Office space: Staff want flexi-time (but not flexi-desks)

Jun 3, 2019 | Marketing through gaming

UK employees’ ‘miss office banter’ as working from home becomes the norm
The perfect office space is open plan, has lots of natural light, a café, comfy chairs, fixed desks and free snacks, according to a new research.

The Business Insurance study from MoneySuperMarket.surveyed 1,000 employees and 500 business owners across the Business and HR, Media and Marketing, and Creative sectors to find out what the ideal office environment looks like, based on nine different factors – openness, style, wellbeing features, physical features, luxury features, location, workspace atmosphere, desk and working hours.

  • Research into the ideal office finds that while 56% of male employers want flexible hours compared with only 45% of females, 14% of female owners want to work nights, compared with only 2% of males
  • Despite an overall preference for flexible working hours among both employees and employers, currently less than half (47%) are offered the option1
  • Media and Marketing employees are the most green-focused, with 62% wanting recycling facilities in their offices

A third (36%) of business owners prefer to have an open plan office with private areas for managers, plus almost two-thirds (63%) would also like parking. Alternatively, employees tend to like the idea of a standard open plan office (35%) that is closer to home (57%).

One area where employers and employees are definitely in agreement is in industries that have a fixed desk (74% and 73% respectively). Popular with all groups in all industries is the desire for a fixed desk, favoured by 74% of business owners and 73% of employees.

Yet when it comes to working hours, everyone wants flexibility, with 59% of employees and 52% of employers preferring this to a standard nine-to-five day. However, only 47% of full-time employees are offered flexible hours.

Tastes will always differ dependent on the individual, although both employers and employees are generally in favour of a coffee machine (66% of employers and 52% of employees name it as a top office feature). Some additional office preferences include:

  • Style – 23% of those who own Business and HR companies favour a light and airy office with plenty of windows and bright colours, whereas 47% of Media and Marketing owners would prefer a modern, metallic and hi-tech building.
  • Wellbeing features – Most business owners want a water cooler and a coffee machine and 32% of Creative employers want showers. 41% of Media and Marketing owners want a free breakfast, while Business and HR leaders would like an office café or canteen.
  • Physical features – While 26% of Creative owners want their office to be environmentally friendly, 38% of their employees want recycling opportunities. However, Media and Marketing employees prove to be the most eco-conscious, with 62% wanting recycling facilities.
  • Luxury features – While Business and HR owners would like free soft drinks, snacks and meals, Media and Marketing leaders would swap meals for video games. Creative employers have different priorities – wanting video games, sleeping pods and a games table.
  • Location – Some business owners seem to disagree with their employees on the ideal location for the office – with Media and Marketing (59%) and Creative (60%) employers looking for parking, whilst their employees would prefer public transport options.

Rose Howarth, head of business insurance at MoneySuperMarket, commented: “Small changes around the office can make a huge difference to mood and productivity, not only for employees, but also for the business owner.

“Not every change needs to break the bank or affect your business insurance policy. Many of the options both sides selected in the survey were a question of picking the right location and creating the right environment, rather than buying new assets for the company. You just need to ensure that all changes that do affect policy and location are reflected in your business insurance policy as you grow your company.”

The MoneySuperMarket report shows the visualisations of the ideal office environment for business owners and employees.

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