Motivate through positive workplaces

Written by
Tim Oldman

25 Feb 2016

25 Feb 2016 • by Tim Oldman

What do employees want from their workspace?

As the world’s largest independent measure of workplace effectiveness, we work with organisations across the globe, helping them assess just how well the workplaces they provide support the activities undertaken by their workforce. Our survey has been designed to map the differing employee needs and satisfaction levels with numerous workplace features and services based on their individual roles, including everything from the design of a workspace to the on-site facilities.

In short, we look at the extent to which physical workplace infrastructures work for rather than against employees.

Having spoken to more than 135,000 employees in over 1,100 workplaces in 49 countries, we certainly see that work environments can have a dramatic impact on employee performance. This, in turn, affects their personal sense of productivity. 

Does your work environment present a sense of community?

Our research suggests that two out of every five employees believe their workplace doesn’t contribute towards a sense of community or create an enjoyable environment in which to work. Perhaps that’s why only 49% of employees are proud of where they work. In addition, the Leesman data shows that employees are increasingly getting the most benefit from the spaces and infrastructure items most difficult to quantify or justify: variety of workspaces, informal areas to collaborate and communicate with colleagues, café areas etc, yet their employers are failing to provide them. The day of the desk as the epicenter of productivity is dead.

Considering most of us spend, on average, between 35 and 40 hours a week - a big chunk of our day-to-day lives - in a work setting, it’s important that we feel inspired by our environment, or else we won’t be much use to anyone. And if workers are spending hours, days, months, years of their lives feeling dissatisfied with their surroundings, or with their organisation’s offering, then it doesn’t bode well for engagement levels or for overall business performance. 

Even more worryingly, just over half of respondents - that’s 70,000 employees across the world - agree the design of their workplace enables them to work productively. In fact, the UK fares slightly worse that the global picture. We believe that business leaders are routinely failing to recognize the importance of workplace as a component of organisational performance or competitive advantage.  According to an OECD UK Economic survey published earlier this year, labour productivity per employee has failed to markedly rise since the global downturn; and recent CBI data reveals that the UK is 20 percentage points below the G7 average, the widest gap since the series began in 1991, raising questions of what impact constrained investment on property and facilities might be having. 

Our survey reveals that 85% of employees recognise the importance of a well-designed workplace, with 54% believing that an office environment has a direct impact on workplace culture. Despite this, there’s a woeful lack of science being applied to the workplace environment. 

Creating and maintaining a positive culture is key when aiming to motivate a workforce. In order to improve productivity, organisations must consider the design of the workspace by questioning whether the space inspires a sense of passion and pride. Businesses must, alongside skills, investment and infrastructure, include the workplace in their productivity focus. Those that do will boost productivity and their organisation performance.

Motivate all year round, not just today

We would encourage businesses across the country to find out and respond to what makes their colleagues tick - not just on 'Employee Motivation Day', but every day thereafter.