Dull corporate offices with no “buzz” inhibit productivity, complain staff

Dull corporate offices are stifling productivity

Creating a dynamic and creative workplace is dependent on a number of factors; the office layout and design, the style of management and the wider company culture. Get these elements right and, says workplace consultants Morgan Lovell you hit the “Buzz Barometer” – a combination of a good atmosphere, energy and teamwork which encourages productivity and high levels of employee engagement. However, according to their recent research, three quarters (78 per cent) of employees say they would be significantly more productive if their workplace had more buzz. And worryingly for larger organisations, corporates are failing to match small company buzz, with four-fifths (81 per cent) saying SMEs offer a better working atmosphere than large companies.

The study found bosses were rated as the top buzz kills and almost three quarters (72 per cent) of employees say business leaders need to do more to reinvigorate their office culture. A further 82 per cent state their organisation does not provide a choice of working environments.

More than three-quarters of workers (76 per cent) feel tied to their desks for the majority of the day, despite 81 per cent stating that being active would significantly improve the atmosphere.

Monica Parker, head of workplace strategy at Morgan Lovell comments: “This research shows sedentary working habits and dull offices are draining UK businesses of much-needed energy. As a company grows and matures it is essential that leaders consider what they can do to reinvigorate the right kinds of social interaction at work and engage a demotivated workforce.”

Nearly all the workers (94 per cent) say that a great atmosphere boosts productivity and more than four-fifths (87 per cent) claim it sets rapidly-growing, successful businesses apart from sluggish competition.

For more than three-quarters (79 per cent), working in a buzzy office is a key consideration when looking for a new job, with laughter (50 per cent) and conversation (42 per cent) considered the key drivers of this intangible quality. Yet, only a third of staff (33 per cent) believe their leadership team is concerned by dull offices.

Monica Parker, comments: “Not surprisingly, this research found buzz means different things to different people, from teamwork to conversation. Leaders have to understand what drives their staff and apply this to create not just a great atmosphere, but a flexible working environment and culture that supports different kinds of people. It’s about enabling staff to take control of their working day, unleash their creativity and build stronger teams.”

The research also shows how buzz varies across the UK, with Welsh offices topping the rankings for overall atmosphere. Yorkshire came top for energy and morale, while employees in the East Midlands enjoy the most laughter at work. London and the South East both fail to top the list for a single indicator of office buzz, with Northern Ireland coming out on top for creativity.