Savills: Give workers more control over office environment and temperature to improve employee health

24 August 2016

A study released by international real estate advisor Savills and the British Council for Offices (BCO)  has revealed that almost half (46%) of office workers think that the office has a positive affect on their mental health, while 40% think it has a positive impact on their physical health. Clear correlation is shown between those who say they have less control over the set-up and design of their working environment and those who report negative physical and mental health scores. 

The report, What Workers Want, polled 1,132 office workers across the UK asking employees what factors they look for in a workplace, and how much they believe that their current environment satisfies those requirements. Those who work in a private office, as opposed to open plan, are more likely to say it has a positive impact on their mental health (50% opposed to 45%)  and women are more likely to respond positively than men (48% to 45%).

Click here to see the impact your workplace has on your mental health

The survey also asked about physical health, with 40% of respondents saying the office also has a positive affect on their physical state with 30% saying it has a negative impact

Click here to see the impact your workplace has on your physical health

What Workers Wants highlights the strong correlation between having control over one’s working environment and mental and physical health: workers who said they had little or no control over their environment are far more likely to say the environment has a detrimental impact on both their mental and physical wellbeing.

Click here to see the correlatrion between workers control over thier environment and thier mental and physical health

Savills also compared respondents’ satisfaction with the light and temperature in their office with their views on how the office impacts their mental and physical health. It could perhaps be anticipated that those who said they were dissatisfied with their office temperature also reported that the office had a negative impact on their physical health, but the same was also true for their mental health. 72% of those who said they were ‘very satisfied’ with the temperature of their office also said that the office had a positive impact on their mental health, with only 9% reporting a negative impact. In comparison, of those who said they were ‘not at all satisfied’ with the office temperature, 56% said the office had a negative impact on their mental health, with 24% reporting a positive impact.

Steve Lang, director,  Savills research and author of the report, says:  “Just as ‘wellness’ has become a bigger issue in wider society, it has also become a hot topic in the office with occupiers taking steps to improve things such as natural daylight in the office in recognition that this impacts mental health. We, however, haven’t heard much about the apparent role that temperature plays in mental health. Given the potential knock on effects this needs to be looked at in more detail when designing the office. Office temperature wars are a perennial issue, but advances in technology will help: more nuanced monitoring of heat levels, climate control office chairs and integrated fans are already on the agenda and are likely to be permanent features of the office of the future.”

Jeremy Bates, head of Savills Worldwide Occupier Services, adds: “That two thirds of employees think that the office has a neutral or positive impact on their mental and physical health is very encouraging. But there is work to do to support the remaining third who say it has a negative impact. The fact that those who say they have more control are more likely to report better physical and mental health demonstrates the value of giving employees decision-making powers over simple aspects of the workplace; thereby empowering them. On the whole, however it’s a positive picture for the office.” 

 
 

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Steven Lang

Steven Lang

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Commercial Research

Savills Margaret Street

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Natalie Moorse

Natalie Moorse

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