Many employers now have open plan offices and hot-desking to save space and reduce costs. But in Savills’ survey of 11,000 European office workers, hot-desking has come in for some considerable criticism. The report, “What Workers Want”, said 45 per cent of those employed by a business which had hot-desking said their office layout was not good for productivity. So it seems that most employees still want their own dedicated desk.
In the UK, almost three quarters of those surveyed worked in open plan offices and these people were more likely to say that the design of the office had a negative impact on productivity. Noise is a major issue. Good news for any of you who work in workplace acoustics, or who design or fit out new offices – the report is well worth a read.
What can employers do about this? Interestingly, only a third of those surveyed had been asked about their working environment by their current employer. It might be tricky to change the layout of an office, or to allocate individual desks, but there are clearly other changes that you could accommodate – asking someone to use earphones when listening to the radio, or to create quiet spaces for people who need to concentrate. Asking your employees for feedback might identify issues which are easy to resolve – and boost employee engagement, happiness and productivity.