A total of 78% of employees in Germany are satisfied with the equipment and furnishings of their workplace. Employees occupying one-person office rooms are especially satisfied. But the employees in this group are especially at risk of being left behind by the evolution of the working world. A total of 36% of employees reported that their work environment had been adapted to the changed requirements of modern office work during the past five years. The users of one-person office rooms benefited much less often from such adaptations. Only 29% of all places of work in this category are equipped to deal with the new requirements.
What’s important—where catching up is needed
But what does the ideal place of work for this new type of work look like? The employees who are asked this question say that a good place of work focuses above all on supporting employees’ personal sense of well-being and work performance. Well-functioning technology is also important.
The places of work that are being used today need to respond above all to the pent-up demand for quiet areas that promote concentrated work. Such areas are available for only 43% of employees. 38% of employees would need them for their work, but they have no opportunity to withdraw to a quiet area.
The fact that so many employees wish for a quieter space for working in is due to the overly high noise level in many workplaces. Only 59% of employees say that their offices have good acoustic conditions.
At the same time, many companies lack attractive communication areas and break rooms. 67% of employees consider the use of communication areas a necessity, but only 48% of them have access to such areas.
There is room for improvement even when it comes to the provision of office chairs. Almost a fifth of all employees (18%) do not have ergonomic seating.
A well-designed work environment promotes productivity
The findings of the IBA Study 2017 reveal that companies that invest in their employees’ work environment reap the benefits of having more satisfied and productive employees. Four out of five employees (78%) are convinced that a sense of well-being in their place of work directly influences their productivity, and 21% at least believe there is a possible connection.
A missed opportunity: employee participation
The best way to take advantage of this potential is to allow the employees to participate in the decisions about the design of their offices. This is the case in only a few companies today. Almost two thirds of employees have the opportunity to organize and decorate their individual place of work, but only a minority of employees have a say in the choice of their own desks (24%) and office chairs (36%). Employees also have little influence on decisions concerning technical equipment (31%).
Information about the study
A total of 1,013 employees working in offices participated in a representative online survey for this study.
• Conducted by: forsa Gesellschaft für Sozialforschung und statistische Analysen mbH
• Client: German Interior Business Association (IBA)
• Publication: October 2017
The IBA Study 2017 can be downloaded here. [Only available in German]
Photography in this article: IBA (cover photo by kununu GmbH, Vienna)