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ErgotronHome: Resolve to rock your 2017!

If you’re like most Americans, you recently made a New Year’s resolution or two. As you’d probably guess, the most common resolutions are related to health: lose weight, eat better, and get more exercise. Well, 2017 is on the move – how about you?

We all know that sticking with a New Year’s resolution is difficult – in fact, January 17th has come to be called “Ditch Your New Year’s Resolution Day.” (An informal survey of team members about past resolutions confirmed that most of us do indeed fall off the wagon then.) But the good news is that the act of setting a goal already makes you much more likely to reach it.

One trick that helps assure success is to start small and let momentum build slowly over time. Setting a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) is tempting, but that’s what causes most resolvers to crash and burn. Focusing on tiny behaviors that take only a few minutes makes taking action so easy that it’s embarrassing not to.

An example is stepping in place during one TV commercial. With repetition that behavior becomes automatic. Then it’s easy to expand and enlarge that small act into stepping during the entire program. Soon enough, you could be stepping through the whole show.

How long will that take? Scientists at University College London found that it takes on average 66 days to make habits “second nature,” so you don’t have to exercise any willpower. In fact, it feels uncomfortable when you don’t carry out a “super-habit” such as brushing your teeth before bed.

If you’re coming up short on ideas for 2017 New Year’s resolutions, here are a few from some of our healthy, happy ErgotronHome™ employees:

Calorie Burn

“It’s way easier to avoid that slice of leftover birthday cake if you know it’s a whopping 350 calories. This year, I’ll be tracking on MyFitnessPal to see how many calories I’m consuming in each sugary treat – and how much I need to exercise (or stand up!) to burn it off.”

Daylight

“In 2017, I’m going to go outside or stand near a window to get some daylight whenever I can. A study by Swiss scientists showed that people exposed to daylight were way more alert at the beginning of the evening versus those exposed to artificial light, who were sleepier. Plus, it relaxes my eyes to look out into the distance and take in the view.”

Email Control

“I’ve resolved to stop checking my devices obsessively. I figure that if I’m checking for messages or refreshing my social stream every five minutes during the day, that means I’m checking in at least 24,000 times a year. No wonder it’s so hard for me to concentrate.”

Mind Refresh

“I promise to set the timer on my smartphone to three minutes, and then close my eyes for that time and focus only on my breathing without trying to change it. I always feel a lot more clear-headed afterwards, but I feel guilty taking a break during really busy days. Not in 2017!”

Stand Up!

“I haven’t made it a habit to stand more throughout the day, especially while in front of a screen. No more planting myself in a chair in front of the TV. Sure, it may take some getting used to, but it’s a relatively painless way to make a small, yet significant, difference in my health. When I remember to do it, I do feel the results (more productive, more alert) almost immediately.”

Family Fun

“I resolve to set a fun ‘appointment’ in Outlook so I’m reminded that our family is on a healthier, happier path this year. Kids need to be active for an hour a day, so I’ll schedule going to the park or family swim at the Y. Snow is a good excuse to bust out the old Wii and play active games indoors. Moving more busts stress, which gets in the way of learning for kids – and everyone else, come to think of it.”

Clutter Buster

“We got a new tablet for Christmas this year and I want to mount it on the wall so everything is secure and tidy, but stylish. Then I’ll get into the kitchen, toss out the junky stuff on my countertops, and put out a fruit basket instead. Cornell University researchers found that visible healthy snacks help us keep to a healthy weight.”

Tell us about your New Year’s resolutions and how you’ll make them stick!

Personalized, flexible classrooms

We think the future of classroom furniture is personalized flexibility. What do we mean by that? To adapt to the fluid environment of their classrooms, teachers need equipment that allows them to change their teaching style at a moment’s notice. And kids deserve desks that enable full engagement with the teacher and classmates, as the subject and assignment dictate.

Ideally, classroom furniture should help keep the entire class focused on the learning process, the teacher’s attention on the subject at hand, and both adaptable to the best possible presentation of the knowledge at any given moment.

“To achieve our visions, classroom furniture must be intuitively flexible, for teachers to teach in a very flexible, personalized way, and in a way that’s personalized to the students as well.” ­– Bob Hill, Ergotron Education Manager

What are the results for classes that share our vision? Some teachers shared their experiences with Ergotron’s LearnFit desks.

“Not only does it engage kids, but it sort of frees you to do whatever it is that you need to do in your room, when you can easily move everything around.” – Monica Escobar, 5th Grade Teacher, Arts and History, Alexandria Country Day School

“I’ve noticed that my higher level kids are performing even higher than normal, and my lower level kids are also performing higher.” – Keri King, Biology Lead Teacher, Lamar High School

Watch the video to learn more about the benefits of personalized flexibility in the classroom.

Protect your digital devices from vandalism and theft

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Last year, over winter break, vandals broke into a North Carolina elementary school and attempted to steal digital devices from the instructional technology lab. They took a hammer to the top of the cart, the YES36 Charging Cart for Mini-laptops, because the cart’s doors were securely padlocked. Unfortunately, this event is played out in similar educational institutes around the country. Device security was never a more important topic on IT agendas.

Happily, in the case of this school, the vandals were thwarted. This is one example of why choosing a  cart with a tough exterior finish and the sturdy overall construction should be a line item on the “must have” list for a charging system roll out at your school. The top of the cart was damaged (see below) and showed multiple marks, but the school was able to replace just the top to get the cart back to pristine condition and back in operation.

Law enforcement officials warn that break-ins are common, especially during holiday vacations, and that there’s only so much that a school can do to avoid theft and vandalism. Security measures, such as spiked iron fences, iron-shuttered windows, and motion sensors, may stop young pranksters but not professional operators, who have ways of counteracting those safeguards.

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So what can a school do to protect its investment in digital technology? First of all, make sure to choose the right solution for your environment, whether it is a wall mount, desktop or cart charging system. In addition, the unit must be tough enough to withstand common educational rigors, such as rough handling by unruly students.

Finally, consider these security features when comparing charging systems:

  • Is a standard locking feature enough, or does it need more (keyed door plus padlock, etc.)?
  • Does it need additional security brackets that will lock the locking system to the floor or wall?
  • Can the unit be rolled into another secured area at night, such as a locking closet?

At Ergotron, we’re always looking for new ways to keep your tablets, laptops, and handheld devices safe, charged, and ready for use. That way, as educators, you have peace of mind, knowing your edtech investments are well-secured, and so you can focus on what you do best – teach.

 

Happy Earth Day!

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Ergotron is celebrating Earth Day today, and every day! The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, engaged 20 million Americans and helped launch the modern environmental movement. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world!

As an environmentally responsible company, we’re doing our part to reduce, reuse, and recycle. For example, our WorkFit line helps turn an ordinary desk into a stand-up workstation, freeing up landfills.

The theme this year is Trees for the Earth, combating deforestation is one of the easiest ways protect our air and water. Check out this map to find tree planting and other green events in your area.

Join the conversation, using hashtag #EarthDay2016.

ErgotronHome Workspace Lift24 wins TWICE Picks Award!

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Exciting news! At this year’s CES 2016 event, the ErgotronHome™ Workspace™ Lift24 Laptop Standing Desk was recognized with a TWICE Picks Award in the Accessories, Gaming Peripherals category.

The Lift24 is our new adjustable-height laptop stand that converts any surface into a standing desk. It boosts your productivity and comfort by making healthy sit or stand movement quick and easy.

Products entered in this award program were judged anonymously by TWICE editors and contributors at CES. Criteria included ground-breaking and disruptive innovation, plus consumer appeal.

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Check out the Workspace Lift24 and our entire line of home-tech innovations at ErgotronHome.

 

[Video] DIY Network: I Want That

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Does your job involve being in front of a computer screen? Have you ever thought how you can be more comfortable? This is the decision that this woman had to make in this DIY Network Video. She found that by using products like Ergotron’s WorkFit-P or Ergotron’s WorkFit-S, she’s able to quickly switch between standing and sitting, making her more comfortable and productive. Now she has working while having fun. Check out her story.

Justin Frost, Global Social Media Manager @ Ergotron

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[Video] A Stand-Up Desk for Active People


Life takes you where it takes you—climbing mountains, speaking with the chimps, enjoying extreme sports—as it should. We think our sit-stand workstations should take you somewhere too—some place more comfortable to suit your style. See Brandon’s story.

Lead on.

 

Standing is the next ‘Power Pose’

Is standing a new power pose? And if yes, does the emerging sit-stand culture of movement change the balance of our traditional notion of power in say, the conference room?

Writer Sue Shellenbarger addresses this a little bit in her article in the Wall Street Journal, “How ‘Power Poses’ Can Help Your Career.”

Shellenbarger explains that new research shows how striking a powerful pose−such as standing tall and straight or leaning forward over a desk with hands planted firmly on its surface−actually changes a person’s hormones and behavior, just as if he or she had real power whether they are in their offices or in a meeting.

But what happens when you have a room full of standing people? What impact does this have on the traditional view of the balance of power?

Here’s our story:

At first it was awkward for those of us who were trapped in the norms of the past that said only those in charge stood during a meeting. As the leaders continued to stand, the rest of us sat and watched, wriggling in our chairs in discomfort. Slowly we followed suit, if nothing else, in an effort to practice what we were preaching. Popping to our feet at last, we tried to figure out what to do with ourselves when we got there.

Cross our arms? Jam our hands in pockets? Stand by the chair? Stand behind the chair? Lean on the chair? Find a convenient wall? And then, which pose would help us appear in control? Confident? Non-combatant? 

Other questions emerged. How long should I stand here? If the boss sits down, can I remain standing? If everyone else sits down should I, even if I don’t have control of meeting? Can I continue standing if I am near the front of the room versus at the back of the room? Was there a better place to stand? Did the same “stand when you want” rule applies if it was a c-suite executive is in the room versus a middle manager?

Over time, we have made the act of standing a seamless part of meetings, and our culture. We’ve even surprised a few vendors and guests over the years, inviting them to stand during the meeting. There are some uncomfortable laughs and very few takers at first until, at least for part of the time, they have found it to be a relaxing way to do business. 

Lessons learned:

Here are a few important things we have learned from the experience that may help you to strike a new pose in your company: 

  • It’s best to check your ego at the door. Regardless of company hierarchy people can stand or sit whenever they desire, without taking “power” away from each other. Understanding how comfort can increase effectiveness will lessen the sting of letting archaic social norms, like only the person in power can stand, die away.
  • Take ownership of your comfort. Do not feel embarrassed to stand or sit at any point of a meeting; if your body needs to move, move.
  • Be a courteous stander. As the article suggests, since you are lot more visible when you stand and tower over the table, try not to cause distraction. The same body language rules apply. Finding a good book on what your body language is telling other people and adapt accordingly.
  • Remember that confidence does not equal combatant. As the article suggests “an expansive body position can also increase testosterone, which tends to boost confidence and aggressive behavior,” so employees must member the same business etiquette is expected, regardless of sitting or standing posture.

This may not work in every business environment, but don’t be afraid to attempt it at yours. You might be surprised by the growing number of organizations adopting corporate cultures of movement. At the JustStand Wellness Summit this past summer we met several of them, willing to break the old standards for the sake of their staff’s health and well-being. 

Finally, the article also highlights recent studies about how the physiological changes associated with striking a power pose (like standing) were linked to better performance and more confident, assertive behavior. We certainly find that at Ergotron. In fact, we’d go so far as to say the simply standing is a ‘power pose’ in its own right..at your desk, in your meetings, wherever you are. 

Michelle Judd (@mjudd), Sr. Marketing Manager, Global Communications @ Ergotron

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October is National Ergonomics Month – Join us for two #ergochat’s

Heather Rouillard, Global eMarketing Manager @ Ergotron

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Ahhhh, one of the greatest months of the year: October. Thankfully, it’s also National Ergonomics Month! One of the best times to help people pay attention to their daily activities and help them be more comfortable and productive.

To celebrate this month, we are teaming up with Humantech and co-hosting two different ergochat’s.

October 16: “Ask an ergonomist” – Ever wonder what’s actually happening to your back while raking, or shoveling snow? Maybe ergonomics still just doesn’t make sense?! We will have a certified ergonomist on the chat willing to take questions and discuss a broad range of ideas.

October 30: “What’s all the fuss about sit-stand?” – It’s the latest trend in office and home computing, but what’s the big deal? Should you sit or should you stand? And, what can you do if you don’t have the option to do both? Lucky for you, both Humantech and Ergotron come to the chat with information from different perspectives. You won’t want to miss this one.

Details: #ergochat is a Twitter chat. At 1PM CST on the dates listed above, jump on Twitter and join the conversation. Each tweet should include the hashtag (#ergochat), and you can follow along in a twitter search. After the hour is up, we will post the transcript over on the Computing Comfort microsite.

So why do you need to get involved? Well, those are two great ways to start. And, we will also be running a promo for a free WorkFit, sit-stand workstation of your choice. And, check back to the blog throughout the month for more posts on the topic!