Last updated by at .

Trends in the Calendar Business: How Workplace Shifts Are Changing the Way We Schedule

How to you keep track of your business meetings, conference calls, personal appointments, and family obligations?

Many of us grew up and entered the working world with day planners in hand and calendars on the wall. The monthly ritual of flipping back the calendar page on the first day of the month is oddly satisfying, and there’s something to be said for having a constant visual reminder of your daily events. However, modern technology has introduced us a wide variety of electronic calendars and smartphone apps that have taken scheduling to a much more complex level.

As we prepare to turn the page to a new month, we became curious about how much of an impact mobile calendars are having on the traditional calendar industry. What types of calendars appeal to the modern professional, and which calendar features are most valuable in our changing work environment?

To learn more about these recent trends, we connected with our partner and calendar expert, House of Doolittle. This sustainably minded company provides eco-friendly calendars, desk pads, and appointment books for the modern world. In doing so, HOD’s national sales manager, John Pattinson, has noticed some significant shifts in the industry that we think are worth sharing.

Shrinking Cubicle Offices  

Due to economic constraints and minimalistic approaches to modern office design, cubicle spaces appear to be shrinking. As a result, there is not as much wall space or desk space available for displaying personal calendars at work. As a response to this trend, Pattinson says that House of Doolittle has seen an increase in the demand for small wall calendars, desk pads, and free-floating styles, such as tent calendars. “We have noticed a trend to smaller compact desk pads and wall calendars printed with four-color designs and scenes,” he shared.

A Growing Mobile Workforce

An increasing number of companies are embracing the mobile workforce trend and allowing their employees to work remotely. Remote workers who perform most of their duties at a home office tend to use calendars in the same way they did in a traditional office environment. Meanwhile, digital nomads who make frequent use of co-working spaces or who travel as they work are more likely to use digital calendars on laptops and smartphones.

Calendars for Notetaking

In talking with customers, we have found that many people have a tendency to jot down quick notes on a desk pad as they chat on the phone or read emails. Having a desk calendar is a quick and easy way to always have a notepad at your fingertips. It’s also a nice place to doodle as you wait for an endless conference call to wrap up or sit on hold listening to that dreadful elevator music.

AT-A-GLANCE Desk Pad Calendar

Calendars as Personalized Décor

One really interesting trend in calendars is that many people are using them today as a form of decoration. With so many interesting calendar themes available, it’s easy to express your personality or share your interests with co-workers by proudly displaying a decorative calendar that appeals to you. As far as office décor is concerned, it doesn’t get much easier or affordable than hanging a calendar!

Calendars as Vacation Schedulers

But it’s important to note that office calendars aren’t all work and no play. In fact, full-year wall calendars, especially the laminated versions, have been extremely popular in office settings. Small offices in particular, such as physician offices and law offices, have really adopted this type of calendar as vacation schedulers.

Unlike a computer screen, these types of calendars allow you to see the full year all at once, simplifying the process of scheduling multiple employees. And with a laminated surface, making changes is as easy as wiping your words away with a damp cloth.

Busy mom

A Step Back from Technology

It may surprise some of you to learn that the popularity of smartphones and mobile apps have actually had a very small impact on the traditional calendar industry. As we can personally attest to, it’s often much faster to glance up at a calendar on the wall or on a desk rather than fiddling with a stubborn software program to search for dates.

Despite the most impressive efforts of app developers, it’s still easier to find dates and appointments in a monthly or weekly planner. Of course, the larger numbers and text are easier to read for the older generation, compared to the small screen of a smartphone. But the Millennial generation is embracing a rediscovered love for calendars too. There’s a strong movement to disconnect from technology when possible for the sake of our health and streamlined efficiency. And with a paper version, you don’t have to worry about your battery dying or accessing a digital calendar on the same phone you’re talking on!

“Fortunately for those of us the make calendars for a living, the old tried-and-true paper calendar business is still very strong,” said Pattinson. We wish our partner, House of Doolittle, many more years of continued success, to build upon the legacy it began in 1919 and has been adapting with the times ever since.

Avery Dennison and Stamps.com Debut Complete Internet Mailing and Shipping Solution

PRNewsWire uploaded an announcement that Stamps.com will be teaming up with Avery Dennison, makers of the popular Avery line of labels, to provide an all-in-one internet-based mailing and shipping enterprise. From the press release:

Avery Dennison Office Products and Stamps.com unveiled the Desktop Postal Center as part of Avery’s Mailing Center service, a comprehensive set of tools and services for mailing and shipping needs. Together the Avery Dennison and Stamps.com alliance provides the most convenient and cost-effective postage solution for small businesses and home office professionals, helping them accomplish all their day-to-day shipping and mailing projects. By transforming a computer/printer into a shipping machine, the Desktop Postal Center can save time and resources by accurately calculating exact postage with a postal scale, automatically verifying addresses through Stamps.com, tracking packages via e-mail notifications and eliminating the need to ever go to the post office again.

So basically, Stamps.com provides the postage, Avery provides special labels. Simply add money to an account, print out shipping labels, and leave the packages for your postal carrier. All in all, a cool idea brought to you by a trusted brand. I might be taking it for a test-drive shortly; I’ll let you know how it works!

Article: Can a Big-Box fix your computer?

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting quasi-investigative piece on whether or not a big-box store can adequately fix your computer. They basically take in a bunch of computers with various maladies and provide anecdotal evidence of how well their issues are addressed:

Our first stop was Staples, where a repair for a problematic desktop dragged on for about a week and involved four visits to the store. When we first brought in the machine, which was essentially not running, we were told by one of Staples’ “EasyTechs” that it shouldn’t take long to evaluate. True to her promise, the tech got back to us that night with word they needed to do an operating system restore, and that we needed to bring in the system disk to proceed with the repair.

But after that, things went awry: A different tech said repairs were delayed because they were very busy. And when we came to pick up the supposedly fixed computer, we were told it was now on the fritz again. A day later, we got the final verdict: The computer was hopelessly broken. Although the desktop could now boot up, it still had problems shutting down, and a bad motherboard was the suspected culprit.

The article goes on to list tech tests from Office Depot, Best Buy, and a mail-order company called IResQ. Not exactly hard-hitting, and nothing new to anyone tech-savvy, but overall, a very interesting read.

Article: There are still Typewriter Repairmen

Just for a neat little just-for-fun article over at The Ledger.  It details the lives and times of some of the remaining typewriter repairmen, who apparently still do quite well for themselves:

Jerry Hatfield, 53, owner of Typewriter Service Center, agrees that business has changed over the past decade but says he won’t be leaving the field he enjoys working in anytime soon.

“We don’t get as many calls, but I still make a good living at it,” he said with confidence.

Overall, a really interesting article. Be sure to take a look; some of the information may surprise you.

Opinion: Skip the Black Friday Mess by Shopping Online

We all know Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving, long-held to be one of the best times to get great deals) is almost upon us. I’ve always had a bit of a problem with this tradition, though, and it boils down to one statement: “PEOPLE ARE FREAKING CRAZY.”

You might remember the Wal-Mart worker who was trampled to death during a Black Friday “doorbuster” rush. Maybe you chuckled over people physically fighting each other over the last Xbox 360. All in all, it seems our deal-hunting culture sometimes trumps our common sense.

So here’s an idea: why not stay home? Find yourself a nice cozy computer and cuddle up with some every-day great deals from your favorite office supply company. All of the major office big-box stores are going to try to tempt you with dubious deals to get you in the store on a chilly November morning. Either you camp out in the cold to save a couple bucks on pens, or heaven forbid show up late to find all the good stuff cleaned out, and resign to pay their overinflated prices on regular goods so you don’t feel like you “wasted a trip.” I say SKIP IT.

How does reliable service, huge inventory, and free shipping on orders over $75 sound? It just so happens I know some guys…

The Snackbot: King of All Office Supplies

Man, I need to get me one of these. GadgetReview is showcasing the newest in must-have office supplies: The Snackbot.

This may well be the king of all office supplies.  No, it’s not one of those sweet executive ball-clacker deals (even though they are sweet).  Nor is it a dartboard or a Blackberry or anything like that.  No, the unquestioned king of all office supplies has to be Snackbot.

Snackbot is a big talking yellow and white robot that delivers snacks directly to your desk on command.  There’s a downside, though…there’s only ONE SNACKBOT, and he’s currently being held at Carnegie Mellon University, where it’s basically under construction as a way to find how an autonomous robot can operate within the busy, highly complex operations of a modern office.  Apparently there’s a lot of programming involved for a robot that can successfully make snack runs throughout a typical office building.

Hopefully, one day, Snackbots will be as ubiquitous as the coffee maker in most offices, but until then, you know Carnegie Mellon will be getting loads of snacks out of this.

Blurb: Stylish and Green Back-to-School Supplies

Examiner.com has a simple list of back-to-school suggestions for the planet-conscious. The typical players are there, including recycled items bought new, all-cotton lunch bags, and so on. One of the things that jumped out at me though was the idea of re-use. Instead of buying the same junk over and over again (I’m looking at you, big-box store-brand pencils that break after two days), stick with high-quality, reliable office supplies and simply take care of them. They’ll take care of you right back, season after season.

Epsom Projector Beams Hologram at Office Supplies Fair

More news from the International Stationery and Office Products Fair in Tokyo. This time it’s a holographic display being shown by Epson, and it could revolutionize the way we handle communications, computing and more. From the Dvice article:

Presented by Epson, the rear projector beams a video presentation onto a 0.3 millimeter thin slab of glass cut into the shape of a person. The result is an effect that almost matches the virtual reality of holographic displays, missing only the three-dimensional aspect.

You can check out video of the amazing display in action here.

Cool Office Supplies: Samurai USB Flash Memory Card

At the Saudi Gazette of all places, there is a small article about the ongoing ISOT Office Products Trade Show in Tokyo. Highlighted here are USB Flash Memory cards shaped like Samurai Warriors.

With a lot of video games, movies, and television in Japan focusing more on the Edo period (1603 to 1868 AD), Samurai culture is once again on the rise in Japan.

Of course, when you’re making a samurai-themed USB device, and you’re in Japan, of course it’s going to end up being cute. Call me a sucker for these kind of novelties, but I’d take a teeny cartoon samurai USB stick over a plain ol’ black one any day. Of course, I’m sure the prices are outrageous. For most consumers, the regular kind will probably do just fine.