Do employers underestimate the impact of a good office environment?

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Do employers underestimate the impact of a good office environment?

The office environment can be a vitally important facet of a business. After all, this is where many employees will spend of the bulk of their working day and press ahead with key tasks.

Yet a large proportion feel their employer does not provide a workspace that is actually conducive to getting their job done, or at least done as well as it could be.

According to research by office designer Peldon Rose, more than nine in ten people feel their office environment has a direct impact on their productivity.

But worryingly, only four in ten feel their workspace actually makes them more productive, while one-fifth feel it actually hampers the amount they can get done.

As a result, many don't think their employer is taking the issue as seriously as they could be.

In fact, more than eight in ten people said they believe the workplace is not a high priority for senior bosses at their firm.

Similarly, less than one in three said they felt their opinion was valued when they discussed office space with managers.

Some 59 per cent feel their employer could do more to make their workspace a healthier environment, while just 32 per cent think their current office environment aids their wellbeing.

Office environment must be a priority for managers

The clear message for bosses to take away from these findings is that a pleasant working environment isn't something that's just nice to have - it's essential if they want a successful firm and an engaged, motivated workforce.

If employers want to boost productivity, tackle absenteeism and deal with issues such as work-related stress, improving the office is a logical and effective place for them to start.

It could also be vital when it comes to both attracting and retaining top talent. After all, research by has found that 53 per cent of jobseekers would turn down a job offer if they didn't like the company's office or workspace.

More than four in ten said they would be put off by outdated decor, while a similar proportion would be deterred by somewhere that didn't offer natural light.

Figures also showed that 32 per cent might turn down an offer from somewhere with broken or outdated furniture, while a dirty and unhygienic environment was also a deterrent to some job applicants.

This suggests that many employers could be missing out on the chance to snap up top talent - and are potentially running the risk of losing existing members of staff.

One practical step for employers to take could be getting people involved in discussions about the office layout.

Just ten per cent of workers take part in talks on this subject at the moment, according to the Peldon Rose study. This is especially poor when you consider that 73 per cent feel environmental changes could hugely impact on their motivation at work and 70 per cent believe it could boost their mood and productivity.

As Jitesh Patel, chief executive of Peldon Rose, says: "We know that when employees are happy at work, they are more likely to be productive, engaged and dedicated to the company, while employees who are unengaged can cost a company significantly in employee turnover, training costs and low productivity.

"With close to 70 per cent of workers reporting that they are most productive in the office than anywhere else, it is vital that the office environment allows them to work towards their highest potential every day."

Mr Patel went on to state that office design and people's working methods are evolving all the time. This, he said, means working environments must keep pace with the needs and requirements of those who work there.

"Listening to employees to remain in touch with what they want will help ensure your workforce remains happy, healthy and motivated," he stated.

Mark Kelly, marketing manager at, added that the average worker in the UK spends more than 8,000 hours a year at work.

As a result, he believes it is understandable that the working environment can be "a dealmaker or breaker" for many jobseekers.

"Employers looking to attract the most talented staff in their field should keep this in mind when inviting candidates to interview," Mr Kelly said.

Evaluate your workspace

As well as actively seeking their staff's opinions on what kind of office space they would like to see, employers could find carrying out their own evaluation of the premises worthwhile.

Is space being effectively used? Is the temperature acceptable? Do employees have enough natural light? Is the furniture ergonomically sound?

Answering common-sense questions such as these could help you easily identify what changes might need to be made.

Make the right ones and you could find yourself with a much happier and more productive workforce - and in a stronger position to both attract and retain the kind of candidates you want to bring on board.