Workers value comfort and functionality over quirky office design

office design and engagementEmployees value physical office design features and amenities that offer them a greater deal of comfort and functionality in the workplace. They especially favour outdoor views, natural light and on-site food services, according to a new report from CBRE based on a survey of 1,600 North American office users.

Carried out by human resources advisory firm Future Workplace and smart-building tech company View Inc. the report sets out to gauge how extensively a workplace’s physical amenities can influence employee satisfaction and engagement.

While the largest influencers of employee engagement are trust in management, company values, and opportunities for development, physical features of the workplace also play a big role. Specifically, the survey found that physical comfort is seen as very important to people, with 53 percent identifying views of the outdoors among their most valued perks, 53 percent choosing natural light and 44 percent favoring on-site cafeteria access or food service.

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Additionally, 37 percent of respondents included on-site kitchens among their most valued office perks, and 28 percent chose open office space.

“A workplace’s physical layout and amenities can signal and reinforce a company’s values for its employees,” said Damla Gerhart, Senior Managing Director of CBRE’s Workplace practice. “Moving private offices away from the windows so that most of the floor has an outdoor view shows consideration for all employees. Glass-front offices and open workspaces promote transparency and community. We see a correlation between employee engagement and physical designs and layouts like this.”

In its analysis of the survey, CBRE found that the degree of value that respondents placed on the physical features of their workplace, means they have a 95 percent probability of impacting their overall engagement. For example, respondents with access to natural light in their workplaces are 67 percent more likely to report being satisfied with their company.

Additionally, employees provided with an office design that offers them variety of work settings – workstations, breakout rooms, communal couches, free-address seating – are 91 percent more likely to be satisfied with their workplace and organisation.