Debating the Remote Work Option

The trend of allowing office employees to work remotely is lagging employee expectations, according to the 2018 Staples Business Advantage Workplace Employee Survey. 40% of office workers surveyed claimed that this is a key factor for them in selecting a new employer, yet only 35% of companies allow the option.

Many have cited inadequate investment in technology, lack of trust in workers, and resistance to change as factors holding back the trend. The fact that the tech sector has the highest adoption rate (52%) seems to support these observations, as these companies tend to have progressive management policies and superior technology.

Divided opinions on the issue shows how complex the issue is. 43% of employees claim they are more focused in the office, yet 57% sometimes work remotely because it removes the distractions of the office. Furthermore, the quality of the office environment is very important to workers – 41% will not accept a job offer without first seeing the work environment.

Managers, concequently, need to look beyond the trends when considering the remote work option. If people are working at home to avoid distraction, maybe this is a sign that the office environment needs to be improved. Furthermore, the option is about the team as well as the individual. For example, if employee X is allowed to work remotely, could this employee’s absence harm the productive of other employees?

Work patterns are evolving, but office work is ultimately about people working together in a productive manner. Regardless of workplace trends, this is a fundamental that’s not going to go away.


Composer avec la distraction dans les bureaux d’aujourd’hui

Quand il s’agit de garder de bonnes relations avec ses collègues, il y a des choses qu’on aime mieux ne pas savoir. Malheureusement, plus de neuf employés de bureau sur dix ont déjà entendu les conversations personnelles et les appels téléphoniques de leurs collègues, et 71 % d’entre eux ont déjà vu des collègues consulter des sites Web qu’ils ne devraient pas visiter, selon le sondage aux employés sur leur milieu de travail réalisé par Staples Avantage Affaires.

Ces distractions sont symptomatiques des bureaux à aire ouverte d’aujourd’hui, où il semble que les travailleurs obtiennent le meilleur et le pire les uns des autres. D’un côté, la plupart des gens trouvent ces environnements stimulants et adaptés à la collaboration. De l’autre, la distraction est un problème répandu – un taux surprenant 81 % des répondants affirme travailler dans une zone achalandée.

Les employés font face à la situation de différentes manières. En effet, 45 % d’entre eux sont sorti à l’extérieur du bureau pour prendre ou effectuer un appel téléphonique et 28 % ont porté un casque d’écoute dans le but de bloquer le bruit des autres. Un grand nombre choisi d’abandonner totalement le bureau : 57 % de ceux qui travaillent à l’extérieur du bureau affirment qu’ils le font parfois parce que cela élimine les distractions du bureau.

Fait intéressant, les employés ne jettent pas le blâme uniquement sur l’environnement physique. Moins d’un quart des répondants a mis « espace privé ou personnel » dans les trois premières réponses de sa liste de souhaits, ce qui le place au même niveau que « nouvelle technologie ou nouvel équipement », « meubles ergonomiques », « centre de conditionnement physique » et « options de nourriture et de boisson ».

De plus, certaines des distractions les plus fréquemment signalées découlent de comportements douteux des collègues, comme avoir à travailler près de quelqu’un qui est visiblement ou distinctement malade (81 %), qui mange quelque chose qui sent mauvais (77 %), ou qui fait jouer une radio ou un téléviseur avec le volume élevé (69 %).

Bien que changer l’environnement physique ne saurait remplacer la conduite respectueuse au bureau, les planificateurs doivent prendre en compte les façons dont l’optimisation de l’espace de bureau peut aider. Est-ce que les appels personnels seraient effectués à portée de voix des autres s’il y avait un cubicule privé réservé pour le téléphone? Est-ce que les gens mangent à leur bureau parce que la salle de repas est inadéquate? Prendre une pause dans une salle de bien-être soulagerait-il le stress d’un environnement achalandé?

À mesure que le bureau évolue pour répondre aux besoins diversifiés d’aujourd’hui, c’est le type de questions que les planificateurs de bureau doivent poser.

Pour télécharger le rapport complet du sondage sur le milieu de travail 2018 :

Employee Appreciation

Whether you are running a brand new startup or managing an old-line company, you rely on your employees to get the work done and keep the firm profitable. No matter what the nature of the company, your employees are your biggest asset, and keeping them happy is an essential part of the well being of the organization.

Shared Experiences

The value of corporate team-building exercises has long been understood, but what if you do not have a week to spare and thousands of dollars to spend? If you want to reward your best performers and say thank you for a job well done, you do not have to head to the woods; just go to the local movie theater.

Shared experiences are a great way to reward your team for that on-time project or say thanks to the sales staff for meeting their quarterly quotas. Whether it is tickets to the hottest movie in town, a day of wine tasting at the local winery or the challenge of an escape room or murder mystery cruise, there are plenty of ways to thank your employees without breaking the bank.


From the Oscar nominees on the red carpet to the workers in the cubicles, everyone loves a little swag. Whether it is a stylish polo shirt emblazoned with the corporate logo, a reusable grocery bag or a fancy desk plaque, these fun and useful items make lovely gifts.

If your team just hit their goals, why not reward them with their choice of corporate swag? Order a bunch of corporate-logoed items, send an order sheet around and let everyone pick their favorites.


Food is always a great motivator, rewarding your staff with a special lunch or pizza party is a wonderful way to say thank you for a job well done. When you say it with food, you do not have to spend a fortune to make your employees feel special.

Time Off

Giving your best workers a paid day off (or two) is a great way to thank them and motivate their coworkers to work even harder.

You can tie this bonus time off to the completion of an important project, or you can surprise your team with some extra time when things are going well. No matter which option you choose, your staff is sure to be grateful for the largesse.

Keeping employees motivated is no easy task, especially when money is tight. Even so, your employees are your biggest asset, and you have a vested interest in keeping them happy and productive.

Coping with Distraction in Today’s Office Environments

When it comes to maintaining good relationships with co-workers, there are some things we just don’t want to know. Unfortunately, more than nine out of ten office workers have overheard co-workers’ personal conversations and phone calls, and a surprising 71% have seen co-workers viewing websites they shouldn’t be visiting, according to Staples Business Advantage Workplace Employee Survey.

Such distractions are symptomatic of today’s open office environments, where, it appears, workers get the best and the worst of each other. On one hand, most people find these environments more engaging and collaborative. On the other, distraction is widely experienced – a surprising 81% report that they work in high traffic areas.

Employees cope in various ways. 45% have gone outside the office to take or make a phone call and 28% have worn headphones to block out noise from others. Many abandon the office altogether – 57% of those who work outside the office say they sometimes do so because it removes the distractions of the office.

Interestingly, employees don’t just blame the physical environment. Less than one-quarter of respondents placed “private or personal space” in the top-three of their wish list, ranking it along with “new technology or equipment”, “ergonomic furniture”, “a fitness centre”, and “food and drink options”.

Furthermore, some of the most frequently reported distractions result from questionable co-worker behaviour, such as having to work near somebody who is visibly or audibly sick (81%), is eating something that smells bad (77%), or has a radio or TV playing loudly (69%).

While changing the physical environment is no substitute for respectful conduct in the office, planners need to consider where optimization of office space can help. Would personal calls be made within earshot of others if there was a private phone cubicle available? Are people eating at their desks because the lunch room is inadequate? Would taking a break in a wellness room alleviate the stress of a high traffic environment?

As the office evolves to meet today’s diverse needs, these are the kinds of questions office planners need to ask.


To download the full report of the 2018  Employee Workplace Survey visit:

Les tendances en milieu de travail imposent un exercice d’équilibre aux planificateurs d’espace de bureau au Canada

Avant le millénaire actuel, aménager un espace de bureau était assez simple. Chaque employé travaillait à un bureau ou un cubicule, et avait accès à des salles de conférence ou de réunion ainsi qu’à une salle commune pour manger et prendre ses pauses.

L’aménagement des espaces de bureau a beaucoup évolué depuis. Aujourd’hui, selon le sondage aux employés sur leur milieu de travail réalisé par Staples Avantage Affaires, seulement 23 % des employés de bureau travaillent dans des environnements fermés, principalement des bureaux et des cubicules. Les 77 % restants travaillent en espace ouvert ou semi-ouvert, où la majeure partie de la surface est composée d’espaces de travail avec des places assises libres, sans division.

La transition ne s’est pas faite sans difficulté. Bien que 69 % des gens se disent capables de travailler efficacement dans leur espace de travail, 31 % des gens ont répondu négativement à cette question, ce qui est assez inquiétant.

Les besoins variés posent un dilemme aux planificateurs d’espace de bureau. D’un côté, 22 % des répondants affirment que l’aménagement de leur espace de bureau complique les interactions avec les autres. D’un autre côté, 25 % des répondants trouvent que leur espace de bureau est trop ouvert et 39 % ajoutent que l’aménagement ouvert de leur bureau crée des distractions.

Ces préoccupations sont prises en compte dans un nouveau concept d’aménagement de bureau appelé le bureau réfléchi – une vision que Staples Avantage Affaires Canada présente à un nombre croissant de clients. Dans un environnement réfléchi, les employés peuvent changer d’espace de travail selon le type de tâche qu’ils effectuent, plutôt que de travailler toujours dans le même bureau ou le même cubicule.

Par exemple, un employé peut tenir une réunion d’équipe dans un espace ouvert dédié aux projets, rédiger un rapport dans un endroit tranquille, parler avec un fournisseur dans un espace dédié aux conversations téléphoniques, et, en sortant du bureau, récupérer ses objets personnels dans un casier.

Les employés aiment l’organisation des places assises dans un bureau réfléchi, car 70 % affirment que la capacité à travailler dans différents endroits approfondit le lien avec leur employeur. Bien qu’il soit évidemment impossible de satisfaire tout le monde en tout temps, faire correspondre l’espace de travail à la tâche à accomplir semble être une excellente façon de faire face aux différents besoins des employés de bureau.

Workplace Trends Create a Balancing Act for Canadian Office Planners

In pre-millennium days, office workspace design was pretty straightforward. Each employee had a dedicated office or cubicle, access to boardrooms or meeting rooms, and a common room to go to for breaks and lunch.

The office floor plan has evolved considerably since then. Today, according to the Staples Business Advantage Workplace Employee Survey, only 23% of those who work in offices work in closed environments that are predominantly offices and cubicles. The remaining 77% work in open or semi-open environments where much or most of the floor space is dedicated to open, barrier-free seating arrangements.

The transition has not been without growing pains. While 69% claim that they are able to work efficiently in their workspace, there is significant concern about the 31% who replied negatively to this question.

Varied requirements create a bit of a conundrum for office planners. On one hand, 22% claim that the design of their office space makes it difficult to interact with others. On the other, 25% claim that their office space is too open, while 39% working in open environments claim that the design of the office space creates distractions.

These concerns are being addressed by a new concept called agile office – a vision that Staples Business Advantage Canada has been introducing to a growing number of customers. In an agile environment, employees, instead of working in a dedicated office or cubicle, can move to different workspaces depending on the kind of work they are doing.

For example, an employee could conduct a team meeting in an open-plan project space, write up a report in a quiet booth, speak with a supplier in a telephone conversation space, and on the way out of the office, retrieve personal items from a locker.

Agility seating is getting high marks from employees, with 70% claiming that being able to work in different settings deepens their connection to their employer. While it’s clearly impossible to please everybody 100% of the time, matching the workspace to the work being done appears to be an excellent way to cope with the diverse needs of today’s office workers.


Promoting Healthy Ergonomics in the Workplace

Promoting healthy ergonomics is one of the simplest ways to keep your workforce healthy and productive. In particular, the increasing number of desk jobs and the corresponding increase in hours spent sedentary puts a significant focus on ergonomics.

Promoting proper ergonomics can prevent worker injuries, absences, and lack of productivity associated with discomfort. In short, proper ergonomics means healthier, happy workers and a better workplace overall.

Ergonomics on a Budget

  • Posture is everything, and it’s free. Encourage desk-bound workers to sit with their feet flat on the floor and not to round their shoulders forward and slouch. Sitting up straight is ergonomically advantageous and will prevent discomfort such as tight back muscles and back pain.
  • Keep a level head. Workers who routinely tilt their head down, up, or jut it forward experience a variety of ailments. From neck pain to clenched jaws to headaches, head position is the most natural ergonomic fix with the most drastic results.
  • Microbreaks are all it takes. Taking a few minutes to stand up, stretch, walk to the bathroom or move around once every hour is all it takes to help boost circulation. That is enough to flush out inflammation that can develop from prolonged sitting and poor ergonomics, and inflammation build up is what leads to injury over time.

Ergonomic Equipment

  • The standing (or convertible) desk that allows sitting or standing is an ideal ergonomic option that combats sedentary desk work. Standing burns far more calories than sitting, encouraging a healthier worker weight.
  • The split keyboard is highly recommended ergonomic solution, especially for workers with more narrow shoulders, as this type of keyboard allows for the mouse to rest closer to the body. That tends to alleviate discomfort in the shoulder, arm, and back of the mousing hand.
  • A supportive chair is an excellent ergonomic solution for workers prone to hip or back discomfort. Chairs should be adjustable to ensure the worker can sit with their feet flat on the floor, their hips at or slightly above knee height, and their lower back supported.
  • Alternative seating is another ergonomic option suitable for some workers. For example, sitting on an exercise ball, a stool, or a wiggle seat encourages core strength.

Ergonomic evaluations are an excellent idea for any organization. As each worker is unique, so is their ergonomic need, it is the best way to assess each worker and ensure proper ergonomics are in place.