Steelcase Research Reveals Top Trends of a Global, Mobile, 24/7, Interconnected World

Workspaces Need to Support the Diverse Ways People Work With Distributed Collaboration Tools, Real Estate Efficiencies and a Focus on Well-Being

CHICAGO – June 13, 2011 – Business today is non-stop, global and more interconnected and complex than ever before. To help navigate this new world, Steelcase, a global office environments manufacturer, is showcasing new integrated technology products and solutions to support the ways people need to work in this interconnected and interdependent world at NeoCon 2011, the World’s Trade Fair for Interior Design and Facilities Management.

As teams are increasingly distributed around the globe, and new technology un-tethers employees from the physical work environment, companies need to change the workplace itself to support people and the flow of information to help solve tough business problems, build market share and stay competitive. In other words, an interconnected workplace for an interconnected world.

Based on extensive ethnographic research into the ways people work, Steelcase researchers will be highlighting recommendations around the themes of distributed collaboration, employee attraction and engagement, real estate utilization, brand building and wellbeing in the office.

“The world is more interconnected and interdependent than ever, which makes work more complex and fast-paced. People are working with teammates who are distributed all over the globe, and while new technologies free employees to work wherever they want, they are coming to the workplace because they need spaces that help them collaborate, support them physically, and cognitively, and create a sense of purpose and belonging,” says Jim Keane, President, Steelcase. “Globally integrated enterprises sometimes find their workplace is an underleveraged asset that can make a difference in organizational performance, and employees’ wellbeing.”

Distributed Collaboration & Employee Engagement
Steelcase insights reveal that a workplace designed for an interconnected world supports employees’ needs for choice and control over where and how they work, offering them multiple venues to collaborate for group work or handle focused, individual work in quiet. This range of spaces needs to work harder and smarter than ever before, often serving multiple purposes.

Employees need spaces for scheduled or spontaneous meetings that go beyond simply coordinating activities and providing project updates. Instead, companies need to use collaborative technology to encourage co-creation between workers in the same office and/or distributed colleagues around the world.

At Skype, the global Internet communications pioneer, their work process depends on iterative idea generation through collaboration, so they offer a range of spaces for group work including Steelcase media:scape settings for distributed or local collaboration.

“Different spaces let you collaborate in different ways,” says Skype’s facility manager for U.S. and Asia Pacific, Dena Quinn. “We built a place that attracts and nurtures the kind of people we need. That includes a workplace that supports different ways of working, services that help people balance their work and personal lives, like remote work and free lunches, and enough flexibility in the furniture and systems to adapt to changes in business,” says Quinn. “When potential recruits take a tour, they understand that we’re a global company driven by collaboration and innovation.”

Steelcase is further expanding the options for distributed teams to connect with enhancements to its media:scape product line. FrameOne, a benching solution, now integrates media:scape technology so teams of up to eight people can instantaneously and seamlessly share content with one another, while teammates in other locations can “take a seat at the bench” through the integration of HD videoconferencing systems.

Additionally, new media:scape mini and media:scape mobile units extend the media:scape experience to all places collaboration happens.

The latest enhancements to one of Steelcase’s best-selling panel systems, Answer, also support these trends by providing built-in technology support and flexibility. New panel heights offer a balance of seated visual privacy without hindering the ability to collaborate and new technology features provide quick access to power and data for mobile workers.

Real Estate Compression
Individual workplaces remain empty in many offices due to reduced headcounts, increased mobility and near constant collaboration. However, a company cannot simply reduce its real estate. Instead, workplaces must be flexible and adaptable in order to attract and engage top talent and support organizational culture and brand.

The FlexFrame workwall is one solution to help executives reconfigure their space. Its unique design can help create high performance workspaces, from private to open. Moreover, the modular components and technology capabilities make reconfiguration simple and quick, providing built-in flexibility.

Many organizations are now thinking about wellbeing more holistically as employees are seeking physical, cognitive and emotional support from employers and their environments. An overall view of worker wellbeing has become a recognized strategy to boost an organization’s ability to innovate and thrive.

Ergonomic seating is one option to help physical wellbeing, however mobile workers often share chairs and don’t know how to adjust it for their needs. To help, Steelcase is introducing a QR code, underneath the arm cap of its popular Leap chair, which users scan with their smart phone or tablet device directing them to view a video about how best to make adjustments and improve their posture.

Moreover, Steelcase is introducing Leap Plus, which helps provide support and comfort to workers above 300 pounds.

Finally, the new LED Personal Task Light and LED Shelf Light can help define the workspace and provide a better work environment. The LED Personal Task Light offers an innovative design and best in class output, while the LED Shelf Light combines performance, energy efficiency and user control in a slim profile.

All products can be seen in the Steelcase showroom during NeoCon June 13-15. For more information

About Steelcase Inc.
Steelcase Inc. helps create great experiences – wherever work happens. Our brands offer a comprehensive portfolio of workplace furnishings, products and services, inspired by nearly 100 years of insight gained serving the world’s leading organizations. We are globally accessible through a network of channels, including over 650 dealers. We design for social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Steelcase is a global, publicly traded company leading our industry with fiscal 2011 revenue of approximately $2.4 billion.

The Steelcase Inc. logo is available at

Sara Whitman

Katie Hasse