Décor matters but location most important factor for the ideal office 0

Office workersRecent data has shown that increasingly, it’s people, not cost, which is the primary driver behind real estate decisions. British Land has carried out research into what features would make up the UK workers’ ideal office and the results point to a clear link between delivering these ideal features and talent recruitment and retention. The good news is that the workers surveyed believe they would be 36 percent more productive at work if they were working in the ideal office, and, 86 percent say they’d stay longer with an employer that had the ideal office location and features. The other side of the coin is that 80 percent believe that companies that don’t offer their employees a convenient location and attractive features are more likely to lose them. Younger workers in particular are markedly more likely to move jobs to find a working environment that suits them, and this includes offering a workplace with a ‘buzz’.

The survey of over a 1,000 people found that employees are looking for – and expect – more than just smart décor; with a wish list that includes a great office location and easily accessible transport links – but also, communal meeting areas and social events in and around the office.

The overall location of an office was rated firmly as the most important feature, with 70 percent of those surveyed saying this was very important – but only 42 percent claiming to be very satisfied with their current office location. An easy commute was also high up the list, with 62 percent rating public transport links as very important and 44% wanting car parking facilities.

Generation gaps

What really jumped out from the survey results, though, was the diversity in responses from the different generations that make up the working population in 2016. Millennials (those aged 18-29) and Generation X (30-49) demand the most from their employers and – tellingly – are prepared to move to find what they want. Among Millennials, 53 percent claim they have previously changed jobs to improve the location and the features on offer, and 39 percent say they will definitely change jobs in 2016. This is a generation of workers with strong ideas about what they want from an office.

And what exactly is that? As working styles change, open and connected environments, with Wi-Fi and communal meeting areas, are very important to these two groups. Being in a location that has a ‘buzz’ about it is also high on the wish list for 90 percent of Millennials and 82 percent of Generation X.

Given that 68 percent of all respondents agreed that the line between work and social time is becoming increasingly blurred, activities and events at the office – or near it, on a campus for example – are also popular. Three quarters of Millennials said they valued such activities, compared with only 45 percent of Baby Boomers (those aged 50 or over).

Future workspaces

With Millennials predicted to account for 75 percent of the UK workforce by 2025, employers are already thinking hard about how to bring in the most talented of these workers – and how to keep them. The survey suggests that planning workplace moves or improvements should be playing a significant part in businesses’ overall recruitment strategies, given the impact of the working environment on recruits’ decision-making.

To read more on the survey and other insights on the ideal office click here.