Is there anything resembling a consensus when it comes to modern office aesthetics? The answer is a resounding “sort of.” Right now we know that we hate cubicles, and are halved on open floor plans.
Professional optics are clearly experiencing a transition period, with a recent study revealing that Americans would forfeit $5,000 a year if it meant they got to work at a firm that endorsed a casual dress code. Intending to explore all of the ways subordinates want the workforce of the future to improve, Olivet Nazarene University asked more than 2,00 employed Americans how satisfied they are with their respective office environments, and in what ways it contributes to their overall happiness and productivity.
Private Offices reign supreme
The poll was conducted between November 15th and November 17th, 2019, and included 2,009 workers with an average age of 37; 55% of respondents identified as female, and 45% identified as male. Of these, 4%, worked in an open office with no assigned space, 13% worked in an open office with assigned spaces, 21% were employed at a private office, 28% worked within cubicles and the largest majority worked at a private office-open floor hybrid.
Although only 77% of the entire study pool was satisfied with their office setup, private offices accounted for the lion’s share of happy workers, followed by spaces that were a combination of a private office and an open floor design (90%, and 79%, respectively). The chief ranking appeared to come down to communication.
“Technology has allowed us to create office environments in which employees communicate as much or more through social channels as they do face-to-face—on average, our respondents have eight conversations in-person per day and nine conversations on messaging platforms. Of the 54% that use instant messaging platforms like Slack, half say they use them more for socializing than is appropriate. Despite this potential for distraction, only one in five say it hurts productivity,” the authors wrote in the new report.
As previously reported on by Ladders, executives have also made accommodations to suit the rise of remote work. Two out of five respondents polled in the Olivet survey said that their office allowed them to work from home at least three times per month. Although many suggest that this form of work will continue to grow in popularity, 56% of respondents said that they collaborate with their colleagues much less from home,58% said that it was much harder to get work done when they worked remotely, and 80% confessed that when they worked from home they ended up multitasking job items with personal objectives, like laundry, family, chores, etc.
In all fairness, only 67% of the same pool said working at their office makes them as productive as they could be. The most common office obstruction was as follows:
- Too noisy
- Lack of privacy
- Too many visual distractions
- Too little energy
- Too isolating
To combat the top concern, 53% of participants wear headphones more than 50% of the time at their place of work. The authors conclude, “As professional expectations evolve along with the modern American workforce, it’s only natural that the space we work in follows suit. Gone are the days of formal clothing and fluorescent lighting, here to stay are casual dress codes and cozy furniture. Even cubicles are disappearing, often replaced with much-debated open floor plans, elements of which can be found in more than half of workplaces today. Increasingly, offices are being designed with employees’ wants and needs in mind.”