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Office design could be affecting staff performance

A new study has revealed the link between workplace design and its impact on staff retention and performance

New study reveals the link between workplace design and its impact on staff.
New study reveals the link between workplace design and its impact on staff.

A new study has revealed the link between workplace design and its impact on staff retention and performance.

As part of Wellness Together, a syndicated research project carried out by Sapio Research, of the 1,000 UK based office workers and 50 facilities management experts surveyed, the study highlights the importance of healthy and comfortable working conditions for the overall well-being of company performance through staff satisfaction.

In fact, the survey provides evidence of a strong correlation between productivity, creativity and profitability with employee working conditions including light, air, noise, health, culture, design, movement, and the quality of furniture.

Companies that have good environmental conditions at their workplace and have supportive and flexible working practices have proven to be more productive, innovative, and profitable.

READ: Report: UAE buildings could be making you sick


Jane Hales, managing partner of Sapio Research, said: “Given the apparent inverse relationship between productivity and absenteeism currently in the UK, it’s no surprise that over half (55%) of employees recognise there is a problem with their own company’s productivity.

"Of course, there is no single quick fix to this but it’s great to be able to identify a number of key facilities and behaviours that companies can change to overcome the challenge, many of which are often very low cost.

“The presenteeism phenomena of staff working while unwell is costing the UK twice as much as absenteeism, so it’s in everyone’s interest to stimulate greater engagement among the most vital resource; employees.”

According to the study, workplace design has an impact on staff retention, with 48% of those surveyed believing that workplace design has a notable impact on their decision as to whether to stay with an employer.

Additionally, employee desire for a personal, comfortable space is also high, though only 53% of employees feel they have adequate control over their comfort when working.

Higher performing companies are more likely to have a wide range of facilities in place for their staff and include features that promote wellbeing such as showers, plants, quiet working spaces, variable lighting control, workstations that promote healthy posture, and social amenities.

A study by WSP earlier this year highlighted similar factors on employee health and satisfaction.

Farah Yassine, senior consultant at WSP, said that indoor spaces, including schools, offices and recreational spaces, have shown higher than average Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOCs) in the UAE.

Poor acoustic conditions were also higher than average in many buildings in the Emirates, with the average sound level measured in classrooms around 59 dB – 24 dB higher than the recommended sound level of 35 dB.

These factors could be contributing to employees in the UAE suffering from feelings of low productivity, lack of consideration, high instances of illness, and tiredness at work.

Overall, companies with a high level of flexibility have shown 6% higher gross profit margins, on average, than companies with low flexibility. Therefore, considerations into workplace design could prove profitable in the long-term.

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Construction Week - Issue 759
Feb 22, 2020