In order for a workplace to be successful, it needs to enable staff to work productively and efficiently. Unfortunately, it seems many businesses are failing in this respect.

That’s according to the findings of Leesman’s global report, ‘The Next 250k‘, which suggests that many people are enduring offices that do not facilitate and support their work.

As lead of the research, Dr Peggie Rothe PhD, notes: “Offices are assets — tools in talent management strategies, gears in product innovation, instruments in brand development and organisational performance.”

But it seems that many still view the office simply as a location, and not as a device they can harness to give themselves a competitive edge.

The report, which surveyed over 250,000 staff across more than 2,200 offices, found that employees are not getting what they want from their workplaces, as 43% of people globally do not agree that their office enables them to work productively.

More worryingly, this figure rose to 46% in the UK. As HR Review discusses, the latest ONS employment statistics suggest this equates to more than 1.3 million workers.

The report noted these key areas businesses need to focus on in order to make their office fit for purpose:


Nearly half of UK workers feel their office hampers their productivity. What is causing them to feel this way?

Leesman’s report notes that a failure to support personal productivity is “typical of a raft of neglected spaces that undermine corporate values” which regularly present “obstacles and barriers to daily work that impact onwards to sense of pride and community.”

The physical office features that have the biggest impact on employees’ ability to work productively were identified as:
● space between work settings
● dividers
● noise levels

While many companies are focusing on providing staff with collaborative spaces, it seems they may be neglecting individual spaces and how they enable people to work. By ensuring the office supports collaborative and focused work, the perception of personal productivity is likely to be more positive.

Worker behaviour

More and more companies are introducing collaborative workspaces in their office to foster teamwork and drive innovation and creativity. But are they actually effective?

When used correctly, these spaces can be successful. However, as the report highlights, companies are implementing different work areas without promoting the practices and working behaviours that support the use of them. By retaining their traditional work habits, employees are “working in conflict with the environment around them.”

Companies can’t just bring collaborative spaces into the office design and hope for the best. They need to change worker behaviour in order to take full advantage of office mobility.

Mixed generation workforce

It’s probably fair to say that millennials have taken up more headlines than any other generation. Hardly surprising, then, that companies went into a panic about the impact they have on the workplace.

But Leesman’s report suggests that this demographic are the least demanding. And in the focus on millennials, other generations have been overlooked.

It claims businesses should instead direct attention to “those in the 35-44-year age band, who consistently record the lowest effectiveness scores, or those in the 45-54 band who have the most complex work activity patterns, so place the highest demands on the infrastructures provided for them.”

But more importantly, instead of focusing on the year in which an employee was born, companies need to understand the “complexities of an employee’s” role and ensure the infrastructure supports them in this way.

Want to make sure your office is fit for purpose? Give the experts at Kerr a call today.