Despite a seeming shift towards companies embracing more collaborative workplace environments across Europe, the benefits of hot desking and open plan working seem to still be contentious for many workers. With this in mind, Savills, in association with YouGov, has conducted a survey of 11,000 office workers across the continent to understand just ‘What Workers Want.’
According to the report, 30% of workers in open plan offices across the continent feel that their workplace layout has a negative impact on their productivity levels, compared to only 11% of workers in private offices. And, of the workers whose workplace permits hot desking, Savills reports that 32% feel hot desking has a positive impact on their productivity levels, though 30% believe hot desking has a negative impact.
“With so much competition for talent, businesses are focussed on attracting the best people,” comments Mike Barnes, associate, Savills European Research, ““A principal objective of our latest What Workers Want report was to provide primary data for European companies to be able to create optimal workplace strategies to remain relevant and appeal to a multi-generational workforce. Significantly, what the report reveals is that it’s most important for workers to have a choice of workspace and have access to the space where they feel most productive.”
When asked where workers would most like to spend the majority of their working time, Savills recorded that over half (52%) would like to work at their own dedicated desk, followed by 18% who want to work from home. Savills observes the disparity between countries when it comes to the impact workers feel that hot desking has on their productivity. 54% of Polish workers believe hot desking has a positive impact on their productivity, against only 12% in the UK. Norwegian (67%) workers preferred their own dedicated working space more than any other country, while Portuguese (35%) workers were more flexible and willing to work elsewhere.
Savills discovered that the majority of workers in Europe felt that a) the ability to recycle (63%), b) public realm (62%), c) environmental performance of the building (58%) and d) plants/greenery inside the office played an important role in their ideal workplace. However, 12% of Europe’s workers reported that the workplace has an overall negative impact on their mental health.
“Naturally, the environment continues to play an important role in worker wellbeing but also, as the lines between home, work and play become blurred, workers are demanding more from their workspace at their fingertips,” comments Barnes. Savills notes that WiFi quality in the workplace was the second most important factor after the length of commute to work and 37% of office workers reported that they would find a workplace smartphone app useful. Services would include access to and from the building, booking meeting rooms, laundry services, engaging with work events and parcel deliveries.
Katrina Kostic-Samen, Director, Head of Workplace - Strategy & Design, comments, “People are the heart and soul of the workplace and the office they occupy must be a community. Results show that choice and variety, as well as empowerment to select the setting most appropriate to the task, improves wellbeing and productivity. We see businesses who invest in the flexible workplace are best positioned to adapt to the demands of their global markets and attract and retain high-performance people. Talent retention is most successful with an informal and personable style, in both attitude and workplace design.”
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Notes to editors:
Savills fourth edition of What Workers Want is based on data sourced by YouGov between March and April 2019, interviewing over 11,000 employees based in France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK. The report examines the key issues driving office trends, including what workers expect from their employer as well as what working spaces might look like in the future.