Workers would swap jobs to escape an unpleasant workspace

Almost half of employees in the UK would be willing to leave their job because of an unappealing office, according to a new survey of almost 1,000 UK office workers. The research, carried out by Matthews & Goodman, claims that 44 percent of workers would ‘definitely’ look for a new job because of an unpleasant workspace. In addition, a further 45 percent said it ‘might’ encourage them to look around for a new job.

When comparing generations, 48 percent of younger workers said they were slightly more likely to move jobs because of the state of the workspace, compared to 42 percent of their older colleagues.


Other findings from the survey include:

• 57 percent of workplaces do not allow working from home
• 34 percent of workplaces do not allow flexible working hours

The top 3 most important factors of a workplace are:

• A tidy workplace (29 percent)
• Natural light (22 percent)
• Transportation (16 percent)

The bottom 3 most important factors of a workplace are:

• The latest gadgets (24 percent)
• A good kitchen (25 percent)
• A comfortable break-out area (10 percent)

David Law, Partner at Matthews & Goodman said: “The office environment is becoming an increasingly important consideration for many employees, across all generations, given the growing body of opinion that office design can have a significant impact on employee wellbeing and productivity, as well as talent attraction and retention.

“Most businesses now recognise the value and importance of good office design. We know, for example, that creating an environment that allows different activities to be performed as individuals and teams over the course of the working day, can have a profound impact on productivity. However, being able to cut through the fads and fashions of office design is important and, it’s very telling that one of the survey findings is that office workers actually prefer a traditional workspace.”

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When asked to rate certain characteristics of a workspace, a tidy workplace was voted the most desired by 29 percent of respondents, while natural light and good transportation links were also highly desirable, with 22 percent and 16 percent of the vote respectively.

A good kitchen was voted the least desirable factor with 25 percent, while having the latest gadgets (24 percent) and a comfortable break-out area (10 percent) were also at the bottom of the list.

Laws added: “Many businesses are investing heavily to create workplaces that are engaging, homely and differentiating; however, our survey highlighted the fact that employees are simply looking for a space that allows them to be productive. Therefore, perhaps instead of turning offices into novelty places, organisations should focus on improving attendance flexibility.

“Interestingly, given the current trend for flexible working, our survey revealed that 57 percent of employees are not able to work from home and 34 percent are not able to take advantage of flexible working hours.”

A separate study, conducted by CIPD into UK working lives, found that although over 54 percent of workers currently work flexibly in some way, there is a lot of unmet demand, as two in three workers (68 percent) would like to work flexibly in a way that is not currently available. The CIPD said: “most flexible arrangements make a big difference to people’s quality of life and usually have no impact on one’s career”.

Image: from the movie Ikiru