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Home is Where the Heart is … and the Office 

return Report says companies are not taking full advantage of 3PLs capabilities to help them send more shipments of export cargo and import cargo in international trade.

Home is Where the Heart is … and the Office 

Office occupancy rates are struggling. San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, and others are inching along with occupancy rates in the mid-40s (%). Less than half of workers are returning to their respective business districts and the trickle-down effects have been devastating. 

An estimated 26,300 New York City small businesses closed between April 2020 and March 2021. The available office space in the financial capital is now up to 125 million square feet. This has been increasing at an uncomfortable rate since 2020 (90 million square feet in the first quarter). Expectedly, Manhattan rents have been declining for 18 consecutive quarters, a phenomenon that actually began even before the pandemic. 

While Covid certainly altered how many folks engage in work, there are other factors contributing to worker aversion to a return. In most major cities, crime is up. A Goldman Sachs employee was shot and killed on a Manhattan subway line in May prompting CEO David Solomon to begin lobbying the mayor’s office concerning the declining quality of life in the city. Employees expressed concern for their safety, indicating they had been engaged in the same work at home over the previous two years thus negating any argument that their presence at the office was necessary. Earlier this year employers were pushing back on this argument, but remote work has become so commonplace now that firms are worried they’ll lose valued employees if they push too hard. 

According to a study conducted in March by the accounting and consulting firm PwC, approximately two out of every three employees who can carry out their work remotely would prefer a hybrid (in-person and remote) arrangement. A November 2021 survey by the payroll provider ADP revealed that 68% of workers would consider leaving their current place of employment if their managers insisted they work in-person, full-time.   

Another compounding factor to a return to the office has been gas prices. Deloitte was providing in some instances up to $1,000 in reimbursements for commuting costs. Gartner surveyed employers in March and found over 25% were providing some sort of subsidy (free food, etc) to offset higher fuel costs and provide an incentive to return. While this has worked in some cases, it has not been overly effective. People have gotten a taste of what it’s like to work more casually, avoid annoying traffic, eat with loved ones, and lead a less stressful life working from home. Many of these surveys point to a desire for employees to see their co-workers and share in person, but that is the hybrid argument. A very small percentage wants to return to the pre-pandemic status quo. 

While Covid was a public health crisis, it has clearly upended our notion of work. Recruiters and human resource offices have caught on for the most part. It’s leadership that either rows in the opposite direction, risking good personnel, or finds an acceptable middle ground. Firm behavior will ultimately reveal who has done the best job negotiating the new normal.    

furniture market

Global Furniture Market Growth, COVID Impact, Trends Analysis Report By 2026

The furniture market is estimated to surpass a $750 billion valuation by 2026, as per a research report by Global Market Insights, Inc. The furniture market is poised to foresee lucrative growth in the years ahead owing to the high product adoption and demand across commercial and residential sectors. The market is especially likely to be driven by the growing demand for furniture from developing economies. Additionally, the ongoing focus on environmental sustainability is also expected to play a major role in shaping the industry’s future.

In recent times, numerous market players are coming up with novel, innovative solutions to strengthen their position in the industry landscape. Citing an instance, in October 2020, IKEA, the renowned furniture retail company, reportedly announced the launch of a new recycling initiative for helping the firm become more sustainable and carbon neutral. Under the new scheme, IKEA would offer to buy back used furniture from customers in Milton Keynes. The customers would further be given vouchers worth up to half the value of goods. The second-hand used products would further be re-used and recycled to make new furniture.

Below are some of the key trends that are likely to influence furniture industry growth:

Impact of the coronavirus pandemic

The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has adversely affected all the manufacturing and industrial sectors across the world. In fact, it has fundamentally disrupted the business functions of numerous industries globally. The nationwide lockdowns for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 have also negatively affected the construction industry, the biggest revenue generator of the furniture market. The sudden increase in cases, specifically across Asia and Europe, has further resulted in the shutting down of various furniture production facilities for a temporary period, thereby disturbing the demand and supply chain.

However, with various economies steadily lifting their respective lockdowns, a steady recovery trend is expected to be seen in the upcoming years with the furniture industry showcasing a decent jump in revenues.

Increasing product adoption across commercial sectors

The commercial application segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 5.8% over the forthcoming time period. The anticipated growth can be attributed to the surging demand for furniture, mainly in office settings. The furniture used in the office comprises of furniture specifically designed for office applications including individual workstations, lounges, meetings, and cafeterias. With rapid globalization and urbanization across the globe due to increased education, rising employment rates, and the establishment of new offices, the furniture market is likely to witness substantial growth over the coming years.

Growing product demand across Middle East & Africa

On the geographical front, the Middle East furniture market, in terms of revenue, will account for 5% of the global industry share by the end of the forecast time period. This can be ascribed to the fact that the region houses a well-established and one of the rapidly growing construction industries. Subsequently, economic development due to regaining oil prices will substantially support the regional construction business growth, mainly in the form of government investments.

In fact, favorable initiatives by regional governments for increasing the FDI inflow in construction will further drive MEA furniture market revenues. Large hospitality industry projects are further contributing towards tourism growth across the region, which would drive the market growth in forthcoming years. Countries like South Africa, UAE, and Saudi Arabia are some of the key contributors to the regional furniture market development.

Meanwhile, several industry players are increasingly focusing on enhancing their product portfolios through numerous strategic means like new product launches, partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions. Citing an instance, in November 2019, Furniture Concepts, a contract furniture wholesaler and Flatcreek Manufacturing, reportedly announced their merger to create a leading contract furniture company. The firms together would offer tailored solutions, personal service, and quality craftsmanship.

Urban Office Interiors, Heritage Home, Furniture Concepts, Herman Miller, Inc., Furniture Services, Inc., Okamura Corporation, La-Z-Boy, Humanscale Corporation, HNI Corporation Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co., Global Furniture Group., Urban Office Interiors, Renaissance Furniture, Haworth, Inc., Inter Kohler CO., Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc., McCarthy Group, and The Home Depot, Inc. among many others are some of the key players operating in the furniture market.

Ware Malcomb

Ware Malcomb Announces Executive Leadership Transitions

Ware Malcomb, an award-winning international design firm, today announced Lawrence R. Armstrong, who has served as CEO for 28 years, has elected to transition into the new role of Chairman of Ware Malcomb. Kenneth Wink, a 25-year veteran of Ware Malcomb and currently Executive Vice President, has been promoted to CEO, and Jay Todisco, currently Executive Vice President who has been with the firm for 21 years, will assume the role of President. Ware Malcomb also announced the promotion of Matt Brady from Regional Vice President to Executive Vice President, and Tobin Sloane from Chief Financial Officer to EVP/CFO.

All executive leadership changes are effective January 1, 2020. Armstrong, Wink, Todisco, Brady, and Sloane will also continue to comprise the Ware Malcomb Board of Directors.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to have the opportunity to lead this incredible firm and its team of talented professionals for the past 28 years,” said Armstrong. “Together, we have grown Ware Malcomb from our foundation as a strong regional operation to a leading international design firm with a future that has never been brighter. As I hand over responsibility for day-to-day operations to the capable hands of our new leadership team, including CEO Ken Wink and President Jay Todisco, I look forward to continuing to serve the firm in my new role as Chairman. Together with the additional contributions of seasoned executive team members Matt Brady and Tobin Sloane, I know Ware Malcomb is poised for continued growth and success in this new decade, and beyond.”

“I want to thank Larry for his incredible leadership of Ware Malcomb spanning three decades,” said Wink. “I share his excitement for the future of Ware Malcomb and am honored to take on the role of CEO to implement a strategic vision for the ongoing expansion of the scope and reach of our services, the professional development of our team members, and the success of our clients.”

“I look forward to continuing to work closely with Larry, Ken and the entire team to accelerate Ware Malcomb’s business development and growth in the years to come,” said Todisco. “Ours is a firm committed to cultivating long-term relationships with our team members, partners, and clients alike, all while creating an industry-leading design that puts Ware Malcomb at the forefront of commercial real estate.”

Lawrence R. Armstrong – Chairman

Armstrong is transitioning from the role of CEO to Chairman of Ware Malcomb, as of January 1, 2020. Under his leadership as CEO for the past 28 years, Ware Malcomb has grown to become a leading international design firm with 25 offices in four countries. Armstrong’s strategic, visionary approach to the firm’s management and growth, as well as his commitment to fiscal discipline, has laid a strong foundation for future success. In his new role as Chairman, Armstrong will lead the Board of Directors for Ware Malcomb.

Kenneth Wink – CEO

Wink has been promoted from Executive Vice President to CEO. With Ware Malcomb for over 25 years, Wink has consistently demonstrated excellence in every challenge and opportunity he has been given during his tenure with the firm. He has been instrumental in leading the growth of Ware Malcomb, including developing and overseeing operations companywide. He has also coached and mentored key leaders across the firm. As CEO, Wink will lead the overall company vision, growth and management of Ware Malcomb.

Jay Todisco – President

Todisco has been promoted from Executive Vice President to President. With the firm for over 21 years, Todisco’s leadership has significantly contributed to the firm’s continued growth, and to the execution of numerous strategic and innovative initiatives companywide. As President, Todisco will oversee the overall growth and business development for Ware Malcomb, with a focus on exceptional client service and relationship management. An accomplished architect, Todisco is also highly engaged with Ware Malcomb’s Design Studio and oversees all aspects of design from the executive level.

Matt Brady – Executive Vice President

Brady has been promoted from Regional Vice President to Executive Vice President. With Ware Malcomb for over 20 years, Brady has led the expansion of firm services into multiple new markets in the U.S., as well as Panama and Mexico. He has been directly responsible for the launch of the firm’s San Diego, Phoenix and Atlanta offices, while also taking on many corporate responsibilities and leading select companywide initiatives. As Executive Vice President, Brady will oversee many corporate, growth and operations initiatives for the firm.

Tobin Sloane – EVP/CFO

Ware Malcomb Chief Financial Officer Tobin Sloane has been promoted to the additional role of Executive Vice President and CFO. With Ware Malcomb for over 15 years, Sloane’s leadership has helped ensure the financial health of the firm while facilitating strong growth. He will continue to remain a critical member of the executive team, while leading the financial functions of the firm and directing the accounting, administration, contracts, legal and human resources operations.

About Ware Malcomb (
Established in 1972, Ware Malcomb is an international design firm providing planning, architecture, interior design, branding, civil engineering and building measurement services to commercial real estate and corporate clients. With office locations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Panama, the firm specializes in the design of commercial office, corporate, industrial, science & technology, healthcare, retail, auto, public/educational facilities and renovation projects. Ware Malcomb is recognized as an Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private company and a Hot Firm and Best Firm to Work For by Zweig Group. The firm is also ranked among the top 15 architecture/engineering firms in Engineering News-Record’s Top 500 Design Firms and the top 30 interior design firms in Interior Design magazine’s Top 100 Giants. For more information, visit and view Ware Malcomb’s Design video at