Not enough quiet areas: Aberdeen office workers' frustrations revealed

08 July 2016

A survey released by international real estate advisor Savills and the British Council for Offices (BCO) has revealed what workers in Aberdeen really want from their offices. 

The What Workers Want poll of 1,132 office workers across the UK investigates the factors that are important to employees in the workplace, and how much they believe that their current environment satisfies those requirements. In Aberdeen, employees prioritise having a clean office, which is easily accessible  by public transport, with both aspects being ranked as ‘important’ or ‘very important’ by over three quarters of office workers, but further analysis reveals that current offices may not be delivering on these factors.

By comparing the importance workers assign to various aspects of the office with their current satisfaction levels, it is possible to identify the size of the ‘frustration factor’ and what organisations need to address in order to attract and retain staff.

Aberdeen workers are most frustrated by what they consider to be a lack of quiet spaces in the office available for focused work, with 72% of respondents saying this is important to them in the workplace, but only a third are satisfied with the provision of quiet areas in the their current office.  Public transport connections and office cleanliness round out the top three, receiving middling satisfaction scores despite their importance to workers.

Simpson Buglass, director in the business space team and head of Savills Aberdeen, comments: “It comes as no surprise to see in this survey that connectivity polls strongly for Aberdeen office occupiers, coming joint first and third in importance, due in part to the high incidence of peripheral office parks and growing council intolerance to private car use in and around the city, which highlights the need for a good public transport network and service. Meanwhile, office cleanliness ranks joint first in terms of importance, which perhaps reflects staff frustration with full bins and untidy offices towards the end of each day. We are aware of some companies already introducing daytime office cleaning to avoid this problem.”

“Aberdeen office workers are also clearly frustrated with the lack of quiet areas in their offices”, adds Steve Lang, director of Savills research and author of the report. “While there are many benefits to employees meeting and sharing ideas in the office, when the time comes to concentrate clearly most feel their environment hinders their work. Organisations must create as much choice as possible to enable employees to vary noise levels to meet their needs depending on what they’re working on.”

Bill Ritchie, incoming Chairman of the Scottish Chapter of the BCO, comments: "What Workers Want is a very important piece of research as it allows both office developers and employers to fully understand what their employees actually need. This in turn could significantly help with attracting and retaining staff, which will help Aberdeen in the long term. Our research throws up some very interesting findings - for example, that Aberdeen workers are most frustrated with a lack of quiet spaces, which is perhaps at odds with current development thinking that shared, open spaces are best. There is also a clear frustration with transport connections, which we hope will inform future planning.

"Research of this nature, which we have commissioned to promote 'best practice' and inform businesses, is vital - we need to really understand how to create the best possible working environments by listening to employees and finding out what they really need."

Top 10 factors most important to Aberdeen office workers

Top 10 factors Aberdeen office workers are most dissatisfied with


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