Fellowes Brands Acquires ESI Ergonomic Solutions.

Itasca, IL November 14, 2017-Fellowes Brands, a global leader in business products since 1917, announced today its acquisition of ESI Ergonomic Solutions, of Phoenix, Arizona.  ESI is a leading provider of monitor arms, height adjustable tables, sit-stand workstations, lighting, and other ergonomic. solutions which promote a healthy working environment. The combination of Fellowes Brands and ESI advances Fellowes Brands’ strategic expansion toward broad business solutions that help professionals be at their best through organization, productivity and wellness.

Earlier this year Fellowes launched the Lotus Sit-Stand Workstation which was recognized with an Industrial Designers Society of America Award for its innovative design. In July, Fellowes took an equity position in Posturite, a U.K. Based Ergonomic Furniture Company. The ESI acquisition represents Fellowes’ commitment to further strengthen its position in the growing office wellness space.

“We are excited to welcome the ESI Ergonomic Solutions team into the Fellowes Brands family.  ESI is a high-growth company serving the increasingly health conscious professional who is seeking a work environment which promotes wellness.” notes John Fellowes, CEO of Fellowes Brands. “ESI principally serves the contract furniture market which nicely complements Fellowes strength in the business products channel.  ESI strategically expands our portfolio and further establishes Fellowes as an emerging leader of workplace wellness solutions both in the US and internationally.”

Carol and John Keogh have been owners of ESI for the past 20 years.  They have built a culture of dynamic growth and strong partnerships.  “We are very pleased that we have been able to find a partner like Fellowes which shares common business values and an entrepreneurial spirit to drive the business forward. As we move into the next phase of life, it gives us confidence that the business will continue to grow and prosper and our people will have great opportunities”, commented Carol Keogh.

ESI will continue to operate from Phoenix, Arizona, under the leadership of Mark Rhoades, who joined ESI as President 2 years ago. “The ESI team is proud to be a part of the Fellowes family of brands. We look forward to the continued leverage of ESI’s outstanding independent rep sales force and strong dealer relationships.” stated Rhoades. Fellowes envisions ESI continuing as a channel specific division serving the contract office furniture segment.

About Fellowes:

Celebrating its 100th year under the ownership and executive leadership of the Fellowes family, Fellowes Brands is a global leader of broad based business solutions which help office workers be their best. Based in Itasca, Illinois, USA, about half of Fellowes revenues come from international markets.  For more information, please visit: www.fellowesbrands.com

Media Contacts:

Jeff Dryfhout, Vice President, Global Branding

1789 Norwood Avenue Itasca, IL 60143-1095

Phone: 1-630-539-5642

jdryfhout@fellowes.com

The Benefits of Micro Breaks

micro breaks with standing desks

What are micro breaks? Rather than take a long lunch or 15 minutes during the day, imagine a short five-minute rest from work that could involve a variety of activities. It’s like the joke: “I told my doctor it hurts when I do this. My doctor said, then don’t do that.” It’s actually that simple. Stopping what ails you helps your body bounce back. You can also apply micro breaks to specific deskwork related issues.

A Break from Wrist Pain Relief

Typing and data entry tasks 8 hours a day can inflict long-term pain on wrists, including the lasting effects of carpal tunnel. Take 5-second micro breaks every 30 minutes. If you use extra padded wrist supports for your keyboard and mouse, you may extend your typing periods to 45 minutes before taking a micro break.

Simply Stand Up

Sitting glued to your computer terminal eventually leads to back pain and leg pain. Standing up for 5 to 10 seconds every 30 minutes keeps your muscles from becoming frozen in their sitting positions. If you feel that 5-10 seconds is an absolute loss of productivity, incorporate a standing desk into your routine. Recent Smooth Lift standing desk technology makes it easy to rise and sit easily throughout your day, making micro breaks effortless.

Take a Break and Stare

Long periods staring at your computer monitor means your eyes are probably adjusting too much to the screen’s illumination and possible glare. Most likely you will feel eye strain and headaches later and not relate it to your long day engaged with your flat screen.  Take micro breaks to literally stare off into space for 5-10 seconds every 30 minutes to help your eyes adjust to something more than digital two-dimensional space. Do you notice dry eye? Working at a computer actually reduces how much we blink, which can lead to eye dryness.  Your eye refresh micro break will do wonders.

Need More Micro Break Ideas?

Father’s Day Home Office Gift Guide

father's day home office gifts

Not sure what to get Dad for Father’s Day? Here are some home office upgrades that will enhance his personal workspace.

A Sit-Stand Workstation

For dads looking to get into shape or just be more active while they work, the new Lotus™ Sit-Stand Workstation brings flexibility and movement to the home office. Standing burns up to 50 calories more a day than sitting, so the Lotus is the ideal addition for any dad who works frequently at his desk. The Lotus features Smooth Lift™ Technology so transitioning from sitting to standing and back again is effortless. Twenty-two different height settings and 17″ of vertical adjustment make the Lotus ideal for accommodating any stature. The Lotus also arrives fully assembled­­—no complicated instructions, no mounting. Just unpack and get started.

standing desk for Father's Day

A Personal Automatic Shredder

The Fellowes AutoMax™ Autofeed Shredder, initially designed for large offices, offers the ease and productivity of automatic shredding with a deskside personal shredder option. The 130C shreds up to 130 sheets of paper at one time, automatically. This includes paper with paper clips, staples, and wrinkles. Simply fill the bin, lock it and push the button. The Accufeed™ Technology shreds away while Dad gets back to other work.

automatic shredder for home office

A Plush Touch Back Support

Back pain is one of the most common complaints by anyone who sits at a desk. Offer Dad the gift of back comfort with the new PlushTouch™ backrest. The Innovative FoamFusion™ technology features memory foam infused with gel beads for maximum personal comfort and support. The adjustable strap with durable buckle also easily fits most office chairs.

backrest for Father's Day

An iPad Case with a Ballistic Nylon Cover

If Dad is an iPad fan, the MobilePro™ Executive Folio iPad Case is the perfect gift, not only protecting his iPad, but also offering a variety of productivity features enclosed in one case. The ballistic nylon exterior also features business card holders, a pen loop, a file folder, a refillable writing pad pocket and a magnetic closure for a complete, slim, all-in-one mobile workstation.

The SmartConnect Case™ allows for an iPad Air®/Air® 2 to be used in-folio, free-standing or hand-held, in vertical or horizontal orientation, and at three viewing angles. The case also includes a  removable Bluetooth® keyboard (iOS®, Android™ and Windows® compatible) with integrated wrist support for increased comfort and productivity.

iPad case for Father's Day

 

Light Exercise at the Office: Organizing for Workplace Health

standing desk for office health

Organizing the office for better health only requires some initiative and open communication with your fellow office associates. May is Global and Health and Fitness Month­­—the perfect excuse to get everyone at work standing and walking for better health. It all starts with education.

Spreading the News about Sitting Too Much

Informing your colleagues about the many ways a sedentary office day can impact health is the first step toward motivating them to wellness actions.  Send out emails to colleagues letting them know about the detriment of sitting all day  at your desk including how prolonged sitting is associated with a significantly higher risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Muscle and joint problems

Some have gone on to say that the office chair is worse for your health than smoking!

Informing the Office About the Benefits of Walking

Now that you have educated them on the bad stuff, let them know about the good stuff.

Walking for about 20 minutes a day can cut your risk of heart disease by as much as 30 percent.

Get Everyone Involved in an Office Walking Group

  1. Send out office email notifications regarding time and day so everyone can get involved easily walking together outside on nice days
  2. Have a set schedule with a destination in mind. Plan a walk at a local forest preserve during lunch hour or a walk around the office park before work starts in the morning
  3. Suggest walking apps. App pedometers ( many are free to download) have been found to encourage physical activity by offering real-time information on calories burned and walking distances achieved. You can also get competitive and make it fun. See who burns the most calories in half an hour!

Give Insight on the Benefits of Standing at Your Desk

Standing is another low impact approach for improving health at the office.  Along with informing the office staff about standing desks, also inform HR on the health benefits that sit-stand workstations can bring to the workplace.

Share the research: Employees who have used standing desks regularly report an 88% increase in productivity and a 69% reduction in discomfort at their workstation.

Learn more about the 7 health benefits of a Standing Desk 

Fellowes Brands Wins Excellence in Design Award for AeraMax Professional AM II Air Purifier

award winning commercial air purifier

The AeraMax Wins the Gold

Fellowes Brands won the gold level award from Excellence in Design for the AeraMax Professional AM II Air Purifier in their 2017 competition. Judges appreciated the ease of use and visual appeal of the AM II, which won in the HVAC category primarily for its recessed design.

Only 4 inches deep, the slim profile makes the AM II ideal for purifying air for smaller commercial spaces. The AM II also features a hospital-type filtration system including a True HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter to clean air in areas between 150-300 square feet. The patented EnviroSmart technology also detects the air quality in the surrounding environment and automatically adjusts performance.

To accommodate the need for space flexibility, the AeraMax II offers options wall mountable, recessed wall mountable and floor stand options. Learn more about the AeraMax Professional AM II

The Growing Need for Commercial Air Purification

Poor indoor air quality and its impact on health are growing concerns for facility managers and wellness consultants. As a result, the commercial air purifier market continues to expand. Increasing industrial and infrastructure activities are also major driving factors of the global air purification systems market. The market is expected to reach $24.83 billion by 2024.

The AeraMax Professional AM II Air Purifier is part of a broader commercial air purifier product offering from Fellowes Brands which addresses the important issue of indoor air quality in the workplace. Learn more about the full range of Commercial Air Purification from Fellowes Brands.

About The Excellence in Design Award

The Excellence in Design Award features a prestigious panel of judges from respected industry associations evaluating entries in ten industry categories for innovation, simplicity, strong functionality for the user, and other considerations including optimized capabilities, environmental footprint, and energy and cost-savings.

Deserving entries may receive Bronze, Silver, or Gold recognition for aftermarket products the judges deem worthy of such recognition, and these products are profiled, respectively, in a special double-feature in appliance DESIGN’s June issue

Three Ways to Reduce Back Pain at Work

Reduce Back Pain with Standing Desks

Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work.  In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.

Excluding more obvious causes of pain, such as traumatic injury and heavy lifting, most long-term back pain is attributed to our office workstations. Poor posture, poorly positioned equipment, such as the placement of our keyboard and mouse, and the excessive periods which we sit during the work day all contribute to chronic back pain. Here are simple solutions to help reduce back pain at the office.

Moving Throughout the Day

Maintaining flexibility versus continuous sitting is a remedy for most office-related backaches. Long periods of sitting exert pressure on the back muscles and spinal discs, which you may not feel until you get up. Then the sharp pain sets in. Take periodic breaks throughout the day. Walk around the office and stretch. Sit-Stand Workstations also encourage regular movement, maintain blood flow, and offer all the benefits of low-impact flexible movement without exertion.  Learn more about how sit-stands help back pain and provide other health benefits. 

Proper Workstation Arrangement

The impact of poorly arranged computer equipment is subtle and seems completely unrelated to back pain. However, you will begin to feel the difference by using these ergonomic tips:

Monitor placement-Position your monitor so the top of the screen is at eye level. Use a monitor stand if necessary. Place the monitor about arm’s length away.

Keyboard placement-Keep your keyboard directly in front of you when typing.  Keep your arms bent in an L-shape and elbows at your sides. Use a keyboard tray to position your keyboard correctly if needed.

Keep your mouse close to you- When you place your mouse on a desk, the tendency is to reach for it, causing pains in our arm, which can lead to pain in your back as your body tries to compensate for the difficult position in which you are working. The shorter the reach the better when mousing.

Improving Your Posture

Sitting correctly is one of the most important actions you can take against office-related back pain. Make sure your office chair is at the correct height. Ideally, your forearms should be straight and level with the floor as you type at your keyboard. Here are other tips for posture:

  • Don’t cross your legs
  • Don’t slouch
  • Either keep feet flat on the floor or use a footrest
  • If you find yourself frequently changing your position in the chair, use a backrest to keep a consistently secure and comfortable sitting posture

 

Top Three Businesses Vulnerable to Dumpster Diving ID Theft

paper shredding to prevent dumpster diving identity theft

While most businesses secure their online properties with firewalls and encryption, there are still some industries that are exposed to the risks of identity theft through old-fashioned dumpster diving. The emphasis on digital security has caused many businesses to let their guard down when it comes to the adequate destruction of confidential documents. As a result, many identity thieves utilize dumpster diving tactics, focusing their activities on certain types of small businesses, hoping to score big with offices that have left gaps in their identity theft protection plan. Not only do businesses risk the identity theft of their customers and clients, they also risk litigation for improper disposal of confidential information: See the federal HIPAA and FATCA guidelines.

Medical and Dental Office Shredding

While most large hospitals incorporate shredding into their identity theft policy, smaller clinics and medical offices may not be taking the necessary steps to protect the identities of their patients.  A Denver area medical office settled for their identity theft violation which involved disposing of unshredded confidential patient information in an unsecured container: Read more about how  HIPPAA takes trash seriously.

Identity thieves will target small clinics and dental offices, looking for negligence in document shredding in the dumpster behind the office building. Another case involved a Georgia medical clinic in which documents containing patient Social Security numbers, bank account information and names and addresses were found freely accessible by anyone willing to climb inside the dumpster. Learn more about this  Dumpster Diving Case.

In some instances, as in this case in Bloomington, proper shredding can actually be an issue of personal safety to customers:  A drug addict stole Margie Kerr’s pain medication after showing up at the grandmother’s front door. According to police, the thief targeted Kerr after finding her prescription records in a dumpster behind her Bloomington drug store.*  What cross-cut office shredders are best for medical practices and pharmacies.

Real Estate Office Shredding

Prospective home buyers fill out credit applications every day in real estate offices, assuming the sensitive information is properly handled. In many cases it is, but in some instances, busy agents may not take the time to shred confidential documents. Often large volumes of credit applications are piled up by a shredder, only to be discarded without being destroyed. A smart identity thief only has to wait until after hours to see what the dumpster behind a real estate office contains.   Automatic Shredding Solutions for Busy Real Estate Offices

Retail Business Shredding

When you apply for a car loan or fill out paperwork for financing at a furniture store, your completed credit applications may not be handled properly either. In one case at a closed North Atlanta car dealer, Social Security numbers, federal tax information and bank account information were found by authorities. Often closed businesses, having kept confidential files for long periods of time, will dump these documents without shredding­­–an illegal act in most states! Use an office paper shredder to keep your business legal.

How Long Should You Stand at a Standing Desk?

standing desk usage

You’re already aware of the benefits that a standing desk can offer. Your question now is, how should you use it?

How long you should stand is open for debate. However, some ergonomic and health experts generally agree on 20-minute intervals. Briefly standing for 5-20 minutes every hour causes muscle contractions in your back and legs. These contractions stimulate enzyme production that breaks down the fat in your bloodstream.  Starting out you may find that standing that period of time may be tiring. Listen to your body and sit down as needed.

Using Your Standing Desk For Fitness

Developing a routine around standing and sitting is one way to help improve your standing stamina. Start out standing for five-minute intervals, if that is all you can take. Then gradually increase the length of time standing. Having the right equipment helps transitioning from sitting to standing and back again much easier. Your standing desk should effortlessly rise and fall to accommodate changing positions without you having to strain.  Setting an egg timer to help you regulate your sitting and standing sessions is also helpful for developing a disciplined regimen.

standing desk fitness

Get a Sit-Stand Desk with Smooth Lift Technology for effortless transitioning.

Learning How to Sit

Learning how to sit properly, once you sit, is also an important part of a sit-stand regimen. Slumping forward, also know as “vulture neck” can put a strain on neck and back muscles and cause pain. Poorly positioning your legs and feet under your desk can also lead to painful cramping.

When sitting, be sure to sit up straight (your mother was right after all). Keep your shoulders back and balance your body weight so it is evenly distributed on both your hips. In other words, be aware if you are unconsciously leaning to one side in your office chair and make the correction. For additional support, you can add an ergonomic backrest to your chair. Lumbar backrests maintain the normal curves in your back while sitting and help train your body on proper posture.  For your legs, be sure to bend your knees at a right angle, with feet flat on the floor. You can also invest in a footrest to offer additional support.

WHY MSD’s are Costing Companies Billions in Worker’s Comp

Neck pain

While safety and health managers do their best to eliminate accident risks in the workplace, from minimizing the potential for falls and other mishaps, the less conspicuous costs incurred from MDS’s, or muscular-skeletal disorders, are causing a significant impact—and employees may not even realize it. Many workers may assume that pains in their shoulder, wrists, neck, back and elbows may be “part of the job” until the increasing severity of these conditions leads to debilitating results. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA,  MDS’s account for more $15 billion a year in worker’s compensation costs.

Training Managers to Become Ergonomic Watchdogs

Identifying pending MSD situations, even when an employee isn’t complaining, can avoid costly consequences for the business and painful consequences for the employee.  Look out for these red flags:

  • Employees holding their backs or straining when they get up out of their office chairs
  • Employees stopping work to massage or shake their wrists
  •  Employees rubbing their neck or shoulders frequently
  • Look for vulture neck-the drooping of the head and neck forward due to improper monitor height

Recommended Solutions to MSD’s

Ergonomic office chair back rests are specifically designed for use with desk chairs and provide the added support to the lumbar, minimizing back strain.

Wrist supports position the hands properly and protect the wrists to prevent strain from repetitive motions like mousing.

Ergonomic keyboard trays position the arms and wrists at the proper angle and distance to prevent strain from the repetitious actions from daily typing.

Monitor risers elevate the computer screen to the proper height to prevent “vulture neck.”  Vulture neck may eventually lead to chronic neck and shoulder pain.

Get more information on implementing ergonomic practices that reduce MSD’s and keep employees happy and your office productive.  Workplace Well-Being Guidelines.

Adding a Sit-Stand Desk to Your Home Office

home office sit stand desk

The daily office grind, doesn’t change if you are managing a small business out of your home or working full-time from a home office. Much like a desk job in a corporate setting, sitting down all day can compromise your health.  In fact, as Marc Hamilton a physiologist and professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La. indicates: “a man who sits 60 hours at a desk job but still works out for 45 minutes a day five times a week still has a sedentary lifestyle.”

Making the Change to a Sit Stand Workstation

Sit-stand desks are a healthy option to the traditional workstation in that regular standing and sitting throughout the day provides the flexibility and movement that can encourage calorie burn and minimize the weight gain that comes with a excessive sitting, and the great benefit of having one in your home office is that you don’t need to make a request to HR. Newer sit stand designs come fully assembled so they are easy to set up. Most importantly new Smooth Lift Technology makes it easier to transition from sitting and standing and back again throughout the day.

Customizing Your Home Office with Sit-Stand Workstations

Personalizing your home office to fit you is one of the great benefits of working from home.  Select a Sit-Stand that has full adjustability. The Lotus Sit-Stand features 22 different height settings and 17″ of vertical adjustment so that you can position your workstation for personal comfort.

So Many Computer Cords to Manage!

The high-tech nature of the modern home office may mean tangles of computer cables. Choose a sit-stand with cable management options so your home office looks uncluttered. The Lotus also features a device charging slot which allows your entire workspace to move freely with you-no cable strain or tangles.

Working with More Than One Monitor

If your home office profession requires multiple monitors, you will need to find a sit-stand workstation that accommodates that need. The Lotus offers the option of a dual monitor arm kit that transforms your sit-stand into a multi-screen workstation-perfect for programmers!

Learn more about Lotus Sit-Stand Desks.