Staples Advantage Workplace Index: freelance economy is growing rapidly, a trend with significant implications for the workplace

Staples Advantage Provides Tips to Help Businesses Prepare for Freelancers

FRAMINGHAM, Mass, 2016-Jan-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — The freelance economy is growing rapidly, a trend with significant implications for the workplace. Nearly one in four employees freelance in some capacity, according to the Staples Advantage Workplace Index, a recent study of office workers in the U.S. conducted by the business-to-business division of Staples.

Overall, twelve percent of employees work as freelancers as their primary source of income, and the same percentage freelance in addition to their primary job.

“For businesses, augmenting staff with temporary, contract workers is not new,” said Neil Ringel, executive vice president, Staples Advantage. “While the organized online marketplace makes it easier to tap into a pool of skilled workers, businesses need to pay attention to the needs and expectations of freelancers and independent contractors as they can be quite different.”

Benefits for Freelancers and Businesses

Employees freelance for a variety of reasons, including the flexibility to make their own hours (37 percent), make more money (39 percent), and achieve a work-life balance (32 percent). Businesses also benefit from this arrangement by getting access to highly skilled workers they need for special projects.

“The freelance economy is a win-win for people who have a desire to work on their own time and companies who want to streamline in-house operations,” said Pat Griffin, enterprise account executive at HourlyNerd, a company that connects businesses who need help with a project with an expert who can do the job. “With smart, collaborative technology becoming more mainstream, the freelance economy enables businesses to redefine their workplace strategy making the physical workspace more effective by establishing efficient team structures and collaboration models.”

Staples serves the freelance community, including businesses, with technology products, a business relevant assortment and critical print and marketing services that can be obtained in store, online or through stapleadvantage.com.

Considerations for Businesses Hiring Freelancers

Freelance workers need temporary access to IT services and equipment, designated desks/workspaces, open communication with coworkers, and necessary supplies for projects. Additionally, businesses should take the following points into consideration:

  • Aligning on a workforce strategy. Human resources and procurement officers need to develop a strategy that balances efficiency, effectiveness, and risk when vetting, managing, and compensating freelancers and contract workers in line with the market.
  • Finding the right mix of face-to-face interaction. Most freelance work should involve some sort of face-to-face interaction, whether the freelancer sits in the office for the duration of the project or has a mix of virtual and in-person work.
  • Providing necessary technology and accommodating personal mobile devices. Businesses should ensure extra equipment such as laptops, docking stations, and monitors are available so freelancers can plug in and get to work without delay. IT departments should also be prepared to incorporate personal mobile technology into their mobile device management service as appropriate.
  • Considering safety concerns. When new freelance employees enter the building, facility managers must provide the necessary safety trainings, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Right to Know standard.
  • Managing expenses for supplies. In some cases, freelancers or contract workers may use their own office supplies and charge it back to the company as an expense, which means negotiated cost savings with office supply providers can be lost. Procurement officers should ensure freelancers and contract workers use company bill codes when acquiring supplies to get company discounts.

Resources:

  • Follow Staples Advantage on Twitter @StaplesB2B to learn more about the Staples Advantage Workplace Index.
  • Visit the Staples Advantage Workplace Index microsite to download the full report.

About Staples Advantage
Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS), serves organizations of 10 or more employees up to the Fortune 1000, helping them make more happen with more products, greater cost savings and improved ordering efficiencies. Staples Advantage provides its customers, including global businesses, local, state and federal government, healthcare organizations and educational institutions, with a one source solution featuring comprehensive products and services like office supplies, technology, printing, promotional products, furniture and facility supplies, along with a customized level of account support and best-in-class customer service. More information is available at www.staplesadvantage.com.

Source: Staples Advantage

Staples, Inc.
Shweta Agarwal, 508-253-8249
shweta.agarwal@staples.com

SOURCE: Staples, Inc.

Staples study: one third of millennials report the higher salary as the biggest contributor to their loyalty

Index Uncovers Five Nontraditional Ways to Attract and Retain Millennial Employees

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., 2015-9-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — Contrary to popular belief, millennials are as motivated by salary as their older cohorts, according to the StaplesAdvantage Workplace Index, a recent study of office workers in the U.S. and Canada, conducted by the business-to-business division of Staples. Almost one third of millennials (29 percent) report that higher salary is the biggest contributor to their loyalty, despite only 20 percent of the broader workforce reporting the same.

“Millennials are becoming the largest demographic in the U.S. workforce – about one third of all workers – so it’s critical for employers to understand how to attract and retain millennial talent,” said John Burke, senior vice president, chief culture officer, Staples, Inc. “Our Workplace Index found that contrary to popular belief, salary is important to millennials, just as it is to older workers.” The survey also revealed that flexibility and office perks are key to retaining to millennials.

Five unconventional ways to attract and retain millennial talent

U.S. office workers as a whole consider title and work responsibilities (38 percent) and work-life balance (30 percent) as leading contributors to their loyalty. Millennials favor more nontraditional benefits in the workplace.

  • Flexibility where and when they work: Over half of millennials report they work from home after the standard work day is done, compared to only 39 percent of all U.S. office workers. Given this, it is no surprise that millennials say more flexibility will improve their happiness (49 percent) and their productivity (59 percent).
  • Office perks promote positive culture: Office perks, such as a gym on site, a well-stocked breakroom, and free lunches, are valuable to millennials. One in five (21 percent) define a good work culture as a place that offers incentives and perks, and nearly half (46 percent) say more office perks would improve their happiness.
  • Eco-friendliness appeals to altruistic millennials: Eco-friendly practices in the workplace can provide benefits not only for the environment, but for recruiting millennials as well. When making an employment decision, half of all millennials say an eco-friendly company is important, compared to only 35 percent of the broader workforce.
  • Improved breakroom and encouraged break time: Over a third of millennials (34 percent) say they feel like they can’t take a break because of guilt, compared to only 22 percent of all U.S. office workers. However, over half of millennials (62 percent) say having a break time to refresh would increase their productivity. Millennials also say a well-stocked breakroom leads to happier employees (57 percent), less stress (35 percent), more productive employees (35 percent), and a more social environment (33 percent).
  • Trust in leadership and relationship with direct boss: Millennials that are not expecting to change jobs note that trust in leadership and trust in their direct boss contributes to their loyalty. In addition, one in five millennials report that their direct boss motivates them to do their best work, and over a third (35 percent) note that strong leadership defines a good work culture. Feedback from their boss is also important to this generation. Nearly one third of millennials (28 percent) say feeling appreciated contributes to their loyalty and 26 percent say recognition motivates them to do their best at work.

The majority of millennials (70 percent) expect to be in a management position in the next five years, compared to 48 percent of the broader workforce. With more millennials expected to rise to management positions in the coming years, we expect these nontraditional benefits to continue to become more prominent in U.S. workplaces.

Key considerations that drive millennial productivity

Millennials seem to be less concerned with technology issues than the broader employee base. While 72 percent of all U.S. office workers say poorly performing technology decreases their productivity, only 56 percent of millennials reported the same. In addition, 49 percent of millennials say limited IT support will decrease productivity, compared to 62 percent of all U.S. office workers.

Millennials are also social media natives, and as such, it does not seem to negatively impact their productivity. In fact, they say the use of social networking sites/tools (28 percent) and apps that track to-do lists (42 percent) actually increase their productivity.

When asked how employers can help employees combat overwork and burnout, the majority of the broader employee base (54 percent) said employers should decrease their workload or provide more time to complete tasks, compared to only 42 percent of millennials. This could be due to millennials having grown up in the digital age where the always-on mentality has dominated, so their threshold for information overload is a bit higher.

Staples Advantage Workplace Index Methodology

The survey was conducted among 2,602 employees 18 or older across a variety of companies, both in size, geography and industry. A total of 1,528 employees were interviewed in the U.S. (1,026 were classified as general workers and 502 as business decision makers). A total of 1,074 employees were interviewed in Canada (744 general office workers and 330 decision makers). The interviews were conducted online by Redshift Research in May 2015. This survey has a margin of error of +/- 1.9 percent at 95 percent confidence limits.

Resources:

  • Follow Staples Advantage on Twitter @StaplesB2B to learn more about the Staples Advantage Workplace Index.
  • Visit the Staples Advantage Workplace Index microsite to download the full report. http://www.staplesadvantage.com/sites/workplace-index/index.html
  • Slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/StaplesAdvantage/nontraditional-ways-to-attract-and-retain-millennials
  • Infographic: http://bit.do/millennialinfographic

About Staples Advantage

Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS), serves organizations of 10 or more employees up to the Fortune 1000, helping them make more happen with more products, greater cost savings and improved ordering efficiencies. Staples Advantage provides its customers, including global businesses, local, state and federal government, healthcare organizations and educational institutions, with a one source solution featuring comprehensive products and services like office supplies, technology, printing, promotional products, furniture and facility supplies, along with a customized level of account support and best-in-class customer service. More information is available at www.staplesadvantage.com.

Source: Staples, Inc.

Staples, Inc.
Shweta Agarwal, 508-253-8249
shweta.agarwal@staples.com