Will Big Office Furniture Companies Survive COVID-19?

A Herman Miller workplace setup.
If you walked through the typical office in the current past, you might barely make it from the front desk to the meeting room without seeing a fleet of Herman Miller Aeron or Steelcase Leap chairs. These brand names represent the gold standard in corporate ergonomics and style, and are seen all over from Fortune 500 conference rooms to open floor plan start-ups looking to make a great first impression.Needless to say, the past 6 months have not been too kind to workplace furnishings suppliers reliant on corporate clients. While the realities of COVID-19 turned office furniture into a growth market nearly overnight, a few of the greatest names in standard workplace furnishings have actually seen sales plummet at a time when Gallup survey information noted that a majority of Americans chose the ability to work remotely as much as possible.For both Steelcase and Herman Miller, according to a new Reuters post, that shift equated to double-digit sales declines for the quarter ending in May, with Steelcases $483 million in revenue representing the companys worst sales quarter because it went public in 1998. Paired with longer-term pessimism about the future of work in a post-pandemic world, those losses equated to both companies losing majority of their share worth since the start of the pandemic.The concern, according to industry plates, is that these makers have had a tough time moving their sales techniques and supply chains to fulfill the new way of working. “A tsunami struck this market with this pandemic,” Ron Weiner, CEO of adjustable desk maker iMovR, told Reuters. “The big business merely werent structured to serve individuals from house.”Part of the difficulty occurs from the diverse needs and wants for an office versus a business customer. At a time of stress and financial unpredictability, dropping $1,000 for an Aeron chair or other office furniture that can typically need professional installation is not always feasible for private employees. Moreover, existing line of product developed on the presumption of service as usual in 2020 might contain functions and performance thats extraneous or even troublesome for those working at home.Become an AD PRO MemberBuy now for limitless access and all of the benefits that only members get to experience.ArrowTheres also the very same kind of supply-chain difficulties that have plagued other markets and manufacturing sectors this year. Workplace furnishings business often utilize a supply chain reliant on outsourced element production, with several manufacturers developing the various inputs that amount to a desk or chair. Thats terrific when working with a company placing big orders, but possibly not as efficient when it pertains to offering one item at a time.Reuters keeps in mind that workplace furnishings business are changing on the fly and laying the foundation for a future where the workplace will look much various. Herman Miller established a way for Google workers to spend their $1,000 office stipend through the company, and its designers are busy producing work space concepts for a future driven by smaller sized, decentralized satellite offices.How industrial office spaces rebound after the pandemic is quite literally a multibillion-dollar question at the moment. It maybe will be no surprise if the what, where, and how of office furniture will begin to look a little bit different too.