Businesses could be losing out because their offices are poorly designed and uninspiring

UK businesses could be losing millions of pounds because their offices are ‘poorly designed and uninspiring’, according to a new study. The research of 2,000 office workers claims around three quarters believe their office environment has made them less productive and less effective at work. While a third have been left with no alternative but to take time off from work because their surroundings have directly affected their physical or mental wellbeing. Stale air and lack of airflow is the biggest concern for workers, followed by noisy co-workers and overly hot conditions.

Commissioned by office design firm Oktra, the survey also claims that 34 per cent dread going to work purely because of their office environment. The research also claims 34 per cent of workers would be less likely to take sick days if they worked in a ‘favourable’ office environment. And a third would be willing to stay at a company for longer if they worked in an appealing setting.

Seventy-nine per cent think their employer should do more to improve their surroundings at work. And over half have complained to a senior member of staff about their surroundings because they have affected their physical or mental wellbeing. While 49 per cent have let their concerns be known because their productivity has been impacted.

However the office environment appears to have a greater impact on millennials’ productiveness at work than those from the baby boomer generation. Eight in ten 18-34 year olds revealed their surroundings have made them less productive compared to 65 per cent of those aged 55 plus. While 43 per cent of millennials would be more open to staying with a company for longer if the office environment was appealing, compared to around a quarter of baby boomers.

Seventy-five per cent of 18-34 year olds believe their working environment has negatively impacted their physical and mental wellbeing, while 63 per cent of workers aged 55 plus feel the same way. And almost a fifth of those 34 and under have left a job as a direct result of their office environment – in contrast 10 per cent of those 55 plus have moved on because of their workspace.

Biggest concerns about the office
1. Lack of air ventilation or flow – air feels stale, little circulation
2. Noise made by co-workers – chatter etc
3. Temperature – not being too hot
4. Lack of daylight
5. Temperature – not being too cold
6. Not having a clean office
7. Not having privacy
8. Lack of a nice view
9. Not having a comfortable workstation/desk
10. Lack of space/room – being too cramped
11. Comfort control – not being able to easily adjust the temperature in your office
12. Too much air ventilation or flow – makes you feel chilly/uncomfortable
13. Not having a comfortable desk chair
14. Lack of outside spaces – somewhere to go for your dinner break for instance
15. Dull surroundings in the office
16. Not enough connection with nature e.g. can’t see greenery outside, lack of plants in the office, no green spaces nearby
17. Breeze that makes you feel chilly/uncomfortable
18. Lack of facilities inside the office (no kitchen, meeting rooms, cycle storage, shower facilities, places to store food etc.)
19. Office being too dark
20. Flexibility of your workstation – desks/chairs/screens that can’t be easily adjusted for comfort

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