Everyone wants to be compensated well for the work they do, but is money alone the most effective motivator? While there’s an obvious link between salary and job satisfaction, studies suggest that there are other, far more compelling and effective ways to reward and inspire employees, and work space is high on the list.
Happiness at work has a significant impact on life outside of work, and employees are generally happier when they feel valued in business. Employees can be rewarded in various ways, be it allowing them to be involved in company decision-making, monetary incentives, extra benefits such as company cars, gym memberships, or by offering them flexible hours.
However, in 2016 UK Workplace Survey published by US-based design and architecture firm, Gensler, emphasised on the huge influence of the office environment, and how to align design and functional elements in an office with productivity and job satisfaction. Here’s what they found:
Effectiveness ratings by work setting: Employee scores (Out of 5 – with 5 being the highest)
4.2 Private Office
4.0 Shared Office
3.5 Room with 3 or More
3.7 Workstation with High Panels
3.5 Workstation with Low Panels
3.6 Desk or Bench without Panels
4.1 – Average overall workplace satisfaction score from staff who report choosing to work in the same space or a variety of spaces
3.7 –Average overall workplace satisfaction score from staff reporting having to work in the same space/a variety of spaces
70% of employees do not have a choice in when and where to work
3 x Staff with higher innovation scores use sit or stand desks three times more often than those with lower scores
The Fabric of a Happy Workplace:
- The power of choice: 70% employees want a say in when and where they work – this incorporates both in- and out-of-office mobility. The need for relaxed gathering spaces, both indoors and outdoors, is high on the list.
- Design: The survey reports that poorly designed open-plan environments are negatively affecting more than eight million UK workers. This means that companies need to take a more considerate approach when designing open-plan offices, to optimise productivity and employee satisfaction.
- Noise management: An open office has more aesthetic appeal than segregated cubicles, and encourages collaboration in the creative space, but noise is one of the pitfalls. To ensure your employees don’t feel the need to work with earplugs or plugging into their phones, we suggest having a ‘quiet area’ where employees can concentrate on important work without distracting conversations. This allows others in the office to collaborate freely without feeling self-conscious. Interestingly, increasing background noise can help prevent distractions(like non-work discussions) – adding white noise, or sound absorbing materials can also reduce sound and concepts such as “pink sound”, or ambient noise, is increasingly being introduced into progressive workspaces.
- Access to people and resources: Utilising technology in your office with suitable devices and machines will enhance productivity and allow employees to boost their own job performance, thus leaving them more fulfilled, motivated and inventive. This is exactly what your company needs to improve productivity and satisfaction.
- Diversify for group work: British workers still use their desks for most work activities and this can be a detriment to performance. Fully utilising Wi-Fi, alternative meeting spaces and accessing outdoor spaces is the key. If your business prioritises collaboration then a shared work space is vital as it encourages face-to-face interaction, idea sharing and informal meetings. Introduce fewer assigned desks and offer free choice in a café or lounge-styled area.
- Empower the whole community: Choice, purpose, and equity should be the focus, so match space to the role, not status – strategies that match space to role rather than seniority, provide an opportunity to engage and improve at all levels of the company. Matching the space to job needs and not roles is the key here. Grouping employees to their functions and teams, rather than hierarchy, results in productivity and higher satisfaction.
Author credit: John Williams, Head of Marketing at Instant Offices weighs in on boosting employee satisfaction and happiness in the workplace.
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