We spend many years of our lives working from an office. But is there a perfect office space?
Yes. The perfect office space is open plan, has lots of natural light, a café, comfy chairs, fixed desks and free snacks, according to a new Business Insurance study from MoneySuperMarket.
1,000 employees and 500 business owners across the Business and HR, Media and Marketing, and Creative sectors were surveyed 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.
36 per cent of business owners prefer an open plan office with private areas for managers, plus 63 per cent would also like parking. However, 35 per cent of employees like the idea of a standard open plan office and 57 per cent of them prefer their office to be closer to home.
One area where employers and employees agree on is having a fixed desk (74 per cent and 73 per cent respectively), even though some organisations are creating agile working spaces.
Yet when it comes to working hours, everyone wants flexibility, with 59 per cent of employees and 52 per cent of employers preferring this to a standard nine-to-five day. However, only 47 per cent of full-time employees are offered flexible hours.
Tastes will always differ, although both employers and employees are generally in favour of a coffee machine – 66 per cent of employers and 52 per cent of employees name it as a top office feature.
Some additional office preferences include:
- Style – 23 per cent of those who own Business and HR companies favour a light and airy office with plenty of windows and bright colours, whereas 47 per cent 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 per cent of Creative employers want showers. 41 per cent 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 per cent of Creative owners want their office to be environmentally friendly, 38 per cent of their employees want recycling opportunities. However, Media and Marketing employees prove to be the most eco-conscious, with 62 per cent 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 – Media and Marketing (59 per cent) and Creative (60 per cent) employers look for parking, but 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.”