Report: How to Fight Burnout and Keep Employees Motivated

staples burnout

Employees in U.S. companies have to work longer hours just to keep up, cites a new report from Staples, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS), released today. But with the extra time comes an increased risk for burnout. Read on to discover how to fight burnout and keep employees motivated.

The second annual Workplace Index, conducted by Staples Business Advantage, examines how employees have increasingly developed a love-hate relationship with the office — with the majority working more than 40 hours a week.

According to the Index, 70 percent of U.S. office workers and managers report working more than 40 hours a week, mainly to catch up on work they can’t accomplish in an eight-hour workday. As a result, they also report increased stress, lower morale (leading them to look for another job) and the need to take stress-related leaves of absence as indicators of burnout.

Fight Burnout and Keep Employees Motivated

Employers Find Solutions to Employee Burnout

To address the issue of burnout and how to keep employees motivated, employers have cobbled together a variety of solutions, says the report. These include wellness programs, well-stocked, clean break rooms, state-of-the-art technology and offices designed to keep workers motivated and inspired.

Of the solutions, perks that improve health and fitness top the list, according to survey respondents. That includes the wellness programs and breakrooms, mentioned above. More social environments and breaking down productivity barriers also factor highly.

“Based on the results [of the Index], it is evident that employees thrive in a workplace that is sensitive to their needs and well-being,” says Neil Ringel, executive vice president, Staples Business Advantage, North America. “An office outfitted with thoughtful workplace solutions boosts employee productivity and happiness and directly impact the bottom line.”

How Small Businesses Can Keep Employees Motivated

Jacob MorganStaple’s created this year’s study in conjunction with Jacob Morgan, best-selling author of The Future of Work and co-founder of the Future of Work Community, a brand council consisting of forward-thinking organizations that meet regularly to discuss workplace issues.

Small Business Trends contacted Morgan before today’s release to talk about how small businesses can keep employees motivated. He replied with the following advice in an email exchange.

“The first thing to realize I always tell organizations is ‘stop trying to be Google,” Morgan says. “Often, what is more valuable than a perk is a progressive way of working. For example, it doesn’t cost much to get rid of annual employee reviews, create a flexible work environment and an internal innovation incubator program. This is far more valuable than having a masseuse on-site. Budget is not an excuse for not focusing on employee experience.”

Morgan cites three companies — Nearsoft, Centro and BlueShore Financial — as having been recognized as best places to work. Yet most people have never heard of them, he says, even though the three companies have several hundred employees each.

He adds that, in addition to creating a more employee-centric workplace environment, small businesses can help keep employees motivated by:

  • Breaking needs down by culture, technology and physical space;
  • Asking employees what they care about most in each of these areas and letting them vote;
  • Reviewing the employee ideas and seeing which ones are scalable and practical and which ones are not. “Be transparent with employees and let them know what is possible and what isn’t and why,” Morgan said.

Address Workplace Distractions to Keep Employees Motivated

The Index lists workplace distractions as another factor impacting productivity, with respondents citing “loud co-workers, people coming to talk and email overload” as the chief culprits.

In response, Morgan says that, although distractions are unavoidable and a part of life, companies can take some proactive steps, which include:

  • Creating multiple floor plans at work so employees can select the environment they want to work in;
  • Providing space, such as a small pod or quiet area where employees can focus;
  • Enabling flexible work options so that employees can work from home or a co-working spot;
  • Coming up with creative ways for employees to communicate non-verbally when they need focus time. “I’ve seen employees put little flags on their desks, use stickers or even lights to help signify they are in a certain ‘mode’ of working,” Morgan said.

Office Design Can Improve Productivity and Keep Employees Motivated

The way an office is designed directly affects workplace productivity, states the Index.

“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,” the Index says. “Respondents are looking for natural light, private spaces, standing desks, lounge areas and ergonomic and flexible furniture for multiple uses.”

Remarking about productivity and the role office design plays, Morgan says, “Sometimes this isn’t an office design problem, so the first step is to figure if office design is indeed the solution. If it is, then I’d only focus on understanding how and why employees work and design the office to accommodate the multiple options employees need.”

He advises employers to think of the office as a house.

“Each room serves a specific purpose and each space in your office also needs to serve a specific purpose,” he says.

Visit the Staples Business Advantage website, to learn more about the workplace index, download a fact sheet fact sheet and visit its resource hub, to get advice on achieving better work-life balance.

Staples Business Advantage is the contract division of Staples Inc. and provides office products, technology products, facilities supplies and breakroom supplies to businesses and institutions.

Image: Staples

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Black Friday’s Record Sales Driven by Mobile Devices, Finds Report

Black Friday's Record Sales Driven by Mobile Devices, Finds Report
Adobe’s survey estimated sales of $3.05 billion on Black Friday 2016
Mobiles drove the majority of retail sites visits at 56 percent
iOS continued to drive larger sales than Android
In a first, online shopping on Black Friday is estimated to have hit the $3 billion mark in the US with a major chunk of the total sales coming from mobile devices, a report said on Saturday.

Adobe Digital Insights, which has been tracking e-commerce transactions, estimated sales of $3.05 billion (roughly Rs. 20,918 crores) on Black Friday 2016 – up 11.4 percent from the same day last year.

A TechCrunch report, citing the Adobe survey, noted mobiles had a significant impact on the record e-commerce sales on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

“Major retailers, like Amazon, Walmart, Target and eBay, noted that mobile traffic and sales were on the rise,” the report said.

Walmart and Target said the website traffic on Thanksgiving for mobile stood at over 70 percent and 60 percent respectively.

“This trend continued into Black Friday, as the sales event is currently tracking to bring in $1.13 billion (roughly Rs. 7,751 crores) in revenue, which is up 25 percent year-over-year,” the report noted.
In retail stores also, mobiles drove the majority of retail sites visits at 56 percent – most of that (47 percent) was from smartphones, as opposed to tablets (9 percent).
“The negative impact on online shopping we saw following the election has not been fully made up, but consumers are back online and shopping,” Tamara Gaffney, Principal Analyst and Director, Adobe Digital Insights, was quoted as saying.

“As spending ramps up on Black Friday, we are back on track. We still expect Cyber Monday to surpass Black Friday and become the largest online sales day in history with $3.36 billion,” she added.

In addition, iOS continued to drive larger sales than Android. The average order value on iOS devices was $144 compared with $136 on Android.

Adobe also noted this year’s top-selling electronics were Apple iPad tablets, Samsung 4K TVs, the Apple MacBook Air laptops, LG TVs, and Microsoft Xbox consoles.

Tags: Black Friday, Black Friday 2016, Electronics, Mobiles, Smatphones, Tablets, E Commerce, Black Friday Sales


Google Pixel Phone Users Report Screenshots From iPhone 7 Plus Devices Are Being Distorted

Google Pixel Phone Users Report Screenshots From iPhone 7 Plus Devices Are Being Distorted

Photo Credit: Android Police
Only screenshots received from iPhone 7 Plus are distorted
The issue does not crop up when screenshot is shared by Pixel with iPhone
Home screen screenshots are not distorted
After being plagued by Bluetooth pairing and LTE connectivity issues, Pixel phone users are now reporting another bug. According to user reports, screenshots sent from an iPhone 7 Plus to a Google Pixel or Google Pixel XL phone are getting distorted automatically.

The distorted screenshot issue is being discussed on a Google Product forums page extensively, and users are reporting that only a screenshot received from an iPhone 7 Plus is affected. The iPhone 7 Plus is Apple’s latest most expensive iPhone offering in the market. The issue appears when a screenshot is sent via hangouts or any other SMS/MMS app. Furthermore, sending a screenshot of the home screen does not cause any distortion, but a screenshot from within any app – be it first-party or third-party – gets distorted.

(Also see:Google Pixel Phones Make Android’s Fragmentation Problem Worse)

The issue is said to only occur when a screenshot is shared by an iPhone 7 Plus user with a Pixel phone user, and not vice versa. This means screenshots sent through a Pixel phone to an iPhone 7 Plus user are received without any hiccups. Apart from Pixel phone users, some Nexus 6 users running on Android 7.1 Nougat have also taken to the forum to report the same issue. As Nexus 6 has not got the Android 7.1 Developer Preview yet, these phones might have presumably installed it via a custom ROM. However, this hints that there is some issue in how image processing is handled on Android 7.1 Nougat. There is no word on if Google intends to roll out a fix for this or not.

Just to recap, Pixel phones were earlier plagued with a connectivity issue particularly on the LTE band 4 frequency, which seems to have been fixed with the latest security patch rolled out last week. However, some users are still reporting that Bluetooth pairing issues with their cars through their Pixel phones.

Tags: iPhone 7 Plus Screenshot, Google Pixel Glitch, Google Pixel XL Screenshot, Mobiles, Android, Google


MacBook Pro With Touch Bar Has Non-Upgradeable SSD Chips, Users Report

MacBook Pro With Touch Bar Has Non-Upgradeable SSD Chips, Users Report

MacBook Pro With Touch Bar Has Non-Upgradeable SSD Chips, Users Report
MacBook Pro With Touch Bar has non-removable SSDs
This means users cannot upgrade their flash memory
Also, if the logic board fails, all data will be lost
The base MacBook Pro variant teardown has been done extensively, and all reports bear good news – the SSD is removable and replaceable. This is important because in the future, if users want to upgrade their SSD, they can do so. However, the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar doesn’t follow the same pattern. Apparently, some owners have found that the SSD chips in the Touch Bar variant are soldered to the logic board.

MacRumors readers have discovered that ‘memory chips and controller are soldered, seemingly on both sides of the motherboard’. This is problematic, as users do not have the option to upgrade their storage if they so desire. To put it simply, the amount of storage you choose at the time of purchase, cannot be upgraded later on, and you will be stuck with that much flash storage for the rest of the product’s life.

This soldering of SSD chips is seen for the first time on the MacBook Pro lineup. It is important to reiterate that the new MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar has removable SSDs, as per official teardown reports. The only other laptop from Apple to have the memory chip soldered to the logic board is the 12-inch MacBook.

This also puts emphasis on backing up of data that is stored on MacBook Pro, to prevent any data loss due to a logic board failure. The MacBook Pro with Touch Bar hasn’t gone through any official teardowns by iFixit and the others, and more clarity on its repairability will be known then.

In the meanwhile, another MacBook Pro with Touch Bar user said that once the laptop was opened up, a large gap was noticed around the batteries – almost as if smaller batteries were used in the slot. Separately, The Verge and Business Insider report that the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar units they tested had significantly lower battery life than advertised. While Apple claims a 10-hour battery life, the two publications reported battery life of 5-6 hours and 6-8 hours respectively.

Tags: MacBook Pro, PCs, Laptops, Apple, MacBook Pro 2016, Touch Bar, SSD Chip


Nintendo to End Wii U Production This Week: Report

Nintendo to End Wii U Production This Week: Report


  • The final Wii U will roll off Nintendo’s production line this week
  • This comes after the company revealed the Nintendo Switch
  • More information on the Nintendo Switch will be available from January 12

With the Nintendo Switch announced and rumours of a Switch Pro in the works, it appears that the Kyoto-based company has finally ended Wii U production.

According to a report from Eurogamer, Nintendo will end Wii U production this Friday citing multiple sources.

“At the last official count, as of 30th September, Nintendo had shipped 13.36m Wii U consoles. The console’s final tally will likely now be only slightly more,” writes Eurogamer’s Tom Phillips. “Nintendo’s Japanese production line will shut down for the last time this week after the final deadline for orders passed yesterday, Eurogamer understands. Only a small number of further orders were placed.”

This follows a report from UK retailer Gameseek that claimed Nintendo had asked retailers to place their final orders.

“Nintendo is now taking final orders on Wii U consoles. Those that haven’t ordered by the end of next week (Friday September 30) will not be able to order the Wii U again from Nintendo,” a post on UK retailer Gameseek reads. Evidently to make room for the Switch – details of which, including price, will be known on January 12.The new device features a tablet-like display unit that can dock at home and connect with a TV, or be taken out and about with two detachable controllers. Nintendo is betting the hybrid approach will help the Switch become a hit like the Wii, its most-successful console ever thanks to its motion-tracking controllers.

As for Switch’s software, he said Nintendo made a deliberate decision not to disclose specific titles: “One thing we still can’t show is the software lineup. We want people to touch the device in January and experience the software for themselves.” Several reports pegged the price of the Switch to be on the higher side compared to the Wii.

“A long-in-the-works revamp to the company’s consoles — the NX, with reveal coming next week — is liable to come at a price that will result in a “major” disappointment for volume sales, the firm Macquarie says,” according to a post on investor website Seeking Alpha. “Speculation is putting the price of the new console between $300 and $350, in line with competing consoles, vs. the Wii’s former discount to rival boxes from Sony and Microsoft.”

Tags: Wii U, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo NX, Nintendo Switch Release Date, Wii U End of Life, Nintendo

Google’s Standalone Mixed Reality Headset Will Integrate Eye-Tracking: Report

Google's Standalone Mixed Reality Headset Will Integrate Eye-Tracking: Report


  • Google’s alleged new headset to include eye-tracking tech
  • The headset is also said to pack sensors
  • The VR headset won’t require any phone

Google has been rumoured to be working on a high-end standalone VR (virtual reality) headset which is said to blur the lines between virtual reality and augmented reality for a while now. Now a latest report claims that Google’s upcoming mixed reality headset will integrate eye-tracking features and both motion and positional awareness.

Engadget citing some people familiar with the matter reports that the new VR headset will also use “algorithms to map out the real-world space in front of a user.” The mixed reality headset from Google will be also able to augment the reality in front of the headset which means it will be capable of showing digital objects, and also use sensors to map out the real world around the user.

The report adds that Movidius is currently providing chips that will help in tracking motion and positional awareness. Notably, Movidius is a machine vision firm in the process of being acquired and also powers Project Tango. The report again stressed that the standalone headset will not require any other hardware including a desktop or mobile to run. The upcoming Google VR headset is said to compete with the likes of HTC Vive and Facebook’s Oculus Rift.

The new report also goes in-line with Google acquiring Eyefluence, which is working to enable eye movements to control digital screens. The new Google-acquired company began its journey in 2013 and worked on coming up with ways to interact with augmented and virtual reality displays. The company is currently working on advanced eye-interaction technology.Earlier this month, Google unveiled the new Daydream View VR headset which it claimed was designed and developed by it and was the company’s first Daydream-ready headset and controller. The Daydream View comes with an auto-alignment system for compatible phones as well. The Daydream View controller sports sensors and is capable of understanding movements and gestures.

Tags: Augmented Reality, Daydream, Google, VR, Wearables

Many Small Businesses Aren’t Marketing to Millennials, Says Manta Report


Small business owners are missing out on a potentially big piece of the action by not marketing to millennials, a key consumer demographic, according to a recently released survey.

Only 15 percent of small businesses across all industries are marketing to millennials, the survey resultsreveal.

As a result “the vast majority are missing out on a large and powerful segment of the consumer population,” says Manta, which released the data. The company polled 791 of it small business members to produce the report.

Targeting Millennials is difficult. The market is fragmented, for one thing, with some preferring the “yuccies” label (for Young Urban Creatives) versus the larger “hipster” Millennial group that some companies gear their marketing efforts towards.

Small business respondents offered a list of reasons why 85 percent of them are not marketing to millennials. (Manta polled 791 small business owners this past April via online survey for the results.)

Most (26 percent) say they lack the budget. Almost as many (25 percent) simply don’t believe Millennials are significant consumers.

Still, marketing products to this consumer group is well worth the effort, according to Manta, which notes that 80 percent of small business owners who do market to them see positive results.

The majority (55 percent) of businesses polled that focus on millennials do so via social media, primarily using Facebook, the dominating platform by far.

Manta notes:

“A closer look at small business owners’ social media efforts to reach Millennials reveals that … Facebook still dominates the social network arena, with 63 percent of social communication between business owner and Millennial customer, followed by LinkedIn with 18 percent.”

Some small businesses — particularly online-based entities offering convenience services – certainly cater to Millennials in other ways, if not by marketing to them as consumers.

Considered “the most tech-savvy generation,” millennials tend to spend a lot on online services such as Uber and TaskRabbit. This is why more than half (57 percent) of small business owners have changed or are planning to change their products and services to better cater to this generation.

For those interested in learning more about millennials and how to target this overlooked generation, Manta is offering access to a free on-demand webinar featuring Millennial marketing expert Brendan Shaughnessy.

Young Professional Photo via Shutterstock


India Ranked Top Exporter of Information, Communication Technology: UN Report

India Ranked Top Exporter of Information, Communication Technology: UN Report


  • India ranked 8th in the world for producing graduates in science and engineering
  • India’s “jugaad” tradition of innovation can help it capture global markets
  • Areas where India is lagging include the business environment & education

India has been ranked the world’s top exporter of information and communication technology in a UN agency report that recommended that the country leverage this lead to innovate in emerging areas where biology and materials sciences intersect with computing.

Overall, India leapt 14 places from the 85th rank last year to the 61st in the latest Global Innovation Index (GII) released in Geneva by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo) in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Monday.

India ranked 8th in the world for producing graduates in science and engineering and showed the most significant improvements in human capital and research moving up 40 places to 63.

Wipo, a specialised agency of the UN, worked also with Cornell University and INSEAD, the international business school, to prepare the ninth edition of the index.

In a nod to India’s “jugaad” tradition of innovation, the report said that its culture of “frugality and sustainability” can help it capture global markets.

“For this to happen, however, India’s industries need to have the hunger to be at the top of the value chain, its customers have to be more demanding, its policies have to be more transparent, and its talent pool has to get more hands-on experience while simultaneously growing to leverage the global talent pool,” the report said.

Wipo quoted CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee as saying: “The commitment of India to innovation and improved innovation metrics is strong and growing, helping to improve the innovation environment. This trend will help gradually lift India closer to other top-ranked innovation economies.”

Areas where India is lagging include the business environment, where it is ranked 117, and education at the 118th spot.

To leapfrog into the emerging areas that combine biology, computing and material sciences, the report recommended that the industry double its research and development (R&D) investment and the government provide R&D grants to industry.

“Investing in innovation is critical to raising long-term economic growth,” Wipo Director-General Francis Gurry said while presenting the report. “In this current economic climate, uncovering new sources of growth and leveraging the opportunities raised by global innovation are priorities for all stakeholders.”

Another recommendation was to developing the research capabilities of universities. “Industry and government should team up with universities to create meaningful graduate research programmes utilizing global collaboration models where appropriate,” the report said.

In these emerging fields, the report said: “Applications include developing sustainable fuels for transportation, predicting and preventing disease, determining ways to improve wellness, and delivering better nutrition” – areas that meet immediate needs of India.

The report cited the US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue as initiatives that had the potential for bilateral funding of R&D.

Among innovators in India measured by the number of patents obtained in the last five years, Infosys led with 281; it was followed by TCS with 244, Ranbaxy 196, Wockhardt 160, and SunPharma 84.

During this period, about 2,000 patents received by GE had Indian inventors, the report said. IBM came next with Indians involved in nearly 1,900 patents.

Overall, Switzerland ranked first globally as the most innovative economy on the index. It was followed by Sweden, Britain, the United States, Finland and Singapore. China for the first time muscled its way into the ranks of the top 25, just landing the spot.

Tags: IT, India, Information Technology, Infosys, UN, United Nations



iPhone 7 May Face Supply Shortage at Launch: Report

iPhone 7 May Face Supply Shortage at Launch: Report


  • Blass says that he is confident about the September 16 launch date
  • Next iPhone coud be called the iPhone 7 or iPhone 6SE
  • The larger variant will sport a dual camera setup

It’s the end of August, and there is no Apple invite. This silence from the Cupertino giant is getting people a bit edgy, and we are now starting to question all previous rumours. However, this delay could possibly be because of the production difficulties Apple is currently facing.

A new report from Nikkei claims that the iPhone is going through production mishaps leading shortages in supply chain. A fair number of faulty components could lead to less stock on launch day. “If Apple sticks to its launch schedule from last year, there may not be enough supply at the beginning, as some suppliers are still trying to fix low yield rates of their components,” the paper cites an industry source familiar with the matter to say.

Furthermore, Yuanta Investment Consulting analyst Jeff Pu claims that this year almost 10 million fewer iPhone 7 units will be manufactured, than last year’s iPhone 6s. To put things into further perspective, the iPhone 6s also faced significant shortage at launch.

Alongside, noted tipster Evan Blass has again reiterated that Apple will release the next iPhone into the market on September 16. He retweeted his July tweet that hinted at a US market release of September 16, and quoted, “FWIW, I’m very confident on this date.” Apple traditionally hosts an event a week before the smartphone hits the market. This means any time in the next week, largely expected to be on September 7. Blass is rarely wrong, so Apple is still expected to send out invites some time this week. There’s also a report that tips carrier availability a little later on September 23.


While the launch date mystery continues, rumours suggest that the iPhone 7 will come with little change in design. The camera at the back will have a protective ring around it and the antenna bands have been shifted to the edges. It will see camera upgrades, the new iOS 10 running out-of-the-box, and a new Force Touch Home button possibly. There’s also the big absence of the 3.5mm audio jackthis time around. Apple says goodbye to the 16GB variant, and is looking to replace it with 32GB as the base storage variant. The other storage options will be 128GB and 256GB.

The larger Apple smartphone will see many hardware upgrades like the dual camera setup, and aSmart Connector as well. To accommodate all of this, Apple will also introduce a new 3GB RAM. Both the variants will come with the new A10 chipset.

Lastly, but importantly, there’s a lot of noise about the next iPhone being called the iPhone 6SE. This is due to the minimal design changes, and one of the latest leak even shows the final retail box with the iPhone 6SE branding on it. Whatever may be the name, expect the next iPhone to go out of stock real soon.

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Tags: Apple, iPhone, iPhone 7, Mobiles, iOS, iPhone 6SE, iPhone 7 plus



Telegram Responds to Report of Massive Hack

Telegram Responds to Report of Massive Hack


  • Telegram says only publicly available information was accessed
  • Company admits 15 million account numbers were confirmed to be from Iran
  • Telegram disregards reports of account access by SMS interception

Messaging app Telegram has on Tuesday responded to media reports that claimed a hacker attack that originated in Iran was not a “massive” one and only publicly available information was exposed to hackers. The company however, acknowledged that 15 million accounts from Iran were confirmed to be registered with the app as part of the attack.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that Iranian hackers have compromised more than a dozen accounts on the Telegram and identified the phone numbers of around 15 million Iranian users.

According to the report, cyber researchers have claimed that the hackers belonged to a group called Rocket Kitten, and used Persian-language references in their code and carried out “a common pattern of spearphishing campaigns reflecting the interests and activities of the Iranian security apparatus.”

Telegram has claimed that individual accounts were not accessed as part of the attack and said in its blog post, “Such mass checks are no longer possible since we introduced some limitations into our API this year.”

However, the company did acknowledge that its messaging app has direct correlation with phone’s contacts, and therefore it is potentially possible for “any party” to have checked if a particular phone number was registered in their system. The company pointed out that other platforms like WhatsAppand Facebook Messenger carry the same risk.


In response to allegations that certain accounts were accessed via SMS interception, Telegram has said that it released a warning for its users regarding the same earlier this year and also introduced its 2-Step verification to protect its users from such situations.

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Tags: Hackers, Internet, Messaging App, Social, Telegram, Apps, Hack, Hacking