Jul 17

The perfect office space is open plan, has lots of natural light, a café, comfy chairs, fixed desks and free snacks. According to a Business Insurance study.

The ideal office environment

1,000 employees and 500 business were surveyed to find out what the ideal office environment looks like. It was based on nine different factors – openness, style, wellbeing features, physical features, luxury features, location, workspace atmosphere, desk and working hours.

Is open plan worth it?

A third of owners prefer to have an open plan office with private areas for managers. Two-thirds (63%) would also like parking. Alternatively, employees tend to like the idea of a standard open plan office (35%) that is closer to home (57%).

No to the host desk

One area where employers and employees are definitely in agreement is to have a fixed desk. Favoured by 74% of business owners and 73% of employees.

Work-life balance

Yet when it comes to working hours, everyone wants flexibility, with 59% of employees and 52% of employers preferring this to a standard nine-to-five day. However, only 47% of full-time employees are offered flexible hours1.

Office preferences

Tastes will always differ dependent on the individual, although both employers and employees are generally in favour of a coffee machine (66% of employers and 52% of employees name it as a top office feature). Some additional office preferences include:

  • Style – 23% of those who own business and HR companies favour a light and airy office with plenty of windows and bright colours, whereas 47% 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% of creative employers want showers. 41% 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% of creative owners want their office to be environmentally friendly, 38% of their employees want recycling opportunities. However, media and marketing employees prove to be the most eco-conscious, with 62% 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%) and creative (60%) employers looking for parking, whilst their employees would prefer public transport options.

Small changes, big difference

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 location and environment.