Edinburgh workers believe better office design would drive productivity

12 July 2016

A survey released by international real estate advisor Savills and the British Council for Offices (BCO) has revealed that 66% of Edinburgh office workers believe that the interior layout and design of their workplace is important, but 60% think that if it were improved to match their ‘ideal’ layout and design, it would significantly increase their productivity. Conversely, only 33% of workers in the Scottish capital think their current workplace design encourages productivity.

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 Edinburgh, workers scored good public transport connections as their highest priority, with 88% of participants citing it as the most important factor in their working lives, compared to 81% in Glasgow, 78% in Aberdeen and 71% in the wider UK.

Keith Dobson, director in the business space team in Savills Scotland, comments: “This survey reinforces our belief that office developers and landlords should focus on accessible office locations with strong public transport links. They also have to deliver high quality and thoughtful office design if they are to attract and retain the best talent in Edinburgh’s competitive market.”

According to What Workers Want, there seems to be a significant mismatch between what Edinburgh office workers deem important and current levels of satisfaction. By comparing the importance workers assign to these categories with their current satisfaction levels, it is possible to identify the size of the ‘frustration factor’ and thereby what organisations need to address in order to attract and retain staff. According to these results, Edinburgh workers are most frustrated by what they consider to be a lack of quiet spaces for focused work, the overall cleanliness of their office, and poor quality wireless technology.

“Given that only a third of Edinburgh workers think their current office encourages productivity, and two thirds think there is scope for their environment to improve their efficiency, it seems that making some design and layout changes would be an easy win for employers looking to increase output and employee engagement,” says Steve Lang, director of Savills research and author of the report. 

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.

"Our survey of Edinburgh workers has thrown up some very interesting findings; including the fact that 66% of workers feel an office's layout and design can significantly improve productivity -  but that only 33% feel that their current workplace actually does this. This is a very clear message to businesses: listen to what your staff really need, rather than assuming anything. Good public transport links were cited as the highest priority for Edinburgh workers, with a lack of quiet spaces the biggest frustration; a concern that has featured heavily throughout the UK wide survey. The BCO commissioned this survey in order to inform businesses about their workforce's needs, and we hope the findings lead to positive change."

Click here to see the top 10 factors most important to Edinburgh office workers

Click here to see the top 10 factors Edinburgh office workers are most dissatisfied with


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