SOURCE: Staples Business Advantage Canada

Staples Business Advantage Canada

November 30, 2016 07:00 ET

Survey Shows Distinct Differences in Canadian Generational Workplace Needs

Staples Business Advantage 2016 Workplace Index Shows Workers of Different Age Groups Have Unique Office Preferences

MISSISSAUGA, ON--(Marketwired - November 30, 2016) - Canadians are living and working longer than in the past, which means employers are faced with the challenge of managing five generations in the workplace -- and the generation more motivated at work by a sense of purpose may not be who you think. Baby Boomers (41 per cent) are more motivated by having a sense of purpose at work than their younger counterparts, Generation X (27 per cent) and Millennials (23 per cent) according to the Staples Business Advantage 2016 Workplace Index.

The five generations, Generation Z (under 18 years old), Generation Y/Millennials (18-33 years old), Generation X (34-50 years old), Baby Boomers (51-70 years old), and in some instances even the Greatest Generation (over 70 years old) do share some similarities in workplace preferences; however, there are also marked differences, and employers need to make sure they are meeting their workers' needs.

"It's important for employers to remember there are several generations represented in today's workforce," said Scott D'Cunha, vice president of marketing, e-commerce and communications, Staples Business Advantage Canada. "While these generations do have much in common, there are also key differences and organizations must take these differences into account to ensure a happy and productive workforce."

For example, burnout is prevalent among the three generations with the most workforce members -- Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers. Forty-one per cent of Millennials, 39 per cent of Gen X, and 29 per cent of Boomers say burnout is motivating them to look for a new job. To avoid burnout, Boomers and Gen X would like their employers to lower their workloads and provide more time to complete tasks, while Millennials would prefer to have more flexible schedules.

Different Motivations
Boomers are most motivated by having a sense of purpose at work, followed by salary. Gen X and Millennials, on the other hand, both rank salary as their top motivator. Gen X ranked a sense of purpose second, while Millennials listed passion as their second most important motivator.

The ability to work from home is crucial for Millennials, as that is where they are most inspired to work. However, Millennials are outliers in this aspect, as Gen X and Boomers prefer a traditional workplace and are most inspired at their desk in the office.

Office Design Boosts Workplace Satisfaction
All generations share the desire for a well-designed office. Forty-nine per cent of Millennials, 48 per cent of Gen X, and 37 per cent of Boomers want their employers to pay more attention to office design

Natural light is the most important office feature for all three generations. Boomers and Gen X are also interested in private spaces and more ergonomic furniture, while Millennials cited standing desks and lounge areas as preferred design choices.

Wellness and Productivity
Seventy-four per cent of Millennials, 64 per cent of Gen X, and 51 per cent of Boomers say the availability of a wellness program, including the availability of fresh foods, is a selling point when looking for a new job. After fresh foods, Gen X and Millennials look for fitness tracking wearable devices and onsite gyms.

Many Millennials (49 per cent) and Gen X (50 per cent) feel they have too much work to take time to get up from their desks. However, only 41 per cent of Boomers feel similarly. Breaks are important as more than 70 per cent of each generation agrees that taking a break makes them feel more productive throughout the day. Employers can encourage workers to take breaks by providing comfortable breakrooms fully stocked with snacks and drinks so employees can relax and recharge.

"It's promising that all generations said they think working in a five generation workplace is more fun, creative, inspiring, trusting, and fosters an environment of learning," said Jacob Morgan, best-selling author of The Future of Work, Futurist, and Co-founder of the Future of Work Community. "Managing five generations poses a challenge for employers, and as Gen Z continues to enter the workplace in larger numbers, it's critical for organizations to ensure they understand their workforce's needs."


The Staples Business Advantage Workplace Index was conducted online among 1,995 employees in the U.S. (936 were classified as general officer workers and 1,059 as business decision makers) and 1,110 in Canada (468 general officer workers and 542 business decision makers) by Morar Consulting in March 2016. This survey has a margin of error of +/- 1.8 per cent at 95 per cent confidence limits.

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Staples Business Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc., helps mid-market, commercial and enterprise-sized customers make more happen by offering a curated assortment of products and services combined with deep expertise, best-in-class customer service, competitive pricing and a state-of-the-art ecommerce site. Staples Business Advantage is the one-source solution for all things businesses need to succeed, including office supplies, facilities cleaning and maintenance, breakroom snacks and beverages, technology, furniture, interior design and Print & Marketing Services. Headquartered outside of Boston, Staples, Inc. operates throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

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