The State of Our Workplace (And Yours)

March 29, 2016

A few weeks ago, we unveiled the new face of Staples’ business-to-business offering in Staples Business Advantage. From the renewed commitment to businesses that our name represents to the many events we participated in that day, our focus is on one thing: providing every advantage workplaces as they change and grow well into the future. So what is the state of workplaces today, and what did we learn during our big day?

Businesses are busier. This one’s easy. You see it, feel it and live it every day—today’s workplaces are busier, whether those workplaces are in a traditional office, on the road, in a satellite office, or even working from home. Everyone’s trying to get more done and seeking the most efficient approach to solving any problem. In short, everyone’s looking for their own personal “Easy Button.” That’s why we’ve piloted the Staples Easy System, aimed at adding efficiency into one of the basics of keeping your business going: ordering supplies. But there are plenty of other opportunities to save time in the workplace, and plenty of ways for your vendor to help you.

The tech that helps us can hurt us. At our Workplace Experience Center opening in Englewood, New Jersey, we welcomed several experts to educate our customers and guests about the state of the workplace. HP’s Peter Buzzard talked to the group about cyber security, highlighting the vulnerabilities many companies miss in their printing policies. With the average cost to resolve a cyber-crime incident topping $7 million, businesses can’t afford to invest in tech without also investing in security solutions.

Talent is driving trends. Bestselling author and workplace expert Dan Schawbel also joined us at the Workplace Experience Center to talk about the way talent is driving the workplace. What are the big trends being driven by talent? There were several:

  • Companies are welcoming more “boomerang employees,” who have left the company and returned. This can save on training and provide a refreshed perspective from familiar employees, but can also be detrimental to employee morale and carry baggage from the past.
  • As more Gen Y and Gen Z consumers buy and regularly use wearable technology, businesses are beginning to explore new business uses for the technology, including employee health and wellness, quality assurance, marketing research, and more.
  • Workplace flexibility is becoming increasingly more important, with the workday expanding well past the traditional hours and more workers working remotely or even seeking freelance or “gig” employment to provide an ideally flexible, self-driven work experience.

But trends aren’t everything. 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.

There are a lot of exciting developments happening for businesses and workplaces right now—even our own here at Staples Business Advantage. These are just a few of the things we learned throughout our big day, and we’re looking forward to continuing to learn and share more about the ever-evolving workplace with our customers.


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