Today’s Workforce: Are Freelancers Happier?

In both Canada and the US, the freelance economy seems to be expanding, both in terms of the number of people choosing to freelance and the sectors in which freelancers are finding work. So in our 2016 Workplace Index Study, which surveyed 1,110 employees in Canada and measures workplace trends and work culture, we took a look into freelance employment to get a better understanding of why people choose to freelance, and if it makes them happier than those who are employed full time.

The survey revealed that people generally freelance so that they can control their own hours and improve their work/life balance. And while they do get to enjoy these benefits, only 29% of freelancers surveyed said they would not consider trading their freelance employment for a full time role. That means, over 70% of freelancers might consider moving to a full time position should the opportunity become available. The number one reason they might consider moving to a full time role? Consistent income.

While having an inconsistent income might not be a major perk of freelancing, freelancers revealed that there are many other positive benefits in their employment situation. Among the many benefits listed, the top six include making their own hours, better work/life balance, the ability to make more money, a better ability to navigate a difficult job market with fewer full-time opportunities available, the ability to be their own boss, and the opportunity to choose the projects they want to work on.

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Another perk? The ability to have a voice at work and influence change. When we asked survey respondents how employers could improve the overall happiness of employees in the workplace, feeling heard was one of the top four answers. When it comes to making a difference at work, freelancers feel they have more control and a better ability to make changes happen. 72% said they feel like they have a voice and power to influence change in their work environment, compared to only 57% of full time employees.

But along with inconsistent income, longer hours also have a greater presence among freelancers. 33% of full time freelancers report working more than 40 hours a week on a regular basis, compared to only 21% of people who have full time employment.

Share your thoughts and comments  below – does one employment situation have more benefits than the other?

Looking for more results and insights from the Workplace Index Survey? Download the full report here.

Staples Business Advantage is bullfrogpowered

Through our partnership with Bullfrog Power, Bullfrog injects clean, renewable electricity onto the grid to match the amount of energy our facilities use on an annual basis.

Our partnership with Bullfrog demonstrates our commitment to reducing our environmental impact and aligns with our ISO 14001 Corporate Registration.

Below is an infographic on our cumulative green energy purchase over the course of our partnership with Bullfrog to date, along with the emissions reductions associated with this and some equivalencies to help illustrate what they mean.

Staples Advantage_Emissions data graphic_April 2017 EN redesign (2)

Safety Awareness: Is Your Communication Plan Working?

If employees aren’t aware of your safety program, then the program can’t do its job. Staples’ Annual Safety Survey revealed some key gaps in employee awareness and opportunities to spread vital information. Check out the stats below from the Safety Survey, and be sure to implement a proper communications plan in order to ensure your employees are receiving health and safety notices and updates in a timely manner.

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Sustainability In The Workplace

Happy Earth Week! As a company, this is a great opportunity to set some time aside to evaluate your current sustainability activities and practices and perhaps introduce some new policies.

In the 2016 Workplace Index Survey, 43% of people said that their company does not make an effort to be eco-friendly. That means almost half of those surveyed were working for companies that don’t have environmental policies in place, or perhaps, the employees just weren’t aware of the sustainability policies and efforts. As a company, it’s important to communicate your efforts to your employees so they too can participate and support the efforts. An annual update, such as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report, can help communicate with both your employees and stakeholders and help promote all the good you’re doing in your workplace.

So what can you do to encourage sustainable business practices? Check out some of the results on the importance of Sustainability in the Workplace from the 2016 Workplace Index Survey.

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How to Prepare Your Workplace for the Unexpected

Don’t wait for an emergency, plan ahead! According to a Staples Business Advantage™ survey,* nearly half of all workers are unsure if their company has an emergency plan. Fifty percent of workers say they participate in safety drills only once every few years. It’s easy to put out of mind, but disasters are always a threat.

Learn how to prepare your employees, building and assets in the event of an emergency, from natural disasters, human-caused hazards to technology-related dangers.

 5 keys to emergency preparedness success.

  1. Leadership investment

A successful plan requires management leadership and financial support. Planning ahead for an emergency situation can help minimize corporate impacts in labour and services.

  1. Plan

Create a plan that details what everyone should do and where to go in the event of an emergency. Address top-line threats or hazards that could cause injury, property damage, business disruption or environmental impact.

  1. Implement

You should implement the plan so that all building occupants are aware of what they need to do in an emergency situation. Identify resources, provide written plans and develop a system to help manage incidents and train employees.

  1. Test

Conduct testing and exercises to evaluate the effectiveness of your preparedness program. Make sure employees know what to do and note any critical missed areas.

  1. Revise

Revising the plan is the key to success. A program is only as good as the last time it was tested. Periodically reassess the plan for weaknesses and new areas of interest, and revise plans accordingly.

This article originally appeared in the 2017 edition of Shop Talk. Order your copy today or visit eway.ca to browse it online.

Staples Business Advantage™ can provide you with the tools and plans you need to help implement an emergency preparedness program for your business. Call your Account Manager today for more information.

*Source: “Staples.com Survey Shows Gaps in Office Health and Safety Preparedness” on Staples News Center (http://staples.newshq.businesswire.com)

Earth Hour: How Your Office Can Participate

Earth Hour is a global initiative that has seen as many as 172 countries come together to power down and bring awareness to climate change. This year Earth Hour will take place between 8:30pm and 9:30pm (local time) on Saturday March 25.

Since many of us leave the office on a Friday and don’t return until Monday morning, how can you ensure your business is doing what it can to participate? Here are a few ideas.

  1. Fully power down your laptop or computer
  2. Turn off your monitor
  3. Unplug any small appliances (kettle, toaster, microwave, etc).
  4. Power down printers and any other large office machines that won’t be in use
  5. Turn off any interior lights that are not required for safety or security
  6. Turn off or limit exterior lighting, again keeping in mind safety and security
  7. Spread the word! Communicate within your office so that everyone remembers to power down before they leave. It might be helpful to set a reminder in your email calendar or on your phone.

Is your office participating in Earth Hour? Tell us what you are doing around the office to promote energy efficiency.

To find out more about Earth Hour, visit: https://www.earthhour.org/ or get involved in the conversation on social media: #ChangeClimateChange