Steelcase has launched its newest product called Mackinac- first see at Neocon 2018. Like the Michigan bridge that inspired its name, Mackinac helps people connect and easily navigate from activity to activity.

Distinct microzones support focused work, small group collaboration and privacy for rejuvenation. Mackinac creates microzones where people can easily transition between work modes – from working alone to working with others, or a quick moment of respite – reducing the time they spend looking for just the right place to work.

Height-adjustable cantilevered worksurfaces allow people to shift from individual focused work to collaboration easily. Shelving towers can host technology, as well as provide people much-needed visual separation to minimize distractions and allow for moments of respite during a busy day.

Steelcase researchers Patricia Kammer and Julie Barnhart-Hoffman know that employees in leadership roles contend with tremendous stress in their high-intensity jobs. As they observed the frenetic pace of leaders’ workdays, they saw that it extracted a high toll on their energy and wellbeing — physical, mental and emotional. In detail, the researchers documented several stressors that many leaders experience nearly every minute of every day: They need to constantly switch informational and decision-making contexts, continuously toggling their brains between macro and micro perspectives. They’re required to manage and consume large amounts of information, masterfully filtering the relevance of multiple streams of content. They have a high need for access to privacy, mandating easy shifts from high visibility to protected, shielded environments. Their schedules can be highly fragmented, spanning topics and time zones, making it more difficult to process information and get into the flow of the moment quickly. They’re more mobile than ever before, getting away from the seclusion of their private offices to enable better information flows. They need to manage incredibly high levels of stress. Successfully meeting high-performance expectations mandates balancing intense work with intervals of personal rejuvenation.

And it’s not just leaders: The researchers quickly realized that everyone is experiencing greater intensity in their jobs, though perhaps to different degrees or in different aspects of their work. As competition speeds up, work is becoming less predictable and the demands for more creative solutions have increased. We’re all dealing with huge amounts of information every day. We’re all spending more time connecting, collaborating and learning with others, but we also desperately need some time alone. Our schedules are as fragmented as a kaleidoscope and we’re more mobile than ever but, regardless, we all need to reset our minds to each new moment quickly.

 “We designed Mackinac as a residential neighborhood that addresses all the modes of work that people are engaged in today and to create smooth connections among all these very different activities and states of mind. As a result, it reduces the time lost going back and forth from one thing to the next, which can ease that frenetic pace a lot of people feel at work,” explains Allen.

When people are working longer hours and getting pulled in so many different directions, having softer, more textural materials close to your body is really important to your sense of wellbeing.

Like the Michigan bridge that inspired its name, Mackinac helps people connect and easily navigate from activity to activity. As the team began exploring ways to help people easily shift between working alone and connecting with teammates, they realized that table legs became a barrier to encouraging collaboration at a desk. “This insight led us to begin exploring a cantilever worksurface that is also height adjustable,” explains Allen.

Working Healthier, Working Happier
Whenever work processes change dramatically, the edge of innovation moves too, as new needs suggest new opportunities for protecting people’s wellbeing and helping them do their best work. Mackinac was purposefully designed to reduce physical, mental and emotional stress. It bridges the distances and speeds up the transitions between tasks that slow people down, helping both leaders and their teams move, think and feel better than ever.

See the new Mackinac and the entire line of Steelcase Office Furniture at IWE Office Furniture. Call us to set up an appointment with one of our design experts.