Adjustable Height Desk - NEOCON 2014

Adjustable Height Desk – NEOCON 2014


NEOCON 2014

The Modern Office staff once again attended the annual NEOCON design exposition and conference in Chicago from June 9th to June 11th, 2014.

Our main interest was in office furniture, but everything from fabrics to flooring to interior building products and more were on display in over 1 million square feet of showroom space.

What were some of the trends for 2014?

Adjustable height tables and desks powered by push-button motors were prominent. This allows the user to stand and move while working. Many studies published recently tout the health advantages of standing instead of sitting. Unlike office chairs, humans don’t have pneumatic cylinders to adjust their height, so if they stand while they work then the table must adjust to be at the proper height.

Some desks even featured built-in treadmills, so the worker can walk while working in order to exercise and burn calories. These slow-moving treadmills don’t make you gasp for air or drench your clothes with sweat, but they do keep you moving and active at a slow to moderate walking pace.

With so many standing height desks, tables and other counter height surfaces it was no surprise that drafting stools and bar stools were found everywhere.

Pods and alcoves for privacy were a trend that built upon itself from last year. The open office encourages collaboration, but any open office needs areas for privacy. Many showrooms were turning back to the idea of privacy and individual offices again.

The idea of breaking up and adding privacy to open office plans was evidenced in several new architectural partitions. These architectural partitions are several steps beyond the typical 60″ x 60″ fabric office panel. Instead, they are works of art in every material, shape, and color possible.

Reception seating had the collaborative theme too, with back-to-back and side-to-side units promoting interaction and built-in electrical and electronic features adding convenience.

A honeycomb paper pulp flexible panel system was an interesting introduction in the office panel category. Its accordion-like cells expand and contract to allow the partition to change lengths and shapes. It absorbs sound and transmits light in different ways depending on which version is used.

Casual meeting and breakout areas emphasized kits and modules that could be reconfigured not just in terms of floor plan, but also in “building block” type ways that were reminiscent of preschool seating.

Colors this year were again bold, with saturated hues. Gold and metallic highlights were seen in wall and floor coverings. Rough hewn and reclaimed woods were popular.

What’s predicted for 2015? Many believe we will see a continued progression toward individualized work areas or offices for certain workers. Privacy in the open office plan will be emphasized. More people will stand during much of their workday. We will start to see a shift away from vivid colors and saturated hues. Modern Office will of course be there to again see the latest trends. Please do not hesitate to call us at 1-800-443-5117 with any of your office furniture questions.

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Customers are buying lateral files in quantities similar to ten, twenty and thirty years ago. The “paperless office” was something we first heard about in the 1980′s. The development of digital documents suggested that file cabinets would go the way of typewriters and adding machines. But many believe that there is nearly as much paper in use in offices than ever before.

Some speculate that because computers and email have made it possible to exchange a greater amount of information almost instantly that there is more information for us to potentially put on paper. The dramatic drop in price and increase in speed and quality of printers makes it tempting to print that information.

So if your office staff is still filing and storing

Steel Lateral Files Photo

Steel Lateral Files

paperwork you are not alone. Lateral files are a good solution because they are wide and don’t protrude from the wall as much as vertical files. They store more paperwork per cubic foot of floor space. Lateral files are usually made of steel, but laminate and wood lateral files are also common and can match or coordinate with wood furniture. Call Modern Office at 1-800-443-5117 with any of your paper storage and filing questions.

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Have you noticed how swivel chairs on TV news or talk shows don’t have casters? The reason is to keep the chairs from rolling so that the interviewer and guests can’t move out of the view of the camera. This also keeps the set looking neat and balanced.

Instead of casters, the chairs have stationary glides to keep them in place.

Office Chair Glide

Office Chair Glide

The same idea also applies to offices. You can use stationary glides to keep your conference room looking organized and reduce the disarray of chairs haphazardly rolling around the room. Or, you can form a small meeting area in a corner of your reception room or office with a pair of stationary swivel chairs on each side of an end table. A stationary swivel chair stays in place, yet it allows you to turn and converse.

There are many additional reasons why users may need a stationary office chair without casters or wheels. Factory and production workers performing detailed tasks need to remain steady while they work. Employees at counter height benches and drafting tables want drafting stools that will stay in place. Older people may prefer the steadiness of a stationary chair when sitting down or exiting the chair.

Modern Office now has stationary chair glides to convert most of our office chairs into stationary chairs. Call us at 1-800-443-5117 for more information.

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Saturated hues have been popular in office furniture for the past couple of years. Hues that are saturated are seen as vivid or pure colors. They contrast with wood tones and neutral or subdued colors to give emphasis and “pop”.

Orange Office Chair

Orange Office Chair

Orange is predicted by some to be a hot color in 2014. Orange office chairs give a bold and colorful contrast to an existing but drab office. Orange is a nice accent to some of the current darker exotic wood tones such as mocha and wenge. Many customers are finding that using an orange conference chair instead of a standard black conference chair around a conference table can dramatically change the look of their conference room.

Color experts say that orange promotes optimism and extroversion. Orange encourages creativity and enthusiasm. It’s a power color. Based on those qualities, the color orange has its place in many offices.

As always, call Modern Office at 1-800-443-5117 with any of your office chair and office furniture questions.

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Portable Folding Coat Rack

Portable Folding Coat Rack

Office furniture is not usually considered seasonal, but one exception is coat racks. With the change in the weather some people are already wearing coats to the office and wondering where to put them.

Wall-mount coat racks and costumers are useful for single coats or a small number of coats, but what is a cost-effective way to handle large numbers of coats, jackets, hats, gloves, scarves, and backpacks in a church, school, or auditorium, especially when you don’t want to invest in a dedicated coat room? A portable folding coat rack is the answer. Portable folding coat racks can store several dozen coats and more in a minimum of space. Their best feature is that they are hinged in the middle so that they can collapse to a very small footprint and store away in a closet or another room when not in use. They can roll where needed and set up in seconds for events or when the seasons change.

Do you have questions about coat racks or other office furniture? Call Modern Office at 1-800-443-5117.

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Does Modern Office Have a Showroom?

Yes, we do. Even though Modern Office’s customers are located throughout the U.S. and beyond, we have an office furniture showroom for our Minneapolis, Minnesota and Twin Cities customers located at 6900 Shady Oak Road, Eden Prairie, MN (Monday through Friday, 9AM to 5PM).

We display over 100 different office chairs and stock 1,000′s of chairs here in our own warehouse, so customers with an urgent need for chairs can look, try, buy, and pick up all at the same time — even large quantities.

We also display and stock several series of office desks:

Mocha Laminate Desks
Cherry Laminate Desks
Maple Laminate Desks
Cherry Veneer Desks
Mahogany Veneer Desks
Traditional Dark Cherry Veneer Desks
Roll Top Desks

Many of these office desk series have dozens of components and can be configured in multiple configurations including L-shaped desks and U-shaped desks. Most also have matching bookcases, cabinets, and files in stock too.

Modern Office displays and stocks many series of conference tables in several sizes:

Mocha Laminate Conference Table
Cherry Laminate Conference Tables
Maple Laminate Conference Tables
Cherry Veneer Conference Tables
Mahogany Veneer Conference Tables
Traditional Dark Cherry Conference Tables
Glass Top Conference Tables

We also display and stock several series of reception desks:

Mocha Laminate Reception Desks
Cherry Laminate Reception Desks
Maple Laminate Reception Desks
Cherry Veneer Reception Desks
Mahogany Veneer Reception Desks
Curved Glass Top Reception Desks
Modular Component Reception Desks

Businesses, institutions, churches, schools, and salons in the Minneapolis area have completely furnished their reception areas with our reception desks and seating within a day or even hours!

All of the office furniture above is available for immediate pick-up. There is no need to wait days for the furniture to “come in from the warehouse”. We have it right here. Many customers are surprised at how much office furniture we have in stock for their immediate requirements.

Visit Modern Office at 6900 Shady Oak Road, Eden Prairie, MN 55344 M-F 9AM to 5PM. We will be happy to show you our furniture and answer your questions.

Eden Prairie, MN Office Furniture Showroom

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Glass Top Conference Table

Glass Top Conference Table

Another popular trend at the 2013 NeoCon convention was glass furniture. Glass or Lucite was used in conference tables, reception desks, office desks, accent tables, marker boards, and even chairs.

Glass top conference tables have always been popular and were exhibited extensively this year. Some of the newly introduced designs will reinforce that popularity. Glass top conference tables are the ultimate in contemporary elegance and provide a feeling of open space, plus they coordinate with any furniture. A small glass top conference table is also ideal for use as a simple writing desk.

“Floating glass” (also known as “elevated glass”) was used on many reception desk counters to create a distinctive airy look. Glass is a perfect writing surface for use on a counter.

Glass coffee and end tables were popular at this year‘s convention. They solve a problem for those who have difficulty finding accent tables that coordinate with their reception chairs. They work with just about any style or color.

Glass dry-erase boards are the new contemporary alternative to melamine or porcelain marker boards, and this year they were everywhere. Their clean frameless design improves the look of any conference room. Their surfaces don’t smudge and are easy to clean.

Lucite or acrylic chairs and other “ghost furniture” can help to make a space feel more spacious. Their transparency allows you to emphasize other pieces of furniture in the room. They were seen this year more than any other year.

Glass has joined other materials such as wood, laminate, and steel to create some interesting office furniture designs. Modern Office is always here to answer any of your office furniture questions at 1-800-443-5117

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Exercise Ball Chair

Exercise Ball Chair


More and more of the latest studies indicate that sitting all day is bad for your health.

We’ve known for a long time that a good ergonomic chair that provides support and adapts to movement is essential. Now we are finding that movement — standing at a desk, walking, and moving — is beneficial. Sitting at your desk all day long is not very good for your health. It can increase the risk of many health problems and even affect longevity according to a summary from the Mayo Clinic.

But what do we do if we have a job that requires us to work at a desk? We all can’t be construction workers, nurses, and cashiers who get to stand, walk, or move all day while they work. Besides frequent breaks to move around the office, what is another solution? Some workers are using high desks and standing conference tables to allow them to stand and move during meetings. Many others are using a chair such as the Exercise Ball Chair so they can move and bounce during breaks or even while at their desk. A Ball Chair is said to keep workers active, alert, and energized. Staying balanced on it can even engage the core muscles.

More frequent breaks and walking while talking on a cordless office phone are also helpful.

The main idea is to keep moving and reduce sitting time at your job whenever possible. Don’t just sit in the same chair for hours without getting up and moving around.

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NeoCon 2013 - Brett and Sarah examining new products.

NeoCon 2013 – Brett and Sarah examining new products.

50,000 attendees from throughout the world converged on the Merchandise Mart in Chicago for three days in early June to see the latest product introductions and trends in office furniture and commercial interior design.—

Modern Office’s staff recently reviewed what we saw. We summarize some general trends below.

What did we see?

-Collaborative furniture, but with privacy. Collaborative furniture allows employees to gather and work together to exchange ideas. Privacy pods, short panels, and high backed reception seating addressed the need for privacy. Benching furniture is now the new standard.

-Bright playful hues on office chairs set against neutral or white backgrounds were again popular this year.

-Technology was increasingly embedded into furniture. Data/power modules in conference tables, training tables, and office desks, and even charging outlets in reception seating suggest we will see more developments in this area in the future as employees work anywhere and everywhere.

-Geometric shapes, particularly hexagons, in carpet tiles, flooring, and modular furniture.

-Sustainability and green products showed continued emphasis. Related to this was the frequent use of shades of green color, including citrus green.

-Felt was used in some creative ways on flooring and even on office panels and office chairs.

We’ll expand on some of the above observations on the trends in office furniture in future posts.

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NeoCon 2013 - Merchandise Mart - Chicago

NeoCon 2013 – Merchandise Mart – Chicago

NeoCon 2013 runs from June 10th through June 12th 2013 at The Merchandise Mart in Chicago. NeoCon is the largest and most important exposition for commercial interiors in North America.

Most of Modern Office’s customer service and management staff will be in attendance to examine new office furniture designs, identify trends, and seek inspiration. Office furniture is our number one interest, so NeoCon is an important event on our calendar. We think it’s important for our staff to continually monitor and learn about the latest developments in our industry in order to provide the best service to our customers.

We will report on what we saw at this important event in the coming weeks.

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