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.

How Happier Workplaces Create Better Employees

Standard, plain and dull. Is that how you would describe your office? If you’re nodding your head, you aren’t alone. Standard, plain and dull topped the list of how employees described their office in the Staples Business Advantage 2016 Workplace Index survey. Fun, engaging and motivating were among the bottom responses. This begs the question: are our current office structures meeting the wants and needs of employees?

While the office isn’t necessarily a place to be having the time of your life (it’s still a place of business, after all), a little laughter and office comradery can help increase motivation, employee engagement, and help to increase employee retention. We spend the majority of our waking hours in the office, so it should be a space we strive to make enjoyable so that employees come to work each day with a positive and energized attitude.

Of course there is a fine line between having fun and focusing on the bottom line, but finding the balance might be easier than you think.  Throwing a company carnival might not be in the budget, but simple additions to the workday to boost employee morale don’t have to be big, costly gestures.

Fast Company gives us a list of easy ways to add a little bit of fun to the office, like bringing a pet to work, decorating your cubicle (see our Pinterest board for inspiration), or starting a group exercise club.

There are of course certain industries or workplace scenarios where bringing workers together for a group activity isn’t a feasible or easy task. Celebrating with your employees is great, but simply celebrating your employees through recognition and praise can lead to the same end results: increased motivation and productivity.  Employee engagement levels are almost three times higher when they receive recognition. So if you don’t have one already, now might be a good time to look into an employee recognition program.

Aside from an engaging, motivating and fun workplace, what else are employees looking for from the workplace in 2016? Find out from the 2016 Workplace Index report. Download the full report here.

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.

Consider:

  • 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.

 

 

 

 

3 Simple Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

Feeling overloaded and stressed when you look at the amount of work on your plate? You’re not alone. The 2015 Workplace Index report revealed that almost half of employees in today’s workforce are feeling burned out. So how do we tackle the mountain of work without feeling overwhelmed? Introducing a few simple time management tips to your team can help minimize stress and improve performance and productivity during office hours.

Where to begin? We’ve put together 3 simple time management tips to get you started:

Tip #1
Host fewer or shorter meetings so employees are left ample time at their desks to get tasks done during business hours. Run a more effective meeting: provide a detailed agenda to ensure you cover the most important key points; set a timer so that your meeting doesn’t run long; allow time for questions; and give a summary with actionable to-do items when the meeting concludes.

Tip #2
Keep a daily planner to track items and prioritize your to-do list, and to keep up to date on meetings and events. Keeping an ongoing list helps to stay organized with your workload and work week activities so you can make the most of your time at the office. Schedule tasks, set deadlines, and avoid procrastination.

Tip #3
Learn to delegate tasks and share the workload. It can be easy and tempting to take on more than you can fit into your schedule. Learn to lean on others for assistance.
Utilizing the Group Order service through your eway.ca account is a great way to share workload. Group ordering is the easiest way to place the whole office’s order and get everyone what they need. The service enables an existing user to invite co-workers to shop online and request products, allowing the administrator to build a single shopping cart with a single checkout process.

What are your best time management strategies that allow you to limit stress and stay focused?

Click here to browse the full selection of time management calendars and planners available through Staples Advantage.

5 Factors that Contribute to Employee Productivity

The importance of the office environment cannot be underestimated – even the basics such as furnishings and keeping the office at the right temperature contribute to employee productivity. So it’s no surprise that both employees and employers identified these as factors that can either help or hinder productivity in the workplace.

832 employers and 1,771 staff participated in the 2015 Workplace Index survey, and findings point to the following 5 key factors that impact productivity:

  1. Facilitating teamwork
  2. Adequate breaks
  3. Flexible schedules
  4. Ergonomic/functional furnishings
  5. Right temperature

Encouragingly, staff and employers both agree that the key to a productive office is an environment that facilitates strong teamwork, encouraging co-workers to work well together and communicate effectively.

Making sure staff get adequate breaks to refresh themselves was also identified as important, and flexible schedules emerged as the third most significant factor. Many workers find that traditional schedules do not always suit them and prefer a more flexible, non-conventional arrangement and working hours.

Having functional furniture that supports proper ergonomics,  as well as a comfortable office temperature also made the list.

Bottom line: find the right balance. If staff and employers can find the right balance, both will greatly benefit.

Productivity

Staff Loyalty: Happy Staff = Loyal Staff

Job satisfaction is the key to staff loyalty. Eight out of ten workers who are the most dissatisfied with their jobs are currently looking for a new job, according to our recent Workplace Index report.

Staff churn can be seriously damaging for a business. Every time an employee leaves, employers must go through the lengthy and expensive process of recruiting, hiring and training a replacement. This incurs costs – not only in terms of hiring costs but also in terms of the lost management time to identify and interview candidates as well as train new hires.

Employers with the highest employee dissatisfaction experience five times the level of staff churn compared to employers with happier staff. That’s five times the recruitment costs and five times the amount of management time spent unnecessarily.

So how can you aim to diminish staff churn in the workplace? Take a look at some of the main issues that employees cited as key factors in their decisions to leave:

  • Poor office culture
  • Lack of current challenges in their role
  • Salary
  • Distrust in leadership

Learn more about promoting positive office culture in next week’s blog. And to download the full Workplace Index Report, click here.