Reclaiming the Office as the Best Place to Work
Where do your employees do their best work? Not in the office – at least that’s what employees said in a surprising survey by FlexJobs.
Of the 2,600 employees surveyed, only 24% reported getting their best work done at the office during business hours. Some 76% said they were most productive nearly anywhere else.
- 50% do their best work at home
- 12% prefer a coffee shop, library or other public space
- 14% said they could be productive at the office, but not during regular business hours
Why Doesn’t the Workplace Work?
Employees who took the survey said the office is a bad place to work because of interruptions from coworkers (76%), a distracting atmosphere (74%), office politics (71%), uncomfortable workspaces (65%) and the stress of commuting (68%).
An amazing 30% of the employees surveyed said they'd take a pay cut in exchange for outside-the-office work options, while another 42% said they would give up perks to get such options.
More than half favored telecommuting or alternative schedules as the best flexible work options.
Making the Office Productive Again
We don't know all of the metrics that went into the survey, but the results should serve as a baseline to help employers examine their office environments and determine whether the space they have is supporting productivity or hindering it.
Inc.com suggested that the survey shows the need to develop “do-no-disturb workspaces employees can use when they need to concentrate on a project.” Their recommendation is to “set aside a conference room, library, unused office, or other space where employees can go for quiet and focus.”
Here are a few suggestions:
1. If you’ve already set aside quiet space for employees to use, make sure it’s easy for them to book it. In our clients’ workplaces, employees use EventBoard to quickly find out which conference rooms are available, to book those spaces, or add more time to an existing room reservation.
2. Take a look at your workplace analytics. Find out if the bookable spaces already available in the office are under- or over-utilized. If you can identify which spaces are most popular – and why – it’ll be easier to figure out how to reconfigure the office layout if you need to make more quiet work areas available to workers.
3. Set up conference rooms to empower telecommuting. Given how many people prefer to work outside of the office at least some of the time, it’s important to make sure that employees working from home can still collaborate with those who are in the office. Up-to-date videoconferencing technology can facilitate “almost in person” communication.
The key is to make office space work for the specific needs of your staff.
While flexibility is becoming a bigger priority for workers, providing them with office space where they know they can be productive, whether they need quiet or a group environment, is just as important to keep the business running smoothly.