The research reveals that – when it comes to workplace design – health and wellbeing are the most important factors in ensuring employee happiness. Almost half (49%) of those surveyed placed noise and indoor air quality as their top two current concerns at work. This selection overrides concerns with the look, layout and location of their workplace settings.
We also found that while open plan office arrangements remain prevalent, 40% of people would prefer to work in a quieter space. This indicates a need for employers to better cater for different working styles and tasks – incorporating a variety of spaces within one office layout.
Currently, a significant proportion of Europe’s office-based workforce are in some way disengaged. Nearly a quarter (24%) admit to being ambivalent about their job, 45% feel unfulfilled by their work, and over a fifth (21%) report highly negative associations – “feeling like just a number” or “relieved to get through the day”.
With people spending 90% of their time indoors, the workplace presents the ideal opportunity for enhancing wellbeing
Although there are many complex factors that contribute to perceived ‘happiness’ at work, health and wellbeing is high on the list of priorities for Europe’s workforce. Therefore, when it comes to making office improvements, this is clearly a good place to start.
According to a study by The Centre of Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE) at the University of Warwick (UK), happier workers are at least 12%, possibly even 20%, more productive than those dissatisfied with their environment.
And though CAGE focus more squarely on happiness and productivity at work, we believe this research programme – and others similar – can be used to draw meaningful correlations with our own survey findings, which cast the net wider to include how lifestyle trends impact morale.
Ultimately, we discovered an apparent need for the architect and design sector to work with businesses to create spaces and schemes that are good for people and kind to the environment – a true ‘win win’ for everyone.
To achieve this, we first need to understand employees’ wants, needs and desires, through initiatives such as Rethinking Workplace. Only then can we begin to shape design briefs to inform positive and productive workplaces fit for the future.
Discover more insights into what European workers want by downloading the full report.