Print and Paper in a Digital World: Key US Survey Findings


5 New Year Resolutions for Your Office Design

The end of the year is here, and that means you’re busy celebrating – and thinking about a fresh new start in 2018. If you’re hoping to make your business more successful and your employees happier and more productive, you might want to look into your office design. Believe it or not, the design (or lack thereof) of your space could be affecting your employee morale, productivity, and creativity. So if you’re thinking of New Year’s resolutions, show some love to that office space – your business and your employees will thank you.

Collaborate more

When it comes to inspiring creativity, the more minds that come together, the better. And if your office doesn’t exactly encourage collaboration, it’s time to make some modern steps toward a better workspace. Today, office design is turning more and more to open, collaborative space rather than a series of offices or divided cubicles. Sure, everyone needs to put their head down and get some work down now and then, but too many walls can stifle creative thinking. If you need some quiet space, sanction a few offices or conference rooms for that purpose. But keep in mind that these don’t need to be “traditional” offices – assigned based on seniority. A flexible space allows everyone what they need at the moment – whether that’s a place to pow-wow with coworkers or a quiet spot to jump into a spreadsheet.Collaborate with Coworkers

Lighten up

If your office space is bright, white and completely artificial, your employees could likely use a little more natural light. Today’s optimal workspace use natural light rather than the depressing fluorescent ceiling lights of yesteryear. Studies have shown that natural light not only improves employees’ health (goodbye, endless sick days!), but it also encourages productivity. If you can’t move to a new, lighter space this year, then take a good look at how you’re using your office space. Do you have high cubicle walls that are blocking the windows from most of your employees? Are the windows obstructed by ugly filing cabinets or boxes? It may be time to rethink the light – and let it in!

Scale back

A cluttered workspace often means a cluttered brain – and if you’ve got a dozen employees, well, that’s a lot of cluttered brains. If you’ve ever grown out of an office space, you know what it’s like to have boxes stacked in corners, file cabinets everywhere you look and miscellaneous desk supplies filling every nook and cranny. If your space isn’t exactly making your creative juices flow, try decluttering. Do you need 100 copies of that ad you ran back in 2001? Is there a reason you need ten printers and 547 staplers?  And as you clear the clutter, you’ll likely clear your head, too.

Color it

“White, gray and taupe always inspire my creativity,” said no office worker ever. If your office looks like someone dumped a can of hospital paint all over it, make 2017 the year you let the color in. That doesn’t mean your space needs to look like a unicorn threw up in it, but a good office designer can help you add pops of color – like bright chairs, rugs, and accent walls. As an employer, the colors you choose for your office can help you encourage certain feelings in your employees. For example, some colors are calming, while others invoke a sense of energy and excitement. For example, you might use light blue in a break room to encourage a sense of calm, while adding red to a conference room or collaborative space to boost energy.

Ready to start a 2018 transformation? We can help.

Birmingham Strickland Thanksgiving Lunch

One of the best office traditions is the Thanksgiving pot luck lunch. On this hallowed day, we thought we’d share some of Strickland with you:

Misty Minor – CSR

Weslie Whatley – Receptionist

Chancie Rogers – CSR

Eric Upshaw – Sales Representative

Tracey Wise – Packaging Purchasing/Office Manager

BT Tynes – President

Carlos Singleton – Packaging Shipping and Receiving

Beth Swindle – Packaging Purchasing Assistant/CSR

Forsyth White- Sales Representative

Sonny Randolph – Warehouse Manager

Amanda Akers

Susan Crawford – Contract Sales Specialist

Beau Tynes – Vice President

Ashleigh Trivette

Mary Perry – Sales Representative

Holly Stiles – BP Operations

Samantha Calvert – Accounts Payable

Taylor Ragsdale – Paper Purchasing Assistant

Morgan Watts – Paper Purchasing Assistant

Karla Centers – Accounts Payable


22 Work-Appropriate Halloween Costumes

Even if your workplace is cool with Halloween costumes, it can become a little tricky to find something totally work-appropriate. A face full of fake blood or dressed head-to-toe as a wedge of cheese might be sort of distracting at that 3pm board meeting. If you’re struggling to come up with a Halloween idea that’s both creative and SFW, these costumes are sure to do the trick.

HR Vampire

1. Vampire: Forget the gory makeup and blood capsules — all you need is a large cape, widow’s peak, teeth and some black lipstick. (via Brit + Co)

HR Bat

2. Bat: Keeping the costume minimal for the workplace is always a good idea. They’re probably still expecting you to get stuff done, after all. All this costume calls for is an all-black ensemble with a sewn-in cape. (via Again We Say Rejoice)

HR Aquarium

3. Aquarium: Hey, moms-to-be, get a little creative this year and head to the office as an aquarium. The costume itself is super easy to make, so you can get back to the important things, like, you know, growing a tiny human. (via Brit + Co)


HR Awkward Picture

4. Awkward School Photo: Halloween doesn’t fall on a #TBT this year, but you can still take a stroll down awkward memory lane as a throwback version of yourself. (via Jessica Hische)


HR Cruella

6. Cruella de Vil: Channel this classic Disney villain with an oversized coat, red vintage flats and some seriously wicked eye makeup. (via @101dal__)


HR Cat Woman

7. Catwoman: This HR-approved ensemble is tame but fierce. Okay, maybe (definitely) leave the whip at home. (via Brit + Co)


HR Ice Cream

8. Ice Cream Cone: Head to the thrift store for a white dress (think: lots of tulle), add the sprinkles and a cone hat and voila! This is kind of the cutest costume ever, and it’s totally perfect for the office. (via Treasures and Travels)


HR Cat

9. Purrfect Black Cat: Cats are always a safe option for the workplace, and this costume is way better than just a couple of painted on whiskers and a tail. Pick your favorite statement necklace and jazz up this Halloween costume staple. (via Brit + Co)

HR KAte Middleton

10. Kate Middleton: This spot-on interpretation of Princess Kate is a great choice for the workplace. And there are tons of A+ Princess Kate looks to inspire. (via @awesomejaymee)


Hhr Sugar Cookie

11. Pink Sugar Cookie: If you haven’t tried these sugary angels yet, you’d better head to the store ASAP. They’re totally worthy of their own (office-safe) Halloween costume. (via A Joyful Riot)


HHr Dorothy

12. Dorothy, The Wizard Of Oz: If you have a pet-friendly office, we highly encourage you to bring your own Toto to work. (via The Joy Of Fashion)


HR Mary Kate Ashley

13. Mary-Kate and Ashley: These costumes call for a serious dive into your local vintage store. (via Brit + Co)


Hr Mime

14. Mime: This Halloween, put your striped shirt and black denim to good use. The best part? You have an excuse not to talk to that co-worker who you kind of can’t stand. (via Brit + Co)


HR Queen Of Hearts

15. Queen Of Hearts: This makeup look calls for items that are probably already in your makeup bag. Just grab a deck of playing cards and get snipping! (via Brit + Co)



16. Hamburglar: With this costume, you’ll definitely be asked to head out on the office takeout run for lunch. (via What I Wore)


Hhr Rosie

17. Rosie the Riveter: This timeless tough girl always makes for a great costume. (via Brit + Co)

18. Fred Flinstone: Just put some shoes on, please.


19. Bill Lumbergh: Yeah, that’d be great.

Image result for men office halloween

20. Where’s Waldo: Perfect for hipster Tim in IT.

21. Forrest Gump


22. Wayne’s World




What will you be for Office Halloween? Share your pictures with us on our Facebook Page.

Survey: Outdoor Workers Should Be Provided Sunscreen

Skin cancer is by far the most common form of cancer and too much exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) radiation increases the risk of skin cancer. However, according to a 2016 survey Deb Group commissioned, 71 percent of outdoor workers are not provided sunscreen by their employer’s to use at work.

A new survey commissioned by Deb Group, and conducted online by Harris Poll among 2,057 U.S. adults aged 18 and older, examines the public’s opinions on sunscreen at businesses. The study found that 74 percent of Americans believe businesses with outdoor workers (ground care and window washers, for example) should provide sunscreen for their employees to use while at work.

“Outdoor workers naturally spend more time exposed to UV radiation, putting them at greater risk of sun damage and the potential of developing skin cancers,” said Isabelle Faivre, Vice President of Marketing, Deb North America. “Unfortunately, the dangers of skin cancer in the workplace have often been neglected. Employers have an obligation to minimize the risk of harm to employees. Providing and encouraging sun protection for outdoor workers can help create a healthy and safe workplace.”

Every year, Americans lose more than $100 million in productivity because of restricted activity or absence from work due to skin cancer. Most skin cancers are preventable when best practice is followed, which includes wearing sunscreen when the UV index is three or higher. The 2017 survey also found that beyond the workplace, more than a third of Americans (35 percent) believe that outdoor public facilities, such as public pools and amusement parks, should provide sunscreen for public use.

On average, by enduring more than five sunburns a person doubles their risk for developing melanoma. Deb Group is proactively campaigning to raise awareness of the risks associated with prolonged UV exposure to workers who spend a significant amount of time outside. As part of its Be UV Aware campaign, Deb offers an Outdoor Workers’ Guide to help employers implement a suitable and successful sun safety policy to protect its workers.

Meet the Team: James Byrd

You’ve seen him around town behind the wheel of our fancy, Big Orange ‘S’ Business Products trucks, or perhaps he knows you by first name and greets you with a smile and a case of copy paper each week- our Strickland Star, James Byrd let me ride along on his morning route and here’s what I’ve found:

EM: Thanks for letting me ride along, James; I love the mornings. You’ve been a Business Products delivery driver here at Strickland for a little over 2 years- where and who were you before you joined the company?

JB: My wife and I have three children- the two younger play softball and the older is in college. My very first job was at a McDonald’s and I’ve been in the delivery driving business for the past 12 1/2 years. When I’m not driving, I enjoy coaching my girls and being a handyman around the house.

EM: Glad to hear you’re a family man. My favorite part of being with family is the food. Do you have a favorite home-cooked meal?

JB: Baked chicken, chicken and dressing, macaroni cheese, and corn bread.

EM: You’re stranded on a desert island. You have one companion and three items; who and what are they?

JB: Sandra Bullock, cooking pot, fire starter, and machete

EM: You said Sandra Bullock but you meant your wife, right?

JB: No

EM: Although I suspect you’ll be doing all four soon, which would you rather do: wash dishes, mow the lawn, clean the bathroom or vacuum the house?

JB: Mow the lawn

EM: What else do you want the world to know about you, James?

JB: My family motivates me to work hard and I don’t sing karaoke, although I do prefer the Rolling Stones over the Beatles. I like to get out of Alabama on family vacations, and learning a different language and being debt free are two items on my bucket list.

To ride on a morning business products route you have to be at the Strickland warehouse at 6:30am. I’ve been described as a bit of a morning grouch more than once in my life, but I can say James’ smile and genuine love of his job are infectious and leave little wonder in my mind as to why he’s our Strickland Star. We’re lucky to have you, James!

Top 10 Workplace Safety Tips

Workplace safety cannot exist on best practice guidelines and policies alone. A safe working environment is based on how well the people, in both management and on the factory floor, adhere to — and communicate about — safety standards.

The foundation of any successful workplace safety effort is one that encourages employees to identify unsafe behaviors and opportunities for improvement while also making well-informed safety decisions during daily routine tasks.

Here’s the Top 10 Workplace Safety Tips Every Employee Should Know to help you inform your own workers and create a workplace safety environment based on shared responsibility:

1) Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

This step requires knowing the particular hazards of your job or workplace. Once you’ve learned these risks, you are able to keep clear of potential hazardous areas, and potential hazardous situations. Also, always be alert of machinery.

2) Keep Correct Posture To Protect Your Back

If you work at a desk, keep your shoulders in line with your hips to avoid back problems. If you’re picking things up, use correct form so your back doesn’t get hurt. Avoid stooping and twisting. If possible, always use ergonomic designed furniture and safety equipment so everything you need is within easy reach.

3) Take Regular Breaks

So many work-related injuries and illnesses occur because a worker is tired, burned out and not alert to their surroundings. Taking regular breaks helps you stay fresh on the job. One trick to staying alert is to schedule the most difficult tasks when your concentration is best, like first thing in the morning.

4) Use Tools And Machines Properly

Take the proper precautions when using tools, and never take shortcuts. Taking shortcuts is one of the leading cause of workplace injury. It’s a huge safety risk to use scaffolding as a ladder or one tool in place of another for a specific job. Using tools the right way greatly reduces the chance of workplace injury.

5) Keep Emergency Exits Easily Accessible

In case of an emergency, you’ll need quick, easy access to the exits. It’s also recommended to keep clear access to equipment shutoffs in case you need to quickly stop them from functioning.

6) Report Unsafe Conditions To Your Supervisor

Your supervisor needs to be informed about any workplace safety hazards or risks. They are legally obligated to ensure their employees have a safe working environment and will take care of the unsafe conditions and make them safe for you and your coworkers.

7) Use Mechanical Aids Whenever Possible

Instead of attempting to carry or lift something that’s really heavy in an attempt to save a sliver of time during your workday, take the extra minute to use a wheelbarrow, conveyor belt, crank or forklift. Too many injury risks are involved with trying to lift something that weighs too much.

8) Stay Sober

Around three percent of workplace fatalities occur due to alcohol and drugs. When a worker’s ability to exercise judgment, coordination, motor control, concentration or alertness is compromised, this leads to any number of risks for workplace injury and fatalities.

9) Reduce Workplace Stress

Stress can lead to depression and concentration problems. Common causes of workplace stress include long hours, heavy workload, job insecurity and conflicts with coworkers or managers. Take your concerns about workplace stress to your supervisor to see how they might help you address them.

10) Wear The Correct Safety Equipment

If you’re not wearing the correct safety equipment for a task, you may get injured. Depending on the job, equipment like earplugs, earmuffs, hard hats, safety goggles, gloves or a full-face mask greatly reduce the risk of workplace injury.

It’s up to facility managers and business owners to get their employees onboard with workplace safety efforts, encouraging them to become active members in the process. Share with them the workplace injury statistics and the inherent risks their job presents to them on a daily basis. Provide incentives that reward them for exemplifying great workplace safety behavior. These simple initiatives really do make all of the difference.

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Disconnect to Reconnect and Productivity Suckers

It’s 5 o’clock and you want to staple your face to the wall when you notice your coworkers shimmy off to happy hour- without you. YOU can’t leave the office because YOU can’t get your work done. There’s been a productivity sucker hovering around your desk for the past 2 weeks and you’re having trouble resetting your mush-mind.




Calm down. The way I see it is there’s two reasons for you missing out on prime martini time- you’re doing something wrong, and you’re not doing something right. Wait, is that one thing? Whatever- you need to change your working habits, and at one point or another we all need a little work-ish overhaul.

I’ll admit to being a marching mush-minded employee every now and then, but it’s been my ability to break through the battle of the busted brain and recapture my productivity that’s made the difference in my 5 o’clock happy hour attendance and termination avoidance.

This is the best I got- I give you my list of “Be Alive! Get Off at 5! Rules”:

  1. DO NOT get caught at the water cooler. This includes the interoffice phone- I’m looking at you ladies! Yes, it’s easy and fun to gossip your way to 5 o-clock, but come Friday your boss isn’t going to be looking for a report of “OMG did you see what Linda wore to the meeting yesterday”.
  2. DO NOT fuss around with the Lord of Productivity Loss- the smart phone. Go ahead- THROW YOUR PHONE IN THE TRASH. Or place it in the bottom drawer, whichever is appropriate. We look to our phones for an outlet of unrelated work stimulus during our “off time”, and when we do this our brains don’t get the chance to get bored- which stifles creativity.
  3. PLEASE DO split your day into sprints- take beaks! A well-timed burst of business followed  by a well-earned rest can do wonders for your productivity.
  4. ALWAYS make To-Do Lists! Consider them your Bible of Productivity. Make one right now- grab that over-sized Post-it note and MAKE A TO-DO LIST. They’re great organizers and have more often than not reminded me of back-of-the-brain, albeit important, tasks my boss has asked me to do.
  5. PLEASE DO set aside 10 minutes per hour to check your email. There’s a productivity plague going around corporate America- Email Obsessive Disorder. It’s real, y’all. It’s the latest extension of an OCD tick- you waste SO MUCH TIME compulsively checking to see if cute-new-Johnny-coworker-down-the-hall accepted your appointment invite to ‘tini Tuesday next week. Make reservations the last 10 minutes of every hour to check your email so you don’t miss even more important reservations after 5 o’clock.



Emily, Millennial and Marketing Girl Wonder

10 Tricks to Appear Instant-Smart in Any Meeting

Meet the Team – Kara Crook

Meet Kara! Our newest, wonderful sales representative based out of our location down south: Mobile. This lady has been with us for one year and one week, and is constantly driving all over the coast and the panhandle of Florida searching for opportunities and solutions to help her customers’ businesses run efficiently.

I was able to catch up with our youngster and pick her brain about what in the world she did before working for Strickland and what it means to bring innovative, fresh thinking to a billion year old paper house.

EM: So Kara, I heard you have a family. Would you bring them with you if you were stranded on a middle-of-nowhere island?

Kara: No. Although my family is very close and we love spending time at the beach, their competitive card games would be the end of me.  I’d bring my dog Bear as a companion, a fire starter kit, an umbrella and a boat.

EM: Boats! Yes. You recently graduated from the University of South Alabama, way to go! How does it feel being an adult and knowing that your mom will never iron your clothes again?

Kara: No one irons anymore, that’s why the dryer was invented. I will miss eating her spaghetti often.

EM: I’ve heard that people around your age think they know everything. Is there anything you don’t know and would like to learn?

Kara: Learning a new language would be nice. I’d like to learn Italian so I could travel there and be able to communicate easily with the locals.

EM: I bet they’ll teach you to make spaghetti- if you ask nicely in Italian. I heard you singing in the car the other day and will skip the question about having a favorite karaoke song, as I’m not sure if they’d allow you on stage. Do you prefer the Beatles or the Rolling Stones?

Kara: Stones

EM: Hm. I’ve enjoyed having a coworker who brings innovative, fresh ideas to this industry. Besides confusing the older people with Excel functions, what motivates you to work hard?

Kara: Watching my name climb the sales charts has been inspiring, but helping new customers set up programs that will truly benefit them keeps me in the game.

Thanks for keeping us young, Kara!