3 Steps to a Modernized Workplace Employees Love

The past year has seen many progressive office design trends. From spirited and social colour themes to eco-friendly flooring, there’s no shortage of ways to modernize your office. Here are three ideas that your employees may appreciate.

1. Implement Design Features That Promote Overall Well-Being

A workspace that supports good physical and mental conditions for your employees improves their performance. Modern office design features that promote good overall well-being include:

  • Recharging rooms such as electronic-free zones, power-nap areas, yoga and meditation rooms for physical and mental rejuvenation
  • Gaming areas that include an arcade machine, pool table, or ping-pong table to encourage fun and exercise
  • Natural elements such as natural light and plants to improve mental health
  • Height-adjustable desks to improve energy, lower risk of heart disease, and reduce back pain

2. Consider Using Collaborative Coworking Spaces

Finding affordable workspace used to be a major problem for small businesses and start-ups. Nowadays these businesses can rent shared office spaces without having to commit to long-term contracts that tend to be expensive.

Referred to as coworking, this concept is becoming increasingly popular, especially in creative industries. Many businesses prefer this solution because it allows employees to have a flexible work schedule and supports collaboration between like-minded professionals.

Create a lively, collaborative coworking space by setting up shared desks, meeting pods, and whiteboards for brainstorming. These elements ensure that your workspace supports the growth of your business and helps attract a constant stream of new clients. Be sure to strike a balance when using open office plans, though: almost a third of the respondents to Staples 2019 Canadian Workplace Survey cited their office’s floor plan as “too open” and distracting.

3. Set Up Feature Walls That Match Your Brand Identity and Journey

Use feature walls to impress your visitors, inject a captivating aesthetic theme into your interiors, and promote your brand. Examples of inexpensive options include:

  • Framed testimonials that inspire trust in prospective clients and employees visiting your offices
  • A story wall that gives an account of your brand’s journey, highlights your company’s strengths, and encourages conversation around your history
  • Vinyl wall graphics that promote your brand identity, for example, woodland graphics that match your company’s pro-environment ethos

Feature walls are one of the easiest modern office design features to implement and are an affordable way to develop your brand. If you’re in search of ways to advance your brand, consider brainstorming some ideas for your feature walls.

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4 Best Items to Make Your Workplace More Ergonomic

While office work may seem harmless, sitting at a desk all day can be uncomfortable and lead to health issues. If employee workstations aren’t set up properly, staff could experience back and neck pain, tendon problems, headaches and other health problems. Ergonomic workplaces help reduce the risk of injury or discomfort. There are many ergonomic products on the market; here are the four best options.

1. Ergonomic Keyboards

Office workers spend a lot of time using their keyboards, so ergonomic keyboards are a smart investment. Unlike traditional keyboards, ergonomic keyboards have split keysets. This lets employees keep their arms and wrists in a natural position while they type. Some ergonomic keyboards have a separate number pad, so employees can position the pad in a comfortable position. In addition, some of these specialized keyboards have built-in wrist rests for additional comfort.

2. Vertical Mice

For optimum comfort, a computer mouse should keep the user’s wrist in a neutral position. While some of your employees may be satisfied with traditional mice, others may be more comfortable with alternate designs. Vertical mice, also called column mice, keep the user’s hand and wrist straight, rather than bent. While many vertical mice are designed for right-handed use, mirrored versions are available for your left-handed employees. Ambidextrous models, which encourage employees to use both hands throughout the day, are another option to consider.

3. Adjustable Chairs

Since sitting for long periods puts strain on the lower back, it’s important to provide suitable chairs. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety recommends selecting adjustable chairs. Both the seat height and the backrest should be adjustable for employee comfort. It’s important to note that adjustable chairs aren’t one size fits all. A chair that is suitable for a short employee may not be suitable for a tall employee and vice versa. If possible, allow your employees to select their own chairs.

4. Monitor Mounts

Computer monitors that are too high or too low can cause neck discomfort for your employees. Monitor mounts are an affordable solution to this ergonomic problem. These mounts let your employees raise or lower their monitors to a position they find comfortable. With a monitor mount, it’s also easy for employees to quickly tilt their screens to reduce glare.

By investing in ergonomic office products, you can help your employees stay comfortable during the workday.

Congratulations to the Workspace Design Scholarship Winners

Planning an office layout is no longer about designing a space to accommodate cubicles and a few meetings rooms. The landscape of the workforce has changed, and with it, traditional work spaces must evolve to meet the current needs of the modern workplace. Today’s workplace design requires thoughtful planning to include collaborative spaces, multi-functional rooms, and ergonomic workstations, all while reflecting the company’s brand and culture.

Interior Design students from colleges and universities across Canada were invited to participate in the 2017 Staples Business AdvantageTM Corporate Workspace Design Scholarship. Students were given the opportunity to create a corporate space environment to showcase their learnings and provide their expertise of modern workplace design.

The contract furniture division of Staples Business Advantage Canada is proud to offer academic scholarships to three winners of this year’s Corporate Workspace Design Scholarship. 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. 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 their 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.

“I always knew that interior design was about meeting the needs of the user, but it never became more apparent than with workplace design,” said Andrew Zarkovich, scholarship recipient from Fanshawe College. “The employees are the most important part of any business/organization, so their well-being should be placed in highest regard, followed by the function of the workplace; although the two can go hand-in-hand.”

“I was captivated by the ways in which the built environment had the power to foster more efficient methods of working and learning,” noted Jenny Campbell, scholarship winner from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. “I learned how greatly a space can inspire collaboration and creativity as well as its impact on user wellbeing.”

The following students were chosen nationally and awarded a scholarship by a panel of interior designers from the furniture team at Staples Business Advantage Canada and several design firms:

  • Jenny Campbell, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
  • Andrew Zarkovich, Fanshawe College
  • Alyson Hewus, Sheridan College

Staples Business Advantage Canada congratulates each of the scholarship recipients and all the hard work they put in to their projects. This was the 7th consecutive year for the Interior Design Scholarship program.

Make A Move: How to maximize movement during your workday.

Are you sitting right now? And have you been sitting for most of the day? Chances are, if you’re an office worker, the answer is yes. And if so, you’re not alone.  Shockingly, 84% of office workers say they sit for four or more hours a day, and more than 50% of those workers say they sit for six or more hours a day, according to research from furniture manufacturer Allsteel.

There is no shortage of studies that speak to the negative and long lasting effects that sitting down all day has on your overall health, including an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, some cancers, diabetes, and musculoskeletal disorders, to name a few. But the good news is there are several easy ways to change up your sedentary workday and lessen or avoid the effects of sitting for prolonged periods of time.

The head of Allsteel’s Ergonomics Group, Dr. Lauren Gant, shares a few easy ways to infuse your workday with mobility, even when your day requires you to be at the office.

Think outside the desk. Move to alternate working areas when possible, even if it’s just a different area of your desk. Changing up your seating location every so often will help adjust your posture so you’re not stuck in the same position all day. Or when possible, take your work to a different area of the office, like an area with standing-height counters or tables, or office areas with more relaxed seating.

Meet on your feet. Leave the conference room behind and opt to meet your colleagues while you’re on the move. Try a walk outdoors, walking around the building or standing in an open area. Not an option? Try pacing or standing while on the phone to help break up a sedentary day (while respecting the office environment and your coworkers’ space, of course).

Sit back and relax. Reclining at your desk and fidgeting while you’re seated can help vary your posture throughout the day. Changing up your position in small ways can help reduce your exposure to the effects of sitting for long periods of time.

Take a stand. With the growing availability of alternative workstations like sit-stand desks, there are a number of ways to stay productive while you tackle your work without being in a seated position. Investing in an alternative workstation can lead to a lifetime of comfort and good health.

So will these small adjustments actually make a difference in your day? Take a look:

allsteel

Allsteel’s The Importance of Movement in the Workplace

Visit Allsteel’s Ergonomics page for full results from the study, and for ideas and inspiration on how you can implement some of these changes into your workspace, check out our latest Go2Book.

 

How Modern Office Spaces Are Improving Our Overall Health

“For people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking”
Martha Grogan, Cardiologist, Mayo Clinic

Traditional office environments are often a “one-size-fits-all” approach. You may know the type of space we are referring to very well: a room lined with cubicles, each containing a desk and a chair, waiting for occupants to arrive and spend the day seated in one place in order to get as much done as possible. Flash forward a few decades, and a few research studies later, and the traditional office environment is making way for a more modern space, one which allows for workspace flow that promotes movement during the day.

As many studies have unveiled, the act of sitting at a desk all day can have a significant impact on health and wellness. Moving from a stationary workstation to one that promotes movement, like active seating and sit-stand desk set-ups, are said to have a variety of positive benefits that can improve overall health, including a reduced risks of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and lower long-term morality risk (source).

As we make the shift from traditional workspaces to active workspaces, companies like Ergotron have developed products to make a healthy workday happen. Ergotron is redefining the 21st century workspace with an emphasis on health, productivity and affordability.

Ergotron WorkFit workstations bring new flexibility to traditionally static environments, increasing your options for equipment placement, improving workflow, and enhancing social interaction.

That’s good for a company’s bottom line.

Retrofit your current workspace now! The WorkFit-T comes fully assembly, so no installation is needed. Whether you are upgrading an existing space or designing for a new build, WorkFit units are easy to install and use. They offer tool-free adjustment to suit individual users, and are tested to help ensure years of trouble-free up-down movement.

“Obesity is increasing not only in numbers but in severity;
More than 1 in 4 Canadian adults are obese;
Obesity costs economy up to $7-billion a year..”
Source

Sitting less and standing more is healthy and in-demand. Not only can it help increase your bottom line, it can help maximize office real estate space and assist with talent acquisition and employee retention.

Product Spotlight:
Ergotron WorkFit-T, Sit-Stand Desktop Workstation

ergotron-workfit-t-sit-stand-desktop-workstation

See the difference sit-stand stations and other ergonomic products can make for your employees and the boost it will bring to your bottom line. Find the full assortment of products on eway.ca.

 

How to Create an Inspiring Workplace in 5 Easy Steps

The open office concept’s rise in popularity has come into question over the last few years, as many question the impact an open office design has on employee productivity. But on the flip side, a closed office layout decreases the opportunities for collaboration and spontaneous brainstorming.  So what layout option works best? Which one will inspire employees to do their best work? The 2016 Workplace Index surveyed a mix of managers and workers to find out.

The Workplace Index findings pointed to a split decision when it came down to the preference of the office floorplan layout and design. When asked what the preference would be, 34% said an open floor plan, 32% selected a closed floor plan, and 34% chose a hybrid option – an office floor plan consisting of fully enclosed office spaces or cubicles as well as open spaces.

Perhaps of equal importance to floorplan flow, those surveyed pointed to a number of features of an office that provide inspiration and add to productivity. Whether stationed in a cubicle or corner office, the following features were among the top rated in terms of what workers and managers are looking for:

  1. Natural light – 43% of survey respondents listed natural light as a feature in the office that they would like to have access to. Natural light is known to boost productivity and creativity among office workers.
  2. Private space – those who participated in the survey noted that they would like to have access to private space to get work done. In fact, 34% listed this as a preferred feature.
  3. Standing desks – the battle of sitting all day continues; 31% noted that a standing desk would be something they would like to have access to.
  4. Lounge areas – while private space allows workers to get their most pressing work done, lounge areas that promote collaboration were also requested by 30% of respondents.
  5. Flexible furniture for multiple uses – in addition to standard office furniture (cubicles, desks, chairs), respondents were looking for furniture that can adapt to their tasks.

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

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.
Global1
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.