In a rapidly changing world of work, maintaining employee wellbeing, sustainability, and inclusivity is more important than ever. Anne Gowan, POI’s Director of Client Engagement, recently attended NeoCon 2024, where Steelcase showcased their latestin creating better workspaces. From innovative solutions that enhance joy and productivity to groundbreaking sustainability commitments, the event highlighted Steelcase’s ongoing dedication to improving the work experience.

Anne’s Minutes

Building on the continued research and insights into work, worker, and the workplace, Steelcase continues to raise the bar when it comes to “wellbeing at work”; commitment to sustainability; inclusivity of remote individuals/teams; and introducing new solutions to address today’s needs.

The latest Work Better magazine “Joy at Work” was expressed throughout the showroom. Research shows that leading organizations are acutely aware of the need for overall wellbeing through better workspaces, yet many people are dissatisfied with their workday experiences. The latest solutions, introduced at NeoCon, focused on boosting engagement and productivity through solutions and spaces which bring us joy through better connections, increased privacy, and augmented wellbeing.

Inclusivity of Remote Individuals/Teams: Ocular View

Co-developed with Logitech, Ocular View is a one-to-one extended-reality experience designed to create a more human and immersive connection. Initially, I was a bit unnerved by it. When it was being developed, the code name “Project Ghost” seemed appropriate. Essentially, you’re enclosed within a small footprint of Everwall Architectural Walls, and the remote individual appears in a “box” looking directly at you from the shoulders up. Once experienced, I could see how it is better than a laptop for one-on-one discussions and would be a fabulous way to converse with your medical practitioner. Still, for me, it will take a little getting used to—I’m old school and like to feel the energy of the person I’m talking to in the same space.

Orange-Box Campers and Dens

I absolutely love this new product and could see myself working in Campers and Dens daily. The layers of privacy support exactly how I work. I could choose the “cabin” for privacy and then work underneath the integrated awnings, giving me just the right amount of space for casual conversations and collaborative work. Today, I chose to work in an Orange Box with a height-adjustable table and have a Campfire table just outside my Orange Box for collaborative work and brainstorming. I’ll take one to go, please.

Coalesse Ensemble

After many years of hiatus, Coalesse finally introduced a new product: “Ensemble.” Clearly, they have been saving up their creative juices to introduce and launch a groundbreaking product into the world of ancillary solutions. With infinite applications and possibilities, Ensemble takes a “systems” approach to modular lounges, combining intuitive performance features such as an adjustable back, integrated power, and privacy, as well as beautiful integrated planters and tables which just work. Winning the well-deserved Innovation Award at NeoCon 2024, Steelcase once again leads the way in making ancillary spaces into high-performing workspaces. I can’t wait to have it “working” at our POI LivingLAB.

Net-Zero 2050

Sustainability has been at the heart of Steelcase DNA for more than a century. At NeoCon, Steelcase released the industry’s first-ever net-zero transition plan, solidifying the commitment to reduce its carbon emissions by 90% throughout its entire value chain by 2050, with a focus on its products, operations, and transportation. There is no other partner I would rather have than Steelcase because of their focus and contributions to saving our planet.

It was my 33rd visit to NeoCon in Chicago, and a bittersweet one as we say goodbye to over five decades of Steelcase at the Merchandise Mart. Although I look forward to Steelcase at Fulton Market and embrace the change, I hold many dear memories of the Mart, the experiences, and the fabulous clients and influencers we have hosted along the way.

See you at Fulton Market for Designer Days 2025. Until then, may you experience many days of “Joy at Work.”