Workplace productivity is being impeded as a direct result of dated office design, according to the Meeting Expectations report, released today by K2 Space.

The survey of 1,000 GB-based office workers undertaken by YouGov revealed that 30 per cent of workers believe their office is outdated, uninspiring and in need of a complete refurbishment – and crucially, one in five (21%) said that if their office was better designed they would be more productive at work.

What office workers really need

When respondents were asked what could be done to improve their current office space, 32 per cent would like more access to natural light: 19 per cent said the lighting in their office is poor and has a negative effect on their mood and productivity.

Thirty one per cent of all respondents would like to see more colour, artwork, and graphics utilised to enliven their workspace, a fifth of respondents would like the inclusion of sit-stand desks, and the same number of workers also believe having access to/improved showering and washing facilities would improve their office.

A consistent theme throughout the research was a desire amongst office workers for more informal spaces for working and collaborating, and also private spaces for concentrating and taking telephone calls; 30 per cent agree the introduction of such spaces would improve their office, while 31 per cent believe it would improve the quality of meetings specifically. A further 35 per cent of respondents agree the traditional boardroom is outdated and has had its day.

UK levels of output are still behind rates achieved prior to the 2008 financial crisis

Co-founder of office design and fit-out specialist K2 Space, Mark Phillips, said:

“The productivity puzzle continues to perplex economists with no-one really able to identify why the UK’s levels of output are still behind rates achieved prior to the 2008 financial crisis. Some factors – such as Brexit – create uncertainty and are obviously outside of an organisation’s control, but the physical work environment should not be underestimated as having a significant impact on staff wellbeing and mood, collaboration and productivity.”

“Our research highlights the fact that while office design can be incredibly subjective, the real goal is to create a space that attracts and retains talented staff. We’ve known for some time that sedentary working is not good for our bodies, and so organisations should be actively looking at ways of offering collaborative, shared working zones that encourage movement around the office to allow staff to remain both physically and mentally active.”

Millennials are generally the least content with their current workplace

A recurring theme throughout the research is that Millennials* are generally the least content with their current workplace, and therefore most in favour of change. Boomers on the whole, are most content:

25% of Millennials would like a games area in their office for playing and socialising with colleagues, compared with just 2% of Boomers

36% of Millennials would like private spaces for taking calls, compared with 24% of Boomers

27% of Millennials would like sit-stand desks, compared with 10% of Boomers

The research also revealed that when it comes to meetings, Millennials are less engaged on the whole:

35% of Millennials have texted friends or family during a meeting, compared with just 10% of Boomers

28% of Millennials have used their personal social media accounts during a meeting, compared with just 5% of Boomers, and

30% of Millennials have browsed the internet for personal reasons (including shopping), compared with only 5% of Boomers

Phillips continued: “What is evident from our research is that by and large, Millennials lack the spaces and resources to carry out their jobs effectively. By failing to meet the demands of this modern, digital-native workforce, employers risk missing out on the top talent.”

Interview rooms critical 

Almost half (48%) of respondents agreed that the room where they were interviewed for a job would influence their opinion of whether or not to work for an organisation – this was particularly high amongst Millennials, at 54%

31% agree their meeting rooms are dull and uninspiring

One in ten (10%) office workers has fallen asleep in a meeting

21% have been let down by technology whilst attending a virtual meeting

12% would be willing to take a 5% pay reduction for the ability to work from home more frequently

27% actively avoid making telephone calls outside of a private space if they know people around can hear their conversation (higher with Millennials at 32%).