The State of Today’s Workplace

As Staples Business Advantage reported last month, there are a number of changes taking place in workplaces across the globe that are affecting the way we do business: from cyber security concerns, to office culture, increases in work load to workplace flexibility. The overall conclusion is that businesses need to recognize these shifts and make the necessary changes in order to meet the needs of today’s workforce.

One of the biggest takeaways to consider is the significance in office space design and the importance of planning office space to fit a company’s needs, goals and culture:

“As businesses seek to create the optimal workplaces for their talent, there are a lot of factors at play. Jenya Adler, Director of Workplace Strategy and Michelle Boolton, Director of Interior Design for Staples Business Advantage, shared great insights on why, even at a time when office real estate is shrinking, space matters. And as companies seek to make the most of their space, the experts are quick to caution that trends aren’t everything—it’s important that a business plan its space and design carefully to fit its unique needs, goals and culture. What’s hot and trendy today might be passé tomorrow, but your business strategy and workplace culture won’t be.”

In short: whether you’re contemplating an open office concept or adding collaboration breakout rooms, creating a quiet zone or introducing outdoor work space, each business must always keep their goals and culture at the centre of the design strategy in order to properly meet the needs of the specific workplace.

Discover more about Staples Business Advantage’s report on the State of the Workplace here.

4 Tips for Standing Desk Success

So you’ve heard all about standing desks and how they can be a great benefit to your health. You would like to make the transition, but what if it feels weird? All your coworkers are sitting and you’re standing. Before you make the investment and jump in with two feet, we have four tips to make your transition to a standing desk a true success.

Do your homework.
Moving to a standing workstation may require a bit more planning than if you were ordering another standard height desk. You will want to think about getting some of the necessary accessories that will help support your new standing situation, such as a height adjustable monitor, a supportive stool, and maybe a padded mat to stand on. You’ll also want to think about your choice of footwear.

Value flexibility.
This goes for both the products you’re considering as well as your habits. Standing desks and other design pieces that help you get up and move often have the ability to function as a “traditional” desk and transition from one mode to the other. There are even apps to help. Phone apps like “Stand Up” and others can help remind you to take a break from sitting and to switch to the standing function of your desk. And flexibility goes beyond your desk— not all tasks and situations work best when standing. Find the right balance and you’ll get the most use out of your standing desk.

Don’t be afraid to be a trendsetter.
This one’s a tough one, and a New York Times article says “you will literally stand out. Embrace it.” Standing desks, treadmill desks, and other pieces are becoming more and more common in the workplace, but it might be a while before they’re the majority. In the meantime, consider how your originality might lend itself to other healthy office trends—start a walking group, encourage your team to take meetings on the move, and make your standing desk just one part of an overall approach to a healthier workplace.

Consider the culture.
Consider the culture of your office and determine how a standing desk fits within that culture, and where you can take advantage of company culture to promote workplace wellness, flexible workspaces, and creating ways to avoid the brain lag that can come from being cemented in one place for too long.

Are you looking for ideas on how to break out of the mold of the traditional office? Browse a selection of height-adjustable desks and accessories on eway.ca.

Office Design for Employee Wellness

With cold and flu season on the way, companies are looking to stock up on the right supplies to keep on hand to help improve overall health and wellness at the office. But in addition to adding the right cleaning supplies, antibacterial soaps, Kleenex and wipes to ensure hands and surface areas are clean, offices can also look to workplace design to help improve employee wellness.

According to a study by the World Green Building Council, an office workplace that enhances productivity can leverage a huge return on the investment. The Wellness, Wellbeing and Productivity in the Office study goes on to say that “a building must not only avoid threats to wellness but also promote productive wellbeing. Healthy employees are more productive than unhealthy ones.”

Here are four top areas to keep in mind when you’re looking to make your office space work for your employee wellness.

Natural space – Utilize the natural light and green space you have, and create work areas that make the most out of your windows. Workers with access to natural light tend to get a better night’s sleep and a more productive day of work (source). In addition, natural touches like plants and even using furniture with more natural materials can improve indoor air quality.

Room to rest – A well designed breakroom not only allows you to reset your mind and return to your desk with a more productive mindset, the right breakroom layout can also encourage collaboration and give workers an alternative space to get work done..

Flexible furniture – With 84% of office workers sitting for four or more hours a day, office work can take a serious toll in the form of headaches, back problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, and more. Adaptive, multipurpose furniture is helping offices maximize space while also offering employees options. This can even extend to alternative desk setups like sit/stand workstations and treadmill desks.

Quiet time – While breaks and collaboration can encourage productivity and foster a feeling of community that is key to workplace wellness, quiet time is also important. As you seek to design your office with wellness in mind, provide quiet areas that allow workers to relax, concentrate and focus on their big ideas.

Want more great design and furniture ideas for your office? Check out Business Interiors by Staples to start building your dream office.

Flexible and collaborative spaces are transforming classroom learning

The 21st century classroom needs to look anything but plain while still remaining just plain smart. Because learning is a social phenomenon, students and educators alike work best in interactive learning spaces where a variety of learning styles are welcomed with open arms and open minds.

Students today don’t lack access to technology, so what they really need are spaces that invite collaboration, are flexible to meet their needs, and enable teachers to engage and inspire.

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  1. Spontaneous learning: support students’ natural curiosity with collaborative and private spaces that spark conversation.
  2. Reconfigure classrooms: as project-based learning becomes more widely used, so do solutions for changing the landscape of a classroom.
  3. Technology as a tool: gone are the days when monitors were used only for presentations and videos.

Interested in more institutional design layouts and how students are influenced by their surroundings? Get more information about these and other design trends from Business Interiors by Staples.

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The Work Space Shift: Working Outdoors

Over the last few years companies have opened their floor plans to include a variety of alternative working environments: collaborative work spaces, sit/stand workstations, shared desks for contract or rotary employees, telecommuting and working from home. The rising need for these types of spaces has come about as companies recognize and embrace the idea that employees function best in a variety of different spaces. Some of us work best in a private and quiet cubicle, while others flourish in an open, thought-sharing atmosphere.

Our recent Staples Advantage Canada workplace index survey revealed that workspace preferences differ for each generation. A millennial worker is more likely to have a preference for working in an open plan environment (lounge areas, outdoor spaces, cafes, etc.), whereas boomers prefer a more traditional arrangement.

This shift in generation preferences has called on businesses to be open minded and creative in the design and layout of their space. Connections and access to plants and fresh air has often been praised as a workplace productivity and creativity booster, so it’s no surprise that some offices are choosing to move beyond the office walls and giving employees access to outdoor working areas.

Why not think about hosting your next meeting in the great outdoors – your employees’ best ideas may be a result of a little fresh air and change of scenery.

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Browse the full selection of outdoor and indoor office furniture on eway.ca.

Choosing the perfect office chair fabric

Colour and style, comfort and durability – choosing the perfect fabric for your office chair is all about getting the right balance.

That’s what makes these four fabrics so popular for office chairs. They not only look good and feel comfortable but, most importantly, they are able to withstand the wear and tear of everyday use.

Four popular office chair fabrics:

  1. Wool: This is among the most popular fabrics for office chairs, thanks to the endless array of colours, styles and textures to choose from. Wool has a high abrasion resistance and is naturally breathable and flame-retardant. It also tends to be more budget friendly than leather chairs. On the downside, it is easier to stain and requires regular cleaning to keep it looking its best.
  2. Mesh: Mesh chairs provide the highest level of breathability and airflow to keep the body cool. Mesh also adapts to the body for a more personalized fit, is durable and easy to clean with a damp cloth. These features combined with its affordable price tag make mesh an excellent choice for general office workspaces and meeting rooms.
  3. Leather: Inviting, durable and timeless, leather chairs speak of quality and class. A good quality leather covering will last a lifetime, and is the epitome of style for executive offices, conference rooms and reception areas.
  4. Synthetic (PU) Leather: This fabric ticks all the boxes when it comes to style, durability and easy care, however can be less breathable than other fabrics. On the upside, PU gives the desired leather look without the price tag.The bottom line is that the fabric you choose needs to fit the chair’s purpose. While leather chairs provide prestige for executive offices and conference rooms, mesh and fabric chairs will be more suitable for all day, every day use.

Consider how your chosen fabric, texture and colour combination will work with your interior, existing or new. You’ll want your choice in chair to maintain a flow and pull the look together.

The bottom line is that the fabric you choose needs to fit the chair’s purpose. While leather chairs provide prestige for executive offices and conference rooms, mesh and fabric chairs will be more suitable for all day, every day use.

Explore the near endless selection of chair solutions we offer at Staples Advantage.

Office Ergonomics: The Benefits of a Sit/Stand Workstation

As previously unveiled, 84% of office workers report that they sit at a desk for four or more hours a day, putting so many at risk of long term injuries due to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). In an effort to combat the increased lost employee time due to MSDs, many companies have been investing in proper ergonomic tools to help diminish strains and pains caused by sitting for prolonged periods of time.

Sit/stand workstations are a rising workplace trend that offers an ergonomic solution companies are looking for. The hybrid desks allow easy flow of movement between sitting down and standing up, giving employees the option to make a more concerted effort to get away from sitting down all day.

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And another added bonus? The sit/stand workstations are said to have a variety of positive benefits that improve overall health, including a reduced risks of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and lower long-term morality risk (source).

Learn more about outfitting your office with sit/stand desks from Business Interiors by Staples.