Step into any workplace and it’s easy to spot a multitude of modern gadgets and technologies. Employees are rarely spotted without their smartphone, tablet or laptop in hand – sometimes all three at once. Workers at their desks will conduct meetings via Skype whilst colleagues around them are messaging co-workers via instant chat. And let’s not forget the constant ping of another mass email arriving.
All these technologies have been introduced to the workplace to support employees throughout their working day but are they actually having an adverse effect on levels of both staff productivity and wellbeing?
Employers certainly fear this is the case and some figures suggest they are right to be worried. In a survey by Career Builder, 21% said they would spend around an hour per day surfing the internet for non-work reasons and 24% of respondents admitted to spending at least one hour a day texting. What’s to stop everyone else joining in?
There is also debate around whether emails harm workplace productivity. Sir Cary Cooper, a professor of organisational psychology, labelled the tendency of employees to constantly check messages, in and out of working hours, an ‘email epidemic’ that is diminishing productivity. Cooper blamed the overuse of internal emails as a major barrier to working efficiently, citing the success of a French company who banned the use of internal emails, in a bid to improve productivity.
Modern workplace technology
However, modern technologies can have a place in productive organisations. Every day, businesses across Europe are expanding into new countries and technology facilitates this. Without it, it would almost be unproductive for businesses to pursue growth. And although social media is often associated with unproductive working, when used correctly, it allows businesses to reach out to people across the world.
The proliferation of modern technology in the workplace has had a varied impact on the health and wellbeing of staff. While some gadgets are known to have an adverse effect on user health, others such as the ActiVita Daylight Lamps are specifically designed to improve wellbeing in the workplace. Incorporating several functions into one gadget with adjustable light settings, the range supports health and wellbeing initiatives at work. In turn, this helps to boost productivity levels at work, as previously explored in this blog.
A new way of working
So has the modern workplace caused the meaning of working productively to change? If employees are expected to be online throughout the day and find it impossible not to check their phone or answer emails during meetings, it’s likely that measures of productivity need re-evaluating.
As for health and wellbeing, with multiple studies uncovering the negative effects that devices can have on users, it’s important to remember that there is also an abundance of technology that is designed to improve the comfort and health of employees at work.
To find out more about the range of smart and efficient office equipment designed by Rexel, including the ActiVita Daylight Lamps, click here to sign up to our newsletter full of product information as well as special offers.
The digital age has not dampened Europe’s love of stationery. Staplers, hole punchers, desk organisers, filing trays, highlighters, scissors – you’ll find them all in abundance in most offices.
That’s because stationery is an essential aspect of any workplace. Used to complete a variety of tasks, stationery helps to keep the entire office organised. But why do so many people in workplaces around the world love it?
Stationery boosts employee creativity
Stationery is all about variety and the different categories are endless. This rich array of equipment can have a profound impact on working practices and particularly, the creativity of employees. Described as having the ability to “unleash creative potential,” stationery is looked upon by some as a source of limitless possibility. It’s assuring to know that in a moment of inspiration there’s always a notebook and pen to hand.
Even individual items can be a source of creativity. The JOY stationery range combines standout colours and ergonomic designs to help users feel stimulated in the workplace. Thanks to the newly extended range, employees can even coordinate a wide range of essential tools.
Supporting productive working
Keeping a rich supply of stationery in offices will not only aid creativity among employees but also to improve productivity. In fact, the JOY colours were selected due to their ability to help stimulate the brain to work efficiently. Using stationery to maintain an efficient workplace seems simple enough, but research shows an employee’s lack of organisation can in fact be responsible for creating a negative impression with colleagues. Surprisingly, a survey by Adecco revealed 57% of respondents would judge their colleagues on a messy desk.
Keeping offices running smoothly is a big part of optimising productivity and stationery plays a vital role in organisation. Even though documents are increasingly stored online, the offline filing system still needs regular attention.
A survey of 1500 workers recently found that 72% admitted to feeling less productive when working in a disorganised office – so it’s clear how important a tidy office really is.
Managing stationery in the workplace
It is common for office tools to regularly go missing throughout the year. A great way to get the best out of stationery is to introduce a ‘stationery amnesty’. Employees can set out some time to go through the office stationery cupboard, empty their drawers and throw away anything that’s broken. Replenishing low stocks and discarding faulty items will be a great way to ensure that stationery stock is always kept in check.
Rexel is constantly redesigning its product lines to provide the essential tools for maintaining a productive office. If you would like to find out more about the JOY stationery range and receive special offers and product update news, please subscribe to our newsletter here.
There is overwhelming evidence to support the idea that health, wellbeing and productivity of staff is significantly affected by workplace design. In particular, the role that Facilities Management (FM) organisations play in designing and maintaining the workplace is gaining attention from companies in a variety of sectors.
The British Institute of Facilities Management defines FM as: ‘The processes that maintain and develop an organisation’s services to support and improve the effectiveness of its primary activities.’ Key areas include cleaning, health & safety, heating & ventilation as well as general office management.
Covering such a wide variety of processes means that effective FM is vital to the overall success of any business. It is facilities managers who are at the helm of ensuring that organisations have the most suitable working environment for employees and their activities.
FM and productivity
There has been a great deal of research exploring the relationship between FM and productivity. A survey by Sodexo and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors revealed that 61% of respondents felt that improvements to workplace facilities had positively impacted their wellbeing at work.
Taking a closer look at how FM links with productivity, there are many little-known aspects that contribute to the productive office. For example, when deciding on the position of equipment such as printers and copiers in the office, it is up to FM managers to assess whether a specific location would hinder ease of access or become a noise disturbance to nearby staff.
Even factors such as the temperature of a workplace can seriously affect productivity rates. During one study by Cornell University, it was discovered that raising the temperature of an office from 20oC to 25oC resulted in employees making 44% less typing errors – a staggering impact.
How important is efficient FM?
As well as having the potential to directly improve productivity, FM influences several other areas of employees’ lives that together contribute to the overall output of a company. Research by Sodexo revealed that FM can help to enhance social interaction among colleagues and increase ease of efficiency in day-to-day tasks. This shows that good FM practice is crucial for employees to be able to work in a motivated, focused and effective manner.
It is clear that facilities managers have an important part to play in improving productivity, including deciding on the best products and solutions to introduce into the office environment. As part of their critical decision making role, seeking out products and solutions intended to boost employee productivity is key.
Rexel has developed a wide range of products designed to complement the FM productivity-boosting ethos. To view the full Rexel range, please visit www.rexeleurope.com
The festive season can be one of the busiest periods in the workplace. As the end of the year draws nearer, employees will be working hard to meet outstanding deadlines, preparing for annual leave and most importantly, celebrating the successes of the past 12 months.
At such a busy time, it’s vital to encourage employees to remain focused and ensure they are fully prepared for some time away from the office, as well as what awaits them in January. With so much happening, what tasks should employees make a priority?
Focus on maintaining productivity
Although the end of the year is a great time for tying up loose ends and finishing any outstanding projects, when colleagues begin departing for annual leave this can become more difficult. So how can employees stay productive in the lead up to the New Year?
It’s a good idea to consider reviewing important processes. Maintaining the security of data is one key concern around the festive period. Research by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found that the number of data breaches caused by internal errors increased around the end of the year. This was attributed to an increase in the number of employees losing unsecured devices while out of the office.
It is also a good opportunity to shred sensitive documents, organise filing systems and back up important data. Keeping the workplace secure over the festive break should be a priority for all employees. Of course, this also means that staff will return to a clean and tidy office in the New Year!
New Year productivity
Thinking about the year ahead may seem daunting but January is the perfect time for planning and everyone needs an all-important New Year’s resolution! Research shows that only 1 in 10 people manage to achieve their New Year’s resolution, so how can employees make them attainable? Instead of devising vague goals, experts recommend using SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time based) criteria to set objectives. Clearly defining milestones in the next 3, 6 and 12 months is essential for employees to work effectively.
Office equipment plays a big role in the overall productivity of staff in the workplace. If it’s apparent that there’s a lack of focus on data security (stacks of shredding left in the corner) then it may be time to invest in new technologies to address the issue.
Let’s not forget that when preparing for the end of one year and the beginning of another, it’s useful to take the opportunity to pause and reflect. There may be a lot to learn from experiences over the past 12 months that can be shared with the whole team for a great start to 2016.
To find out more about Rexel’s range of products and the many ways they support employees to work productively, visit: http://www.rexeleurope.com/en/gb/home
Over the past century, offices have seen many variations in layout and style. The impact of an office’s design on employee productivity is a widely debated topic and studies have been conducted to determine whether a change in office layout affects the productive output of employees.
In the 1920s, offices had a simple but sombre feel. Desks often faced a supervisor, with one employee sat at each desk, as this was believed to maximise productivity. The office cubicle was introduced in the 1960s, allowing employees the chance to experience their very own miniature office environment. The open plan office style arrived in the 1990s and has stood the test of time, as it is still widely adopted by organisations.
So does the open plan office layout help or hinder employee productivity? Created to promote a flexible and collaborative working environment, the thinking behind it was for management to keep employees positive and productive by encouraging spontaneous and innovative conversation across the office floor. Figures from GSK found that after moving to an open layout, email traffic dropped by 50%, also resulting in increased productivity rates. Many companies cite that their use of an open office layout has even led to the generation of creative ideas by employees not originally involved in discussions.
Despite the positives, multiple studies have exposed the disadvantages of an open office. Ipsos published a study revealing that 85% of people were dissatisfied with their workspace, as they were unable to concentrate. Privacy was also highlighted as an issue with only 41% of those surveyed stating they could work privately.
A collaborative office layout can also impact on sickness rates. Employees working in offices with an open plan layout had on average 70% more sick days than those who worked from home according to one survey. Organisational psychologists also found that the increased amount of disruption occurring in an open office reduced employee concentration and motivation, subsequently lowering a company’s productivity. A Gallup report suggested the overall employee disengagement caused by office layout is costing UK businesses a minimum of £52 billion.
The search for a new office layout
New office environments that promote productivity more effectively are being explored. A ‘virtual office’ is considered to be the ideal solution for many companies; it allows staff to create their own working environment suited to their individual requirements and increases staff wellbeing through decreased travel time. Managers using virtual office schemes have reported a surge in productivity, as employees become more goal orientated instead of focusing on the number of hours they spend at work.
Every employee requires the right tools to enhance the productive atmosphere that the layout of their office aims to create. The Rexel team is committed to supporting a productive working environment by focusing on the development of new products that use cutting edge technology. If you’d like to receive the latest updates and offers, sign up to our newsletter here
Smart technology is having a major impact on the productivity of many global organisations. Throughout the world, organisations are already using smart technologies, ranging from security control to the management of energy saving initiatives. The generation of digital natives that are now entering the workplace are also helping boost the presence of smart technologies by bringing their love of all things digital to the office.
The integration of smart technology comes at a time which had previously been earmarked as ‘the beginning of the end to the office as we know it’. The office environment is indeed changing, but not in the way some experts once thought. The 2015 Smarter Futures report from Samsung stated that in fact, the use of smart technology ensures that offices will continue to be a hub for productivity and collaboration.
Using smart building sensors to improve staff productivity
The IoT is set to revolutionise the workplace in new and exciting ways. There are a variety of smart sensors powered by the Internet of Things (IoT) already found in offices, which are improving productivity considerably. Some new office buildings are so sophisticated that they are able to automatically adjust workplace environments to suit the needs of employees, through the use of connected heating and lighting systems.
Billions of devices are set to be connected through the giant IoT web.
For example, in many offices, towel dispensers are now programmed to alert Facilities Management (FM) staff when the bathroom is ready to be cleaned, resulting in a more efficient use of time by FM contractors. Sensors embedded into office plants can be programmed to send alerts to an employee’s smartphone when it needs more water. Similar sensor technologies can be built into printers that send alerts when consumables such as paper or toner need replacing.
The impact of smart technology devices
The integration of smart technology in offices goes beyond the use of building sensors. Found on every employee’s desk is a smartphone which supports productivity in a number of ways. Personal digital assistants have had a huge impact on time management and productivity, helping staff to stay focused on their objectives. Other less obvious office equipment also includes a range of smart features, such as Rexel’s Auto Feed shredders. The integration of innovative technology means that users can simply drop all paper into the machine and with the press of a button, leave it to automatically shred without any manual operation.
The office of the future
The possibilities for smart technology in the future that supports productive working are endless. Driverless cars powered by the IoT will allow employees to catch up on work related activities on the way to work. One day, the office may even have artificially intelligent robots to relieve staff of their non-core activities, such as admin.
Rexel are constantly developing new smart technologies to integrate into their products. To find out more about the smart features of the Auto Feed shredder range, as well as receive product offers and updates, please subscribe to the newsletter here.
Does the look and feel of an office affect the productivity of the employees working there? Organisations now take a lot of time and effort to design a workspace that looks good, feels inviting and most importantly, creates the atmosphere that employees love to work in. Some of the biggest brands in the world are known for their cool and vibrant workspaces, such as the cutting-edge designs of the famous Google offices.
But how can managers create the ‘ideal’ office? The first step is getting the right balance of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC). Working in uncomfortable temperatures is a common complaint from office workers and temperature has been shown to drastically impact productivity rates. Studies suggest that temperatures above 25°C can lead to a 2% decrease in efficient working. Another consideration for the productive office is ventilation. Research has shown that poor ventilation can result in Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), which ultimately reduces the productive output of an organisation’s workforce.
Natural light is another consideration for creating the ‘ideal’ office. Researchers have found that poor lighting in an office makes employees feel tired, leaving them unable to focus on their work.
The tools for the ‘ideal’ office
Choosing the right equipment is also fundamental to creating the ‘ideal’ office. It goes without saying that devices including laptops, phones and tablets are a must for productive work. In order to work efficiently as well as communicate with others, employees rely on their devices to be in working order every time they use them. Technology that isn’t working will of course impact and reduce the output of employees.
Electricals, such as office printers, shredders and laminators, are all vital to consider when thinking about productivity in the workplace. Choosing a shredder that operates quickly and requires little manual operation is a must for a productive office. Rexel’s Auto Feed shredder range uses patented technology to automatically shred up to 750 sheets, bringing an end to manual shredders wasting precious working hours in the office. Instead simply stack, shut, done!
Creating the ‘ideal’ office atmosphere
The ‘ideal’ atmosphere should reflect the organisation’s personality as well as optimise the productivity of employees. Colour is a commonly used atmospheric tool and researchers have demonstrated that employees respond to colour in different ways depending on their task. For example the colour blue can be used to encourage creativity, while red colours in the office are said to help employees working on tasks that require a greater attention to detail. Above all to maximise productivity, the atmosphere should be positive and a place where employees feel good about both themselves and their role in the organisation.
To find out more about why Auto Feed shredders play crucial role in the ‘ideal’ office and to receive Rexel’s special offers and product updates, you can subscribe to our newsletter here.
Companies are constantly searching for ways to keep their costs as low as possible and a common method of achieving this is by improving the efficiency of working practices. In order for managers to improve the time management of their employees, it is vital they understand what does and doesn’t enhance a productive working environment.
Overcoming productivity killers
A common productivity hazard is mobile phones. In a survey from Career Builder, 24% of workers admitted to taking personal calls and texting during their working day. Social media has also risen up the time waster ranks as another prevalent productivity killer. 38% of managers stated that they believed employees using social networking sites are now the biggest workplace disruption. Meetings are also cited as a time waster. Repeatedly turning out to be unproductive and lacking in direction, employees are often emerging from meetings without any new objectives or actions.
Technology: productivity’s best friend?
Office technology has become a well-known productivity challenge. 7% of office workers stated that having to deal with technology malfunctioning or operating slowly is a major productivity issue. However when working efficiently, technology serves as an essential means for good time management. The office shredder is regularly associated with productive working as it is a tool used by almost all organisations. Employees are constantly required to shred, be it sensitive personal data or large internal company documents. Using an unreliable shredder ultimately wastes time that could be spent on more stimulating and meaningful tasks. Managers should be aware of this when choosing their office shredder. Rexel recognises what is required of a shredder and have designed an Auto Feed range that supports better management of time by taking 98% less time to shred documents.
Constructing a strategy for a productive office
Developing ways to increase productivity is straightforward. Experts recommend making simple changes, for example, maintaining a well lit and ventilated area for working which will improve productivity rates by 16%. Creating the right organisational culture is also crucial to working efficiently. HR researchers have shown that companies with a strong learning culture are 37% more productive. Strongly communicating the values of the company is a common way of inspiring a productive workforce.
Introducing an Auto Feed shredder into the office would also strengthen the development of a workplace productivity strategy. It supports the fundamentals of productivity – finding the method that is the most simple, easy and, above all, quick way to carry out any task.
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The concept of employee wellbeing is of growing importance in workplaces worldwide. It is a broad term with numerous definitions and in a workplace and wellbeing report, Dr Bridget Juniper defined it as: “The area of overall wellbeing that is primarily determined by the workplace.” In addition, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) describe employee wellbeing as: “The creation of an environment that allows an employee to reach their full potential for themselves as well as their organisation.”
In 2014, The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills sought to determine whether the level of wellbeing had a direct effect on employee productivity rate. Their research showed there were positive links between the level of wellbeing and employees’ job performance. A higher level of wellbeing enabled workers to be more effective and creative with problem solving whilst improving attitudes towards collaborative working. Though the definition is extensive, multiple studies clearly have shown a definitive relationship exists between employee wellbeing and productivity.
The impact of wellbeing on employee productivity
Improving the general health of employees has been shown to increase the level of productivity for organisations. The NHS announced a £5 million initiative that offered fitness activities such as Zumba and yoga in an attempt to improve rates of staff absence due to poor health.
A prominent topic impacting employee wellbeing is break allowance. There is concern that employees often do not take their lunch break away from their desk and in 2014, Bupa surveyed 2,000 office workers and found that almost 64 per cent didn’t take their legally required break. This resulted in 30 per cent of respondents stating that they often felt ill due to skipping their break. 40 per cent of those surveyed added that without taking a break, they felt their productivity would decrease.
A lack of wellbeing support can also affect the productivity for the overall organisation. Figures suggest that the cost of decreased productivity caused by poor employee wellbeing in the UK amounts to £15.1 billion each year with the annual cost of sickness absence at £1,500 per employee.
Are organisations doing enough for their employees?
Despite the extensive research, statistics show that many workplaces are yet to implement wellbeing schemes. A 2013 survey revealed that two thirds of organisations were yet to introduce wellbeing schemes into the workplace. The lack of evidence of financial returns from employee wellbeing initiatives is often cited as a barrier to their widespread adoption. Only 16 per cent of organisations would use the health of their employees as a factor to measure the success of their programme.
Developing a wellbeing scheme
So who should be taking responsibility for the wellbeing of employees in the workplace? Acas recommend that both management and employees should work together to create a wellbeing programme specific to the organisation. Be it a healthy food menu for the office canteen or installing high quality equipment that removes the stress of manual tasks, by clearly defining their goals, companies can implement successful wellbeing initiatives that boost the productivity of the entire organisation.
Promoting employee productivity and wellbeing is a core concern for Rexel. By developing high quality products to enhance the workplace, we hope to support employee wellbeing and boost productivity. Find out more about the team and receive exclusive offers and updates by subscribing to our newsletter here.
Each year, the average UK employee will print a staggering 10,000 sheets of paper, and of those 10,000 sheets it’s estimated that around 70% will be wasted. Research shows that as many as 1 in 20 printed documents are simply lost due to these high volumes of paper being introduced into the workplace,
It’s not just the environment that is being hurt by all of this printing; productivity is being affected. IDC reports indicate that issues arising from printed documents result in a 21% decrease in productivity for the entire organisation.
Searching for lost documents
When assessing the costs of printed documents, an irrefutable risk for a business is paper documents becoming damaged or misplaced. Without digital records important information can become irretrievable, leading to a multitude of issues for the company.
Inability to locate a document quickly for a prospective customer could lead to lost sales. Poor business decisions could be made based on insufficient data, while productivity decreases when employees are forced to seek help when they cannot access relevant information.
The office printer itself also represents a significant drain on business resources. Managed Print UK estimates that as much as 5% of a company’s annual turnover is spent on printing costs, while IT departments dedicate a third of their time to printer issues.
But a developing problem is the printer acting as a source of distraction in the office. A survey by Brothers International Corporation found that 61% of employees would strike up conversation at the office printer whereas only 31% would do so at the water cooler. Time is also wasted while employees walk to and from the printer and their desk as well as waiting while other colleagues used printing facilities.
Organising your office
Evidence suggests that the disorganisation of paper documents can affect the office atmosphere. 80% of office workers in a recent survey agreed that one disorganised employee affects the productivity of the entire office.
There are a number of solutions available for the issue of document printing and management. Firms could introduce controls to track individual paper and printing use. Also, the introduction of organisation solutions for the office such as document storage systems, filing and labelling will reduce the time spent locating necessary documents and boost productivity considerably.
Enhancing workplace organisation and productivity is a key objective for Rexel and we are continuing to develop new and innovative ways to support efficiency. To find out more and to sign up to receive our latest product news and updates, please follow this link.
It would be great to hear how your business controls printing costs and tracks documents. Share your tips in the comments section below.