How does your work environment affect your productivity?

Most of us have worked in less-than-inspiring office settings during our working lives. We know that different people need different things in order to be productive; for example, you might need a quiet space to reflect on research findings you’ve been busily compiling. Maybe you need a social area, to relax in and catch up socially with your colleagues. Perhaps you thrive in a busy office environment, with music and colourful artwork on the walls – or you could be happier with fewer people around, in your own space. You might find all of these things beneficial, at different times and depending on what you’re working on at that moment. Whatever your preference, we all have environments which prove to be more conducive to productivity than others.

With this in mind, what’s actually important to employees when it comes to their work environments? Are organisations considering how workspaces can impact employee productivity, wellbeing and happiness?

The latest research from Office Genie revealed that the majority of UK workplaces are failing to consider their employees’ needs when planning their office environments. 1,456 UK employees took part in the study earlier this year, providing insight on how workplaces across the country could enable employees to work more effectively.

67% of employees stated that their workplaces don’t have areas that aid lone-working, or offer privacy (54%). Areas that promote collaboration were found to be lacking, with 45% saying that their organisations could improve this. 74% of employees also said their workplaces don’t provide chill-out spaces for staff to relax in.

This issue isn’t restricted to UK workplaces; it’s recognised by employees across the globe. In another recent report, research company Leesman revealed the findings of an extensive study on employee productivity. Spanning a seven-year assessment of workplace effectiveness, the study details results from 276,422 employees across 2,160 workplaces, in 67 countries. Just 57% of worldwide employees agreed that their workplaces enabled them to work productively – and for a quarter of global workplaces, this figure fell below 50%.

“Organisations are not getting what they should from their corporate workplaces,” says CEO and Co-Founder of Leesman, Tim Oldman, in the report. “Opportunities are being consistently missed, and the impact of the physical and virtual infrastructure of workplace grossly underestimated.”

What does a great place to work look like?

At People Lab, we’ve been lucky enough to work with some fantastic clients who prioritise creating inspiring working environments for employees. In 2014, Capital One was placed at number 1 in the UK’s Best Workplaces in Europe (Great Place to Work). It’s not difficult to see why; their colourful, vibrant head office in Nottingham is designed beautifully to provide areas for all employees. You can find out more about Capital One’s unique workplace in Emma Bridger’s book, Employee Engagement.

“The office is a pretty awesome place to work,” says Data Scientist Dan Kellett on the organisation’s website. “Everything is so open plan, you have ready access to everybody around the business. It makes it very collaborative and easy to get things done.”

If you’re looking for inspiration, Glassdoor listed the 10 coolest offices in the UK earlier this year – take a look at some of these incredible workplaces!

Does your organisation provide the workspace you need to be productive – or could improvements be made? How does this affect your work? We’d love to hear your thoughts – let’s continue the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, or in the comments section below.

Further reading:

Office Genie: Offices need more features to boost productivity and wellbeing, claim introverted staff

Leesman: The Next 250k

How Capital One drove employee engagement through experimentation

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