Today's Workplace: The Staples Business Advantage Workplace Index

The Lead Change Group has been following the Staples Business Advantage Workplace Index, in order to get a glance at trends in workplace issues.

The second annual Workplace Index, released by Staples Business Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc., was released on June 7, 2016. The index was developed based on online responses from among 1,995 employees in the U.S. (936 were classified as general officer workers and 1,059 as business decision makers).

It is a comprehensive study involving office workers and business decision makers in the United States to help companies meet their recruitment, retention and engagement goals. This year’s study was created in conjunction with Jacob Morgan, best-selling author of The Future of Work, Futurist, and Co-founder of the Future of Work Community, a brand council of the world’s most forward thinking organizations who come together to explore the future of work.

Topline Findings

Employee Recruiting & Retention

The workforce is driven by salary and title. For those looking for a new job, as well as those who have already moved. In both circumstances, money is the key driver. Those not looking for a job are content on their place of work because of their good salary. In leadership, people are looking for truthful communication and reliability.

Workplace Flexibility

Almost half the workforce work over 40 hours per week. US and Canadian decision makers are particularly likely to work more than 40 hours. (US – 59%, Canada – 54%). The reason for that is that there is simply not enough room in the working day to complete all tasks. 69% of people believe in creating a good balance between work and personal life. Flexibility is also the leadership style that has most increased over recent years.

Happiness at Work

Happiness is important to workers (92% of workers rate is as important or very important), and fortunately most people are happy – only 4% say that they are very unhappy in the workplace. Salary is seen as the answer to the improved happiness. Decision makers report to be happier than general staff.

The Freelance Economy

People generally freelance so that they can control their own hours and improve the work/life balance. However, only 29% of people are sure that they would not consider a traditional role. They would consider this overwhelmingly for a consistent income. Far less people would consider leaving their traditional job for a freelance position.


Telecommuting is important to people for a number of reasons (time saving, weather, money saving, work/life balance). If telecommuting was stopped then 69% of people would be disappointed to some extent.

Workplace Productivity

The office is still the most productive and inspiring place to work, the home comes in a close second place to the desk in terms of places for inspiration. 46% of people think that they receive too many emails, but only 34% of those think that it is impacting their productivity.

Workplace Innovation & Technology

Companies are providing their employees with innovative tech, but they’re typically don’t encourage use of wearable devices during work. With 21% of the workforce saying that they are provided with the latest technology. Companies are spending most of their money on technology and office products, and what they look for is price and an easy ordering service.

Office Design – Personalization

Office layout is now roughly split in thirds between open, closed and hybrid. This is also reflected in office layout. In terms of improving office design, natural light is the biggest feature of interest. People believe that the natural light will help improve productivity and creativity. Currently, the three most common office descriptors are ‘standard’, ‘plain’ and ‘dull’. Co-workers are the greatest source of inspiration, as is feedback on knowing they’re having an impact, but only 16% describe their office as inspiring.


Wellness programs are widely available (over 57% of companies offer a wellness program of some sort). The most popular features of a wellness program are wellness coaches & smoking cessation. The features that are desired are fresh food and a gym onsite. Just over a third of employers financially incentivise wellness programmes, but that isn’t the key driver for participation for staff, health improvements are. Three quarters feel that the workplace has impacted on their stress levels to some extent, largely due to the volume of work.


43% of people say that their company does not make an effort to be eco-friendly. Those companies that do make an effort, essentially do it to be good & kind to the environment rather than tax breaks or reputation. Recycling is still the most common way to be eco-friendly.

For additional resources, including an executive summary and shareable infographics and slideshare, please visit: here and here.

The Lead Change Group would like to thank Staples Business Advantage for sharing their results with us; the majority of this post is composed of results from the Workplace Index.

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