Editor’s Comment

Office Products International editor Felicity Francis on flexible working and all the latest industry issues.


Let’s be flexible

In developed economies, flexible working has become a hot topic; compressing working hours into a four-day week, taking extended holidays or working from home a few days a week are some examples. We’ve even discussed it in the OPI offices over a morning coffee, debating the pros and cons of moving away from standard office hours. 

It’s clearly a trend in younger workforces. An Ipsos MORI survey found that about seven out of ten ‘Generation Y’ employees (those born after the early 1980s) look for flexible working opportunities when selecting an employer. Similarly, research from Talentsmoothie found that 85% of the generation want to spend 30-70% of their time working from home. Many firms are seeking to lure in young talent with flexible working offers, such as Procter & Gamble which not only highlights flexible hours and the ability to work from home, but hints at promises of three-month sabbaticals and ‘gap years’. It seems that work is now considered as something to do, not somewhere to go.

In this issue’s Hot Topic, Heike Dieckmann explores the growing SOHO market, which includes this group of professionals eager to maximise their time, as well as the growing set of people setting up businesses at home. An expanding number of people around the world are looking to kit out home office spaces and this poses a serious opportunity for the office products industry. While we consider the impact of technology on the OP needs of younger generations, we should certainly not ignore the new expectations that they have from a work-life balance, and who will be buying home office supplies in the future. 

Felicity Francis, Editor