In Pursuit of
Happiness and the physical workspace
A word from Staples We all want to be happy at work, right?
Therefore, we wanted to use our latest research to ask employees some tough questions about the role of the physical workspace in all of this. And as it turns out, the work environment is very important to people’s happiness and health indeed.
Well, the good news is that lots of businesses out there want their employees to be happy too. Because they know that happy employees are more likely to be engaged and productive at work. And because they are happy, they are also more likely to stay in the same job for longer.
A well–functioning, attractive, and happy workplace is proven to help people achieve their goals at work (77% of respondents to our study agree) and for over half of the people we questioned, the work environment also has a direct link to their performance and thus self–worth.
Of course, there are many aspects to happiness at work – from management, to communication, and from company culture to investment in people. But, with nine-in-ten workers suffering from ‘Vocation Frustration’ when they’re in the office environment, our latest research has shown us that the physical workspace impacts happiness too. So, what can businesses do, to make their employees happier? At Staples, we’re in pursuit of understanding office happiness better, and the role the workplace plays in promoting happiness, in particular. Read this report to find out more about what we’ve learnt…
The business case for workspace happiness
What is getting in the way of happiness?
As Professor Sir Cary Cooper puts it in his book, Well–being: Productivity and Happiness at Work, “Work can make you sick – and work can make you happy. Which one happens depends on who you are, what you do, and how you are treated at work.”
So with that in mind, what’s getting in the way of happiness at work? Well, aside from the obvious issues in workplace management and culture, our research has unearthed a number of environmental factors that are tripping business leaders up.
In short, the workplace can have a huge impact on people’s psychological well-being. And conversely, our latest research has shown that a lack of happiness in the workspace, can also lead to frustrated and demotivated staff – or worse, employees that jump ship for a different job entirely.
In the UK, 46% think they would be happier in a different job
Replacing staff is an expensive and disruptive business, and, according to a study by researchers at the University of Warwick, happy workers are on average 12% more productive. So, employers are realising that not only does it make business sense to have happy employees, but they are seeking new ways to make this happen.
1. Underinvestment doesn’t go unnoticed – our research found that 68% would be more likely to feel valued by their organisation if that organisation invested in their office workspace
agree that a well–functioning and attractive workspace is important to the mental health of its staff
Here are some simple things that, according to our study, will go a long way to making UK employees happier in their office workspaces...
an office dog
hammocks or sleeping pods
2. Cramped spaces hold people back – a quarter of UK workers said their office workspace is cramped and furthermore, 15% said they find it frustrating when they don’t have space to think 3. Noisy workspaces are not happy workspaces – 35% are fed up at having to deal with office spaces that are too loud to concentrate or get work done 4. Dull spaces are demotivating – a sad 20% describe their office workspace as ‘depressing’ and only 15% could say that they ‘love’ their office 5. Pride is better than shame – an unhappy 31% said that they are embarrassed by their work environment. And in fact, the situation’s so bad that 24% have lied to someone about what their office space is like as it isn’t very nice
a free spa or yoga
free healthy snacks
As our research shows, these things will certainly help people feel happier at work, though it’s admittedly important to remember that gimmicks like hammocks and punch bags aren’t about to solve some of the more complex issues of unhappiness.
As many psychologists, including Cooper, will be quick to point out, workplace happiness is about striking a balance between giving employees the right physical space – i.e. giving them the tools they need to do their jobs well, and a workspace that promotes mental health – while also providing them with a nurturing culture in which they can grow.
Get the happiness balance right with the right workspace Our research has clearly shown that the office workplace plays an important role in people’s happiness. Get the workspace right, and people are more likely to feel fulfilled, productive and valued.
Because when your space works, everything works. While the office workspace alone is therefore not the only answer to happiness in the workplace, it is an important part of the puzzle and a good place for many employers to start.
Methodology The research comprised of an online survey of 7,000 office workers, conducted by independent research agency Arlington Research in October 2018. The research sample consisted of a sample of desk based office workers from ten European countries including: United Kingdom (2,000), Germany (1,000), France (500), Netherlands (500), Sweden (500), Norway (500), Spain (500), Italy (500), Portugal (500) and Finland (500).
To find out more about how we can support you in making your space work for you visit:
When your space works, everything works
In Pursuit of Office Happiness