Seventy percent of U.S. office workers and managers report working more than 40 hours a week, and the majority consider the office the most productive place to get work done. But employers need to take action to ensure it remains an inspiring, motivating environment. This, according to the second annual Workplace Index conducted by Staples Business Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc.

Most employees say they’re working longer hours simply to catch up on work they couldn’t tackle during an eight hour day. That workload is taking a toll. Consider:
 • 64 percent of respondents say their workplace has contributed to stress
 • Nearly half report feeling overworked is motivating them to look for another job
 • 13 percent have even taken a workplace stress-related leave of absence

“The Staples Business Advantage Workplace Index provides an important look at the state of the workplace and what employees want and need from their employers,” said Neil Ringel, executive vice president, Staples Business Advantage, North America. “Based on the results, it is evident that employees thrive in a workplace that is sensitive to their needs and well-being. An office outfitted with thoughtful workplace solutions boosts employee productivity and happiness and directly impact the bottom line.”

The Staples Business Advantage Workplace Index 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.

“This study shows that there is a tremendous opportunity for organizations to focus on and design employee experiences where employees truly want to show up,” said Morgan. “Offering employees health and wellness programs, well-designed office environments and up-to-date modern technologies are all a part of that employee experience. This is crucial to be able to attract and retain top talent.”

Despite an increasing number of employees opting for telecommuting and on-demand workspaces, 66 percent of employees consider the office as the most productive place to get work done. Thirty-six percent say it’s the most inspiring place to work as well, more than any other location. But as workers spend more time in the office, the onus falls on employers to keep their employees healthy, productive and inspired.

Offer wellness programs and well-stocked breakrooms
Sixty-two percent of respondents say the availability of a wellness program is a selling point when looking for a new job, but 58 percent say their workplace doesn’t offer one. In a wellness program, employees report they’re looking for fresh foods, onsite gyms and other perks that help improve health and fitness.

Additionally, employees want their kitchen, lounge, café or breakroom to be well-stocked. The survey found successful breakrooms continue to lead to happier and more productive employees, as well as a more social environment and less stress.

Break down productivity barriers so workers can get more done during the workday
Three out of four respondents say their employers do not give them access to the latest technology to help them do their job more efficiently.

Workplace distractions also impact productivity, with top responses being loud co-workers, people coming to talk and email overload.

Design with purpose to ensure employees are in an environment that works for them
There’s still work to be done when it comes to office design, as the majority of survey respondents describe their office as standard, plain and dull – even if they are in an open or hybrid environment. Respondents are looking for natural light, private spaces, standing desks, lounge areas, and ergonomic and flexible furniture for multiple uses.