Four-fifths (81%) of office workers in Europe believe that a well-functioning and attractive workplace has a direct impact on their mental health, and 77% state that a good working environment helps them achieve their goals.
The findings from office supply retailer Staples were the result of an online survey of 7,000 office-based employees in October 2018. It was launched at a pop-up workplace happiness event, hosted by the retailer in London on 21 January 2019.
The survey also revealed that 15% of employees find cramped spaces frustrating, while 20% would describe their workspace as ‘depressing‘.
At the launch event, Professor Sir Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Alliance Manchester Business School, and president at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), said: “Just last year alone, 250,000 people went of work [due to stress]. It’s costing us a fortune. Presenteeism is double the cost. Only one in three people in the workplace is actually delivering added value.”
Some of the initiatives that Staples’ research found would aid employees in finding happiness at work include having an office dog (27%), having access to hammocks or sleeping pods (20%), free spa and yoga provisions (26%) and free healthy snacks (49%).
“A lot of people want to work flexibly, but don’t necessarily want to work exclusively from home,” said Cooper. “So, [although] people say ‘there’s not going to be an office’, there will be. We’re human beings and we want the social contact. Offices are probably here to stay.”
However, only 15% of respondents stated that they love their office, whereas 40% find the lighting in their workspace to be uncomfortable, and 31% say they are embarrassed by their work environment. Nevertheless, the majority (80%) agree that having a well-functioning office space boosts staff productivity, while 76% agree that it helps with retention efforts.
“If an employer [invests] in the physical workspace, an employee will feel valued because [the employer is] saying that we care enough about you to invest some money,” Cooper explained.
Jeanette Bresitz, head of merchandising, UK at Staples, added: “We know that better space leads to better work, and that better workspace leads to better performance and a more engaged workforce.
“Whether entertaining clients or encouraging effective staff collaboration, we know that through ‘meet’ space, we can deliver an instant result within a business and make sure that people feel valued. This can provide staff with a chance to get some much needed headroom. Investing time and thought in non-public facing areas ensures that your staff feel valued, and speaks volumes about [an employer’s] business values, too.”