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5 Up-and-Coming Design Students Win Interior Design Scholarship from Staples Business Advantage

What does it take to design a workspace that is functional for a business but also inspiring for employees? College students across Canada got the opportunity to showcase their insights and understandings of workplace design as they applied their skills to create a corporate space layout and design for the 2016 Business Interiors Scholarship, now known as the Staples Business AdvantageTM Interior Design Scholarship Program.

The contract furniture division of Staples Business Advantage Canada is proud to offer academic scholarships to five winners of this year’s Corporate Workspace Design Project. Interior Design students from across the country participated and were judged on their ability to create and present a workspace design plan for the modern corporate environment. This was the 6th consecutive year for the Interior Design Scholarship Program. The design submissions were judged on a variety of criteria, including overall design concept, space planning solutions, finishes and material selection, presentation skills, and more.

“The task of designing a future space allows promising students to showcase their creativity and skills in creating a vision for reinventing the way we work,” said Sandra Vyse, National Director, Furniture, Staples Business Advantage. “We are very pleased to offer a scholarship to help students in education towards creating exceptional design.”

The scholarship provides an opportunity for talented design students to re-imagine today’s workspace into a place where digitalization, telecommuting and need for collaborative space can all be combined. The project encourages and supports interior design students who have the potential to make a significant contribution in the design field.

Staples Business Advantage Canada partnered with several interior design schools across Canada and professors selected their top students to participate in the workplace design challenge which saw nearly 30 submissions.

Throughout the design process, scholarship recipient Alessia Maria Agozzino from Sheridan College learned the importance of considering and incorporating employee wellness into the design process. “My goal was to create a work place that workers enjoyed going to as well as a space that enhanced the importance of wellness and sustainability,” Agozzino said.  “As Canadians we are indoors most of our day and we spend most of our time at work. Therefore, it is important to create a design that will better enhance the performance of workers by creating that outdoor feel…”

The following students were chosen nationally and awarded a scholarship by a panel of interior designers from the furniture team at Business Interiors by Staplessm, now known as Staples Business Advantage Canada and several designer firms:

Maria Cristina Riano, Fanshawe College
Alessia Maria Agozzino, Sheridan College
Sara Topp, Mount Royal University
Alexandra Verkuil-Wood, British Columbia Institute of Technology
Marie-Helene Sarrazin, College de L’Outaouais

Staples Business Advantage Canada congratulates each of the scholarship recipients and all the hard work they put in to their projects.

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Supplier Or Partner? How to Spot The Difference

As a facility professional, you’re an integral part of your company’s success. And when it’s your responsibility to keep things running smoothly and efficiently, it helps to have the right people in your corner.

Our Field Guide for Facility Managers will help you spot the difference between a Supplier and a Partner. Quick tip: A supplier provides products, but a partner goes above and beyond to provide value to their customer.

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Bottom line: don’t settle for a supplier, find a true partner.

The unexpected can happen anytime. That’s why your Staples Business Advantage Facility Specialists is available whenever and wherever you need. They live and work in your area, so dedicated, attentive service is always just a call away. Discover more about our Facilities Solutions here.

Ready to shop now? Make the best for your facility and building happen. Check out our large assortment of facility products to help you stay efficient and productive, shop now on eway.ca.

 

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Is Bad Technology Holding Your Employees Back?

Is outdated technology holding your employees back from doing their best work? In the 2016 Workplace Index, nearly 75% of people reported not having access to the latest technology that would help them do their job more effectively and efficiently.

Investing in new technology for your company may seem like a costly undertaking that you might not feel ready or willing to commit to, however not upgrading may be holding you and your company back. If you weigh the costs of updating your technology against the benefits of how the right technology can propel your business forward, the results will probably speak for themselves. Giving your employees access to the right technology can dramatically increase efficiencies. Even simple improvements like switching an on-the-go employee’s computer from a desktop to a laptop or tablet can help give them immediate access to work from beyond the office walls. Adding or updating technology in your conference rooms can take presentations and business meetings to a more professional level.

So how do you know if your current workplace technology is holding your employees back from doing their best work? Use the Room to Room Checklist to take a quick audit of the essentials so that you can ensure your company and employees are set up for success.

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NeoCon 2016 Recap: Top Trends & Innovations for Office Design

The furniture team from Staples Business Advantage was in Chicago in June to attend NeoCon 2016, North America’s most important design exposition and conference. Our team of experts visited the various showrooms to explore the latest trends in workspace furniture and office interior design.

Throughout the few days we were at NeoCon 2016, we gathered up heaps of inspiration and insights from top vendors like Allsteel, HON, Global, Via Seating, Arcadia, Safco, and many others.

This recap from our time at NeoCon explores active seating options, how to introduce pops of colour into your workplace, communal workspaces, and how to plan your office layout to optimize employee productivity.

Perching vs Sitting
Safco was a hub of activity with their newly acquired line of Focal Upright seating options that they’ve added to the Safco Active family. This collection brings together products that promote movement throughout the workday by standing, active sitting and perching. The products make healthy happen through small changes that add up to make a big impact on your work and life. As studies and news outlets continue to report the importance of movement throughout the workday, Safco Active is focused on providing solutions to keep user’s bodies actively engaged while keeping in mind how and where users work.
SafcoSource: http://www.safcoproducts.com/pr-201605-safco-acquires-focal

Bringing Colour into the Workplace
Global Furniture Group brought a sleek and modern approach to their NeoCon showroom, infusing pops of colour into traditional office furniture pieces. Blues, yellows and plaid patterns made an appearance, bringing a fun twist to the standard selection of workplace furniture.
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Source: facebook.com/globalfurnituregroup

Global’s new River system introduces customizable lounge furniture pieces in a range of colours and layout options. The River collection brings people together in a place where ideas, insight and inspiration can be shared. River supports an endless array of curvilinear and rectilinear configurations with three back heights and benches. Seating and tables can be specified with power and USB outlets for mobile devices.
Global2Source: facebook.com/globalfurnituregroup

Workplace Productivity
In recent years, employers have been searching for the key ingredients that will help employees do their best work. Many workplaces are dealing with tighter budgets, a scaled down workforce, increased workload, and greater expectations to perform. If we’re putting more pressure on our employees, how do we support them to keep performance and productivity levels high? Is there a proven method for measuring performance? In a recent global research review, Allsteel went in search of scientific answers to backup this very question.
The study uncovered six key factors that have the highest statistical association with the performance of teams:

  • Social Cohesion
  • Perceived Supervisory Support
  • Information Sharing
  • Vision and Goal Clarity
  • External Outreach
  • Trust

These insights help us to approach office design and layout for optimal productivity levels as proven through the research.
Allsteel
Source: http://www.allsteeloffice.com/neocon2016

Want to explore how you can introduce some of these elements into your workplace? Speak to the experts. The furniture team at Staples Business Advantage can help. For more information, visit: workplacestudio.ca.

Blog-June28

How Happier Workplaces Create Better Employees

Standard, plain and dull. Is that how you would describe your office? If you’re nodding your head, you aren’t alone. Standard, plain and dull topped the list of how employees described their office in the Staples Business Advantage 2016 Workplace Index survey. Fun, engaging and motivating were among the bottom responses. This begs the question: are our current office structures meeting the wants and needs of employees?

While the office isn’t necessarily a place to be having the time of your life (it’s still a place of business, after all), a little laughter and office comradery can help increase motivation, employee engagement, and help to increase employee retention. We spend the majority of our waking hours in the office, so it should be a space we strive to make enjoyable so that employees come to work each day with a positive and energized attitude.

Of course there is a fine line between having fun and focusing on the bottom line, but finding the balance might be easier than you think.  Throwing a company carnival might not be in the budget, but simple additions to the workday to boost employee morale don’t have to be big, costly gestures.

Fast Company gives us a list of easy ways to add a little bit of fun to the office, like bringing a pet to work, decorating your cubicle (see our Pinterest board for inspiration), or starting a group exercise club.

There are of course certain industries or workplace scenarios where bringing workers together for a group activity isn’t a feasible or easy task. Celebrating with your employees is great, but simply celebrating your employees through recognition and praise can lead to the same end results: increased motivation and productivity.  Employee engagement levels are almost three times higher when they receive recognition. So if you don’t have one already, now might be a good time to look into an employee recognition program.

Aside from an engaging, motivating and fun workplace, what else are employees looking for from the workplace in 2016? Find out from the 2016 Workplace Index report. Download the full report here.

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Canadian Workers Continue to Face Office Stress and Burnout

Do you leave the office at the end of the day feeling satisfied and productive? Or stressed and burnt out? If you’re like most Canadians, you’re feeling a little from both sides of the coin. According to our second annual Workplace Index survey, Canadian workers are reporting that the office is the most productive place to get work done, but is also contributing to stress and burnout.

Almost 70% of Canadian office workers and managers report working more than 40 hours a week, and the majority consider the office the most productive place to get work done. In an effort to improve stress and overall morale, employers need to take action to ensure the workplace remains an inspiring and motivating environment.

Forty-three per cent of Canadians say they’re working longer hours simply to catch up on work they couldn’t tackle during an eight-hour day, with 22% working 11 hours or more per day. That workload is taking a toll.

Consider:

  • 68% of Canadians say their workplace has contributed to stress
  • More than one-quarter of Canadians (27%) cite the volume of their work as the number one stressor in their workplace
  • One in five Canadian respondents (19%) has taken a workplace stress-related leave of absence

“The Staples Business Advantage Workplace Index provides an important look at the state of the workplace and what Canadians want and need from their employers,” said Michael Zahra, President, Staples Business Advantage Canada. “Based on the results, it is evident that Canadian employees are working long hours just to keep up with their volume of work. It is the responsibility of employers to therefore provide an inclusive, welcoming environment that boosts employee productivity, increases happiness and positively impacts the bottom line.”

The Staples Business Advantage Workplace Index is a comprehensive study involving office workers and business decision makers in Canada to help companies meet their recruitment, retention and engagement goals.

Over the next few months, we’ll explore the Workplace Index survey and share key findings and insights through a series of posts. To get full access now, you can download the complete report here.

 

 

 

 

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How Safe Is Your Facility?

Compare your workplace with these workplace health statistics.

The top 3 issues in the workplace involved employers failing to1:

  1. Keep floors and other work surfaces free of hazards and accumulations of refuse, snow or ice
  2. Maintain equipment, materials and protective devices in good condition
  3. Provide mandatory general awareness health and safety training to workers and supervisors

Take a look at the infographic below for more stats on workplace safety:

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Sources:
1 Ontario Ministry of Labour
2 Staples Advantage Survey
3 Canadian Community Health Survey 2013
4 Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC)
5 Conference Board of Canada