The perfect office space is open plan, has lots of natural light, a café, comfy chairs, fixed desks and free snacks. Contributor Rose Howarth, Head of business insurance – MoneySuperMarket,
Comparison website MoneySuperMarket surveyed 1,000 employees and 500 business owners across the Business and HR, Media and Marketing, and Creative sectors to find out what the ideal office environment looks like, based on nine different factors – openness, style, wellbeing features, physical features, luxury features, location, workspace atmosphere, desk and working hours.
A third (36 percent) of business owners prefer to have an open plan office with private areas for managers, plus almost two-thirds (63 percent) would also like parking. Alternatively, employees tend to like the idea of a standard open plan office (35 percent) that is closer to home (57 percent).
One area where employers and employees are definitely in agreement is in industries that have a fixed desk (74 percent and 73 percent respectively).
Popular with all groups in all industries is the desire for a fixed desk, favoured by 74 percent of business owners and 73 percent of employees. Yet when it comes to working hours, everyone wants flexibility, with 59 percent of employees and 52 percent of employers preferring this to a standard nine-to-five day. However, only 47 percent of full-time employees are offered flexible hours1.
Tastes will always differ dependent on the individual, although both employers and employees are generally in favour of a coffee machine (66 percent of employers and 52 percent of employees name it as a top office feature). Some additional office preferences include:
Style – 23 percent of those who own Business and HR companies favour a light and airy office with plenty of windows and bright colours, whereas 47 percent of Media and Marketing owners would prefer a modern, metallic and hi-tech building.
Wellbeing features – Most business owners want a water cooler and a coffee machine and 32 percent of Creative employers want showers. 41 percent of Media and Marketing owners want a free breakfast, while Business and HR leaders would like an office café or canteen.
Physical features – While 26 percent of Creative owners want their office to be environmentally friendly, 38 percent of their employees want recycling opportunities. However, Media and Marketing employees prove to be the most eco-conscious, with 62 percent wanting recycling facilities.
Luxury features – While Business and HR owners would like free soft drinks, snacks and meals, Media and Marketing leaders would swap meals for video games. Creative employers have different priorities – wanting video games, sleeping pods and a games table.
Location – Some business owners seem to disagree with their employees on the ideal location for the office – with Media and Marketing (59 percent) and Creative (60 percent) employers looking for parking, whilst their employees would prefer public transport options.
Rose Howarth, head of business insurance at MoneySuperMarket, commented: “Small changes around the office can make a huge difference to mood and productivity, not only for employees, but also for the business owner. “Not every change needs to break the bank or affect your business insurance policy. Many of the options both sides selected in the survey were a question of picking the right location and creating the right environment, rather than buying new assets for the company. You just need to ensure that all changes that do affect policy and location are reflected in your business insurance policy as you grow your company.”