October 4: Improve Your Office Day

A Staples.com survey conducted in anticipation of the October 4 observation of “Improve Your Office Day” finds that new technology and furniture rank high on employees’ wish lists of office improvements. More than half the workers surveyed gave both their office furniture (52%) and office décor (51%) a “C” grade or lower, while 41% gave their office technology a “C” or lower.

Topping people’s wish lists for office improvements were:

  • Eliminating office politics (44%);
  • Allowing or encouraging telecommuting (41%);
  • Upgrading computers and other office technology (37%);
  • Getting nicer or more comfortable office furniture (35%); and
  • Providing more private work areas and more flexible work hours (tied at 34% each).

One thing respondents said did not need improvement was the boss, despite some common stereotypes. Nearly half (47%) of respondents gave their boss a solid “A” grade, with a combined 78 percent rating their boss an “A” or “B.”

Another interesting finding of the study is that 57% of office workers have to buy their own snacks and beverages at work. Consequently, one in two respondents reported leaving the office on coffee or snack runs at least once a day, with some making as many as five trips per day.

“As businesses consider ways to keep their employees motivated and productive, they can keep in mind various affordable options to improve their offices,” said Anabela Perozek, vice president of marketing for Staples.com.

Here are some quick tips for improving the office in ways that both employees and employers will appreciate:

  1. Stock the kitchen or break room with coffee and snacks that will energize the staff and keep them running all day. Providing nutritious snacks keeps employees healthy and productive.
  2. Take inventory of your technology, and replace outdated equipment that may be impeding productivity. In the last few years, technologies such as wireless networks and all-in-one printers have advanced dramatically, while prices have actually fallen.
  3. Consider office décor and furniture upgrades that don’t require a complete overhaul. Simply replacing old, worn desk chairs and/or redecorating conference rooms can be easy, low-cost ways to make the office more attractive and comfortable.
  4. Arm employees with technology that makes it easy for them to telecommute. Tablet and notebook computers give employees the ability to take their work with them wherever they go, whether it’s on the road, at a client site, in a conference room, or working from home.
  5. When expanding or redesigning the office, take employee privacy concerns into consideration. Many newer office furniture systems offer creative ways to preserve privacy while maintaining an open, collaborative environment.

Staples.com conducted an online survey of more than 300 office workers at companies of various sizes and across various industries. The survey, completed in September 2011, asked participants an array of questions about their likes and dislikes at work, as well as their ideas for how to improve their offices.

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