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Does the aircon setting cause you grief? What makes an office attractive to you?

January 29, 2015 / By

In Singapore I travel to work by public transport. An easy, stress-free, 25 minute journey from door to door. However, with my move back to Europe edging closer the memories of long traffic jams and delayed underground journeys quickly surface.

Easy access to your workplace… It’s often mentioned as a crucial driver of employee satisfaction. We put this to the test in a recent poll, in which we asked office workers around the globe which features are most attractive to them in a workplace – and how well their employers deliver them.

Unsurprisingly, accessibility ranks first (figure 1). The data suggests a good location doesn’t necessarily equate to a central location, though. Proximity to home, the quality & quantity of nearby amenities as well green spaces all rank above a location in the city centre/ CBD.

Technology and ambiance round out the top 3. With new tech solutions quickly changing the way we work (and play), it’s perhaps no surprise that employees find an office equipped with the latest technology attractive. A good ambiance is also easy to relate to. Take for example the office temperature. I can remember a colleague actually taking in her woolly jumper even in the middle of summer; the office air conditioning drove her up the wall and prohibited her from being productive. After the top three, the picture becomes more muddled, including a ‘long tail’ of characteristics that represent a smaller -but significant- number of respondents value.

Figure 1

Graph 1 _29Jan2015Source: JLL Research, 2015

Companies often don’t provide what’s most important to staff!

When we compare these features to how well employers deliver them, a different picture emerges (figure 2). Accessibility is ranked as the most important factor, but employees feel this is well provided for. This demonstrates that the emphasis that corporate real estate (CRE) teams have placed on location strategies has been worthwhile and generally aligns with high staff expectations.

However, employers aren’t meeting their employees’ expectations around technology and ambience. These crucial factors show the highest disconnect between value and delivery, and can therefore be easily earmarked as areas for improvement/investment.

Figure 2

Graph 2_29Jan2015 Source: JLL Research, 2015

Some easy wins for corporates…

Beyond location and the physical environment (technology, ambience), both of which often require heavy investment and disruption when they are changed, the survey reveals that there are some easy ways for corporates to ensure happy employees. For example, offering wellness services (offering gym membership, yoga classes etc) as well as education and enrichment services. While these services and amenities that enhance the workplace experience are deemed as fairly important by employees
surveyed, they are almost never catered for. Hence, provision of such services could potentially be a relatively low investment but high impact way to improve employee satisfaction. Some leading companies (especially technology companies) have started investing in workplace amenities and results have been great, supported by strong evidence in the form of employee satisfaction scores before and after implementation.

Expect corporates (and CRE teams) to increasingly explore improving ‘workplace experience’ as it could generate competitive advantage in a corporate environment where the war on talent rages on.

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