People want their offices to perform more like hotels

Soft seating from Connection furniture that could be set in offices or hotelsEmployees today want more ‘hotel-style’ amenities such as areas for socialising, state-of-the-art infrastructure, outdoor spaces, onsite cafes, air conditioning, and flexible work facilities to entice them back to offices, according to a new poll from MRI Software. The firm’s Workplace Report [registration] claims almost two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents say such hotel-style features impact their decision on whether to work for an organisation, including more than one in ten who see failure to provide the right amenities as a deal breaker.

The survey of more than 6,000 consumers includes responses from the United States (2,005), United Kingdom (2,004) and Australia (2,008). Results are relatively consistent across all three markets that hybrid working is leading organisations to rethink the workplace. The majority of people want flexibility to combine work-from-home with in-office options.

Overall, just 9 percent of survey respondents globally don’t care about workplace amenities. At the other end of the scale, 19 percent say they are “critical” to deciding whether to stay at a job or not, and 11 percent assert, “If an employer doesn’t have a lot of these things, I’m not interested.” Over a third (34 percent) of employees see them as important factors after the nature of the job itself.

When asked about specific amenities they are looking for onsite in an office, 40-50 percent of respondents identified air conditioning, effective network connectivity, and free parking – all three of which are largely standard in many workplaces today.

A second tier of less common, modern amenities also emerged in the findings, highlighting the need for flexible and creative use of space with features that enhance the environment to make it more appealing in the post-COVID era. These include:

  • Areas for socialising (28 percent)
  • Onsite café/cafeteria/restaurant (28 percent)
  • Outside/green space (26 percent)
  • A gym (21 percent)
  • Changing/shower facilities (15 percent)
  • Bicycle storage (13 percent)

Technology ranks highly on wish list of modern amenities for offices. A significant number of employees identified technology-enabled amenities that will improve their efficiency and collaboration in the hybrid working world, including:

  • Hotdesking, bookable meeting rooms, and break-out meeting spaces (24 percent)
  • 24/7 access (19 percent)
  • Smart conferencing tools (15 percent)

The report also claims most workers want flexibility in their working environment. Only 15 percent of respondents want to work at home all the time. That figure is skewed by the fact that over a quarter (26 percent) of those aged 55 and up want to work at home every day, while just 10 percent of those under 25 want to do so – the older the respondent, the more likely they are to want to work at home full time. On the other hand, the survey shows that a third (33 percent) of respondents want to alternate between home and some type of office set-up while 38 percent prefer to work in a formal office or a flexible co-working space – or a combination of those.

“Attracting people back into the office – even if for only part of the week – is vital to facilitating face-to-face interactions that boost collaboration, information-sharing, learnings, mentorship and the development of the desired company culture,” says Brian Zrimsek, Industry Principal at MRI Software and the report’s author. “Modern offices must be places where people feel welcomed and enjoy working while they are there. Creating work environments that reflect today’s more fluid working dynamics is critical to retaining and attracting the very best talent post-pandemic.”

Image: Connection