Resilience is a trait that has helped many industries carry on throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. During the pandemic companies have had to pivot, reinvent themselves, or find a short term plan to avoid going out of business. FSIoffice was faced with similar challenges and had to embrace change to stay relevant with our customers. As like many companies, FSIoffice began focusing on work from home solutions, cleaning supplies, PPE, as well as products that allowed employees to work safely in the office environment during the pandemic. Recently we had the chance to touch base with Todd Ware, Market Development Manager at FSIoffice, to learn what the furniture division was faced with and how they reinvented themselves to best service our customers.
When the pandemic hit how did the furniture team respond to what was going on/ how you go forward?
TW: We didn’t know what to think at first. It was hard enough to imagine the world shutting down for the proposed two weeks; we didn’t even consider it would last as long as it did. All that being said I went back to some of the core functions of my role which is finding new ways to add value to our customers with information that doesn’t immediately pertain to what we sell, but is relevant to our customers. This gave us the opportunity to keep lines of communication open while our core offering wasn’t as relevant, and gave time for people to figure out next steps. As a result we were able help our customers by providing relevant furniture or design solutions to meet their needs as their plans changed/evolved with the volatile conditions of the market and the virus.
What kind of product solutions were customers looking for, and how were you able to meet the demand during the pandemic?
TW: I would like to say there was one solution that met everyone’s needs, but there really wasn’t. We presented all kind of solutions from Covid specific floor plans, to divider shields, or products that allowed you to retro fit your workspace for a “safer” workspace in the traditional office settings. And, for those looking to outfit their employees to better work from home, we had solutions that included home office desk and chair packages as well. In the end, a limited number of customers took advantage of these solutions and either continued on in the office with what they had or leveraged some mix of a remote work strategy. As restrictions loosen we see our customers have had a pent up need for our services and are excited to be out of the house and back in the office where we can best support them.
As the world shifts back to the office what kind of new furniture and design solutions are you helping your customers with?
TW: With the world embracing the digital meeting so heavily in the past months we are really looking to create spaces that can accommodate the “Hybrid worker”. Since the “Hybrid worker” works both from home and in the office, we need to make sure our customers have the right mix of meeting and collaboration spaces that can accommodate technology/video conferencing. We are also seeing everything from reducing the number of permanent workspaces with a shift to touch down spaces for employees, to more conference rooms that are wired for video conferencing to engage their remote client or team members. Since we service such a wide variety of clients we haven’t found something we can stamp out for every client. Despite this we come to the table ready to help our customers design the space that best accommodates their team, and their workstyle.
What would be the most important thing you can leave our customers with following the pandemic?
TW: As one of our coworkers likes to say, “I am just happy to be here!” I think this is the truest statement following the pandemic for both our customers and FSIoffice. We are so blessed that the pandemic didn’t put us out of business and we are still here to serve our customers and they are still here to serve theirs. The FSIoffice furniture team is here to serve and create new solutions for our customers no matter what kind of change has been thrown at them over the past year. I feel that the Covid crisis only exemplified our motto here at FSIoffice, and I hope that all our customers agree when I say: “You will appreciate our service!”