More and more, organizations are beginning to realize the importance of workplace design and how it can impact their bottom line, both in terms of revenue and in keeping great talent.
We recently conducted a study where we surveyed 262 currently employed respondents in the Midwest and Northeast/Mid-Atlantic regions. It sheds light on what associates want in today’s tough talent market and explores how the physical space impacts a person’s decision to stay or leave an organization, not to mention their overall happiness.
The study reveals many key findings that can help inform how we evolve our current spaces and build new ones. We found the top four things associates want are:
- The right technology
- Better communication
- A healthy workplace
- Flexible settings
Technology, communication, and a healthy workplace were pretty expected answers, but what may be surprising to some is the overwhelming expectation that organizations should provide flexible settings. It’s evidence of a changing workforce with an expanding mindset of what the workplace should be. In fact, a whopping 87% of respondents said having workspace flexibility is very important or important. Less than 1% found it not important at all.
Flexibility was defined as having multiple settings like private spaces, common areas, and collaborative areas among others. People consistently stated they needed flexible settings and options to perform the work they needed to do. And this sentiment was expressed across all levels from Associates and Managers all the way up to the C-Suite.
In addition, nearly three-fourths of respondents said they desire a choice in where they sit and how they move throughout the day. This was especially prevalent among Associates and Managers. However, only 55% of C-Level respondents agreed. It suggests a need for more open dialogue between senior leaders and associates so everyone can better understand how different groups are working throughout the day.
We also found that the architecture and design community supports the need for flexible spaces and choice in where to sit. They also stated ergonomic furniture to be very important and placed a high value on spaces that communicate culture and a sense of belonging.
Overwhelmingly, our study results support the need for choice and flexible workspaces. In fact, providing a flexible work environment may be one of the easiest solutions we can implement to start achieving better engagement, productivity, and, most importantly, improving associate experiences.