Happy Work Environment Promotes Improved Productivity

Chriss Swaney

Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) An overwhelming majority of workers would like their current employer to offer healthier workspace environments, with options ranging from open spaces to video games and more flexible working hours, according to a recent survey by MoneySuperMarket.

“Small changes around the office can make a huge difference to mood and productivity, not only for employees, but also for the business owner,” said Rose Howarth, head of business insurance at MoneySuperMarket.

Howarth pointed out that not every change needs to break the bank or affect a company’s business insurance policy.

The survey reported that 46 percent of creative workers want video games in the office and that 35 percent of office workers want open plan offices not cubicles. Research also found that both owners and workers would like a traditional and functional office style with free snacks and soft drinks.

“The old Dilbert style cubicle is long gone as millennials seek a more environmentally friendly work environment,” said Stephen R. Lee, professor and head of the school of architecture at Carnegie Mellon University.

And those observations are evident in the recent MoneySuperMarket survey that found media and marketing employees are the most environmentally friendly, with 62 percent wanting recycling facilities in their offices.

In the last 20 years, the modern office has gone through a number of evolutions. The early 2000s saw the death of cubicle farms and the rise of open floorplans, and 2015 brought waves of ping pong and foosball tables to offices everywhere. While trends come and go, one thing that does not change is the impact that the office has on employee wellbeing. A quality workspace design leads to a less stressful and more productive workplace. Employees need to feel comfortable and calm in their work settings to produce their best work.

“We believe it’s about creating an environment where people can work with likeminded individuals in a quiet, calm and open space. Our members tell us that they love the fact we offer a welcome and collaborative space for people who may otherwise have chosen not to or been unable to return to work. I love the fact that our mums and dads are able to ease themselves back to the workplace, knowing that baby is nearby and safe,” said Shazia Mustafa, the co-founder of Third Door, a family-friendly co-working space with an onsite flexible Ofsted registered Nursery in London.

“There’s something about being in a place that you like that improves your happiness, quality of work, motivation and you name it,” said Keren Moynihan, the CEO of Boss Insights.

With many workers spending up to 40 hours a week in an office, it should come as no surprise that the survey found that the office environment is vitally important to 21 percent of employees, and that happy workers are 20 percent more productive.

Although many employers do not measure the happiness quotient, they do create special environments for specific client demands.

“Due to client commitments in a particular location, we rented a “pop-up” style open office for our team to work in for 2.5 years. This was a great, flexible and relatively low cost solution. It meant the team could work side-by-side. When the program completed, we closed the office and all staff went to home-based contracts,” said Clare Hewitt, co-director of Perform Green.

Hewitt also observed that the benefits of the open office space were undoubtedly the social side of work – having your teammates alongside to chat informally, and the potential value of knowledge exchange.

“We were very conscious that this would disappear with a ‘digitally connected’ team. So we put great effort into meeting regularly for work-related meetings and social events. We have not noticed a decline in productivity…but we do not specifically measure our staffs level of happiness, but we are all extremely motivated to do our best work we can for our organization and our clients, ‘’ said Hewitt.

As more workers now operate their business from the home, the survey found that all industry sectors demand flexible hours and fixed desks. A whopping 74 percent of business owners and 73 percent of employees wanted fixed desks and flexible working hours rather than the standard nine to five.

Other survey findings revealed that both business and HR and media and marketing workers share a preference for light and airy offices (23 percent and 29 percent respectively), while creative employees prefer to keep things simple with 44 percent wanting a traditional and functional building.

And finally, for today’s mobile workforce, the survey reports that 63 percent of business owners want parking spaces while 62 percent of media and marketing employees and 54 percent of creative employees want transport options.

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