While open-plan offices seem to be all the rage at the moment with more than two-thirds (67%) of UK offices utilising this style of setup, they do have one fundamental flaw – and the clue is in the name. Open-plan offices are by their very nature, well, very open, and because of this many of the UK’s more introverted workers are finding that their place of work fails to provide the features needed to supplement employee wellbeing and thereby enable staff to work both effectively and productively.

This is according to a survey of 1,456 working people in the UK conducted by commercial real estate agency Office Genie, which found that a “significant number” of UK offices are failing to provide for the needs of their workforce due to a lack of areas that aid lone-working (as cited by 67% of respondents), private spaces (54%) or areas for quiet work (58%). The survey also noted that 45% of UK workers feel that their workplace fails to promote collaborative work, while 74% feel they do not have spaces in which to relax.

The problem has become so severe that when respondents were asked if they think their workplace allows them to carry out their work comfortably, 20% stated it does not. Of that number, a concerning majority of 70% claimed it impacts their desire to come to work.

When it comes to those features which respondents feel best aid them in terms of wellbeing and productivity, shill-out areas, quiet areas, and private spaces were found to be in highest demand amongst all manner of professionals. This is however, as you may well expect, more pronounced among those respondents who identify as introverts. For example while 22% of extroverts stated that a quiet area would benefit their wellbeing, this figure rises to 30% for introverts. Similarly while 24% of introverts agree that private work stations would provide a boost to productivity, only 17% of extroverts share this view.

Robert Hicks, Group HR Director at global employee engagement company Reward Gateway, told Office Genie, “An engaged employee knows the company’s purpose, mission and objectives. In turn, they make better decisions for the company, are more productive and innovate more. Studies have shown that workplace satisfaction correlates highly with engagement; the most engaged employees rate their workplace in the 90th percentile.

“The workplace can change and impact productivity, happiness and engagement, both positively and negatively. Changes that alter an employee’s existing behaviours and habits can be incredibly disruptive. Therefore, you need to cater for a variety of behaviours and habits, from introverts to extroverts, as well as consider how to guide employees through any changes you intend to make.”

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor as he continues to expand his horizons.
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