This is a guest post by Seb Dean, the Content Manager at Advanced Commercial Interiors.
Thanks to the tech revolution spurred on by the likes of Facebook and Google, we’re seeing more and more employers move towards a workplace that’s staff-friendly and that helps them stay relaxed while they work.
UK-based office fit out specialists, Advanced Commercial Interiors, recently conducted a study that sought to shine light on what employees wanted to see in their office environment.
1. A bit of fun.
The number one thing that employees wanted was a pool table, with over 33% of respondents saying that having a pool table in their office was their most desired asset.
In a similar vein, a games console came in at #5 with 5% of the vote and a ping pong table came in at #6 with 4% of the vote.
The survey revealed that employees value being able to get refreshments without necessarily having to leave the office.
With 21% of the vote, a coffee machine came in tied at #2 in the list of things that employees wanted.
Unsurprisingly (and somewhat inappropriately), beer came in tied at #2 with 21% of the vote. Although this may be dismissed instantly by some managers as a completely inappropriate request, others will see the opportunity. We’re by no means saying that employees should be able to drink while they work, but having beer available so they can stay behind and have post-work drinks with colleagues? That sounds like a good way to solidify relationships if you ask us!
Good working relationships generally lead to happier staff and therefore enhanced collaboration and creativity among the workforce.
One of the more out of the ordinary requests came in at #7 in the survey, with 4% of the vote – an ice cream machine!
Coming in at #4 in the survey was an on-site gym.
We understand that this is probably out of reach for most employers due to the large costs involved with setting a gym up, not to mention the health and safety implications, but nevertheless, 10% of respondents said they’d love to see an on-site gym at their workplace.
It’s a well-known fact that endorphins are released during and after exercise and this can lead to spikes in productivity and the overall feeling of wellbeing that employees have. This may be worth considering before ruling out a gym as a waste of money!
Interestingly, the final request on our list was for a climbing wall (although only 1% of respondents voted for this). In reality, a climbing wall would take up a lot of room, but it could get you a feature amongst the Silicon Valley press!
So, what do we think next year’s office will look like?
It will depend largely on whether employers are engaging with employees and seeking feedback about what they want, but we’d expect employee wellbeing to be top of the list.
Employers are realising that it’s not all about money when it comes to careers. Employees are voting with their feet and choosing employers that genuinely care for them and want them to be happy when they come to work.
Employee wellbeing isn’t all about them having fun at work though, their health is also a priority and this was recognised in ACI’s post ‘office trends to watch out for in 2017’.
The number one trend that they highlighted after speaking to both employers and employees was an increased focus on providing health-conscious furniture including chairs, sit/stand desks and kneeling stools – giving employees the freedom to remain active during their working day.
Another aspect of next year’s office that was highlighted was the fact that we’re not all extroverts that flourish in open-plan office spaces.
Most workforces will be made up of a mixture between extroverts, introverts and people that fall somewhere in between.
A common request that ACI say they’ve been seeing is to break up office spaces to have quiet zones alongside open plan desking. This means that more introverted individuals can find a place to sit and quietly get on with their work, while extroverts can socialise whilst working.
Ultimately, there isn’t a one-size fits all approach to office design and one of the most important things is to listen to your employees.
Whether they want a pool table, or just a reliable coffee machine to speed up those tedious drinks runs, putting your employees first is a quick way to enhance productivity and keep hold of your most valuable staff.
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