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At Atmosphere, we share, learn and grow by design. Our workspaces, dubbed WORKLABs, use design principles grounded in research, insights, and our own personal experiences. In a space meant to inspire, our ability to change and adapt is key. To stay ahead of the curve and provide an exceptional experience for our team members, we continuously partner closely with Steelcase, and other key vendors, to test drive new products and applications.

In this Spring/Summer 2019 collection of lounge and collaborative space favorites, we highlight several key ancillary partners at our Minneapolis WORKLAB, but what are some of your favorite designs that you’ve seen recently?! We are continuously updating and looking for the next trend, so make sure to check back regularly as we share more of our favorite additions throughout the year (insert heart eyes emoji)!

Brody Desk

You know those times where you feel social and want to be part of the group, but that project is calling for some privacy and heads-down time? Then look no further than the Steelcase Brody Desk. Designed to escape visual distractions, the Brody Desk is a new take on the Brody Work Lounge with the same finish options, internal power and lighting. Those in-between spaces have now just become an alluring destination. (Fun fact: your name doesn’t need to be Brody to utilize this private workstation. )

Blu Dot Lounge

We’re rocking and rolling in this warm, inviting lounge area. With the high-backed Blu Dot Dandy Sofa and a Coalesse Montara650 Rocker, this relaxing environment is perfect for taking a break and reading through the latest industry trends. A biophilic West Elm Natural Stump made from fallen Cyprus trees brings in some much-needed natural vibes while you rock away in the Montara650 Rocker, which research shows promotes relaxation and boosts social connections.

Mackinac

Only a few short steps away (or one giant step) from the warm and homey Blu Dot Lounge is a Mackinac work zone. Paired with Shortcut chairs from Turnstone that have patented elbow rests, which allow you to scoot as close to the table as needed without the hassle of adjusting the arms, this space seamlessly promotes focused work with a small team or independent concentration. The cantilever surface is supported by a shelving tower that allows you to display quirky accessories or work materials to customize your space.

Trestle

If you were following our Instagram during NeoCon 2018 (@atmosphere_ci), you might remember us being slightly obsessed with this Viccarbe Trestle table and benches. So much so, we decided we needed to include it in our #fabWORKLAB, i.e. the best. decision. ever. A smattering of luxurious Bolia chairs oppose the benches, allowing this to be the perfect touchdown spot amongst team members or an ideal gathering space for clients.

Living Room

Just beyond the Trestle touchdown you’ll find the Coalesse Sistema Lounge System, a stylish, modern sofa with capabilities to mix and match various arms, backrest heights, base options and accessories. The picturesque blend of earth tones and pastels forms a cohesive and inviting environment. (And yes, you will be as content looking at it as you will be sitting on it.) Illuminated by the contemporary FLOS table lamp, this living room is a place where creativity can thrive and anything can be achieved.

Campfire

The beloved feeling of sitting around a campfire with friends has been brought to the workspace and our hearts are fuller than ever. With endless configurations, Turnstone Campfire lets you design and redesign your layout to fit your space’s needs. Playful fabrics accompanied by comfortable seating make this the space to collaborate with team members or escape your desk and focus. Functionality is not lost, as this lounge area is paired with the customizable Turnstone Bassline Box Top Table, which can be personalized in a variety of color, material and sizing options, and the Coalesse Denizen Table making it possible to work in whichever seat you desire. Cozy on up and get to work here with the Steelcase B-Free single lounge chair and knit screen, a cool little corner where you can get some cool work done.

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Our team members shared how they make core values a part of everyday life:

I incorporate the core values into my conversations with candidates and current leaders/team members on a daily basis. They highlight cornerstones of our culture and are easily applicable in coaching conversations. They empower our team members to embrace leadership and collaboration.

Myra, HR Manager

Everything and I mean everything, ‘magically’  falls into place within the boundaries of a defined culture. I am reminded of our values daily as we focus on creating a healthy and supportive work culture.

Dave, Project Manager

Learning about the Aim Higher core value reminded me of the red belt mentality by Dave Anderson because it focuses on staying hungry and never arriving at a goal, but working hard to always achieve more. I found this very inspiring!

Julie, Interior Design

OWN IT.

The WI Team

In life, don’t live through the lens of your phone. Put down the phone and enjoy the moments memories are made of, including staying tuned-in during meetings.

Sue, Project Manager

Growing up playing sports or my time in the military, I learned quickly that better results come from teamwork. With my recent move to major account team, the core value of better together could not be more prevalent. Every single person on the team plays a critical role to the success of the account leading to the success of Atmosphere.

Barb, Senior Account Manager

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At Atmosphere, we share, learn and grow by design. Our workspaces, dubbed WORKLABs, use design principles grounded in research, insights, and our own personal experiences. In a space meant to inspire, our ability to change and adapt is key. To stay ahead of the curve and provide an exceptional experience for our team members, we continuously partner closely with Steelcase, and other key vendors, to test drive new products and applications.

Here is a list of some of our favorite product trends that have entered into our Minneapolis WORKLAB this past year, but what are some of your favorite designs that you’ve seen recently?! We are continuously updating and looking for the next trend, so make sure to check back regularly as we share more of our favorite additions throughout 2019 (insert heart eyes emoji)!

Benching

Upon walking into our WORKLAB, the nomadic workstations begin with Steelcase FrameOne. This laminate and luxe finished benching system encourages collaboration with different people, as those who choose this workstation for their day are ever-changing.

Informal

Want that cozy and modern coffeeshop vibe in your workspace? The Steelcase Umami is the perfect place to start with its modular design and infinite configuration options. With the addition of the backdrop screen, Umami gives the feeling of privacy in a large space. Plus, we can’t resist the luxe matte brass finish that gives it an eye-catching and elevated look. Atmosphere team members are often found connecting in this close environment.

Nooks

A velvet West Elm chair and art from local artist Allison Johnson (from Veronique Wantz gallery) make for what might just be the most aesthetic and coolest nook in the history of nooks. Perfect for a little break from emails or even to snag a photo for your Instagram, this little corner puts the FAB in #FABWORKLAB.

Privacy

The iconic red telephone booth has received a modern twist for the workplace. Our phone booth by Dauphin is the perfect privacy spot for impromptu phone calls with its noise prevention, internal power, desk space and stool. We are working to jazz it up by adding custom film and graphics to give an additional layer of privacy and uniqueness.

Wall Coverings

Privacy for your walls does not have to be boring! Designtex provides film coverings in hundreds of patterns and colors that can be applied to walls and panels to allow for space customization. We love this new, fun and lighthearted pattern in trendy colors that plays perfectly with the pink Bivi sidecar.

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The Atmosphere family continues to grow – please join us in welcoming these new faces to our team!

 Lauren Humphrey will be joining us June 10th as the Summer Design Intern in Minneapolis reporting to Janet Preston. Lauren is currently a student over at UW-Stout. Go Stouties! During the academic year she works as a campus tour guide, as well as in the school’s interior design library. When Lauren’s not working on projects, you can find her outside doing just about anything to soak up the sun. Although winter isn’t her best friend… her Minnesota roots have kept her from wandering too far from home. She’s super excited to dive into the design industry, and is looking forward to meeting everyone at Atmosphere!


Morgen Coleman joined us May 20th as the Summer Marketing Intern in Minneapolis reporting to Natasha Fonville. Morgan is a junior at Hamline University where she is pursuing a double major in marketing and management. She’s a member of both the women’s basketball and volleyball team at Hamline. Currently she has three jobs, her favorite being working with the Campus Recreation as a Marketing Assistant. In her free time, Morgen loves drawing, painting, and watching movies. Some fun facts about her are she grew up on a small farm with chickens, ducks, cows, emus, and rabbits (not all at the same time), she loves dark chocolate, and she would really like to open her own gluten free bakery some day.

Lily Ansari joined us May 20th as a Client Coordinator in Minneapolis reporting to Yuo Klun. Lily graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a bachelors degree in Business Marketing Management. She comes to us from Surdyk’s Catering where she worked as their Marketing and Event Coordinator. Lily also volunteers for a local dog rescue and is an advocate of rescue effort. She’s a good old fashioned dog person. Some of Lily’s favorite pass times/hobbies are: sailing or paddle boarding on lake Minnetonka, painting, and finding new spots to eat/drink with friends. She’s a foodie! She dreams of traveling the world and wants to see it all. She also loves entertaining and can make one heck of an Antipasti platter (if she does say so herself)!


Jamie Hochsprung joined us May 20th as a Senior Client Coordinator in Minneapolis reporting to Yuo Klun. Jamie has 3.5 years in the furniture industry, with her main expertise focused more on the service/operations side of the business. Jamie will bring great experience to the client coordinator role with Atmosphere. In her free time, Jamie enjoys practicing yoga, watching anything on Bravo, and hanging out with friends enjoying a glass of wine or two. Jamie is really look forward to starting her new journey joining the Atmosphere team!


Dani McMahon joined us May 1st as an Associate Account Manager in Phoenix reporting to Nancy Griffin. Dani was a lifelong Vermonter until just a few months ago. Looking for adventure and exciting new career opportunities, she made the cross country trek to the mountains and sunshine of Arizona. She spent the last 13 years managing facilities for a large non-profit in the energy efficiency sector. When not immersed in the world of space planning and workplace transformation, Dani loves to hike, bike and practice yoga. She can also be found attending storytelling events around the Valley, with aspirations of someday, perhaps, becoming one of the storytellers.


Jacqueline Mayo joined us February 25th as a Workplace Consultant in Tucson reporting to Nancy Griffin. Jacqueline graduated in 2006 from Northern Arizona University. She worked for a design firm briefly out of college before joining the world of new home construction.  Originally, Jacqueline is from Germany but she likes to think she’s a Tucson native! When she’s not attending to her two beautifully rotten children she enjoys traveling, gardening, yoga, and will stop the world for a good food truck!

Laura Mendez joined us February 25th as a Senior Client Coordinator in Phoenix reporting to Amy Welty. Laura’s extensive background includes Customer Service at local Furniture Dealerships, in addition to 3 years as an Assistant to a Commercial/Residential Designer and 9 years in the construction industry. Laura says one of her strengths is her attention to detail and how it allows her to insure accuracy from order entry to installation. She is extremely organized, and her creativity and ability to handle a “fast workplace environment” make her a valuable addition to the Arizona CS team. Laura is an Arizona native and some of her hobbies include gardening, sewing and taking new adventures.


Mallory Lammers joined us February 20th as a Contract Client Coordinator for the Target team in Minneapolis reporting to Tanya Loosbrock. Mallory is a graduate from the University of Minnesota. Most recently she worked as a Company Manager for Mill City Summer Opera, with several years of experience behind-the scenes in opera (though she listens to everything ranging from classical to rap). Mallory loves to travel! She’s been to Iceland (twice) and Hawaii in the past 2 years. She’s recently gotten into bouldering and yoga as well.

Taylor Hudson joined us February 18th as a Marketing Specialist in Phoenix reporting to Megan Sciera. Taylor is a Phoenix native and a University of Arizona alumna. After completing her degree in business management and sports management, she began her career in marketing within the intellectual property licensing department at the University of Arizona working as a Marketing Associate. She has a broad range of marketing skills, extensive experience with social marketing and brand stewardship, and a personal passion for interior design. In her free time Taylor enjoys hiking with her dog Willy, volunteering at Foothills Animal Rescue, and traveling.

 Krysta Howes joined us February 18th as a Client Coordinator in Minneapolis reporting to Yuo Klun. Krysta went to St. Paul College and has a degree in Early Childhood Education. Previously to joining the Atmosphere team she worked for 4.5 years at Ecolab Inc. in various roles but most recently as a Field Compensation Analyst. Krysta is currently in the process of moving to Eden Prairie, MN with her boyfriend Adrian and dog Duke. She enjoys being outside, playing softball, reading and enjoying the various activities Minnesota has to offer. She is so excited to start at Atmosphere and get to know everyone on the team.

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We are proud to announce our status as a seven-time recipient of the Steelcase Premier Partner award. Atmosphere Commercial Interiors is part of 35 Steelcase dealers that stand out as extraordinary for achieving market share growth, client loyalty, financial strength, and continuing investments in their business to deliver exceptional value to the people and places they touch.  We are honored to have received this elite award multiple times over the years, a distinction held by only the top 2% of Steelcase dealers.

One of the most important aspects to our success is our investment in team members and strong attention to details regarding processes and client satisfaction. Thank you to our valuable clients and dedicated team members who contribute daily to our success and who drive us to continual growth.

***

Atmosphere Commercial Interiors is committed to fostering long-term business relationships. We have dedicated our rich history in the office furniture industry to learning the complexities of business and facility ecosystems. Our strong corporate culture, purpose, and operational focus drive results and fulfill our clients’ project and business goals.

We are proud to serve organizations around the globe of every size, from start-up to Fortune 500, and across corporate, healthcare, education, and hospitality industries. In addition, our focus on innovation and inspired solutions guides our partnerships with architecture and design, real estate and development, and technology industries.

Headquartered in Minneapolis, with offices in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Arizona, we are embedded deeply in our communities and passionate about providing world-class workspaces.

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Victoria Sundberg, Music Teacher at Lake Marion Elementary in Lakeville, MN Wins Flip Your Classroom Contest

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – April 24, 2019 – In November, Atmosphere Commercial Interiors (Atmosphere) launched their first annual FLIP Your Classroom contest to provide local students and teachers with a space that fosters collaboration, teamwork, and peer-to-peer communication. The learning needs of students and teaching needs of educators alike vary throughout the day, and Atmosphere set out to provide spaces where students have choice and control over their learning environment, thus creating ownership of the learning process and making a successful outcome more likely.

After reviewing the inspiring and heartfelt submissions by a panel of three judges, local teacher Victoria Sundberg was awarded $50,000 to design a classroom that would deliver a high-quality educational experience. Sundberg is a music teacher to all 600 students at Lake Marion Elementary School in Lakeville and is passionate about providing the best space for them.

After the ribbon cutting, Sundberg walked through her classroom doors to see her newly updated music room for the first time. Followed by teachers and eager students, Sundberg wasn’t the only one whose face revealed excitement and awe! A handful of parents accompanied their children as the newly refurbished music room was unveiled bright and early Monday morning.

“It was such a great morning seeing the reveal of Ms. Sundberg’s new music room. Atmosphere did a fantastic job!” said Rachel Wand, parent of two of Sundberg’s students.

Organization and storage were two of Sundberg’s highest priorities.  Sundberg visited Atmosphere to meet with the design team where she handpicked the selections and finishes to bring her music room from vision to reality. Together, they worked to ensure that the new classroom design blended with the existing facility. Sundberg, when asked about her experience, responded, “I worked with Juli and Emily and they were in constant communication with me about the whole project, it was really amazing. They did such a good job; I can’t say enough wonderful things about them.”

Atmosphere brought in Cascades System by Smith System, a mobile and effortless organization system designed for classrooms.  A sit-stand desk was provided to Sundberg so she can change her posture and position throughout the day, increasing her overall comfort. Seating options throughout the room include Noodle Chairs by Smith System and Turnstone Buoys by Steelcase, and space was dedicated to interactive learning elements featuring Verb Whiteboards by Steelcase.

“I’m just so thankful to Atmosphere for the incredible amount of work they put into my room, for their dedication to not only just providing these products but teaching me to use them and implement them and really just doing an amazing job overall with this transformation,” said Victoria Sundberg, K-5 Music Specialist and Winner of FLIP Your Classroom.

“Atmosphere has been top-notch all the way through—from announcing it to the planning of the materials and then to executing this whole flip. I’m a whole-hearted believer in what Atmosphere can do for a classroom” said Bret Domstrand, Principal, Lake Marion Elementary.

Attendees from Atmosphere were Carlene Wilson, President and CEO; Juli Olson, Workplace Consultant; Emily Cich, Interior Designer; Jon Cremer, Workplace Consultant; Jodi Hoberg, Marketing; Scott Murlowski with Steelcase; and Bill Stoyke with Smith System.

Atmosphere Commercial Interiors is proud to serve organizations around the globe of every size, from start-up to Fortune 500, and across corporate, healthcare, education, and hospitality industries. Our focus on innovation and inspired solutions guides our partnerships with architecture and design, real estate and development, and technology industries.

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The importance of living in a sustainable way is found everywhere. The advertisements between your favorite shows, the pages within the magazine you flip aimlessly through at the salon, the new plant-based menu items at your favorite happy hour spot, and it seems like almost every other car on the road is a Tesla, at least here in Minneapolis. (Elon, if you’re reading this, feel free to send me a Model S.) But how does that translate to the workplace?

Creating a sustainable workplace has varying shades of being green, in other words, there are different levels at which your organization can move towards in an effort to decrease its ecological footprint. It’s a process. And sometimes it just simply isn’t cost-effective to do everything all in one fell swoop. But thinking practically and in an open-minded way of, “What can I logically do today, this week, this month, this quarter, this year to make this organization more sustainable and eco-conscious?” is the question we need to be asking ourselves.

Some of the variables may be out of your immediate control, such as the age of the building your organization leases its space from or where windows are placed and what type of glass they are. These are variables that require many more action steps to influence or change. However, the often-forgotten option in helping your organization become more sustainable is through the furnishings within.

Utilizing products and solutions within your workplace that align with the objectives your organization has set can help you achieve each stepping stone to reach those environmental patriot goals. With our partner in Steelcase, sustainability and environmental practices are at the forefront of the products we represent and endorse. Steelcase is globally recognized for its environmental efforts, recently being named one of the 2018 finalists for The Circulars award program. (A program that recognizes companies for driving sustainability practices.)

As one of the 40% of companies that shares its environmental and social impacts every year1, Steelcase:
• Helped clients donate, resell and recycle furniture assets, saving them more than $4.4 million in 2016
• Donated $5.3 million in 2016
• Reduced energy use and associated GHG emissions by 20% since 2010
• Reduced waste by 45% since 2010
• Reduced water use by 10% since 2010
• Reduced VOC emissions by 82% since 20102

In a Sustainability Spotlight article on: Balancing privacy and transparency in the world of big data: a path to a sustainable future, Angela Nahikian, the Director of Global Environmental Sustainability at Steelcase said, “I know that our job will never be ‘finished’. As citizens of a world that keeps getting smaller, we face tremendous environmental, economic and social challenges, and the scope of our efforts must always be expanding. The future will be about designing for a holistic system in which business embraces its role as a positive change agent and realized the full benefit of sustainable business design.”3

How do you incorporate environmental awareness and sustainable practices into your organization? See how we at Atmosphere practice sustainability here: https://www.atmosphereci.com/sustainability/

Sources:
1(https://www.steelcase.com/research/articles/topics/sustainability/sustainability-spotlight-4/)
2(https://www.steelcase.com/discover/steelcase/sustainability/#sustainability-at-steelcase_progress-goals)
3(https://www.steelcase.com/research/articles/sustainability-spotlight/)

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Recognizing that we needed to take a critical look at our current values, we formed a team of leaders who could provide data, insights and challenge the status quo.

In addition to the values themselves, only two other deliverables were expected. A conversation guide to help managers begin using the values straightaway, and a core value roll-out deck that illustrates how a value system drives choices and behaviors, or in other words, our corporate culture.

The project took a few months, and the development centered on a matrix that connected team member input with core value themes. We then discussed what each theme meant to our organization and derived a common term, descriptive words, and a phrase.

For example, our desired theme of integrity became ownership, which encompasses integrity, accountability, trust, and respect. Our phrase is own it.

We agreed that the phrase would be the final core value we would use in practice, because the values needed to move beyond words on a page. They needed to deliver a message powerful enough to stay in the front and center of everyone’s minds.

Lastly, we layered in a point-of-view for each core value, as a way to illustrate how core values start with us, and have an ever expanding impact on our teams, our growth and development, and our partners and communities.

We used this test of worthiness for our final core values and their corresponding visual representation:

  • Inspire us to act
  • Feel relevant to our business
  • Make decisions easier for everyone
  • Easy to use everywhere
  • Memorable
  • A differentiator
  • Charged with meaning
  • Bring the concept to life

The core values roll-out was led by our President & CEO, Carlene Wilson. She delivered a presentation that included how our corporate culture had grown, and how our purpose could be fulfilled through our ability to live by our core values.

At Atmosphere, own it means ‘I got this’. It’s individual accountability and accountability to the team. It’s stepping up. I will do what I say I’ll do.

Tune in means active listening. Being present in the moment. Listen to and respect other’s voices and opinions. If you’re tuned in to something, you have your radar up and are in full curiosity-mode.

Aim higher means displaying commitment to pursue, grow and excel in all we do. There is no one goal, only a series of steps in your journey of growth.

And better together.  To us that means promoting civil discourse, partnerships, team wins, and inclusiveness.

Our purpose is to enlighten organizations to the connection between people, purpose and place, because we believe place helps people work better together, and that enables them to fulfill their purpose. So, our last value, working and leading better together, is especially meaningful for us, and is also aspirational.  We strive to provide exceptional places to work, beyond the physical space. And we believe that our work communities can and should empower both the individual and the team.

Learn more about the history of creating our values through our Core Values Development: Part I post.

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Interview with Jason Lund, Director of AV and IT, cont’d. 

ACI: What would you say is the coolest, but also most functional technology that you’ve seen coming out or coming out that you want to incorporate? 

Lund: Augmented reality has a TON of application in what we do, and we’ve had a lot of success piloting an iPad based solution called InstantAR (Praxik) that integrates directly with our 3D design software (CET Designer).  In our early tests, this technology was very helpful in co-designing with clients, and rapid prototyping ideas for our own office spaces.  It’s gotten rave reviews from clients, though moving from the “Pokemon Go” style iPad-based interface to wearable will make this much more practical in large scale application. 

Beyond the critically important function of communicating design intent to our clients, AR can help us better train our installation and service techs on new products or install techniques, enhance our client tours and demonstrations within our WORKLAB spaces, load trucks more efficiently,  and continue to prototype and test space concepts with our teams and clients before the cost and time required to purchase and install physical product.  

ACI: What are possible negative implications of the more recent advances in workplace technology? 

Lund: More broadly speaking, concerns about personal privacy being balanced against the desire for personalization of experience have huge implications for us.  Putting a bunch of sensors in workspace tends to raise eyebrows, particularly given the revelations around Facebook’s handling of personal data in ways people felt might not be in their best interest.  The key is to help people understand what the data is being used for, and weight carefully the value of a custom/personal experience with the obligations to protect vast amounts of data with people’s identity attached.   

Going overboard with sensing/location management technology in workspace can push into management or cultural concerns with trust or excessive cost focus. If you offer great space but set it up with sensors and cameras like a Big Brother reality show it’s too much and people will hate working there… but if you fail to utilize a space sensing technology to understand and improve your workspace at this point you’re really missing out.  Balance... 

ACI: What would you say then, on the other end of the spectrum, is the most prohibitive technology we’re currently dealing with? 

Lund: I think compliance. Compliance activities are an interesting sort of specter–I mean, regulation is not a bad thing if the intent of regulation is to prevent pollutants from being dumped into the water, but what is the right balance of regulatory oversight versus owner-ess regulation that leads to higher costs to do business and hurts our ability to innovate and be truly disruptive. I would say the greatest inhibitor of our users is our users today. I think it’s hard for IT people, good IT people, to make some broad characterizations, as they have to be continuous learners and just be comfortable with the fact that nothing is ever constant in this business. Whether it’s a regulatory change on this end or a new disruptive technology–the budget implications, the business changing directions, whatever it is, we constantly need to keep track of all those issues, and then within that portfolio itself we manage to deal with it. At the end of the day, we try to make things as simple and intuitive as possible, but there’s a level of reliance on users just learning how to do stuff, that is a trick, and if you have a user base that isn’t the best at that, then no amount of innovation is going to bring them there.  

ACI: How do you see technology teams aligning with more traditional business disciplines within leadership teams to make some of these things happen? 

Lund: I think there’s a two-way street. We (as tech providers) must build credibility by making the systems as valuable, scalable and easy to use as possible while also being able to explain complex technical concepts in actionable business terms that non-techie leaders can understand.  We, in turn, need business leaders to meet us part way and start to understand the fundamentals of IT as a business practice, and hold their teams accountable for continual learning and being proficient with the tech tools they are being provided to do their jobs effectively. 

Sales Enablement Consultant, Carissa McNulty, shares her thoughts on utilizing technology in our WORKLAB: 

We believe that technology and space go hand-in-hand and can make or break the effectiveness of your workplace.  Throughout our design process, we will work with you to understand your furniture and technology needs and suggest solutions for your organization to help you be successful. 

We have many great solutions in our WORKLAB that support the way we work, which we can also provide to our clients.  Wireless internet throughout our space ensures that we can work anywhere within the space to accomplish the task at hand and collaborate with our colleagues.  Barco Click Share and Steelcase media:scape devices allow us to share technology in open and enclosed collaborative areas.  The Steelcase Find app allows you to search for open meeting rooms and book them from your mobile device.  We utilize a space management solution called Steelcase Workplace Advisor, which will tell you how efficiently and how often your spaces are being used over time.  This is helpful for making long term decisions about your space or to test out some concepts prior to remodels or taking on additional real estate.   

Our goal is to help you make smart business decisions and come up with a solution that supports your employees to help them do their best work. 

This article is co-written by Jodi Hoberg, Marketing Assistant, and Jason Lund, Director of AV and IT.

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Interview with Jason Lund, Director of AV and IT  

Space design oftentimes is led with the aesthetic of the space-how can we make it trendy and cool? But another component that is vital to the efficiency, productivity and well-being of employees is the technology that enables those same employees to perform in their positions. We sat down with Jason Lund, our Director of Audio, Visual and Information Technology to discuss the impact of technology on the workspaces of today and of the future.

ACI: Looking at the technology in our space, would you say we’re on trend, and what trends would you like to add?

Lund: The ability for space to adapt to the user with a custom experience without you having to actively do or learn something is an important trend and expectation driven by user experiences with consumer technologies. When we designed the Minneapolis WORKLAB technology suite, we tried to leverage intuitive design and behind-the-scenes automation so things “just worked.” People learned to trust if they had to plug a video cable into their laptop, their stuff would pop up on the screen moments later. If they plugged in a USB connection in a video conference room, their computer would recognize the room’s camera/microphone or speakers and set them up in Skype.

ACI: What are some of the biggest difficulties you see in today’s workspaces, and how can technology aid in that?

Lund: While there are a lot of workspace issues technology can help solve, two of the biggest workplace issues that impact team satisfaction + productivity, particularly in “open” plan offices, are dissatisfaction with temperature and background noise.

In Minneapolis, we deployed a SoftDB brand sound masking system that measures the background noise level and adjusts itself throughout the day to make sure the soundscape of our space protects privacy while also remaining comfortable for our teams and partners. The system was cost competitive with other solutions but provided significant added value by addressing the frequent changes in background noise level within our space without IT needing to log in and tweak the system constantly.

Temperature is something we can’t change at a granular level as we are in a multi-tenant space with centralized HVAC service. However, advances in modern workspace occupancy sensing solutions (like the new Asure OccupEye platform) now include temperature, average sound level and other key space characteristics that we can report on over time and share as part of a wayfinding system to help team members connect to spaces with the amenities and characteristics that best match their work style.

ACI: When does technology hit its life expectancy and how far can you extend it before you’re pushing it beyond the minimum output level? How far can companies extend that dollar, in a sense.

Lund: Traditionally, for an IT investment such as a laptop or a phone, three years. However, the change to cloud computing and using apps as a service is putting less demand on end-user devices (laptops, phones, tablets, etc.) Our strategy is to replace devices before they hit the point at which they are most likely to fail proactively, rather than waiting for a device to actually break and cause an unpredictable outage for our user.

ACI: Do you find organizations are able to achieve a great level of personal flexibility and customization when providing technology to their employees?

Lund: It used to be that IT’s role was to tell users, “you’re going to use this solution because this is our standard,” but now people want a personal experience as advances in consumer facing technologies have often outpaced their commercial counterparts and set different expectations. As an IT services provider, we need to balance giving our clients the greatest flexibility possible while also maintaining a reasonable cost to provision, support and securely deliver services. It’s a stimulating challenge to balance these factors in determining the best solution to provide to our business users, but it’s part of the evolution of IT as a business service rather than the “fun police” role it might have played a decade ago.

This evolution is not unique to IT, expectations of workspace flexibility are also evolving and balancing a variety of user expectations. As a “nomad” without an assigned desk, I’m able to use technology to quickly find a space that fits my needs and work in an ideal space and then change locations throughout the day as my needs change. Not only am I more productive and engaged, we’re able to fit more people into less space which means the company’s real estate investments are providing a greater value.

Client Coordinator, Taylor Sweetman, shares her thoughts on utilizing technology in our WORKLAB: 

When I first started at Atmosphere (transitioning from a small business setting with desktop computers and limited technology options), I was really impressed with the variety of options to connect and share information with other team members/clients in our office, as well as team members/clients outside our office. On any given day, I’ll be connected to my laptop and two additional monitors at my desk, then move over to one of our many media:scape tables to connect and collaborate on current projects with other members of the Hospitality team, then move to one of our conference rooms to attend a vendor’s presentation. The ability to be mobile/agile within the office as needed, without compromising productivity, is a huge perk of working here. Our office feels like one of those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, only each employee at Atmosphere can choose their own adventure – a.k.a. how and where they work each day within the office. I still spend 5+ hours each day at my own personal desk because I prefer to be near my Hospitality team members (and three screens FTW!), but I’m thankful our office provides us with many options of how to work, how to connect, how to share information and how to collaborate. 

This article is co-written by Jodi Hoberg, Marketing Assistant, and Jason Lund, Director of AV and IT

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