (IAQ).

In observance of International Day of Clean Air on Sept. 7, Fellowes Brands sought the opinions of another group: employees who share the same air at work and also share many of the same concerns about IAQ’s effects on their health and work performance.

Americans spend 90% of their time indoors on average, according to Environmental Protection Agency data. Indoor concentrations of some pollutants are often two-to-five times higher than typical outdoor concentrations, making cleaner indoor air an important focus for businesses on International Day of Clean Air.

Fellowes Brands’ survey of 1,120 American workers who work on-site and indoors for their employer covered topics ranging from employees’ evaluations of their workplaces’ IAQ, their perceptions of their employers’ action toward improving IAQ, their specific health concerns surrounding IAQ at work and their belief in clean indoor air as a right for all employees.

Finding #1 – Only about 1 in 3 respondents called their workplace air “very clean.”
Just 36% of survey respondents described the quality of the indoor air at their workplace as “very clean,” despite 60% saying their employer is taking the necessary steps to provide clean indoor air in their workplace.

The disconnect between these two data points may indicate a need for additional education among employees to better understand and advocate for the specific IAQ improvement strategies that have been proven to work against viruses, bacteria, pollutants, allergens and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Very clean air is an attainable goal for all workplaces, with the right plan that includes air purification, HVAC improvements and better ventilation.

Finding #2 – The majority of respondents are concerned about the health consequences of poor IAQ.

COVID-19 and its variants remain top of mind for American workers, with 73% of respondents saying they were at least somewhat concerned about contracting the virus as a consequence of poor IAQ at work.

The majority of survey respondents also reported being at least somewhat concerned about the following additional consequences of poor IAQ in the workplace:

  • Allergy symptoms: 71%
  • Viruses other than COVID-19: 68%
  • Headaches: 66%
  • Fatigue: 65%

The onset of COVID-19 in 2020 increased public awareness of IAQ, a workplace health and safety issue that cannot be seen but has always been present. The importance of IAQ was elevated further during the last year, as employers that operated fully remote at the onset of the pandemic began to roll out hybrid work models that brought more people together to work in person, breathing the same air.

These results indicate that COVID-19 and its variants remain the top concern, but it’s clear that employees recognize the breadth of health concerns associated with poor IAQ.

Finding #3 – Employees think they’ll be more productive with clean indoor air, and they believe it should be a workplace right.

91% of respondents agree that clean indoor air helps them perform their best at work, while 88% believe clean indoor air should be a right for all employees. Their instincts are right.

Cleaner indoor air is also linked to increased cognition and productivity, according to research led by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Most important for employers, these data points represent the partnership employees expect with their employers. Employees expect clean air at work and believe it should be a right, but in return, they expect to deliver the best possible work and results for their employers.

The Solution – Improved IAQ through Air Purification
Air purification is one of the four key components of cleaner indoor air, according to a recent Lancet COVID-19 Commission report, and it is one of the most effective and fastest-to-install defenses against COVID-19 and other viruses that can quickly spread through workplaces.

Fellowes AeraMax Pro air purifiers have helped businesses provide safe and clean indoor environments for more than a decade, using a unique four-stage True HEPA filtration system that efficiently removes airborne contaminants from enclosed spaces.

Indoor air purification with H13 True HEPA filters can remove 99.95% of viruses, bacteria, pollutants, allergens and VOCs that lead to poor IAQ and the associated health risks. Improved IAQ also lowers risk of stroke, lung cancer, respiratory disease and other health concerns.

Fellowes AeraMax Pro units are always working to improve IAQ, deploying an array of patented EnviroSmart™ self-regulating sensors, which automatically monitor a room to provide on demand air purification.

It’s also important to provide transparency that air purifiers are working. Only Fellowes AeraMax Pro air purifiers feature Pureview™, a display that shows real-time updates on air quality and machine performance, providing occupants peace of mind that the air is clean.

The Bottom Line

American workers understand the health risks of poor IAQ and the benefits of working in very clean air, based on these survey results. Employers that invest in improving their IAQ with air purification will reap rewards with a healthier, happier and more productive workforce at a time of great competition for the best talent.

Fellowes Brands New Design And Experience Center in the Fulton Market District, Opening In Early 2023

We are excited to announce that we will open a new Design and Experience Center at 800 W. Fulton Ave., at the entrance to Chicago’s vibrant and design-focused Fulton Market District in early 2023.

The new 12,000 useable-square-foot center will serve as an interactive showroom and a destination where customers, designers and commercial real estate partners can collaborate with the Fellowes Brands team in a creative, energetic space that helps them solve their workplace needs.

The Fulton Market District location is a return home for Fellowes Brands, which was founded in a small office in downtown Chicago in 1917 and is now headquartered in nearby Itasca, Ill.

After a search that began in 2021, Fellowes Brands was attracted to and eventually selected the 800 W. Fulton Ave. location earlier this year to tap into the energy of the Fulton Market District and harness it to fuel the creative conversations and collaborations with customers and other partners at the Design and Experience

Fellowes Brands will be located on the 9th floor of a building that features training and conference spaces, a fitness center, coffee shop, restaurant and social spaces throughout, as well as at the penthouse and rooftop.

The building’s WELL Gold Certification optimizes health and productivity for all tenants, and it was designed for LEED Platinum Certification. Fellowes Brands recently kicked off the design process for the new Design and Experience Center, with the goal of creating a space that helps customers and partners in their design and selling process, while embodying Fellowes Brands’ continuous commitment to its core values that have helped the company thrive over 100 years: Family, Innovation, Quality and Care.

“Our new Design and Experience Center will be the central hub for our customers and partners to not just see our wide array of workplace products, but to get first-hand experience using them, in an invigorating environment built for creativity and collaboration,” said John Fellowes, fourth-generation CEO of Fellowes
Brands. “We’re returning to the city where Fellowes Brands got its start, and we’ve chosen to foster our continued growth by creating a brand experience in the heart of Fulton Market that demonstrates not only who we are, but where we are going.”

“As offices continue to reopen, our customers are looking to partner with us to inspire WorkLife that unleashes the human potential in everyone,” said Monica Lopez, Chief Market Officer for Fellowes Brands. “Employers want to build workplaces that elevate their teams — by designing collaborative, healthy spaces, where their employees can connect and work together safely on projects best done in person. Our new Design and
Experience Center is based on that same principle — that the best way to design a workplace is through the direct hands-on experience and opportunity for collaboration that our new center will offer to our customers and partners.”

Fellowes Brands Named on Forbes 2022 List of America’s Best Employers for a Second Consecutive Year

For a second consecutive year, Fellowes Brands has been recognized amongst the country’s top 40 midsized employers. This prestigious award is presented by Forbes and Statista Inc., the world-leading statistics portal and industry ranking provider.

The awards list was announced on February 10, 2022, and can be viewed on the Forbes website.

“To be named on the Forbes 2022 America’s Best Midsized Employers list for a second year is an exceptional honor. We are humbled Forbes and Statista has recognized us,” said Stacy Cano, Head of Global Human Resources for Fellowes Brands. “We’ve seen new challenges emerge with how work needs to be done and are so proud of the care and dedication our team members display daily to bring wellness, productivity, and inspiration to worklife.”

Forbes and Statista selected America’s Best Employers 2022 through an independent survey applied to a vast sample of approximately 60,000 American employees working for companies with more than 1,000 employees in America. Across 25 industry sectors, 1,000 employers have been awarded, 500 large employers and 500 midsize employers. The evaluation was based on direct and indirect recommendations from employees that were asked to rate their willingness to recommend their employers to friends and family. Employee evaluations also included other employers in their respective industries that stood out either positively or negatively.

Here Comes The Sun

Solar panels, photovoltaic - alternative electricity source

Fellowes Introduces Solar Panels to Their Itasca Headquarters

As part of their green initiative, Fellowes has added an energy-saving solar array to its Itasca, Illinois  headquarters. The switch was flipped on December 18th beginning a long-term goal of reducing power usage by utilizing solar energy at its manufacturing facility in the Chicago suburbs.

Power From the Sun

Fellowes partnered with SunVest Solar to install the rooftop solar array. The digital aspect of the solar installation will also include reports available to all Fellowes employees of the energy generated throughout the coming months.

Benefits of Solar Panels

This solar array will produce 1,327,060 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. This is the equivalent of reducing the greenhouse gas from:

What Do Solar Savings Look Like?

The solar energy initiative will reduce carbon emissions equal to:

Path to Renewables

The initiative is part of the Path to 100 campaign to promote solar and wind alternative energy in Illinois. Along with creating cleaner energy in the state, the project also drives sustainability jobs and economic growth.

Part of a Greener Vision for Fellowes

More than just energy conservation through solar goals, Fellowes is implementing other strategies to reduce its carbon footprint and reduce waste.

Bright Ideas for Reducing Energy

The high-efficiency LED lighting in the Itasca manufacturing facility results in an average of 50% reduction in energy consumption.

Minimizing Waste Through Continuous Improvement

Fellowes has implemented company-wide recycling and waste reduction initiatives from the manufacturing floor to the administrative offices. By creating products from recycled content they have improved their environmental efforts.

Partnering with Eco-Friendly Suppliers

Fellowes has found ways to minimize emissions and make manufacturing greener. They reduced VOC output by partnering with ink suppliers for more environmental formulas and decreased CO2 output by economizing product packaging.

Fellowes Brands Wins IDEA Design Award for New Elea Office Chair


The new Elea Office Chair from Fellowes is gaining notoriety for its distinctive design as well as its unique functionality. The Industrial Designers Society of America noted the elegant design and visionary engineering. The remarkable features have set Elea apart from all other office chairs in the workplace furnishing industry.

An Office Chair That Will Move You, Literally

The Elea patent-pending Omini-Kinetic Suspension Technology suspends the seat pan with steel rods that allows the seat—and you—to freely move while ensuring proper balance and stability. By introducing micro-movement into the workday, Elea encourages improved circulation, heart health, muscle and joint flexibility, and mental alertness.

The subtle movements of Elea flow in conjunction with body movement, so the chair syncopates with daily work activities. The user experiences a sense of energy and vitality not found in other office chairs.

An Office Chair Designed for Stability and Comfort 

Industrial-grade alloy steel rods and a cast aluminum framework together to form a unique load-bearing system, which allows free-movement within a durable construction.

A revolutionary designed curved chassis provides the support and comfort needed to carry you through your day for years to come.


Driving a Robust Wellness Initiative

Elea is part of Fellowes Brand’s objective to introduce innovative wellness furnishings into the modern office environment. Elea is a design and engineering achievement that supports this broader wellness goal.

The Elea is currently available for purchase. Learn more about one of the leading designs in workplace wellness. Learn more about Elea here.

More About the Industrial Designers Society of America

Founded in 1965, the nonprofit Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) is one of the oldest and largest industrial design associations. They represent thousands of members in dozens of Student Chapters, Professional Chapters and Special Interest Sections in the United States and internationally. IDSA sponsors the annual International Design Excellence Awards® (IDEA), the world’s most prestigious and rigorous design competition.

New Lotus RT 180º Rotation Standing Desk Wins Design Award

Fellowes recently expanded its Lotus Sit-Stand Workstation line to fit diverse work styles. The innovative design was recognized by the international Spark Award, winning Gold for 2018 fall product launches.

Award judges noted the design distinction in RT which features dynamic Tri-Motion 180º rotation at the base and 180 º work surface rotation. This gives the user the versatility to effortlessly sit, stand, collaborate or shift the workstation aside with new inspiration.

Perfect for small work spaces, the RT standing desk uses a micro clamping system, leaving more desk space and maximized range of motion. The sturdy design of the Lotus RT securely locks into place and prevents sinking while typing. The clamp mounting system allows for minimal footprint installation and even works near cube walls and fits a variety of desk configurations.

The signature waterfall design of the Lotus Sit-Stand series enhances productivity with a distinctive flowing work space that moves with you. The cord management system also contributes to the smooth flow of motion, keeping computer cables under control with every change in direction.

The dynamic flexibility of RT is part of a greater wellness objective by Fellowes to increase opportunities for healthy physical movement throughout the work day.

The RT Offers More Than Just Sitting and Standing.


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Why Businesses Are Turning to Micro Cut Shredding.


As security breaches continue to rise across many industries, security experts are advising that protection shouldn’t just exist at the digital level.  Data security has already become law in Europe as new GDPR regulations have gone into effect. Eventually, such laws will also impact the US. Micro cut shredders become an essential with the changing security environment.

Though a robust IT shield is essential for top-line security, hackers and identity thieves are using a combination of tactics to gain access to private information. The greatest misconception is that identity theft is an opportunistic crime and that thieves just so happen to stumble upon unprotected information.

In fact, identity theft rings and hackers may be specifically targeting a business for months with specific information in mind that they wish to breach. Their tactics may incorporate a complex strategy that includes identifying vulnerabilities in their computer system to infiltrating the headquarters through actual employment as company spies.

Non-Digital Approaches to Identity Theft

While many companies place an intense focus on their firewall, identity thieves may be investigating other opportunities where protection is lax. This may include dumpster diving, gaining building access through employment, or acquiring access to information as a trusted vendor.

Dumpster Diving

While dumpster diving seems like a relic of a pre-digital age, it is still an effective method used by identity thieves especially for targeting businesses. As companies dispose of records without proper destruction processes, it makes it easier for thieves to target key industries such as healthcare, financial and manufacturing that maintain and discard large volumes of confidential information on paper. Medical and dental clinics for without proper document destruction policies are low-hanging fruit.

Inside Operations

Identity theft rings are willing to go the extra mile when targeting a key business. That means acquiring employment through cleaning services or other third-party contractors that are given entry to secure work spaces. With free entry to corporate offices at night, critical documents left out on workstations because easy pickings for identity thieves.  Identity thieves will be the first to tell you that they target documents “waiting” to be shredded left in exposed piles in records rooms.

The Trojan Horse

Many businesses rely on external shredding companies to manage sensitive document destruction. But identity thieves can also easily acquire employment with these companies. Businesses unknowingly find themselves handing over confidential documents directly to unscrupulous individuals.

Businesses Manage Their Own Shredding

More and more business are taking shredding into their own hands. Security experts suggest micro-cut shredders as the best defense in document destruction on-site at the workplace.

  • Micro cut shredders shred documents into particles 10 times smaller than standard cross-cut shredders. That’s approximately 2,154 particles per sheet
  • With high security shredding available on-site, businesses avoid the risk of turning over sensitive information to outside sources
  • Putting a strong document management plan into place also ensures that confidential information is never left exposed.

Whether managing a small business or a large corporate office, taking the necessary steps for data protection at all levels keeps your employees and customers safe. That includes the proper document destruction technology.  Choose a micro cut shredder that fits your work space.

Sleep: an eye-opener when it comes to workplace productivity.

Konferenzraum - Schlafen

As workplace wellness continues to become more sophisticated, new studies on the impact of sleep and sleep loss have become new critical issues for workplace performance experts. Not surprisingly, well-rested employees perform better at work. But there had never been hard numbers to prove sleep’s impact on work until recently. A 2016 study from RAND Corporation estimated that sleep deprivation costs U.S. employers roughly $411 billion annually. RAND also found that sleep deprivation leads to lower productivity levels, along with a higher risk of mortality.

The Working Tired

In addition to an increase in workplace errors, employees experience a general lack of focus on their work. Fifty-two percent of workers indicated being easily distracted because of sleep deprivation, and 47% admit that they procrastinate more because of fatigue. In general, 38% admit to being grumpier as a result of lack of sleep. Twenty-nine percent of people said they had fallen asleep or became very sleepy at work in the previous month. Twelve percent were late to work in the last month because of sleepiness.

An Exhausted Bottom Line

All these factors translate into poor productivity for the business. A corporate culture with diminished morale and more turnover all take away from a business’s success. A widely cited 2011 Harvard Medical School study published in the journal “Sleep” found that the average worker with insomnia results in 11.3 lost days of productivity each year.

Sleep is usually the first sacrifice made to personal health when work gets busy. And as the boundaries between time away from work and time at work blur, the question of how much sleep is needed to perform well and be healthy becomes less clear.

Solutions for the Sleep-Deprived

    1. Balancing Deadlines with Down Time. Companies can offer definitive time away from work that isn’t necessarily vacation time. Personal health days can help employees catch up on their ZZZ’s.
    2. Sleep tracking. Employees who suffer from chronic insomnia can benefit from sleep tracking apps that can monitor how much actual sleep they are getting. This technology can help identify a more significant health issue like sleep apnea.
    3. Solving Stress to Cure Insomnia. In many cases of sleeplessness reported to physicians, it is the daytime stresses that cause nighttime restlessness. Offering meditation and stress-relief sessions at the workplace, coupled with other sleep-friendly approaches, can create a better worker and a rested productive workplace.

For more wellness solutions visit: Fellowes Healthy Productivity Resources. 

Turn Teamwork into Wellness That Gives


How can you combine team outings, healthy activities and charity? Organize your department for a charity walk. The opportunity is a great way to engage everyone at work in a healthy, low-impact exercise that raises money for meaningful causes. The opportunity can be company-sponsored or can be jump-started by a wellness-minded department manager.

Organizing Your Team Walk

Find a charity walk that works for everyone. See what walkathon events will be occurring in your area. Take a poll so that everyone is on board with the charity you wish to help. By using your team outing to participant in the event, everyone not only gets the opportunity to offer their personal contribution to charity, but also gets a chance to engage in a activity that’s good for them. Walking could be become a healthy habit across the company.

Here are some of the major walkathons in the nation.

Find Sponsors to Raise More Money

Instead of a walkathon team outing, the event can be a company-wide event as well. To add to the charity-building effort, participants can collect money to sponsor them individually in the event. That means more money for charity while taking a good, long walk.  A company sponsored prize for most money raised is another way to add to the excitement. A home office sit-stand workstation is an attractive prize that promotes wellness, while helping a great cause.

Get Competitive with Other Departments

Turning the event into a challenge puts better health at the center of teamwork. It’s also an opportunity to gain more participants in the program.

Make Tee-Shirts

Set your department apart from all the other volunteers with distinctive tee shirt designs, a cool keepsake for all who participated. This also makes for great pics on the company Facebook page.

Make the Announcement Company-Wide

Use the company newsletter, break room flyers and word-of mouth to get the new out about the walkathon. Be ready with sign-up sheets. Wellness doesn’t have to be a policy from HR. It can be a spontaneous and healthy initiative from any one at the company who is ready to lead others to healthy living.