Maintaining focus within the everyday flow of the workplace continues to be a prevailing need for workers in open office environments. Featured at NeoCon 2015 were a number of office furniture systems to address this issue, including the Brody WorkLounge from Steelcase Inc.

Steelcase says the Brody WorkLounge is “the first and only microenvironment designed for the brain and the body” — enabling people to remain focused on what’s important.

The concept is derived from research which shows that in a typical day workers and/or students will “switch tasks every 3 minutes, get interrupted every 11 minutes and take 23 minutes to get back on task,” thus making productivity hard to maintain, Steelcase says.


A Steelcase Brody Work Lounge: Like Business Class Seating

View a slideshow and video of Steelcase's new cocoon-like office furniture that allows workers to focus on tasks

“To be human is to be distracted,” said Markus McKenna, design director for Steelcase. “Maintaining focus is a costly problem for workers and students today, so we turned to neuroscience to help us better understand how the brain works and sustains attention. We think the workplace can help us think better,” he added.

Designed for the Mind & the Body

This is where the “cocoon-like” design of Brody comes into play — it helps reduce outside distractions. 

In looks, it has been likened to a “pod” seat in the business class section on a plane. A self-contained workplace, Brody integrates just about everything a worker needs — power, a personal storage area and personal lighting — in a compact and ergonomic design. The seat, for example, cradles the body in a reclined position, allowing the upper and lower back to be supported, Steelcase says. The Personal Work Surface is angled, which allows for the positioning of the computer or other technology to be at eye-level, thereby reducing neck and shoulder strain. In addition, the built-in arm support helps to relieve pressure off the shoulders, Steelcase adds.

“Brody creates a comfortable micro-environment that makes it easier to focus your attention, get into flow and get work done. When workers and students can control their stimuli they can focus better and get into flow faster,” McKenna said.

The Brody WorkLounge also is configurable and can be used to create focused work environments for one or more people.

The furniture is part of the company’s Intelligent Office concept of embedded technology. For example, the Brody WorkLounge could be adapted with a sensor, which would activate a red light around the chair’s perimeter, signaling that the unit is occupied.

Steelcase says another feature, an audio control on the side surface, would allow people to select sounds to be played on the speakers embedded in the headrest. And a heated lumber option would ensure worker comfort even in cold offices. More information can be found at

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