Trusting your workforce to create a more productive office

05 August 2016. Feature.

In July 2016, Peldon Rose conducted the second of our Happy Office surveys, with over 600 respondents. These findings, along with 30 years’ experience delivering award-winning workplaces, have enabled Peldon Rose to tailor our unique Equation of a Happy Office for the summer months. These findings show how business are largely failing to show enough trust and appreciation towards the people that occupy them. Our workplace consultants, can offer businesses clear guidance on how to keep workers happy, productive and motivated at a time of year when productivity typically slows.

 

H = (T10 + A8) + (SP6 + HC5) + F7

 

Trust (T,) Appreciation (A), Summer Perks (SP), Home Comforts (HC) and Frolleagues (F)

 

At Peldon Rose, we have seen a shift in the requirements of our clients’ offices as they focus more on how their office design supports their identity and business goals, as well as how their staff interact within it. Design is important to providing a foundational platform for companies to grow and succeed, but there is also a growing expectation that the office will develop a positive atmosphere of trust, reliability and pay attention to individuals, not just the workforce as whole.

 

Trust in the workplace

One of the main things to come out of the survey is the desire for greater trust in the office. With statistics boasting employees’ desire for a more comfortable space with quiet areas to help them work combined with wanting to feel more entrusted by their companies, shows that the workplace is experiencing a shift in expectations. Of those that took part in the survey, 69% of workers said that they felt more quiet, private areas would help them be more productive, but only a third of workers said that these kind of working environments were available to them. While 89% said they felt trust was important to their productivity, 55% of respondents said they wished they were more trusted by their employers.

This large fractions of employers seem to be lacking some of the things they find most important to them. This trend is closely linked to the need for an increased level of trust in workers, so at the moment there seems to be an imbalance in the expectation of workers and what companies believe to be necessary. Giving employees the flexibility to work away from their desk in these more comfortable environments that would make them more productive, pins on a large amount of trust on the employer’s side.

As a result of the survey, creating a more relaxing office environment and generating more trust in the workplace are the most important in terms of progressing. Along with this, giving staff the right tools and technology to work from anywhere is also key with the survey highlighting that less than 50% of people currently had this. Presently, there seems to be a catch 22 situation that is preventing a strong bond developing between staff and their workplaces. While they are aware of their needs and desires, it seems that the workplaces themselves are distinctly lacking some foundational features to support the workers.

 

Appreciating your people

While the results of the survey showing employees are lacking certain facilities in the workplace, with 29% missing kitchen facilities and 59% lacking shower facilities, the important trend seems to be moving to the ‘intangible’ features of the office. While the survey shows the importance of these physical features of office design are important, the dynamics of the office are changing. More value is being placed in the emotional states of staff and having friendships and feeling appreciated and trusted in the workplace, shows that the office has become a destination that needs to inspire staff. These more emotionally driven requirements need to be considered at a higher level and CEO’s and Managing Directors need to take note of how these missing features can impact their staff and ultimately, their businesses. Undoubtedly, design features and comfortable working environments are important but the internal qualities of a happy office are shown to be the social characteristics of the office.

Over 91% of people said they valued friendships within work. Of the initiatives which would help staff bond with colleagues and make friendships, social events, open plan offices, information break-out areas and communal social spaces were listed the most important by respondents. And it is friendships within work which led to over 50% of respondents saying they felt disconnected from colleagues when working from home.

There needs to be an effort to listen to staff and create spaces that support the way they work, rather than imposing design into their working lives. 61% people of people said that a supportive environment would help them be more productive at work. These results should encourage the boardroom members and decision-makers of the companies to reassess how they consider the workplace as the office endures this state of flux, breaking away from the traditional desk-focused environment.

 

A healthier workplace

As recent studies have shown, sitting down for long periods is being attributed to significant health problems among office workers. Our survey showed that 57% of workers sit down for 6 or more hours at work each day and just 16% said they felt their company did enough to make their office healthy. Employees are beginning to seriously consider the effect of the office on their wellbeing. 59% of the surveyed workers said that they felt their company could do more to make their office healthier, showing a desire for a work day that at least considers, if not takes care of for their health and wellbeing.

As some companies take this step to more closely consider their employees wellbeing, businesses risk losing talented staff to more health-conscious companies and potentially missing out on quality employees that are making wellbeing at work a prerequisite for their job search. One of the most telling statistics from the survey was that 85% of workers consider the office environment an important factor when choosing a place of work. So in order to ensure your company can acquire and hold on to the best talent, the benefits for employees need to be carefully considered.

Businesses should offer employees more flexible options for working, allowing workers to move around and work from spaces other than their desk. This also applies to seasonal benefits and, when possible, allowing staff to prioritise their time. 86% of workers said they receive no summer perks at work and by introducing more flexible hours during the summer and other perks, businesses can boost motivation and productivity and staff will be able to focus more on their personal mental and physical wellbeing.

By adding basic facilities such as bike rooms and shower rooms for employees who want to run or cycle into work will encourage staff to be more active and set up social exercise groups. Businesses can make smaller changes too, such as providing fruit and kitchen facilities, so that staff can prepare their own healthy food, at breakfast and lunch times.

 

What has the survey taught us?

It was clear from the survey data that workers are placing an increasingly high value in being trusted and appreciated by their company – two of the most important factors for delivering a happy office. Offering summer perks and home comforts in the workplace also go a long way to demonstrating trust and appreciation, allowing workers flexibility and recognition, which are key to boosting motivation in the summer months. With friendships with colleagues remaining a vital ingredient for workplace happiness, businesses should also consider further opportunities for workplace collaboration and bonding – a critical element of a happy office.

Now, let's see if you have been paying attention! Test your knowledge of the Happy Office Summer Survey by taking our quiz. Some of the results may surprise you...

 

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