scratchboard tiger art

Animals in Art and Office Furniture

Are you a dog person or a cat person? Maybe your best friend is a fish or a bird? Or maybe you’re like me, and you love to see wildlife roaming free in a natural habitat or lovingly and responsibly cared for in an agricultural setting, but that’s as close as you want to get, ha!

dogs riding in the car illustration by michelle miller

Local illustrator and pet portrait artist Michelle Miller will be one of our featured artists at Lancaster First Friday and ArtWalk on October 4-6, 2019.

Let’s face it – the unethical sourcing of raw materials and detrimental manufacturing practices has created a global crisis for our environment and our animal friends. That’s the exciting thing about working in the contract furniture industry. Many manufacturers are demonstrating a commitment to providing innovative, high-quality, ergonomically-friendly, and competitively-priced workplace furniture solutions that are created with an eye toward stewarding the environment and protecting wildlife.

scratchboard tiger art

Scratchboard and oil wildlife artist Amy Stauffer is another of our featured artists for October First Friday and ArtWalk.

That’s why we chose to highlight local artists who feature animals as the primary subjects of their work for our October 4-6 Lancaster First Friday and ArtWalk weekend “Animals in Art” event. That’s also why we are partnering with Humanscale – a manufacturer of office furniture with an emphasis on sustainability and ergonomics – to give ArtWalk and First Friday guests the chance to learn more about how manufacturing can have a net positive impact on people and the planet, while still providing affordable, attractive, and comfortable products.

turtle caught in fishing net in ocean

“Ghost fishing” happens when plastic nets are discarded in the ocean, posing a serious threat to marine life.

For example, Humanscale recently released the first chair made with recycled fishing nets, which is the most harmful type of ocean plastic because the nets can “ghost fish,” posing a long-term threat to marine life that may get caught in the nets. The Smart Ocean task chair is made from plastic pellets cut from fishing nets collected and recycled in coastal communities in Chile. In addition to incorporating recycled plastic into the make-up of the chair, the Smart Ocean chair is Living Product-Certified, which means it meets the most rigorous sustainable manufacturing criteria.

smart ocean chair by humanscale

Smart Ocean Chair by Humanscale

Humanscale has also partnered with other manufacturers from across industry lines to launch the NextWave Initiative, which is working to create a distribution web that supports reusing plastic before it ever makes it to the ocean, in the first place. Additional efforts to protect wildlife include Humanscale’s ongoing support of the World Wildlife Fund.

animals in art gallery event graphic

Our Lancaster First Friday and ArtWalk event will take place in our showroom from October 4-6. More details are available online.

We’ll have a Smart Ocean chair and other Humanscale products available to try at Lancaster First Friday and ArtWalk. We will also be featuring work by the following extraordinary local artists:

kitty town coffee

Local coffee roaster Kitty Town Coffee will be providing us with caffeine and fun at our October First Friday and ArtWalk event!

We hope you can make it to our showroom for this fun, family-friendly event. Learn more about the event, including the schedule, ON OUR WEBSITE.

Here’s to making a positive impact on the environment and our animal friends with our furniture and art purchases!

– Audrey from Benjamin Roberts

 

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Cargas Project Update – Furniture Installation is Underway!

101NQ is part of a large-scale project to vastly improve an integral piece of the downtown Lancaster experience and economy. And we have the privilege of supplying office furniture design, sales, and installation for the 101NQ anchor client, Cargas!

Lobby and Hallway.jpg

This process is now nearly two years in the making, and though construction continues in other parts of the building, the furniture installation at Cargas is well underway, with an anticipated fall move in date on the calendar.

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The furniture shipments are coming in phases, with the workstations and task chairs going in first, along with some other miscellaneous pieces.

Cargas Row of Pedestals

The juxtaposition of the contemporary furnishings and style of the Cargas space with the spectacular views of historic downtown Lancaster make for a stunning backdrop to the hard work our installers and the construction teams are doing to bring the space to life.

Cargas View of Downtown Lancaster Queen Street

Follow along with us on social media to see the progress unfold over the next few months – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

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Here’s to making your space your place!

Improving Corporate Culture and Employee Wellness with Plants

If your organization is like most, you’re looking for ways to improve employee health, productivity, and performance in easy, cost-effective ways that also can help you reach your employee recruitment and retention goals. It sounds like a tall order, and in some ways, it is.

The good news is that there are some simple and inexpensive ways to help you meet those goals right away, and one of them is incorporating plants and other natural elements into the design of your workplace.

Plants can help improve employee health by removing chemicals from the air – nasty ones like formaldehyde, benzene, and ammonia, which can be found in common items in the workplace like plastic, floor finishes, detergents, cleaning products, and more and have been shown to cause anything from dry skin to headache to paralysis to cancer. Whew!

Plants also contribute to a sense of beauty and peace in the work environment and relieve stress. Incorporating plants can improve employee focus and performance, as well dampen sound and soften otherwise harsh workplace environments.

There are so many ways to add plants and natural elements to the workplace. Here are just a few:

Plant and Storage Pedestals

park planter and pedestal by allsteel

Plants such as English Ivy, Gerbera Daisy, Aloe Vera, Weeping Fig, and more are known for their ability to clean the air (but if you have pets in your workplace on a regular basis, be sure to do your research – some plants are toxic to animals). Planting them in a product like these Park Plant and Storage Pedestals by Allsteel can help you accomplish multiple goals at once, since they can act as plant stands, space dividers, and extra storage. Accomplishing so many things with one product reduces costs while still allowing your company to reap the benefits of plants in the workplace.

Individual Planters

kona planter by peter pepper products

Individual planters, like this sleek, contemporary steel Kona Planters by Peter Pepper Products, can come in all shapes, sizes, and styles and can be incorporated in any part of the workplace, from the reception area to conference rooms to individual workstations. This is a simple way to add plants anywhere in your space.

Build Your Own Planter Wall

pallet planter wall

At Benjamin Roberts, we often have a lot of wood pallets at our warehouse from furniture deliveries, so we decided to use some of them to create our own planter walls for the breakroom area of our office. We also used one of the pallet wood walls to display our purpose statement and values. Not only did we save money by making them ourselves, we also found a unique way to recycle leftover pallets and to reinforce our company’s purpose statement and values.

Of course, if you want to take it to the next level, you can explore company gardens, green roofs, and outdoor work areas. The opportunities and the benefits are endless. Here’s to making your space your place!

To learn more about planters for your workplace, send us an EMAIL or call 717-291-1001.

3 Tips to Help You Reach Your Employee Recruitment and Retention Goals

The shortage of qualified candidates to fill job vacancies in our current economy means that finding and keeping talented individuals who share our companies’ values can be difficult.

Of course, there are a lot of factors that affect how well a company recruits and retains qualified employees, and some of them are harder to address or improve than others. But, thankfully, there are some things we can all easily do to make the culture of our companies more appealing to current and prospective employees, and they have to do with changes to the built environment. Here are three questions you can ask that may help you improve both the atmosphere of your workplace environment and your recruitment and retention numbers.

1. How Does It Look?

how does the workplace look

Tip number one is pay close attention to aesthetics. Is your workplace visually appealing? Is it inviting to both employees and clients? Something as simple as adding some locally-crafted artwork to the walls or creating a comfortable, beautiful small touchdown space in an underused part of the office can go a long way in making your workplace more comfortable for employees, and can also help increase creativity, productivity, and overall satisfaction.

Consider forming a diverse employee team from different departments and positions across your organization to develop and implement a plan to improve the aesthetics of your space with recruitment, retention, and employee satisfaction in mind. Give them a budget for the improvements and freedom to make decisions. You’ll get better buy-in from your employees, ensure that you’re creating something that your employees and prospective employees will like, and increase morale in the workplace by demonstrating your care and concern for employee well-being and your value and respect for their needs, perspectives, and abilities.

2. How Does It Feel?

how does the workplace feel

One of the things employees and prospective employees are looking for in an employer is how well the employer cares for the overall well-being of its staff and clients. One way to demonstrate this concern for well-being and help reduce workers’ compensation costs and missed workdays is to pay attention to ergonomics. Are your employees able to work comfortably throughout the day, without any workplace injury issues like back pain, carpal tunnel, eye strain, etc.? Are they encouraged to get up and move around the workplace during the day for optimum health? Do they know how to adjust their office furniture so it fits them? If you’re not sure how to create an ergonomically-friendly work environment, check out some of the ergonomics resources on our Benjamin Roberts website, HERE.

3. How Does It Sound?

how does it sound

The third and final tip is to address acoustics in the built environment. With the move towards more open office environments comes greater opportunities for collaboration and transparency, which builds trust. Unfortunately, it can also mean an increase in volume and distractions, as well as a sense of lost privacy and ability to focus. One easy way to address sound concerns is to install acoustical panels. These panels are designed to help control volume levels and can add fun, interesting, contemporary design elements and color to your workplace. There are many options and price points available when it comes to incorporating acoustical panels into the built environment. If you’re interested in learning more about acoustical panels, contact our team at 717-291-1001, or send us an EMAIL.

Creating a built environment that supports and reflects your company’s culture can go a long way in helping you achieve your recruitment and retention goals. By considering aesthetics, ergonomics, and acoustics, you can greatly improve the appeal of your workplace while also helping to reduce costs and maintain a team of highly qualified employees whose personal values match your company’s values and who can help you exceed your organization’s goals.

Here’s to creating places that inspire, empower, and equip your employees and your company for success!

Learn more about Benjamin Roberts Office Interiors, HERE.

5 Common Health Conditions that May be Caused by Your Workspace

Did you know one of the ways we wind up with nerve- and tendon-related injuries is by working in an office? It may sound surprising, but without ergonomically-correct office furniture, accessories, and postures, something as simple as using a mouse or typing can cause serious injuries over time. Here are 5 common conditions that may be caused by your workspace:

Tennis Elbow

No, you don’t have to play tennis to get tennis elbow. Also known as lateral epicondylitis, tennis elbow  is inflammation of the tendons that attach from the outside of the elbow to the muscles that bend the wrist and fingers upward. And surprisingly, this condition can be caused by movements we commonly engage in while working at a computer for an extended period of time, including repetitive use of a mouse and typing, as well as gripping and grasping pens or other tools.

Golfer’s Elbow

You don’t have to play golf to get golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, either! This is inflammation of the tendons that attach from the inside of the elbow to the muscles that bend the wrist and fingers downward. This condition can be caused by repetitive use of a mouse, typing, gripping, and grasping, just like in tennis elbow. It can also be caused by too much sustained weight or pressure on the elbow, called contact stress. Chair arm rests are a common cause of contact stress.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel is another common office injury, often caused by a lot of typing with improper posture on a computer keyboard over an extended period of time. All of that repetitive motion irritates the median nerve in the wrist, causing inflammation.

Back Strain

A strain happens when either a muscle or the tendon that connects to the muscle to a bone is overstretched or torn. This can be caused by lifting heavy things, overuse or overextension, and exercise. Routine office tasks like reaching behind you to get documents from your printer or carrying heavy items like binders or boxes around the office can be the culprits of a back strain.

Ganglion Cyst

If you discover a painful lump on top of a joint or at the covering of a tendon, you may have a ganglion cyst. Most ganglion cysts appear at the wrist joint on the back of the hand. They can occur because of repetition, contact stress, or injuries. Proper alignment of the elbows, hands, wrists, and fingers while working is key to helping to prevent ganglion cysts.

If you find yourself with one of these conditions or any kind of other pain or discomfort, and you work in an office environment, consider whether your injury or pain may be caused, at least in part, by something in your workspace. If you’re not sure, reach out to an ergonomic consultant, who can help you evaluate your work area and how you use it and find possible solutions. And of course, always check with your doctor about any persistent issues. Click Here to learn more about the Ergonomic Consultations available through Benjamin Roberts.

Here’s to feeling better at work!