insightful environments is one of the UK’s largest creative workspace and office furniture companies offering a complete portfolio of workspace and furniture-related services from space planning and furniture procurement to AV and furniture recycling services. Using workplace research, inspiring ideas, technology and beautiful office furniture, its aim is to create high-performance workspaces that can help to shape employee behaviour and transform business performance.
Working with a broad range of clients, the company has provided workspace solutions to the likes of BT Sport, Bradford University and Adobe. Having recently rebranded the business from Steelcase Solutions, we went to meet with Melissa Mcinnes in the company’s Leeds office to find out more.
Firstly, tell us more about insightful environments?
At insightful environments we work with a broad range of furniture suppliers to offer our clients a variety of workspace solutions. We are owned by Steelcase who is the world’s leading provider of office insights, which gives us a great advantage; enabling us to offer our clients real choice and diversity.
What customers don’t always realise is that we offer a real end-to-end service from helping with relocations to working with our clients on workplace strategies that meet their specific needs. Our offering has also grown dramatically over the years and as well as workplace furniture, we can now offer services including AV solutions and refurbishments.
What’s your role within the company?
My role in the Leeds office is to support the two account managers based here, taking briefs from them and producing proposals which fit the customers' requirements. Then I deal with the process from approval to ordering, and leading on the delivery logistics. This also involves a lot of quality control ensuring client isn’t left with anything that’s damaged.
You recently rebranded the company, can you tell us a bit more about that?
A key reason behind our rebrand was to demonstrate the breadth of services and products we offer. We wanted to open up doors and show to people that we work with a really broad range of suppliers to deliver our services and that we’re not solely a furniture supplier. Our strong connection with Steelcase still enables us to provide cutting edge workspace solutions whilst also working with additional partners to increase our offering.
Both our existing and new clients weren’t really aware that we provide certain things like soft furnishings and break-out spaces so we wanted to change that. We’re in a great position to provide our clients with so much more than just furniture and our new brand reflects this.
In order to stay ahead in this market, you carry out a lot of research on new workplace trends. Have you spotted anything in particular that clients are requesting?
Wellbeing has always been a key concern for our clients. This can mean a number of different things, from ergonomics to culture within the workplace and we recognise how important this is - not only to health but also to productivity. We’ve seen a recent surge in demand for our Steelcase Ology desks which can be adjusted to allow users to sit or stand. This has been the result of the publication of research findings which show how standing in the workplace can improve energy levels, productivity, prevent weight gain and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and muscoskeletal discomfort.
We have a large project just about to start with Bristol Myers Squib in Chester, where the entire office will have Steelcase Ology desks installed. This proves the case that well-being is at the forefront of workplace development, taking into account that if employees are happy they’ll be more motivated.
Companies are also increasingly looking to make their workspace more collaborative, as having areas where staff can partake in more informal conversation is seen as an important way of stimulating progression and innovation. We are therefore seeing an increased demand for furniture which encourages mingling, including soft furnishings, café style tables and comfortable lounge style seating.
So you have three offices, one in London, Leeds and South Rainham. What happens here?
Our Leeds office is essentially a working showroom. We have a senior designer based here who develops solutions for clients and who is currently working on our new office plan. Following our rebrand, we really wanted to reshape the office to showcase the new products we’re now offering. We’re looking to create a showroom that has a story to it -so there’s a flow to the space when clients come in to view our products.
How does your office at 14 King Street work for the business?
Being so central definitely helps, we’re a stone’s throw from the train station meaning that the office is easily accessible for clients and staff. We’re also on the ground floor of a street with plenty of footfall so passers-by see into the office. Logistically, being pretty much in the centre of the country between London and Scotland also gives us a real advantage for stock delivery.
Finally, on a personal note do you have a favourite bar or restaurant in Leeds?
Yes – La Tasca, but I’m biased as I’m half Spanish!
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