Businesses underestimate impact of office environment on their bottom line

New survey reveals that the quality of office environments influences employee wellbeing and productivity yet majority of workers say it is not a high priority for senior management

Businesses are underestimating the important impact that the office environment can have on their bottom line as the quality of office environments is a significant influence on employee wellbeing and productivity yet the majority of workers say they believe it is not a high priority for senior management.

The survey shows that, while 91 per cent of UK workers believe their office environment directly impacts their productivity, less than half of workers say that their office environment enhances their productivity, whilst a fifth (20 per cent) say it hinders their productivity. With two thirds of workers saying they work more productively in the office than anywhere else, senior management are overlooking a significant opportunity to boost the productivity of their workforce and their company’s overall performance.

Peldon Rose’s findings also reveal that only 32 per cent of workers say their current office environment supports their wellbeing, whilst 59 per cent say their company could do more to make their office healthier.  At a time when 76 per cent of workers are stating that they have suffered from workplace stress, businesses should ensure they are doing all that they can to safeguard the wellbeing of their employees.

Despite the clear importance of the office environment for the productivity and wellbeing of staff, 81 per cent of workers feel that the workplace is not a high priority for their senior management team. When it comes to discussing office space with management, employees feel their concerns often go unnoticed, with only 29 per cent believing that their opinion is valued, despite 70 per cent of workers saying that greater employee involvement in decisions about the workplace would have a positive impact on their productivity. All this suggests that employers that do not engage workers in decisions about their work environment maybe missing important opportunities to improve their performance.

Currently, only a small percentage of employees are involved in discussions around problems with the office layout (10 per cent), however these conversations are important to employees who feel that environmental changes could have a big impact on their emotional wellbeing at work, including their motivation (73 per cent), mood and productivity (70 per cent) and happiness (66 per cent).

As the average UK worker spends over 1,647 hours a year at work and replacing staff costs UK businesses about £4 billion a year, ensuring that employees are happy and productive should be a main focus for all employers to keep turnover costs low and retention of top talent high. Factors such as on-boarding, training, interview costs, advertising and the impact on the wider company’s morale will all force employers to compensate for high turnover rates and unproductive employees.

Jitesh Patel, Chief Executive, Peldon Rose, the office design specialists, commented:

“Workers are clearly stating that the workplace environment has an impact on their productivity and wellbeing and senior management that overlook this do so potentially at a significant cost to their business. One of the most critical roles of senior management is to listen to their team, specifically to their insight and advice to ensure their employees feel supported and motivated. According to our survey, senior management teams are overlooking the opportunity to directly engage with their employees to find out how they can improve the work space and enhance the performance of their staff.

“We know that when employees are happy at work, they are more likely to be productive, engaged and dedicated to the company while employees who are unengaged can cost a company significantly in employee turnover, training costs and low productivity.  With close to 70% of workers reporting that they are most productive in the office than anywhere else, it is vital that the office environment allows them to work towards their highest potential every day. Employers should remember that office design and how people work is constantly evolving and your office design needs to keep pace with your workforce and their needs. Listening to employees to remain in touch with what they want will help ensure your workforce remains happy, healthy and motivated”.

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