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Top three takeaways from NeoCon 2021

NeoCon is always focused on the future, but it appears what is driving the future in office furniture and design is what has happened in the past. Specifically, the recent past. We all know the office world was upended by COVID-19 over the past 18 months, and this is changing how we see the office of today and tomorrow. But there are many other factors we can see that have had a huge impact on the current direction of the workplace. Here are the top three takeaways from NeoCon.

Hybrid work models are still being defined

There weren’t too many showrooms that did not have work from home solutions built into their promotions and displays. From multi-functional furniture to colors and textures that fit more in line with residential environments, you could see the industry’s investment in this area on display. But what was also clear is that no one knows exactly what that hybrid model of work will look like. Not all companies will have the same policies and benefits. On top of that, many companies are talking about downsizing which will change their office environments completely. All these factors and unknowns have the industry as a whole wondering: ‘what’s next?’. But that might not be a bad thing. It opens the door to creative thinking and innovation. Leaving more opportunities for unique designs and ideas to be brought to both the home and the corporate office.


How will people connect

We may be a little less virtual in the future, but it will remain a major part of how we connect in the future. Some work environments may shift more to hubs for employees as many still work from home. You could see this theme playing out at NeoCon as well. Companies were highlighting ways to keep people connected through meeting and collaborative spaces and integrating the virtual with in-person capabilities. Connection with customers is important but connecting with your own colleagues and employees may be just as important in the big scheme of things. Embracing new technology and investing in products that promote a collaborative and connected work environment are going to be important for productivity, morale, job satisfaction and even recruiting. Staying connected may be the key to success for businesses.


Sustainability is getting the attention it deserves

As people and companies took some time to reflect on what mattered most during the beginning of the pandemic, one thing kept rising to the top: sustainability. This was evident in a ThinkLab Survey of the Design Industry in 2020 that showed 47% of design clients are placing more value on products that contribute to LEED or Well. Sustainability was extremely visible throughout the Mart during NeoCon, so much so that an entire showroom was dedicated to the focus area by Metropolis Magazine. The space was called the Sustainability Lab and within it many different companies were highlighting what they were doing or what they were offering that supported a more sustainable future.


There are also some unspoken movements that seem be building momentum, for example color trends. Where in the past every year a new color is focused on by the industry, there are some efforts to slow these trends down and reduce the impact they have on the environment. When everyone wants the latest colors in their products, it often creates waste as previous colors and products are pushed out.

With the next NeoCon only eight months away, it won’t be long until we see what the industry is planning next for the workplace. One thing we do know is that there are many things happening around the office and there’s sure to be some innovative and creative designs that move us into new and exciting directions.


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Facts about NeoCon

NeoCon is the world’s leading platform and one of the most important events of the year for the commercial design industry taking place at the MART, Chicago, Illinois.

Where did the name NeoCon come from? You might be surprised. It has been over 50 years since the annual event started as the National Exposition of Contract Interior Furnishings. NeoCon has a better ring to it.

At NeoCon, LINAK is placed at Stand 10-100 and here you can experience some of the many ways LINAK can revolutionise your workplace with our advanced movement solutions - featuring unique technologies and solutions at the forefront of linear actuator design. From conference rooms and office desks to media stands and adjustable privacy panels, we bring a wide range of lifting columns, controls, and digital integrated solutions to help bring movement to anywhere in the office.

Office workers standing and sitting at ergonomic and adjustable office desks in modern office

Offices are changing, but desks are here to stay
If you ask ten people of different ages what they believe belongs in an office, most of them will probably answer: a desk. It is actually surprising that many futurologists consider the desk to be a "dying species". For them, the future work scene looks quite different: lounging on a sofa, chatting with colleagues in a ski lift chair placed in the middle of a meeting room and brainstorming new creative ideas during a walk through the Zen Garden that has been planted next to the company building. Brave new world. Who would not want to work this way?


Office worker sitting and standing at an office desk. DL1: the revolutionary “electric leg” for desks invented by LINAK.

The story behind the sit-stand desk
From catching the industry by surprise in the 1990s to igniting a global trend, here is how we helped change the office landscape. LINAK was the first to market with its revolutionary electric adjustable sit-stand desk concept: Today, 10 million electric desk systems later, they still lead the industry, constantly setting new benchmarks for innovation, quality and design. Where we lead, others follow. Explore how - and why LINAK and sit-stand desks are so closely linked.


Don't leave your ergonomics at the office

Don’t leave your ergonomics at the office!
In our new normal, many of us have traded office desks for kitchen tables. And even if global events move us back to the workplace soon, working from home in some form or fashion is here to stay. Dr. Mark Benden and Martha Parker of the Texas A&M University Ergo Center have plenty of tips and tricks for those facing the challenges of working from home now and in the not-so-distant future.

Couldn't make it to the showroom?

You can enjoy the LINAK showroom wherever you are through our immersive showroom experience. Click below to take a tour.


DL PLUS™ lifting columns designed to inspire


Desk Panels DPG – Designed to shape behavior


MOVE – Why sit-stand desks increase work performance

Reduce sick days and create a modern office environment with electric sit-stand desks. An attractive investment for employers and their employees.

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