Workplace design matters. While most, if not all, of us can agree with that statement, we don’t often stop to ask ourselves why. Why does workplace design matter? Over the course of a lifetime, we will spend an average of 110,000 hours at work. Whether on the daily grind or pursuing our dream career, work takes up a lot of our time and the walls within which we spend it matter greatly. Twenty years ago, employees vied for that coveted corner office. Today, amenities have taken center stage (check out Gensler’s 2019 Workplace Survey to see which amenities perform best) and are making the nine-to-five grind feel more like a five star retreat. Ingredients for the optimal workplace will change as our multi-generational workforce continues to diversify, but understanding the needs of employees begins by asking them directly.
For the third year in a row, Capital One conducted its Work Environment Survey, querying 3,500 full-time office professionals for their thoughts and attitudes towards workplace design and employee experience, and how those elements impact their satisfaction, creativity and productivity at work. Let’s take a look at the results and explore strategies with which you can optimize your own workplace design.
Image Source: Office Snapshots, Shaw Create Centre Offices in Cartersville
The Results Are In…
Cubicles, conference rooms and complimentary coffee just aren’t cutting it anymore. Does this really come as a surprise? A strategically curated workplace that offers a great experience has become a key factor in the war for talent. Nearly all employees – 90% – agree that they perform their jobs better when their workplace is well designed. And because employers are always looking for an upper hand to attract and retain employees, those that invest in design elements that optimize performance and foster workplace well-being will have the ability to attract the caliber of talent they want for their companies to succeed.
“Professionals today increasingly expect companies they work for to thoughtfully curate an integrated workplace experience, including design, amenities and tools to foster the work they need to do, when and where they need to do it.”
Stefanie Spurlin, VP of Workplace Solutions at Capital One
A complete summary of the 2019 Work Environment Survey can be found on Capital One’s website, but here are a few key findings that help illustrate the type of design elements employees believe help them perform at their best and facilitate a work-life balance.
- 71% of employees say that flexible workplace design is important.
- 77% of those surveyed perform better with collaboration space and 88% say they need focused, heads-down space, making an adaptable approach to workplace design critical in order to keep up with changing preferences.
- Flexibility in where and when employees can work is not only a perk, it is expected. 67% say a flexible schedule, including the ability to work remotely, would improve their workplace satisfaction.
- 87% of professionals agree that it is important for organizations to create programs and spaces that support mental health and well-being.
Image Source: Office Snapshots, Evereve Offices in Edina
A Peak into the Optimized Office
The benefits of a well-designed workspace extend beyond mere job satisfaction; they’re key to productivity too. Investing in workplace design is an investment in its people and can benefit a company’s bottom line. So what does the optimized office of today look like?
Harnessing Mother Nature
Humans and mother nature share an intrinsic relationship, one that boasts undeniable psychological and physiological benefits, and its incorporation into the workplace is more than just a trend. Studies have solidified that natural connections restore employee creativity, focus and engagement with our surroundings. When asked to rank what types of natural connections would support well-being and productivity in the workplace, 57% of office professionals from Capital One’s Work Environment Survey cited a visual connection (windows, natural light); 45% cited a physical connection (outdoor spaces for working, relaxation or socializing); and 31% cited a material connection (natural materials, indoor plants or water features). While natural light has been the most desired workplace design element for all three years of the survey, employees are calling for even more connections to nature. Outdoor workspaces and biophilic elements, such as indoor plants and living walls, water features and natural textures and graphics, are additional ways in which employers can harness the powerful benefits of mother nature and positively impact employee satisfaction and well-being.
Image Source: Office Snapshots, Trend Micro Offices in Singapore
A Chance to Relax and Recharge
Quiet spaces for rest and relaxation, commonly referred to in the corporate world as ‘third spaces‘, ranked highly among features that boost employee productivity and overall satisfaction. 89% of those surveyed agree that they are able to work better when they have spaces in the workplace to take a break and unwind, solidifying the fact that today’s workforce is looking for a holistic workplace experience that supports well-being and mental health. Third spaces within a corporate environment not only support a plethora of work styles, but also the freedom and flexibility that boost employee engagement and satisfaction. Workplace cafés, company lounges and outdoor patios are all examples of third spaces that provide functional benefits within the office. While size, shape and overall aesthetic for these types of spaces will vary, the opportunity to rest and recharge can improve work performance, boost energy and help replenish both the psychological and physiological costs associated with long hours of sedentary work.
Image Source: Office Snapshots, Behr Company HQ in Santa Ana
Traditional concepts of the “office” are becoming less applicable as advancements in technology have untethered employees from their desks and given them control over their work experience. Of the professionals surveyed, 73% say they can work better when they have access to flexible furniture arrangements. Such elements include height-adjustable desks, ergonomic task chairs and convertible collaboration spaces. The push towards a more fluid environment has near endless benefits, including boosted creativity, engagement, collaborative opportunities and both individual and organizational productivity. Creating an agile, activity-based workspace will harness these benefits for our diverse workforce.
Image Source: Office Snapshots, Barry Callebaut Offices & Chocolate Academy in Istanbul
Autonomy has become an essential element in the modern office. Not only does choice drive employee well-being and productivity, it plays an influential role in attracting and retaining a talented workforce. Studies have proven that when workers have the ability to decide when, where and how they work, they are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs, perform better and view their company as more innovative than those that didn’t offer such freedom. 67% of employees say that a flexible schedule is a resource that supports mental health and well-being and would improve their satisfaction at work. 81% rank a flexible schedule in their top two reasons to stay with a company, a statistic which rose 8% from 2018. Not every company can offer autonomy on the same scale and the amount of time employees are able to spend away from their desks or out of the office will vary depending on the organization and individual roles. However, employers should carefully consider how they can empower their employees to do their best work through the spaces and tools provided to them.
Investing in Your Workplace
The findings of Capital One’s 2019 Work Environment Survey remind us that it is essential to remain adaptable when it comes to designing workspaces and amenities. Trends will change and the demands of our workforce will evolve alongside them. In order to attract and retain top talent and help them achieve the work-life balance they crave, we must remember that workplace design truly does matter. Follow the link below to contact a member of the Corporate Design Interiors’ team for guidance in creating a workplace that empowers your employees to work happily and healthily.
Corporate Design Interiors (CDI) is an industry-leading commercial furniture dealership whose award-winning product knowledge, thoughtful design coupled with strategic planning deliver functional and inspiring interiors designed to foster employee well-being, productivity and engagement. CDI’s relentless focus on delivering positive workplaces mirroring the culture and vision of companies while delivering a high value investment has earned CDI diverse clients including; established Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits/public sector and energetic startups.
As a “Select” Kimball dealer, CDI’s excellence in sales, partnership, quality improvement, community involvement and overall business best practices earned it the 2017 Kimball Premier Partner Award. CDI was selected among 52 other Kimball Select dealerships throughout the country for this industry-leading honor, earning additional praise for its company culture and enterprise practices.
Corporate Office & Showroom:
1711 Paramount Ct., Waukesha, WI 53186