Category Archives: Contract Interiors

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
Center.

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.”