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Staples Small-Business Survey Reveals People are Constantly Working, Even While They Sleep

'Sleepworking' Affects More Than Half of Small Businesses

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 3, 2008--More small-business owners and managers are working harder than ever to make their business dreams come true... even while they sleep. According to the 2nd Annual Staples National Small-Business Survey (NASDAQ: SPLS), more than half of small-business professionals said that work has actually become part of their dreams. Fifty-one percent of those surveyed said that they "sleepwork" (i.e. dream about work), and nearly 70 percent of those "sleepworkers" report they wake up and put their "work dreams" to action.

The survey also revealed that 98 percent of U.S. small-business owners and managers are working during their time off - including nights, weekends and vacations - and nearly 54 percent expect to work even harder in 2008.

"Our customers often tell us there just aren't enough hours in the day, so it's understandable that business activity is invading sleep time," said John Giusti, vice president of small business marketing at Staples. "At Staples, we work hard to make sure it is easy for small businesses to buy office products, helping them focus their time and energy on running their businesses - and hopefully to get a good night's sleep."

    Other interesting results include:

    --  The car remains a favorite place to work, with 72 percent
        saying they make business calls while driving and nearly 40
        percent saying they get their best ideas behind the wheel.

    --  Slightly more than 38 percent cannot remember the last time
        they took a vacation.

    --  If given a choice, nearly 52 percent said they would accept
        comparable business results in 2008 if they could have twice
        as much free time, while 48 percent said they would work even
        more hours if they could double their company's sales.

    --  More than 84 percent said they have not yet incorporated "new
        media" (blogs, podcasts, virtual meeting software or services)
        into their business activities.

    --  Fifty-two percent make New Year's resolutions for their
        business. Of those, 58 percent said they resolve to increase
        business, while only 21 percent said they want more time off.
        Thirty-five percent said they want to increase
        profits/eliminate debt.

The Internet poll - which surveyed 300+ small businesses with no more than 20 employees - explored what is causing the insatiable need to work, as well as the obstacles preventing these hard-working Americans from enjoying their free time afforded by previous generations.

The results revealed organization and teamwork are the top factors why owners and managers are working so many hours. Nearly 70 percent admitted they do not have a written business plan. Almost three-quarters consider themselves organized, but only 33 percent said they complete the tasks on their "to-do" list each day. Slightly more than two-thirds said they feel constantly challenged by not having enough time to get work done and nearly 44 percent said customer fulfillment takes up the majority of their time while at work.

When asked to compare their businesses to a track and field event at the Olympics, a mere 14 percent said their business operates like a relay race, with everybody working in tandem toward the same goal, whereas 26 percent think of business operations as a 100-meter dash, always sprinting and trying to do everything quickly.

Looking ahead to 2008, when it comes to key issues and politics, more than half of those surveyed said they have already started looking at the presidential candidates' positions on small business. Almost 32 percent said the price of gasoline is the most important issue for them next year, with nearly 18 percent citing taxes as their hot-button issue.

And, finally, to "wake" and shake things up in their business, nearly a quarter of those surveyed said they would hire Starbucks' CEO Howard Schultz (to help expand); slightly more than 20 percent would hire Donald Trump (to seize opportunities); and nearly 14 percent reported they would bring in Richard Branson (to help think outside the box).

How Staples Makes Things Easy

Recognizing the importance of time for its small-business customers, Staples strives to serve as a central resource, providing a host of products and services to help increase workplace productivity. In January, to help small business customers get organized for the New Year, Staples will be offering 20 percent back in rewards on all products from our best brands, including Avery, Post-It, Sharpie, Scotch, QuickBooks, Swingline, HON, Uni-ball, Quartet, GBC and Command.

About the Survey

The survey was developed by Staples and conducted by Decision Analyst, Inc. in Arlington, TX. Decision Analyst surveyed by Internet a nationally-representative random sample of 302 owners and executives of American businesses having no more than 20 employees. All respondents were members of American Consumer Opinion(R) online, Decision Analyst's proprietary Internet based consumer-opinion panel with over 7,000,000 members globally. Interviews were conducted from December 7 to December 11, 2007. Such a sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.0 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. For more information about American Consumer Opinion(R) online please visit www.acop.com.

About Staples

Staples, Inc. invented the office superstore concept in 1986 and today is the world's largest office products company. With 74,000 talented associates, the company is committed to making it easy to buy a wide range of office products, including supplies, technology, furniture, and business services. With 2006 sales of $18.2 billion, Staples serves consumers and businesses ranging from home-based businesses to Fortune 500 companies in 22 countries throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. Headquartered outside of Boston, Staples operates more than 2,000 office superstores and also serves its customers through mail order catalog, e-commerce and contract businesses. More information is available at www.staples.com.


    CONTACT: For Staples, Inc.
             Jackie Guzman, 561-998-1995 x14
             jguzman@tilsonpr.com
             or
             Katie Sullivan, 508-253-0879
             katie.sullivan@staples.com

    SOURCE: Staples, Inc.