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:

5 Up-and-Coming Design Students Win Interior Design Scholarship from Staples Business Advantage

What does it take to design a workspace that is functional for a business but also inspiring for employees? College students across Canada got the opportunity to showcase their insights and understandings of workplace design as they applied their skills to create a corporate space layout and design for the 2016 Business Interiors Scholarship, now known as the Staples Business AdvantageTM Interior Design Scholarship Program.

The contract furniture division of Staples Business Advantage Canada is proud to offer academic scholarships to five winners of this year’s Corporate Workspace Design Project. 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. This was the 6th consecutive year for the Interior Design Scholarship Program. 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 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.

Staples Business Advantage Canada partnered with several interior design schools across Canada and professors selected their top students to participate in the workplace design challenge which saw nearly 30 submissions.

Throughout the design process, scholarship recipient Alessia Maria Agozzino from Sheridan College learned the importance of considering and incorporating employee wellness into the design process. “My goal was to create a work place that workers enjoyed going to as well as a space that enhanced the importance of wellness and sustainability,” Agozzino said.  “As Canadians we are indoors most of our day and we spend most of our time at work. Therefore, it is important to create a design that will better enhance the performance of workers by creating that outdoor feel…”

The following students were chosen nationally and awarded a scholarship by a panel of interior designers from the furniture team at Business Interiors by Staplessm, now known as Staples Business Advantage Canada and several designer firms:

Maria Cristina Riano, Fanshawe College
Alessia Maria Agozzino, Sheridan College
Sara Topp, Mount Royal University
Alexandra Verkuil-Wood, British Columbia Institute of Technology
Marie-Helene Sarrazin, College de L’Outaouais

Staples Business Advantage Canada congratulates each of the scholarship recipients and all the hard work they put in to their projects.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

Canadian Workers Continue to Face Office Stress and Burnout

Do you leave the office at the end of the day feeling satisfied and productive? Or stressed and burnt out? If you’re like most Canadians, you’re feeling a little from both sides of the coin. According to our second annual Workplace Index survey, Canadian workers are reporting that the office is the most productive place to get work done, but is also contributing to stress and burnout.

Almost 70% of Canadian office workers and managers report working more than 40 hours a week, and the majority consider the office the most productive place to get work done. In an effort to improve stress and overall morale, employers need to take action to ensure the workplace remains an inspiring and motivating environment.

Forty-three per cent of Canadians say they’re working longer hours simply to catch up on work they couldn’t tackle during an eight-hour day, with 22% working 11 hours or more per day. That workload is taking a toll.


  • 68% of Canadians say their workplace has contributed to stress
  • More than one-quarter of Canadians (27%) cite the volume of their work as the number one stressor in their workplace
  • One in five Canadian respondents (19%) has taken a workplace stress-related leave of absence

“The Staples Business Advantage Workplace Index provides an important look at the state of the workplace and what Canadians want and need from their employers,” said Michael Zahra, President, Staples Business Advantage Canada. “Based on the results, it is evident that Canadian employees are working long hours just to keep up with their volume of work. It is the responsibility of employers to therefore provide an inclusive, welcoming environment that boosts employee productivity, increases happiness and positively impacts the bottom line.”

The Staples Business Advantage Workplace Index is a comprehensive study involving office workers and business decision makers in Canada to help companies meet their recruitment, retention and engagement goals.

Over the next few months, we’ll explore the Workplace Index survey and share key findings and insights through a series of posts. To get full access now, you can download the complete report here.





Beyond the Furniture Lifecyle

The furniture division of Staples Business Advantage is proud to partner with csr eco solutions to manage the disposal and redistribution of old and broken office furniture that is no longer in use.

More than 78% of the products sold each year are to replace existing office furniture, and more than 67% of those items will end up in landfills with 8 months of the new product delivery. Working with recovery from csr eco solutions, the furniture division of Staples Business Advantage is able to work on meaningful and sustainable disposal of furniture and office assets that are no longer needed.  Any items beyond their useful life are recycled to best environmental practice.

Discover more about our environmental practices in our annual Corporate Social Responsibility report.


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.

Learn to Love Your Office!

Over the last few years there has been a huge increase in telecommuting, freelance and contract workers, and company policies changing to allow people to work their entire workweek from home. In fact, the number of people searching terms online that include “work from home”, “remote”, “part-time” and “telecommute” has increased 42.1% in just the last two years, according to this Business Insider report. But to some, working from home may seem like a dream, as the reality is most offices still require employees to be present and in the office every day.

If you’re one of the millions of people that “lives” at the office from 9-5, Monday to Friday, then perhaps the challenge now is to learn to love your office. Adding a few personal touches can make your cubicle feel more inspirational and motivating. So if the beige office or empty cubicle walls are leaving you with little desire to spend even an hour in your office, it might be time to spruce up your space!

We’re not talking a major office overhaul, a few small changes can brighten up your space. Use these 6 tips to transition your cubicle or office to an inviting and inspirational space that you can get excited about:

Add some colour!

Office products come in so many colours to help spark creativity. Stock your desk with bursts of colour to help brighten up your day. From Post-Its to Sharpies, pens and tape, the every day workspace tool comes in so many fun and exciting colours.


Add your personal flare
There are lots of ways to add some DIY projects to your cubicle to make it feel a little more like your personal space. Adding family photos, pictures of your travels, or a fun calendar are a good start. Other fun DIY touches like wallpapered cubicle walls, a funky chair and other easy design elements can transform the space. Check out our Pinterest Board: Love Your Office for some inspiring ideas.

Change up your lighting
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If the glare of fluorescent lights above your cubicle aren’t inspiring you to your best work, try adding a desktop lamp or task light to brighten up your space. Changing the lighting can help improve your concentration and workflow.

Add some fresh air

FBI27218Can’t open a window? Add some plant life to your desk. Even a small plant will help purify the air and boost productivity. If you have very limited natural light and a plant may not survive, try adding faux-flowers or plants to your office and pair it with a humidifier or air purifier to help rejuvenate the stale office air.

Tidy Up
Make the most of the space you have. The pure act of cleaning the area around you will help make the space feel clean and new. Stop procrastinating and file away the stacks of paper sitting on your desk. The new space could be used for your new plant or photos!

Change up your scenery
SAF4750CI SAF4755GSCollaborative spaces encourage employees to utilize breakout rooms to brainstorm new ideas in a fresh and open atmosphere away from the typical four walls of a cubical desk. Add moveable furniture to the office to allow employees to pull up a chair or stool. This helps promote impromptu meetings and thought sharing sessions while working with the current workstations or seating areas already established in your office.

Find lots more inspiration for your workspace in our February Flyer.

Do you have a fun or personalized workspace? We’d love to see it. Tweet us a picture @StaplesAdvCan!

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

3 Health Reasons Why You Need A New Chair

The average office employee spends a large part of the day sitting at a desk, and while taking frequent breaks helps to minimize the impact of staying seated all day, it is equally important to have an ergonomic and correctly adjusted office chair for all the hours spent sitting down.

For those sitting in uncomfortable or ill-fitted office chairs, the short and long term effects of this can take a heavy toll and lead to Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). But there’s good news for businesses whose work environments lack sound ergonomic practices: improvements are often easy, relatively inexpensive, and will definitely pay off in the long run.

Three of the main benefits of having a properly fitted ergonomic chair:

  1. Increased health & comfort:
    Adjustable features on ergonomic chairs help to customize a chair to fit the user. Positioning the seat and arm rests at the right height and distance from the desk will greatly minimize the potential of developing MSDs.
  2. Increased productivity:
    An ergonomic chair enables the user to adjust their seating for activities at their desk, allowing for overall better accessibility around the workstation including better reach and less exertion. This will help improve overall satisfaction and minimize frustration and fatigue as a result of having improper tools to perform a job function.
  3. Reduced risk of injury:
    A properly fitted ergonomic chair can improve overall posture and lower the risks of MSDs. This can also help to minimize the costs to employers for lost employee time due to work related injuries.

Are you ready to shop for a new chair? Browse a huge selection of ergonomic chairs by Global on
Or enter the Global and Staples Advantage Chair Giveaway contest. Follow Staples Advantage on Facebook or Twitter and upload or tweet a photo of your old, broken or beat-up office chair to enter.

Click on image below for details and to view full size:


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.