Over half of UK office workers dissatisfied with workplace technology

15 July 2016

  • Only 43% of employees happy with quality of office wireless connections
  • 33% of employees say they are not provided with the technology they need to work flexibly
  • 65% of workers are uncomfortable with employers using wearable technology to track them within the office, but older workers slightly more amenable to being monitored

A study released by Savills and the British Council for Offices (BCO) has revealed that only 43% of UK employees are satisfied with the levels of technology provided within the workplace.

The report, What Workers Want, highlights that this is despite the fact that 74% of respondents say that ‘good quality wireless technology’ is important or very important to them – ranking it as more important than their office having good public transport connections (ranked as important by 71%), food facilities (60%) or available meeting rooms (56%).

The 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.

“This disconnect between the importance in which workers hold a wireless connection and what employers actually provide demonstrates that workplaces have generally failed to keep up with advances in personal technology, which is surprising given the ever-increasing importance of connectivity in enabling them to function”, says Steve Lang, research director at Savills and author of the report.

“Employers may be deterred from upgrading their wireless, either by the expense or the impression that some staff may use it for personal use, but given that having strong WiFi is so important to employees it is no longer a factor that can be ignored in the fight to recruit and retain talent.”

Wearable technology

Employees also remain sceptical of their organisations using technology to track their movements within the workplace, with 65% of respondents saying that they are uncomfortable with the prospect.

Surprisingly, older respondents are slightly more amenable to it than younger ones: 12% of employees aged over 55 said they would be ‘very comfortable’ being monitored, while only 5% of those aged 25-34 selected this option. Overall, however, all age groups remain very uncomfortable at the idea. Men are marginally more uncomfortable than women with 67% saying they are uncomfortable being monitored, compared to 62% of women.

Jeremy Bates, head of UK transactional services at Savills, comments: “Data from wearables can help to manage a building effectively and regulate issues such as temperature. If it is used responsibly, and both employer and employee have agreed clear parameters on what information will be collected and how it will be used, there is no reason why wearable technology shouldn’t become a familiar feature of the workplace.”

Harnessing technology to personalise the desk environment

Comfort of the work area, temperature and light also continue to be of high importance to employees. When asked about what factors affect their wellbeing in the office, each factor received an importance score of above 80% among respondents.

“Want Workers Want shows that increasingly employees want greater control of their immediate working environment to respond to their individual needs”, continues Steve. “We may well see the emergence of new technologies that will allow light and temperature to be controlled at desk level – a development that would surely be facilitated by better wireless infrastructure.”


Notes to editors:

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,132 office workers aged 16 and over. Fieldwork was undertaken between 21st December 2015 - 13th January 2016. The survey was carried out online.

About the BCO
The British Council for Offices (BCO) is the UK’s leading member organisation representing the interests of all those who occupy, design, build, own or manage offices in the UK. Since inception in 1990, the BCO has provided thought leadership and best practice in all issues related to the creation and use of office space – through to its research, awards, conference and events programmes. www.bco.org.uk



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Key Contacts

Steven Lang

Steven Lang

Commercial Research

Head Office London

+44 (0) 20 7409 8738


Jeremy Bates

Jeremy Bates

Executive Director
Regional Offices

Head Office London

+44 (0) 20 7409 8813