3 Ways to Make Telecommuting Work

It likely comes as no real surprise that the telecommuting is on the rise and quickly becoming a norm in most workplaces, certainly making it a workplace trend that’s here to stay. According to a Staples Advantage study, in 2015 at least 86% of companies reported having at least some employees who telecommute, and that’s up from just 67% only five years prior. And as reported a few weeks back in the Love Your Office post, 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 alone (Business Insider).

The fact of the matter is, there are many benefits to both employees and companies who opt to include telecommuting as part of the regular business practice. Employees can save precious time from long commutes, arriving to their desks less stressed and more focused each day. And companies can seek to bring on top talent regardless of city or region. Additional benefits companies listed as part of their telecommuting policies included:

  • 36% cited lower travel and transportation costs
  • 32% said telecommuting increases employee retention
  • 17% believe telecommuting reduces overhead costs
  • 12% find telecommuting boosts productivity

Keeping these highlights from the Staples Advantage survey in mind, here are a few important notes to remember when implementing a telecommuting policy.

Give employees the right tools for the job.
Make sure your remote workers don’t miss a thing. Arm them with the right technology and access to the right programs, including teleconferencing tools, messenger applications, and mobile phones, tablets or computers. All these things allow for spontaneous communication and group communication, no matter where your team members are.

Make sure employees are in the loop.
Keeping employees engaged is hard enough when they’re in the same office—how do you keep your remote workers engaged and happy? First and foremost, make sure to keep the lines of communication open. Keeping them up to speed on company affairs including internal communications becomes even more important when they’re not in the office to hear any announcements or  project updates first hand. Including your teleworkers in company events whenever possible, and finding tangible ways to demonstrate your appreciation.

Make other departments part of your plan.
As many as 66% of companies from the survey noted that they don’t budget for their workers who spend some (or even all) of their time working from home or on the road. This can make the procurement process much more challenging. It raises the important reminder of keeping other departments such as your procurement purchasers, IT, and HR, up to speed on your work from home policies so that those departments can ensure they have the right tools and practices in place to deal with any issues that may arise.

Have you seen success with your telecommuting policies? Comment below or tweet us at @StaplesAdvCan.


5 Tips to Prevent Expensive Cleaning Maintenance

Implementing a proactive floor care maintenance program can not only help your building’s floors look clean and attractive, but can also help prevent expensive and time-consuming maintenance down the road.

Implement preventive maintenance.
Proper sidewalk cleaning is an important first step in keeping dirt and water from entering your building. Installing adequate entrance matting (typically 15’–18′ outside and inside doorways) traps up to 90% of dirt and moisture.

Follow a routine cleaning program.
Floors should be vacuumed and/or cleaned at least once a day, preventing sand and grit from destroying their finish and cutting carpet fibers at the base. Set up regular inspections to keep track of areas that need special maintenance.

Choose the right cleaning chemicals.
Choose cleaning chemicals that are free of volatile organic compounds (VOC). There are many highly effective non-VOC cleaning options available.

Choose the right tools for the job.
The lowest priced tools and equipment may not lead to the lowest cost of use. An example is microfiber cleaning cloths and dust mops. High-quality microfiber, split multiple times to create small cleaning fibers, removes more soil and germs than bargain products.

Equip your staff with proper training.
On average, the cleaning industry has a staff turnover rate of 75%. This is not only troublesome and expensive for management, but can lead to under-trained staff. Well-trained employees are more productive and tend to stay with the job longer. Your supply vendors can provide access to extensive training programs, from procedure guides and videos to hands-on product and equipment demonstrations.

Schedule a site visit.
Staples Advantage’s Facilities Specialists can provide you with the information, advice and products you need to put your floor maintenance program into action.

Call your Account Manager today for more information. Or get started today and shop a great selection of cleaning products on eway.ca.


A Healthy Facility Is Good For Employees

The newest threat in workplace health is presenteeism, the act of attending work while sick. Sneezing, coughing and hand contact lead to the spread of germs (flu viruses can live on hard surfaces for up to three days), especially on railings, elevator buttons, doorknobs and in communal areas like breakrooms and restrooms.

With these steps, you’ll be closer to avoiding missed deadlines, lost sales opportunities, and customer dissatisfaction.

Identify germ hot spots and implement appropriate cleaning solutions.
Encourage proper hand hygiene by installing wall-mounted hand sanitizer dispensers outside restrooms and in common areas. Use disinfectant wipes and sprays on common high-traffic touch points.

Stop the spread of germs at the source.
Post signage that reminds people to wash hands properly and to “cover their cough” the right way (e.g., sneezing or coughing into their elbow, which is more efficient at stopping germs than using their hands).

Provide supplies and training.
Provide hand sanitizers and tissues in common areas, sanitizing wipes on every desk, and touch-free restroom features. Give your custodial staff the right cleaning tools and encourage proper cleaning techniques.

Log off.
Establish a telecommuting program or encourage the use of an existing program

Did you know?
Nearly 90% of office workers come to work even when they know they are sick*.
*According to the fourth annual Flu Season Survey from Staples conducted August 2013

Protect your employees against the germs of the season, browse a full selection of cleaning and personal care products on eway.ca.

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
Vision Global Media VMCVLED1603_LimeLED_

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!

Make Saving Lives Happen

February is Heart Month, and we’re bringing heart protection in the workplace to centre stage. According to a recent report by the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada, heart failure affects 600,000 Canadians, and another 50,000 will be diagnosed this year.

Seconds count. When a cardiac emergency happens, time is of the essence. If someone in your organization goes into cardiac arrest, the best chance to save their life is to use CPR and an automatic external defibrillator (AED). Combined with CPR, the use of an AED may increase the likelihood of survival by 75% or more*.
*Heart and Stroke Foundation

Make sure your workplace is prepared in case of cardiac emergencies. Choose the right Cardiac Science Powerheart® AED Defibrillator for your facility.

Product Spotlight:

HAW9390E1001SP Cardiac Science Powerheart® AED G3 Plus Defibrillator, Semi-Automatic Stocking Package, English

HAW9390E1020SP Cardiac Science Powerheart® AED G3 Plus Defibrillator, Semi-Automatic Stocking Package, French




HAWG5S90AP Cardiac Science Powerheart® AED G5 Plus Defibrillator, Dual Language



Make sure your workplace is properly equipped with the right AED for your facility. Shop eway.ca or call your Staples Advantage sales representative to make sure you’re making an informed decision on the right AED.

For more information and resources on heart health, prevention and care, visit the Heart & Stroke Foundation website.

Important: Medical devices advertised may not be licensed in accordance with Canadian law at time of intended purchase. Please call for more details.


Workplace Wellness – Make 2016 Your Healthiest Year Yet

It’s a new year — make it your healthiest one yet. What you may not know is that some workplace policies and practices might be making you sick. A few small and key changes can help improve the wellness of your workforce in 2016.

We’ve rounded up some of our top blog posts on health and wellness in the workplace to help make 2016 one of your healthiest.

Learn more in these four articles on health and wellness in the workplace. Click the images below to access each article.














Is Your Office Air Harming Your Health?

Did staying healthy for 2016 make the top of your New Year’s resolution list? Like most Canadians who make resolutions, it likely did. Adding in fresh foods and more exercise is a great start, but did you know that the quality of air we breathe plays a major role in living and sustaining a healthy lifestyle?

In most cases, good indoor air quality (IAQ) goes unnoticed. It’s only when air quality is bad that people start talking about it. Many symptoms commonly associated with a cold or the flu can actually be attributed to poor IAQ.

Here are seven tips for maintaining your facility’s indoor air quality.

From changing air filters to keeping your HVAC system up to date, maintaining the building is the first line of defense against poor IAQ.

Keep the building clean.
A proper cleaning routine can help rid the building of harmful bacteria and dust particles that build up over time.

Choose the right chemicals.
Choosing cleaning chemicals that are free of volatile organic compounds (VOC). There are many highly effective non-VOC cleaning options available.

Ensure proper airflow and ventilation.
Consult with a space-planning expert to achieve optimal airflow.

Carefully arrange furniture and equipment.
When placing office furniture and equipment, keep in mind your air circulation and temperature control systems, as well as the pollutant removal functions of your HVAC systems.

Watch emission sources.
Position significant emission sources, such as large copy machines, away from occupied spaces like cubicles and offices. Also, keep them away from air intakes.

Unblock air vents.
Teach building occupants the importance of not blocking air ventilation panels with furniture, equipment or personal items.

Schedule a site visit with a Staples Advantage Facilities Specialist to provide you with the information, advice and products you need to put your indoor air quality program into action. Visit staplesadvantage.ca for more information.


6 ways to be more organized at work in 2016

Looking for a fresh and organized start to 2016? We’ve compiled some of our top tips to help you get a handle on your organization habits so that you can start the year off on the right foot.

Feeling organized mentally often comes down to the organization of the physical space around you. And the start of a new year is the perfect time to de-clutter; from your desk to your computer,  take this time to purge old files and get a handle on your organization.

Inbox Organization
Creating folders and subfolders is one of the easiest ways to organize your inbox. Sorting emails by category or project, or by sender’s name is an easy way to start a filing system that will work best for you.Do the same with your sent items so that you keep a consistent filing system.
Make time at the end of each day to sort through your inbox and file emails in order to stay on top of your new organization system.

Computer Document Organization
Similar to your inbox, creating new folders on your computer is the best and easiest way to organize your digital space. Organize files with a system that works for your needs. Now is also a good time to decide what to keep and what to delete.

Making Space: External Storage
Purchase an external storage system such as a hard drive or usb key to store any large files. This will help keep your computer clear of large or outdated files, which in turn helps with the unit’s day-to-day speed and performance.

Desk Files & Organization
Any items you access on a daily basis (phone lists, department calendars), find a place to post them neatly on your cubicle or office walls, or file them into one binder so your most frequently accessed information is in one place. Next, create folders for ongoing projects or urgent assignments and organize these according to priority in an inbox tray or a desktop filing system. All other items should be sorted and organized more permanently in a drawer or filing cabinet, properly labeled for easy location.

Clear Your Desk
Working with a clean desk that’s clear of too much clutter helps focus on the most important tasks. Start by removing everything from your desk and only putting back the essential items: laptop/computer, phone, notepad, a few framed photos, and a desktop organizer to neatly keep pens, highlighters, scissors and any other office products that you access on an ongoing basis. Take all the non-essential items (additional notepads, paperclips, stapler, extra pens, etc.) and find a place for them in a drawer or small box or basket.

Start a To-Do List
If you always have a mental list of things to do, or lists and reminders pined all over your office or popping up on your phone, take this opportunity to create a new habit of keeping track of things in one place. Whether it’s a new agenda or calendar, writing all your action items down in one central place will help you manage your time and your tasks.


What are some of your best tricks to staying organized at the office? Comment below to let us know, or Tweet @StaplesAdvCan us with your top tips!

Make 2016 your most organized year yet!

To assist in the reorganization of your office or desk, check out some of these products and tools from Staples Advantage Canada:


4 Tech Gadgets For A More Productive Business in 2016

The Tech Gift Guide is out, and this year’s tech trends are sure to make navigating through your daily work routine a little bit easier. From the desk to the boardroom and every stop in between, these tech gadgets make being productive on the go a breeze!

Surface Pro 3

surfaceproThe Surface Pro 3 is the tablet that can replace your laptop. The portable tablet provides the perfect balance between performance and value. With the ability to run desktop software, a full-size USB 3.0 port, and an integrated Kickstand, Surface 3 is the perfect productivity device for school, home, and on the go. With a 12” display, Surface Pro 3 has the power of a laptop in a lightweight, versatile form. Plus, work anywhere with the multi-position Kickstand. The integrated Kickstand now features multiple positions so you can work comfortably whether you’re on the plane, at your desk, or in front of the television.

3M™ Dual-Swivel Monitor Arm

MonitorThinking of a sit-stand workstation for 2016? Known to improve productivity, a standing workstation could be the perfect addition to your workplace. This adjustable dual-swivel monitor arm allows for several height options for placing your monitor in the best ergonomic position, while offering more desk space. This highly adjustable monitor arm moves up, down, forward and back. The height adjusts up and down through an 8″ range, swivels 180° and tilts forward and back +15°/-90° for optimal ergonomic positioning. Plus the monitor can rotate portrait or landscape.

CS540 Wireless Office Headset System

HeadsetPlantronics legendary CS family is setting a new wireless standard for desk phone communication with the CS500™ Series. The streamlined design and improved performance adds reliability for hands-free productivity and has made the CS family a best-seller for nearly a decade. With up to a 300′ range, voice dedicated 1.9 GHz DECT Techology, and up to six hours of talk time. It’s convertible with three wearing styles and noise-canceling microphone on extended boom makes for clear conversations.

WeMo Switch

wemoThe Belkin Wi-Fi enabled WeMo Switch lets you turn electronic devices on or off from anywhere. The WeMo Switch uses your existing home Wi-Fi network to provide wireless control of TVs, lamps, stereos, heaters, fans and more. Simply download the free WeMo App, plug the switch into an outlet in your home, and plug any device into the switch. You’ll be able to turn that device on or off using your smartphone or tablet. You can set schedules for your devices and control them remotely using a mobile internet connection. You can also add additional switches to your home to control more devices. Whether you want to turn on a light from your kitchen, front yard, or office, WeMo Switch has you covered.

Shop for these great tech gifts and many others in the 2015 Tech Gift Guide.

Make Office Gift Giving Fun – Not Awkward

Gift gifting at the office around the holidays can sometimes be a bit awkward. Does a boss buy for the employee? Or does an employee buy for the boss? Should you buy for all your coworkers? And how much should you spend? You want to give a good gift, but don’t want to go over your own personal budget..
Bottom line: sometimes there’s no right or wrong answer. It comes down to each company, and sometimes each department, and the policies or traditions already established.

If you’re unsure of what to give this year, or you want to start a new gift giving trend to ensure everyone can get involved, here are a few ways to go about it that won’t make the season too uncomfortable for anyone.

Make it a Group Activity.
Eliminate the awkwardness of people not knowing who to buy for and make gift giving at your workplace a group activity. Set an affordable spending limit and rather than drawing names, set up a gift swap/steal game.

Make it Delicious.
Everyone loves food, especially gift baskets around the holiday season as they are easy to share with customers or clients that pop by the office, and can come in handy for entertaining guests at home. If you want to get personal, select a themed gift basket based on something the person enjoys – like chocolate, coffee or candy. A nice bottle wine or festive bubbles can also be a useful gift, however alcohol can sometimes be an inappropriate office present – just make sure you know your company policies as well as the person you’re gifting it to.

Make it Colourful.
Plants and flowers make great gifts as they can really brighten up an office or someone’s desk. Poinsettias are a popular choice over the holidays; in fact they are the most popular selling flowering potted plant. Other bouquets and flower arrangements can be made to look extra festive by adding in winter greenery and pops of red and white flowers. Plants that will last throughout the year also make excellent workplace gifts as plant life in an office is known to reduce stress while enhancing productivity – the gift that keeps on giving!

Make it a Donation.
Rather than exchanging gifts as a team or department, collect items for a local charity – canned foods, new unwrapped toys, useful household items and new clothing are all in great need over the holidays. Choose a charity to work with and ask them for a list of their most needed items so your team can work through the list to cover off some of the essentials. Or collect anonymous financial contributions and donate it to your company’s charity of choice.

Looking to make gift giving easy this season? Shop a selection of gift baskets, poinsettias, bouquets and floral arrangements through your eway account and have them delivered right to your office.