Flexibility to Work Remote is the New Normal for Office Workers

Is Your Company Keeping Up?

Staples Workplace Survey reveals the ability to work remote is a “must have” for nearly half of employees

Monday, November 20, 2017 9:22 am EST

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–This year only 32 percent of employees spent all their time working in, or at their office, according to a recent survey from Staples. The flexibility to work remote is the new normal for office workers with 43 percent of employees saying it’s a must-have.

There’s a gap, however, between what workers expect and employers are providing with only 38 percent of employers explicitly offering the benefit to work remotely according to the survey.

While the office is still home base, working remotely at least occasionally has gone from a nice-to-have, to an essential part of the workplace affecting everything from talent recruitment to productivity.

The Staples Annual Workplace Survey was conducted by KRC Research on behalf of Staples Business Advantage. 1,004 full-time employees and 200 office managers and facilities managers were surveyed in the U.S. and Canada.

Once thought to foster collaboration and creativity, offices with open floorplans correlate with increased distractions and may even be driving more people away from the traditional office the survey revealed.

“57 percent of survey respondents say working remotely removes distractions”

“The open office may have gone too far and could ultimately get in the way of itself. While employees in open offices are more likely to think of their office culture and environment as transparent, distractions – like regularly overhearing co-workers’ personal conversations – have become unavoidable. These distractions have the potential to hinder productivity, increase stress, and drive employees away from the same offices that were designed with the intention of fostering collaboration,” said Modupe Akinola, Ph.D., associate professor of leadership & ethics at Columbia Business School.

According to the Staples Workplace Survey, 57 percent of survey respondents say working remotely removes distractions. Employees working in an open floor plan spend 11 percent less time in the office than those in a closed environment.

While the open model is flawed, there are other ways for businesses to make their employees feel more engaged. Seventy-one percent of workers say being able to sit in different locations throughout the office – a practice known as agility seating, or “hotdesking” – deepens their connection with their employer.

“The Workplace Survey arms businesses of all sizes with insight into the latest workplace trends so businesses can stay relevant and keep employees happy, productive, and motivated,” said Neil Ringel, president, North American Delivery, Staples. “Our purpose at Staples is to help the world work better, including the solutions, services and products to help businesses no matter where employees work.”

Other findings from the Staples Workplace Survey include:

  • Only 27 percent of Millennials spend all their time in a traditional office
  • Approximately 14.6 million American office workers are utilizing co-working spaces
  • 21 percent of employees would take a 10 percent pay cut to work in a nicer workplace
  • 80 percent of employees believe employers have a responsibility to keep employees mentally and physical well. Yet only 23 percent of workers say they have access to a dedicated wellness room in their place of work
  • 44 percent of employees say they’ve taken a mental health day
  • 15 percent of employees say they’ve specifically taken a vacation in a place their phone/computer wouldn’t work

For more information about the survey results, http://www.staples.com/workplace-survey.

The Staples Annual Workplace Survey was conducted by KRC Research on behalf of Staples from Aug. 16-28, 2017. 1,004 full-time employees (defined as people who spend at least 10 percent of their time working in an office setting) and 200 office managers and facilities managers were surveyed in the U.S. and Canada.

About Staples 
Staples brings technology and people together in innovative ways to consistently deliver products, services and expertise that elevate and delight customers. Staples is in business with businesses and is passionate about empowering people to become true professionals at work. Headquartered outside of Boston, Mass., Staples operates primarily in North America, with additional offices in South America and Asia. More information about Staples is available at www.staples.com


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