Director of Industrial Design at Steelcase

November 2016
Steelcase has recently introduced the Brody Work-Lounge, a space-planning tool to help engender focus and concentration, designed to offer a reprieve from distractions. “To be human is to be distracted. We’re not undisciplined or scatterbrained; we’re overwhelmed”, says John Small, director of Industrial Design at Steelcase, about the idea and intention behind Brody. “Maintaining focus is a costly problem for workers and students, so we turned to neuroscience to help us better understand how the brain works and sustains attention. We think the workplace can help us think better.”
Researchers from Steelcase observed that finding a flow of attention and focus seems to be nearly impossible in today’s busy workplaces and university environments. Research reveals that in a typical day, workers and students switch tasks every 3 minutes, get interrupted every 11 minutes, and take 23 minutes to get back on task. The Brody WorkLounge creates a cocoon-like space that prevents visual distractions, providing privacy and an enhanced sense of psychological security for workers and students in open environments such as workplaces or libraries, by thoughtfully integrating power sources, ergonomic comfort, personal storage space, and lighting. “Brody creates a comfortable micro-environment that makes it easier to focus your attention, get into the flow, and get work done”, continues Small.
“When workers and students can control outside stimuli, they can focus better and get into flow faster.” A smart alternative to enclaves, Brody can help organisations transform under-utilised, in-between spaces into coveted destinations. Further- more, its ergonomics cradle the body in a reclined position, supporting the upper and lower back, while the personally adjustable work surface holds the technology at eye-level to reduce neck and shoulder strain.