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.

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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.

Marketing Your Small Business

Marketing your small business can seem overwhelming when you have a million things to do. When time and resources are limited, you might feel like you have few options. But marketing is a critical part of your business’ success. Thanks to technology, the playing field is becoming more level. Big companies with large budgets aren’t the only ones that can market themselves successfully. By combining low-tech and high-solutions, your small business can successfully advertise, too. Follow these tips to promote your small business more efficiently.

  • Use personalized marketing. Are you customers single mothers and sports fans? Are they middle-aged women and college students? It is essential to know your clients. You can segment customers by demographic breakdown, location, and customer behaviors and attitudes. If you don’t have enough data to make clear decisions, consider sending out short surveys to get more information from your customers. Alternatively, you can contact organizations that keep relevant demographic statistics.
  • Incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) tools into your marketing activities. Due to the complexity of AI, many small businesses shy away from it. However, AI tools can benefit companies large and small. New technologies allow you to collect vast amounts of data, including gender, age, location, and even how customers interact with your website. AI tools, such as Einstein and Crayon, allow you to make sense of these data. You will see patterns more clearly and be able to develop a marketing strategy to target specific segments of your customer base.
  • Share your knowledge with the community. Many community organizations and Meetup groups welcome speakers. Share your expertise that will bring value to the audience. Position yourself as an authority within your community. If people attach a name and a face to your marketing message, they are more likely to respond positively.
  • Offer free trials or samples. People often feel a need to reciprocate after they have received something. Allowing potential customers to test drive your product makes them more receptive to your marketing message and sales pitch. Free trials also show customers that you are confident in your product. Uncertainty and resistance to change are always a barrier to sales, but very few people will turn down something that is free. Once potential customers get a personal introduction to your product, psychological barriers soften, and sales are easier to make.
  • Use video to market your business. If you have no experience, video marketing might seem intimidating. But some experts predict that video viewing will be responsible for 80% percent of web traffic by 2020. Cheap, high-quality camcorders and free video hosting platforms make video marketing accessible to small businesses like never before. Video marketing allows you to connect in a personal, emotional way that is more difficult to do in writing. Begin to get comfortable with video as a marketing tool. Show off what makes your business great.

 

Marketing a small business with limited time and money is a real challenge. Despite the difficulty, though, small businesses can launch successful marketing campaigns. Remember to combine new technology with old-fashioned hard work. Follow these six tips and watch your business grow.

Budget for a Better Life

Although they often seem daunting, budgets are essential for managing your money and achieving the financial health and stability you yearn for in life. Budgets are a matter of simple math, but can seem overwhelming when it comes to managing the cash you have and planning for the future. In order achieve a better life and have money for bills, expenses, entertainment, and savings, you need to know how much money you have coming in each month and where it is all going. You do not need to be an accounting whiz to successfully manage your finances, as there are several easy ways to create a budget that will help you to live a better life.

Smartphone Apps: Smartphone budgeting apps offer quick and easy solutions to managing your money. These smartphone apps are free and make it possible for you to budget your money and pay bills from anywhere. With these budgeting apps, you can link to your bill payment accounts and bank accounts and set up automatic payments, payment reminders, and notifications. You can also set up spreadsheets within the apps that will categorize your spending automatically when you pay with a debit or credit card, so you do not need to worry about carrying around receipts.

Cash Only System: If technology is not your thing, try the good old fashioned cash only system method of budgeting. You can set up the cash only system in several ways, and it works because you only use the cash that you have to pay for expenses and bills. The most popular version of the cash only system is to set up envelopes that hold cash for all of your bills and daily needs. When you get paid, pull out cash and sort it into the various envelopes based on the amount of money you need for each bill and expense you incur each month. The amount of money you accumulate in each envelope translates into the amount of money you have to spend on each expense for the month. If there is money left over at the end of the month, you can add this extra cash to your savings account or save it for a vacation.

Decreasing Budget Spreadsheet: As the name implies, this is a budgeting system in which your expenses decrease over time so that you have more spending and savings money available at the end of each month. Create a separate spreadsheet for reoccurring bills, non-reoccurring bills, income, and daily expenses. Once you have these spreadsheets created, identify bills you can pay off or get rid of, and work on eliminating these debts immediately. You can then look at the bills that reoccur every month and figure out ways to save money on each. The second part of this budgeting system consists of keeping a detailed log of everything you spend money on and find ways to decrease the amount you spend on each category per month. Popular opportunities for money savings can be found in line items like restaurants, entertainment, and groceries.

Chip Away Budgeting: If you are in a position where there is not enough money to cover all of your debts each month, consider chipping away at them over time. With this method, you pay all of your necessary bills each month to keep your life going like your mortgage or rent, utility bills, loans, and insurance, and then pick out another debt that you want to pay off over time. This can be a collections bill, medical bill, or other non-reoccuring debt. To start off with, try to find a bill that collects interest and get that one out of the way first. Whether you can only afford to pay $3.00 on it each week or $20 per month, create a schedule and pay the bill religiously. Once you have successfully cleared the debt, pick out another bill and start the process all over again.

Separation of Accounts: Another method of budgeting consists of creating different accounts for different needs in your life. Many banks and credit unions offer free checking accounts and allow you to open up several different accounts as long as you keep a minimum balance at all times. You can set up a checking account that is specifically used for bills and another for expenditures. Open up a savings account at the same time and do not link a debit card to this account. Once you have your accounts set up, set up automatic bill payments with your checking account and let your bills take care of themselves each month. If you receive direct deposit through your employer, see if they will split your check for deposits among the different accounts you have.

Achieving financial well-being is not a feat that happens overnight, but it is possible when you learn to make a budget and stick to it. Creating a budget that works for you requires a little thought and numbers crunching, and a lot of dedication to see it through to the end. Once you have created a budget strategy, work through it diligently and you will be well on your way to being debt free and living a better life.

Creating a Home Office

Are you suddenly getting the opportunity to work from home but you don’t have a space that you can use? While it might be challenging to find a spot, particularly if you prefer not to have to renovate. Here are a few tips that you can use to help you fashion a home office out of an existing space.

  1. Finding a Good Location

The most obvious places in a home to consider include spare bedrooms, basements, and garages. Of course, a barely used den would also provide a useable location for an office. The simplest choice in terms of the amount of work you would need to do is to select the bedroom or den since they are already wired, insulated, and finished. Both the garage and the basement would probably need additional finishing in terms of insulation, walls, flooring, and electrical wiring.

  1. Create a Diagram

A diagram is useful in determining what you need to do to make the space useable as a home office. You can use it to calculate where electrical outlets are needed or to figure out quantities for construction materials. Your diagram should include any structural changes that are needed including built-ins, shelving, closets, and cabinetry.

  1. Plan the Space

The diagram should list the dimensions of the area so that you can determine which pieces of furniture will fit in the room. Having a visual display of the intended result should help to prevent any forgotten details.

  1. Hire a Contractor

A licensed contractor can assist you in identifying necessary aspects of the project, such as insulation, waterproofing, electrical work, flooring, and permits. Make sure that you hire someone who is licensed for this type of work to protect your financial interests.

Designing a home office can provide you with the space you need to get some peace and quiet while working from home.

Achieving Productive Work Meetings

Meetings are an important part of a company culture, they showcase individual strengths and are a great opportunity for brainstorming sessions from all perspectives. Here are a few tips to improve the quality of the meeting and others time.

Cut the jargon

Businesses deal with complicated subjects and use jargon to simplify communication, but this can sometimes confuse your audience. New employees might not understand critical words or concepts, so providing a brief and simple background at the beginning of the meeting could be helpful.

If an employee uses too much jargon, then calmly explain why this can difficult, and work with them to adjust their vocabulary. Remember, it’s hard to change your word choice, especially if you’ve used the same vocabulary for years or decades – so be patient.

Hold fewer meetings

Anyone who has work meetings knows how easily they can waste time. All it takes is one talkative, overeager employee to sabotage a productive brainstorming session.

Many businesses don’t consider how much money they spend on each meeting. Stationary, hardware, and refreshments aren’t even their most significant investments, employees time.

Instead, understand why you are holding the meeting, and make sure to meet all of your goals by the end. If you are unsure, stop holding meetings until you can gather more data.

The key is to streamline meetings. Employees need to talk to each other to stay productive, and you can’t avoid all group discussions, they are healthy for the culture. You can however make sure every minute benefits your company and staff members.