Survey Says: What's the Secret to Office Productivity? Free Food

More than half of employees say a well-stocked kitchen would make them more productive at work, according to a new survey. Employers, take notice.

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Fast food: More than half of employees say a well-stocked kitchen would make them more productive at work, according to a new survey.It's all about the workers this week. If you still can't afford to give your employees raises, try feeding the beast. Apparently free food is a great staff motivator. And U.S. workers seem willing to move -- just about anywhere -- to get a job. (That's good news if your business is in the boonies.) Here's a closer look at some of the latest small-business surveys.

You Gonna Eat That?

Looking for a way to make your employees more productive? Try feeding them. According to a new survey from Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, time spent leaving the office to get food and beverages eats into productive work hours. More than 85 million people regularly leave the office for coffee, and each trip takes 20 to 40 minutes. (Really? Are they driving across town?) Staples estimates this leads to 2 billion minutes a day, or 10.6 billion hours a year of lost productivity.

Ironically, 80 percent of employees say taking short breaks is important to them and makes them more productive, but when they head to the office kitchen, it's often bare. Most (73 percent) say a well-stocked kitchen would make them happier at work, and 57 percent claim it could lead to increased productivity.

One thing I know for sure: A poorly stocked kitchen can lead to an employee uprising -- and trust me, you don't want to go there.

Hiring Is in the Air

Small businesses are becoming more comfortable living in the cloud, according to a new survey from online employment platform Elance. Most businesses (57 percent) say online hiring is the most important cloud-based tool/service for their companies. These businesses say hiring virtually is cost-effective (78 percent), flexible (74 percent) and a better way to get information about job candidates (63 percent).

Hiring virtual workers is also a good way for small businesses to access the employees they need. Who's in high demand? The survey says the most needed but hardest talents to find -- and afford -- are Web programmers (42 percent), marketing strategy experts (28 percent), graphic designers (28 percent), online marketers (24 percent) and writers (24 percent).

Have Job Opening, Will Travel

Two-thirds of Americans in a recent survey by workforce solutions provider Kelly Services say they're willing to move for the right job -- and many are even ready to relocate abroad.

Of those ready to pack up, 25 percent are only willing to move to another city or town, 22 percent say they would relocate to another state, and 12 percent would actually move to another country or continent. (Two percent are even willing to move to the volatile Middle East.) Perhaps not surprisingly, Gen Y is most willing to move (19 percent), followed by Gen X (13 percent) and baby boomers (9 percent).

One reason for the flexibility could be that more than 25 percent of survey respondents:
  • Have more than one job
  • Put in long or unusual hours
  • Have jobs that take them away from home or involve excessive travel

With job creation still lagging, it seems U.S. workers are willing to take anything they can get.

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at and visit to sign up for her free TrendCast reports.

Tags: Business Trends, coffee breaks, Elance, employee productivity, HR, human resources, jobs, jobs abroad, Kelly Services, management, productivity, Rieva Lesonsky, Staples, Survey Says

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