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Where to prioritise investment for a happy workforce

What areas of office life have the most scope for improvement? And where should employers prioritise investment to create a happier workplace?

To find out, Workthere, the office space broker and website listing platform, compiled a list of 48 aspects of office life and asked 11,000 office workers in 11 countries to tick those they considered to be important and those they were broadly satisfied with.

It then gave each a ‘satisfaction gap’ rating based on the difference between the proportion of respondents who considered it important and the proportion who were satisfied with it in their own workplace.

Here are the five areas of office life with the greatest satisfaction gap, according to the Workthere What Coworkers Want report, plus steps employers can take to redress the imbalance.

1 Air quality – satisfaction gap 28% (imp. 80% – sat. 52%). Top tip: check that air vents are open and unblocked and air filters are replaced regularly.

2 Noise levels – satisfaction gap 25% (imp. 78% – sat. 53%). Top tip: introduce specific breakout rooms where people can interact and talk without disturbing others.

3 Temperature – satisfaction gap 23% (imp. 78% – sat. 55%). Top tip: maintain an optimum temperature of around 22°C to improve happiness and productivity levels.

4 Quiet rooms – satisfaction gap 22% (imp. 76% – sat. 54%). Top tip: turn meeting rooms that are often unused into dedicated quiet spaces or, if that’s not possible, introduce ‘phone booth’ style rooms where workers can work without distraction.

5 Comfortable workspaces – satisfaction gap 21% (imp. 82% – sat. 61%). Top tip: ensure each employee has plenty of desk space, a comfortable chair and a working environment that’s not too loud, hot or cold.

Workthere was established by Savills in 2017 to help co-working and flexible workspace providers market their space and businesses find flexible, co-working and serviced office space across Europe, America and Asia. Workthere is completely free for occupiers and covers the entire flexible work space market, as well as specialist spaces such as laboratories.

It is safe to assume that Steelcase has addressed all the aspects highlighted above in its new Learning + Innovation Centre in the heart of Munich. The three-building, 14,400 square metre campus brings together 230 employees from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) to promote learning and spark innovation. Jim Keane, President and CEO of Steelcase, said: “We designed a place where people could come together from all over Europe to build relationships, learn, fail and grow together. We believe this is central to innovation, but it’s not just for us; it’s for our customers, too. It gives them a place to experience real work as it’s happening and to see how space can support and accelerate business results.