Monday 9th January marks National Clean Off Your Desk Day, where everyone is encouraged to kick off the New Year with an organised workspace. So, why is it important that our desks are kept clean and tidy? It’s simple – desk clutter results in unorganised and inefficient working practices.
An untidy desk also affects relationships in the workplace. Research by Adecco revealed that more than half of colleagues will judge each other, based on how clean or dirty they keep their workspaces. So, if you’re set on achieving promotion this year a tidy desk could be a good place to start, it certainly won’t do you any harm!
With this in mind, target having an organised workspace this Monday and start the year as you mean to go on. Here are our top tips to creating the perfect workspace:
- Organise, organise, organise – Dedicate time to sorting through loose papers, shredding anything no longer needed and storing anything that needs to be kept, in cabinets or document box files. If you don’t refer to a document on a daily basis, does it really need to occupy valuable desk space?
- Accessorise – Smart desk accessories are essential to ensure your workspace stays organised for the duration of 2017! Desk organisers ensure that frequently used pens and calculators are within easy reach and are especially useful when drawer space is limited. And don’t underestimate the impact the right stapler or calculator positioned on your desk can have on how others perceive you.
- See the light – A smart daylight desk lamp not only makes a design statement and brightens your desk but can also brighten your mood and increase positivity.
A few simple changes can have a big impact on not only your desk but also your entire approach to work. As office workers everywhere take part in Clean Off Your Desk Day this year, make sure that your workspace is sufficiently organised to ensure your clean desk lasts more than 24 hours.
At Rexel, we’re dedicated to improving your work environment. Our new ActiVita range includes daylight lamps, air cleaners and noise reduction panels to help improve the comfort of any office environment.
This week (13th – 19th November) marks International Fraud Awareness Week. It’s a great opportunity for both individuals and large organisations to join together to tackle the issue, as it’s increasingly becoming a bigger problem for homes and workplaces. Fraud takes many different forms, affecting all types of people. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ (AFCE) 2016 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, organisations worldwide lose an estimated 5% of annual revenue to cases of fraud.
To help tackle these issues, we’ve explored three key areas that may expose you to fraudsters and offered some tips on how to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.
Figures from an Ofcom report published in 2015 showed that 51% of UK Internet users use the same password for most of their online accounts. Often, one easy to remember code across all online accounts is favourable to creating secure passwords for each account, which can be seen as difficult to remember. These passwords can contain information including names of family members or pets, together with the user’s birthday. These are relatively easy to hack for a fraudster so should avoid being used.
Using secure passwords is a straightforward way to help prevent identity fraud. Combinations of upper and lowercase letters with numbers are a good way to create something that’s memorable for the user and difficult for a fraudster to guess. But make sure you commit your passwords to memory instead of writing them down, so that there is no chance of anyone discovering them.
Keeping documents secure
The easiest method of securely destroying sensitive documents is to shred them. But what is a sensitive document? Anything printed on paper that contains your personal details – bank account information, credit and debit card account numbers, direct debit or standing order information, all types of passwords, addresses and anything labelled confidential.
So how can this kind of information be securely shredded, to prevent it falling into the wrong hands? Shredding documents containing personal or confidential data is crucial. Be aware that there are different levels of protection provided by different shredders. Shredders are rated against internationally recognised protection levels. These are known as P ratings and relate to the number of pieces an A4 sheet is shred into. P-7 shredders can shred a single A4 sheet into 12,600 pieces. Our shredder selector helps you select the right shredder for your security requirements.
Surfing the web safely
We use the Internet on a daily basis, everything from keeping up to date with social media and managing email to online banking and personal shopping. So it’s essential to ensure we browse these sites safely, to avoid accounts being hacked. Using secure websites is imperative to avoid online fraud. Ofcom figures show that 55% of Internet users in the UK check for the padlock symbol before entering their personal details – it’s really important to perform this check, otherwise you are opening yourself up to be hacked.
Rexel is here to help you take action and prevent identity theft for Fraud Awareness Week. Take a look at our solutions centre for more advice on how to protect your identity and personal data at home and in the workplace: https://uk.rexeleurope.com/pages/protection-and-productivity-tips.
It’s not just where you sit, it’s the environment in which you work
What do we know about daylight?
It is clear that daylight has the power to energise us. At midday, in clear weather conditions, daylight measures at a colour ‘temperature’ of 6,500 Kelvin. At such high colour temperatures, the brain will begin to release the hormone serotonin, which actively brightens your mood and helps to increase concentration. In simple terms, daylight will trigger activity in the brain, leaving people feeling much more energised and alert.
So can daylight help us to be more efficient when we’re at work too? A study by the Green Building Council would suggest that this is the case. It found that staff members in an office that were exposed to more daylight were 18% more productive. However, ensuring that sufficient daylight is available to everyone in order to achieve this can be problematic.
The right light for everyone
Managers strive to provide an environment that will help employees increase their output whilst supporting the health and wellbeing of their team members, reducing absenteeism where possible. Generally employees want to work in a bright, clear and comfortable environment. They also want to avoid eye strain and fatigue that is so often caused by dull overhead fluorescent office lighting.
These aims can be achieved by increasing the quality and amount of light available in the working environment. Everyone will react differently to light levels and it can be incredibly difficult to provide light conditions that suit everyone and boost overall efficiency.
A solution that works
Rexel has developed a personal lighting solution to overcome these hurdles – the ActiVita Daylight desk lamps. The innovative, affordable and contemporary lamps bring the benefits of daylight into offices, providing a much-needed boost in energy levels.
The Daylight Lamps are available in three models, each with a life of over 25 years (40,000 hours) with low levels of energy consumption. Models in the range can be adjusted for different purposes, including ‘Daylight’ that aims to boost alertness, ‘Warm’ that helps the mind to relax for activities such as reading and ‘Cool’ to brighten the workspace. LCD panels on the ActiVita Pod+ and Strip+ display a calendar, clock and temperature, with the added benefit of a USB port for charging mobile devices on the Strip+.
In ‘Daylight Mode’, ActiVita’s blue LEDs emit a colour temperature of 6,500 Kelvin, the all-important level that causes serotonin to be released in the brain. Users are able to adjust their desk lamp to position the light wherever they need it.
Boosting daylight in the office can be a challenge but with ActiVita desk lamps, it’s never been easier to work brighter. Please click here to find out more about the Rexel ActiVita Daylight range.
We know that the look of an office and its layout often has a significant impact on employees and how well they work. The office can boost productivity, enhance comfort and wellbeing for staff and encourage a friendly and focused atmosphere. Large multinational corporations like Airbnb invest hugely in creating innovative office spaces that employees will look forward to working in every day. However it is still possible for companies to create a comfortable office environment that supports efficiency on a much smaller budget. So where can managers make costs savings but still maintain a productive office?
Reducing energy consumption is a great way to cut down costs. Installing reminders to staff to switch off at the end of the day, during lunchtime or when a piece of equipment is not in use seems like a small step but can make a big difference on energy bills and won’t get in the way of staff working productively. Renewable energy is another cost saving option available to employers. Although it may require some investment, the long term financial and environmental benefits will outweigh the costs. Solar power can help to reduce or in some cases eliminate electricity costs for businesses. Figures show that in continental Europe, almost a third of all solar panels are used by commercial businesses. However the UK is lagging behind its European neighbours. According to statistics from Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), in 2014 just 400 out of an estimated 1.8 million commercial properties had installed solar panel systems. So despite being a cheaper option, solar power is an underused resource for cutting down expenses in the office.
Time is money
Modern day offices require a lot of different equipment ranging from computers and printers to more specialist technologies that are required in specific industries for example large computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) machines. Businesses on a budget have a range of purchasing options available to them, including hire purchase, buying outright, leasing or contracting. Choosing smart machinery that performs more than one function is another great way to save on costs and time. A combined printer, scanner and photocopier will not only reduce equipment costs but also mean that an employee doesn’t have to make separate trips to use the facilities. This frees up their time to focus on their tasks at work, ultimately improving the productivity of the office.
Self-automated machinery like Rexel’s Auto Feed shredder is another great way to reduce time spent on office tasks, at a small price. Users can simply load documents into the shredder’s secure chamber and leave it to destroy the documents inside – stack, shut, done!
Working together to cut costs
Letting employees take a role in the creation of the office environment may also become an opportunity to reduce costs. Managers can encourage staff to bring in their own personal effects to brighten up their workspace and create an atmosphere that makes them feel comfortable. Even small additions like brightly coloured stationery tools can do a lot to personalise an office without breaking the bank. Rexel’s JOY stationery range comes in 4 standout colours that are perfect for bringing a dull workspace to life. Choosing their own tools also gives staff the chance to adapt their office to boost their productivity. They can arrange what they need to work efficiently however they choose with little or no cost to the business.
Even with a smaller budget, businesses have a range of options available to them to create a productive working environment that saves money. It’s important to keep in mind what is necessary for an office to be successful and managers must identify and prioritise expenditures necessary to keep staff working as efficiently as possible.
In 2008, ACCO Brands introduced the Rexel Auto Plus 500 shredder and changed the way businesses shred. The first shredder to use Auto Feed technology, it allowed users to reduce their time spent shredding at work and at home.
Since then, Rexel has continued to drive innovation. So what led the brand to develop the world’s first Auto Feed shredder? And how have new and improved Auto Feed technologies continued to enhance business shredding?
Manual feed shredding
Shredders are a vital tool in any workplace. Business people use them to destroy confidential documents on a regular basis, however they often found that a manual feed machine could not cope with high volumes of confidential files. A survey revealed several frustrations experienced by manual feed shredder users, with 64% of respondents stating that their biggest issue was paper jams while 43% cited frequent bin emptying as their main grievance.1
The loss of productivity caused by manual feed shredders was another issue for businesses. 48% of respondents felt that their machine took too long to shred a document. The machines were simply not sufficient for customer needs.
The Age of Auto Feed
Taking these concerns on board, Rexel developed a machine that would make shredding productive. With research showing that 53% of shredder users tend to destroy their documents in batches, it was clear that a machine should accommodate this to help boost business productivity. The Auto Plus 500 shredder allowed the user to put a stack of papers inside the machine and leave it to shred automatically, significantly reducing the amount of time taken to destroy documents.
Since then, Rexel has continued to advance the way that businesses dispose of confidential information by improving and developing the capabilities of Auto Feed. In 2011, Rexel introduced a range of new Auto Feed models with Cross Cut technology, which could process up to 750 sheets of paper at once.
Data security became another priority for businesses, with PwC estimating in 2015 that a breach could cost up to €3.96m for a large organisation. Rexel listened to the security concerns of its customers, launching the Micro Cut range. Organisations could now shred more securely than ever, turning sensitive documents into unsalvageable confetti instead of strips of paper.
The future of shredding
Over the past eight years, business’ needs and priorities have changed dramatically. Auto Feed has turned traditional business shredding on its head, offering organisations a new and faster way of destroying documents. Comparisons show that it typically takes 14 minutes and 25 seconds to shred 500 sheets manually while an Auto Feed machine can handle the same volume of paper in just 14 seconds – a time saving of 98%2. These are productivity benefits that are invaluable to businesses, large or small.
There has never been a better time to upgrade to an Auto Feed shredder, as the technology continues to make significant changes in the shredding market. To find out more about our comprehensive range of machines and how they meet a variety of business needs, please visit www.rexeleurope.com or follow @rexeleurope on Twitter or LinkedIn Rexel Europe.
1 Evaluating Auto Feed Shredders. Prepared for ACCO Brands by Deep Blue Insight
2 Intertek independent testing, June 2012, comparing the Auto+ 500X to a traditional feed shredder at a similar price level
Launching in 2008, ACCO Brands’ first Auto Feed shredder, the Rexel Auto Plus 500 quickly proved to be popular across Europe. Key markets Germany, France and the UK enjoyed strong growth of the category as businesses took advantage of the benefits the technology offered to them. In fact, figures show that whilst the overall B2B shredding market was experiencing a slowdown in growth, Auto Feed was flourishing.
Rexel’s previous blog explored the opportunities that the Auto Feed market offers. So how can dealers reach out to Europe markets and introduce new customers to the category?
After its introduction to the European shredding market, dealers and customers alike were quick to realise the benefits that Auto Feed technology offered, contributing to the category’s strong growth. In the lead were France, Germany and the UK, all showing positive growth. Figures from GfK reveal that from 2011 to 2015, value share of Auto Feed rose from 5.4% to 19% in the UK and between 2012 and 2015, value share grew from 5.4% to 17.5% in Germany and 14% to 29.1% in France. These figures are still rising, resulting in very attractive market conditions for office products dealers and presenting an unmissable opportunity to be at the forefront of new technologies.
Auto Feed technology offers a superior solution to manual shredding devices, meaning businesses are willing to pay the premium to enjoy the advantages. Comparison figures show that the value of Auto Feed is more than three times the price point of manual shredders. This is a lucrative opportunity for dealers which are already operating in key European markets, as well as those who wish to enter the category.
Motivations to shred
Following the quick uptake of Auto Feed shredding in Europe, the trend shows no signs of slowing down. So it’s important that dealers understand customer motivations to continue providing a solution that meets their needs. The popularity of secure shredding solutions can be attributed to increased security concerns and the introduction of EU data protection regulations. Businesses and individuals now have a legal responsibility to protect their data and third parties’, and to ensure that once used, it is destroyed properly and securely.
Productivity is another key motivator for the European market that dealers should be aware of. ONS statistics show that UK productivity rates are lagging behind France and Germany by 21%. Businesses will be looking to improve overall efficiency using new technologies that speed up essential office tasks. Auto Feed technology ensures fast and pain free shredding of up to 750 document pages at once, removing the need to waste valuable working time destroying paper manually.
Looking to the future
So where next for the Auto Feed market in Europe? Figures from ACCO Brands predict that the category could account for almost a third of the overall B2B shredder market by 2018, a huge leap from 4% in 2011. As Auto Feed continues to grow, dealers will have more opportunity to bring Auto Feed to new and existing customers in Europe.
To help facilitate market entry for dealers in Europe, ACCO Brands has launched two industry leading Auto Feed promotions offering customers up to €130 cash back or a Buy & Try trial on a range of models in the innovative Rexel Auto Feed range.
ACCO Brands recently launched the first of four white papers offering dealers in-depth insights into how Auto Feed technology has transformed the shredding market. To download the white paper, visit: www.rexeleurope.com/autofeedwhitepaper
In 2008, ACCO Brands launched its first Auto Feed shredder, the Rexel Auto Plus 500, followed by Cross Cut and Micro Cut models in 2011 and 2012. Since its introduction, market share for the Auto Feed category has continued to expand, reaching 20% of the overall B2B shredder market. Despite this huge growth and profit opportunity, research by ACCO Brands reveals that one third of dealers are not making the most of the category. So why isn’t every dealer fully exploiting the Auto Feed opportunity? And what is there to gain for dealers that are entering the Auto Feed category?
The current situation
Reviewing wider factors which could affect the B2B shredding market gives a clearer idea of why dealers may not be choosing to benefit from Auto Feed.
As more workplaces are implementing digital initiatives to reduce paper consumption, it’s easy to think that demand for shredding solutions is diminishing. However, figures show this is not the case. While managers are encouraging employees to only print what is necessary, organisations still rely heavily on paper. It’s estimated that 77.1 million tonnes of paper was consumed in Europe in 2014 and that global consumption of paper has increased by almost 50% since 1980. So it’s crucial that dealers continue to reach out to customers and provide them with an efficient shredding solution.
Dealers entering the Auto Feed category are benefitting greatly from its rewards, including consistent year on year growth in European markets. As well as this, the innovative technology of Auto Feed machines justifies a higher price point than traditional shredders, offering greater returns for dealers.
Communicating the advantages of Auto Feed
Auto Feed offers a range of productivity, time saving and information security benefits to customers. The technology allows users to shred multiple sheets of paper at once with little manual handling. Documents are also rendered unreadable to protect the sensitive data which they may contain. Conveying these advantages is essential to appeal to customers facing pressures to deliver cost savings while enabling productivity improvements. Businesses still consume vast amounts of paper and it is inevitable that printed documents will contain large amounts of sensitive information. Therefore it’s critical that companies have measures in place to securely and quickly destroy documents, making shredders a worthwhile investment in any workplace.
Rexel’s Auto Feed machines destroy up to 750 sheets in 98% less time than a manual shredding solution. Cross Cut and Micro Cut capabilities leave each document illegible, further reducing the risk of costly company data leaks. Dealers can also take advantage of the value for money the range offers to customers. Comparisons between manual and Auto Feed shredding show that it costs just £0.001 (€0.001) to shred one sheet of paper using Auto Feed, meaning it costs up to 90% less than a manual machine in employee productivity terms.1
To make it even easier for dealers to attract new customers to make the switch to Auto Feed, ACCO Brands is currently running an industry leading Cashback offer of up to £100 (€130) and a Buy & Try trial offer on models in its range of Rexel Auto Feed shredders.
ACCO Brands has launched the first in a series of white papers exploring Auto Feed opportunities for dealers in more depth. For more information and to download the full white paper for free, please visit: www.rexeleurope.com/autofeedwhitepaper
1Calculations based on total sheets shredded during shredder life test. Labour hours based on Intertek independent performance testing, shredding 500 sheets using an Auto Feed and comparing it against a competitor manual feed shredder. Based on average EU hourly wage from OECD.
Improving staff wellbeing is a broad topic covering many areas. In a previous blog, we explored how workplace wellbeing programs can benefit an organisation’s productivity but another aspect to examine is the impact a healthy lifestyle has on employee efficiency during the working day.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle carries the following benefits:
- Fewer days of absence
- Enhanced output at work
- Reduced amount of work-related stress
To help staff boost their efficiency, here are some tips on how to have a healthy day at work.
Food is the essential fuel for a working day. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) eating the right foods can boost brainpower by up to 20 per cent. Recommended brain foods include:
- Berries containing antioxidants that help to improve memory and motor coordination
- Oil-rich walnuts and avocados that keep cell membranes youthfully flexible
- Bananas that provide the brain with the glucose it needs
Coffee is the drink of choice for many employees to give them that much needed lift during the working day. However, drinking coffee can often result in an energy crash in the middle of the day. The European Union Food Safety Agency (EUFSA) recommends a maximum daily caffeine intake of 400mg for adults, which is the equivalent of 4 espressos.
Consider switching a cup of coffee for a glass of water. In fact:
- Drinking a pint of water improves brain reaction times by 14 per cent
- The EUFSA recommends adults drink between 2 – 2.5 litres of water per day
- An estimated 60 per cent of the human body is water
Standing while you work
Several scientists have advocated the benefits of standing up while at work. Official guidelines from Active Working CIC recommend staff should spend at least two hours of the day standing up to alleviate possible musculoskeletal pain. Additional research by sport and exercise expert Dr John Buckley shows that standing up increases heart rate, meaning more calories are used.
Taking a break
Pausing for a lunch break is essential for the brain to recuperate and prepare for a productive afternoon. A break allows staff to refresh and return to their work with renewed energy.
However employees across Europe are often choosing to work through their break, resulting in a decline in output. Figures show that:
- One in five people in Germany don’t take a break at work
- An estimated two thirds of the workforce in Britain do not stop to eat their lunch
- The average lunch break in France is just 22 minutes
Staff rely on their brains and bodies to help them stay productive at work, so it’s crucial that they stay as healthy as possible to help them achieve their goals.
Raising awareness of health and safety hazards is a necessary requirement for workplaces around the world. In 2012, around 2.5 million people in the EU had a non-fatal accident that resulted in at least four days of absence from work. With this statistic in mind, how can employers take steps to ensure avoidable accidents are prevented?
Who is responsible for health and safety?
The European Union Information Agency for Occupational Safety and Health (EU-OSHA) is responsible for setting out the minimum requirements for workplace health and safety within the EU. The agency produces directives relating to equipment, signage, personal protective equipment, chemical agents, ergonomic requirements and workload, among others.
It is the duty of employers in the EU to follow these directives and protect their employees by sufficiently assessing all potential risks that could cause harm. These risks must be communicated to employees with clear instructions and training on how to deal with hazards, as the success of health and safety measures relies on the diligence of staff.
Effectively communicating health and safety hazards
There is a range of materials available to employers to help them raise awareness of hazards but signage is often the most popular choice. The four types of health and safety signboards are prohibition signs; warning signs; mandatory signs and emergency escape or first aid signs. These signs should warn of any health and safety risk that has been identified by the EU-OSHA.
Employers must follow several guidelines when displaying health and safety signs in the workplace. Firstly signs should be large, clear enough to understand and when describing a particular piece of equipment, clearly show the location of that equipment. All signs must be permanent fixtures unless the hazard or workplace is temporary. Employers should also avoid placing too many signs close together as this will reduce how well they can be seen and understood.
Use of pictograms on signs should be kept as simple as possible and contain only necessary detail so they don’t affect or confuse the message the sign is meant to convey. Employers must also take responsibility to ensure that all signs are properly maintained so they are capable of performing the function they are intended for.
There are a number of signage options available on the market, but often it’s mandatory to purchase packs of signs costing up to €100 per pack containing products that may not be required. To date, it has been difficult to create bespoke signage which meets all of the requirements set out by the EU-OSHA.
A new option from Rexel is the SignMaker, an all in one solution with printable templates available online that allows employers to easily create signs for use in the workplace for half the cost of pre-made signs. Users can select their desired sign and customise it to their own requirements.
Personnel Today recently published data that pointed towards a significant gap between workplace policies and what staff actually know about health and safety. This means that educating and installing the correct signage which clearly communicates the dangers and hazards at work is more important than ever.
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.