Office transformations produce higher employee satisfaction

by Sam McLeod
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employee satisfaction

Workplaces that have changed their office spaces to accommodate new working arrangements show a 17 percent increase in employee satisfaction scores.

A new report released by Hassell, ‘Great Adaptations – 2023 Workplace Futures Survey’, revealed that the average hybrid employee satisfaction score of 70 out of 100 improves to 83 in offices that have been renovated in the past year – a 17 percent increase.

The report, which surveyed 3500 people across six countries, found that most offices are keeping pace with redesigning around new working arrangements. But the report also found that more than a third of workplaces (38 percent) have implemented no design changes in the last year.

Successful organisations work in tandem with human resources and employees

The most successful workplace transformations don’t just align office redesigns with workplace policy, but also work together with human resources and employees in the implementation of these changes.

When organisations provide support and training around workplace changes, employee satisfaction scores jump to 93 out of 100. This is a 29 percent increase from workplaces that implement no changes at all, and a 12 percent improvement over those that implement changes without providing assistance for hybrid work.

Despite this, of the companies that have switched to hybrid and redesigned their workplace, only around 64 percent have provided support and training to their managers, and just above half (54 percent) have provided it to their front-line employees.

People are spending more time in offices

Considered and collaborative workplace transformation is especially important given the report’s findings that people spent more time working in an office and less time working at home than last year.

Policy changes, employee choice, end of lockdowns and opportunities for hybrid work have all contributed to this change.

Although when given the choice most employees choose hybrid work (56 percent), employees are 1.55 times more likely to be working at an office than from home compared with last year, with over a quarter (28 percent) choosing to work exclusively from an office, up from 18 percent last year.

Bringing people back to the office

But the report revealed that workplaces simply mandating for employees to return to offices isn’t necessarily successful. Employees forced back to offices were 1.3 times more likely to contemplate quitting and 18 percent less engaged compared to employees at other companies.

The report also found that economic downturn is unlikely to bring people back to offices. Indeed, employees most at risk of losing their jobs are twice as likely to be hybrid workers than those who are safe.

Getting the basics right

Instead, workplaces must draw people back to offices by offering desirable amenities and by getting the basics right.

“In this era of hybrid work, companies can’t afford to wait for economic conditions to change,” says Daniel Davis, a senior researcher at Hassell. 

“They need to be getting the basics right — something that many offices fail to do — by providing the right spaces for collaborative and focused work. And they need to stack and aggregate a variety of amenities that not only address the unique requirements of different individuals but also cultivate an atmosphere of inclusivity and engagement.”

Bringing people back: a vibrant city

The report found that one of the most desirable amenities that attracts people back to offices was a vibrant surrounding urban environment. People want workplaces connected to desirable amenities, allowing them to make the most of their commute.

In Australia, for example, survey respondents indicated that the top three places to visit before or after the office were a café, a grocery store and public transport.

Across the countries surveyed, the most desired amenities were grocery stores, green spaces – which also promote health – and retail.

Effective changes to office design

Office renovations still play a key role in determining workplace satisfaction. Companies are instituting a wide range of changes to office spaces. The most common change relates to adding new technology, particularly to improve hybrid meetings.

Other desirable perks include offering free food and increased spaces for wellness, socialising and eating. 

Davis reiterates the importance of collaboration in making office changes.

“And while we can see a link between changes to offices and higher satisfaction, the most effective investments happen in tandem with updating policies to match new employee expectations,” he says.

More information about effective workplace changes can be found here.

FMs can plan their future of hybrid work at the REwork Summit.

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