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WORKPLACE PREFERENCES THE EMPLOYEE PERSPECTIVE Knoll Workplace

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					WORKPLACE PREFERENCES: THE EMPLOYEE PERSPECTIVE

Knoll Workplace Research Global Business Division

Workplace Preferences: The Employee Perspective Background Knoll and DYG, Inc. have studied the emerging workplace together since the early 1990’s, resulting in studies that include The 21st Century Workplace and Attitudes and Expectations of the New Generation at Work. DYG is a recognized leader in the field of social, cultural and demographic research and interprets the implications of changes in these areas relative to business direction. In 2005, Knoll commissioned DYG to conduct a nationwide telephone survey of white-collar employees to learn more about workplace preferences from the employee perspective. The research explored preferences for various work styles, including time, space and tone, workplace characteristics that are perceived to impact worker productivity and satisfaction, and environments where employees say they do their best work. The following analysis is based upon responses from 850 full-time employees working in companies or divisions of companies with total employment of 100 or more. Workers were drawn from a range of diverse industries such as banking, finance and insurance to technology, healthcare and manufacturing. Key Findings Despite popular belief that the presence of multi-generations in the workplace will drive the requirements for workplace design, the results of this study show that there are two other defining demographics - education and gender – that also warrant close attention. Among Generation Y, ages 18 to 29, there were a few statistically significant differences having to do with workspace size, openness and the social aspects of work. However, among other workplace factors studied, results across the generations were fairly consistent. The study uncovered the following key findings: The trend toward social, open, collaborative workplaces is favored by Gen Y 40% of workers, aged 18 to 29, said an open workspace, defined as a desk with no panels, is their preferred space style while a full 20% said they do their best work in meeting and collaborative spaces The majority of employees said they do their best work in an in-office setting 61% combined, report they do their best work either in their own personal space (45%) or in meeting and collaborative space (16%) at the office Flextime generates the most interest among all employee groups The ability to work flexible days and/or hours was a time style favored by 62% of all employees surveyed and is especially favored among college grads and women at 68% and managers and professionals at 67%

College-educated workers have high expectations for workplace performance Ten out of fifteen proposed workplace characteristics were identified by this group as having high impact on productivity, compared to just one characteristic for high school graduates Women have higher expectations for workplace performance than men Eight out of fifteen workplace characteristics were identified by women as having high impact on productivity versus just one factor for men Work Style Preferences The study examined employee preferences for sixteen different work styles, which were measured by asking workers about their interest in each, using a 6 point scale, where “6” means extremely interested. The results for work style preferences were then grouped into three distinct categories, including time, space and tone. The various work styles studied were defined as follows: TIME Flextime – flexible days and/or hours Telecommuting - work from home some days Work-at-home – working at home exclusively Job sharing – two people share same job Hoteling – mobile workers reserve space as needed, no assigned space at the office SPACE Private office – enclosed office for individual use Shared – two or more colleagues in same enclosed office Open workspace – desks/work surfaces with no panels for privacy Workstation – desks/work surfaces with panels for privacy Meeting and collaborative space TONE Creative – inspired, innovative Casual – home-like, relaxed, comfortable, simple Social – interactive, group-oriented Task-oriented – high productivity, output Analytically-oriented – problem solving, methodical Formal – traditional, conventional Time Styles At 62%, flextime is the in-office time style that offers the most appeal among the five time variations included in this study. Telecommuting, or work from home some days during the workweek, came in second, at 42%. This time style appeals mainly to college grads, professionals, managers, and Gen X-ers – the 30 to 40 year olds - who may be

responding to childcare demands. Although work-at-home (30%), job sharing (24%) and hoteling (15%) hold less appeal than flextime and telecommuting, the relatively high percentages of employees who would prefer these time styles reveal that there are untapped opportunities for corporate decision makers to adopt these work styles, with a potentially positive impact on real estate costs. Space Styles Although it is not the norm, working in a private office continues to be the gold standard, with 46% of all workers saying they would prefer this space style. A private office is most preferred among college grads, higher income workers, professionals, managers and executives. In addition to a private office, more spaces for meetings and collaboration is next at 28%, and it, too, is favored by about a third of those with higher incomes, professionals, college grads, managers and executives. Affording the least amount of privacy, and the most opportunity for interaction, open workspaces, at 40%, is one of the preferred space styles identified by sociable younger workers, the 18 to 29 year-olds, who are driving the trend toward more open, collaborative work environments. It is also important to note that not all young workers prefer an open environment – 50% said their preferred space style is a private office, while workstations with panels were the least attractive for this group, coming in at 18%. Tone Styles Creative environments, particularly for educated people, are the number one preferred tone style for the workplace. Underscoring inspiration and innovation, creative environments are rated as highly desirable across all generational groups. This is followed by casual and social spaces, a particular favorite of Gen Y, where more than half say they prefer to work in environments characterized by these tone styles. Workplaces that are task-oriented are particularly favored by Hispanics, perhaps reflecting their entrepreneurial spirit and drive, while analytically-oriented spaces are favored by college grads, higher income, professional and managerial workers. Formal environments rank low on the preference scale, with only 14% of workers saying they prefer to work in a traditional environment. Productivity The research was also designed to assess the perceived impact of fifteen workplace characteristics on worker productivity. Results were analyzed to determine whether each characteristic would have: High impact on productivity Moderate impact on productivity Some impact on productivity Low impact on productivity

Across all the groups studied, there were four characteristics that 70% or more employees said would have high impact on productivity. In order of importance these were: Climate control (HVAC) Storage space for work related items The ability to organize and store technology Quiet space In the second tier, categorized as moderate impact on productivity, 60 to 69% of employees identified the following workplace characteristics: Space that can be personalized to support individual work style Visually appealing space Access to natural light Privacy Lighting control Spaces for collaborative meetings Findings reported later in this analysis validate that the importance of collaborative meeting space is driven by two groups of workers, namely, Gen Y and college educated workers in the professional and managerial ranks of the organization. A full 20% of Gen Y’s say they do their best work in meeting and collaborative spaces and professionals and managerial/execs say they perform better with access to meeting/collaborative spaces at the office (18% and 22%, respectively). The third tier, classified as having some impact on productivity, showed 50 to 59% of respondents citing the following three characteristics: A large workspace An ergonomically designed chair Personal space for small meetings The fact that ergonomic seating fell into the third tier of impact on productivity is surprising. It is important to note, however, that the importance of ergonomics is strongly influenced by an employee’s level of education – college graduates placed ergonomics strongly into the second tier, with 67% saying an ergonomically designed chair would have moderate impact on productivity versus just 38% of high school graduates. Only two factors fell into the fourth tier, or low impact on productivity. These were: Having a workplace designed with environmental responsibility in mind Space for personal items It is clear from these findings that the average employee, including those with college educations, are unaware of the impact of environmental responsibility on workplace

productivity, despite the vast amount of research that has been done in this area. This is an opportunity for companies and the architectural and design community to educate and promote the value of investments in sustainability to their workers and the communities in which they do business. Employees do make some connection between environmental sustainability and workplace satisfaction, as this factor moves from having low impact on productivity to having some impact on satisfaction. The More You Know – The Impact of Education on Workplace Expectations The findings show that education plays a major role in relation to workplace design requirements. The more educated workers are, the more factors they place in the top tier as having high impact on productivity. High school graduates identify only one factor as having high impact, with 75% of this group citing control over HVAC. In order of importance, college educated workers identified the following as high impact factors: Ability to organize and store technology Quite space Control over HVAC Access to natural light Storage for work related materials Private workspace Space can be personalized to support work style Spaces for collaboration and group meetings Visually appealing workspace Ability to control lighting Women and the Workplace Similar to the results for workers with college educations, women have more top tier requirements than the average worker, citing eight out of the fifteen factors as having high impact on productivity, versus just one for males – control over HVAC. The factors identified by women, in order of importance, are: Control over HVAC Storage for work related materials Ability to organize and store technology Quite space Access to natural light Visually appealing workspace Space can be personalized to support work style Private workspace 83% 78% 76% 75% 74% 73% 71% 70% 85% 80% 78% 77% 76% 76% 74% 71% 70% 70%

Why is this important? The entry of women into the workplace has reached critical mass or the “tipping point.” This is demonstrated by the fact that in 2004, 1 in 4 U.S. CEOs was a woman and in that same year held half of all management, professional and related occupations, dominating fields such as accounting, financial management and human resources. It is expected that women’s influence on workplace decisions will continue to grow in importance. In the main, women are much more concerned with health and well being, work life balance, flexibility and choice, than their male counterparts. These are all factors that are expected to have a major impact on workplace design and planning. Satisfaction As in prior Knoll/DYG research, the results of this study show that there is a high correlation between satisfaction and productivity with one subtle difference: productivity is about job performance while satisfaction is about life at the office. As a result, factors such as the ability to personalize space for individual work style, ample space for personal items, and a workplace designed with the environment in mind rate higher on the satisfaction scale than they do on the productivity scale. To determine those factors that are perceived to have an impact on satisfaction, workers were asked to assess the same fifteen workplace characteristics that were evaluated for productivity. Results were analyzed to determine whether each would have: High impact on satisfaction Moderate impact on satisfaction Some impact on satisfaction Low impact on satisfaction Not surprisingly, the ranking of factors for satisfaction were similar to those for productivity. Across all the groups studied, there were four characteristics that 70% or more employees said would have high impact on satisfaction. In order of importance those factors were: Control over HVAC Storage space for work-related materials Quiet space Space that can be personalized to support individual work style The one factor that moved up in importance is “space that can be personalized to support individual work style,” going from moderate impact on productivity to high impact on satisfaction.

In the second tier, categorized as moderate impact on satisfaction, 60 to 69% of employees identified the following five workplace characteristics: Access to natural light Visually appealing workspace Ability to organize and support technology Privacy Lighting control It is important to note that the ability to store and organize technology, which was identified as having high impact on productivity, moved to the second tier for satisfaction and access to natural light moved from sixth place for productivity to fifth place for satisfaction. In the third tier, categorized as some impact on satisfaction, 50 to 59% of workers identified the following factors: A large workspace Spaces for collaboration and group meetings An ergonomically designed chair A work environment designed with environmental responsibility in mind Personal space for small meetings “A work environment designed with environmental responsibility in mind” has moved up in importance, indicating that workers perceive this factor as having a higher impact on satisfaction and quality of life than it does on productivity. There was only one factor identified as having low impact on satisfaction – space for personal items at the office – with fewer than 50% of workers saying this factor would make them satisfied. Where Employees Do Their Best Work Study participants were given four places to choose from in terms of where they do their best work: A personally assigned space at the office Meeting/collaborative spaces at the office Anywhere, anytime outside the office At home In-office settings were, by far, the number one choice, with a combined total of 61% of respondents saying they do their best work in either their personally assigned space or in a meeting/collaborative space. It is interesting to note, however, that only 45% said they do their best work in their own space. This means that more than half of all respondents are more productive elsewhere – either in meeting space, anywhere/anytime, or at home.

Space at the office continues to be extremely important to executives, managers and professionals, with an average of 72% of these groups identifying one of the two in-office settings as places where they do their best work. But even at the managerial level, the preference for collaborative settings is high, with 22% saying they do their best work in meeting spaces. Out-of-office settings were cited by a combined 40% of the total employee population, with 22% indicating they do their best work anywhere/anytime outside the office and 18% citing work-at-home. Generational Differences While there were few generational differences across all the workplace factors studied, a few statistically significant factors move to the forefront for Generation Y – the size of the workspaces they are given and a preference for open, collaborative work environments. Sixty-six percent (66%) of Gen Y respondents believe a large workspace will have moderate impact on productivity versus just 51% of Gen X and Boomers. In relation to preferred work styles, Gen Y also emphasized the need for more open, collaborative spaces, with 40% of this age group saying their preferred space style is a desk with no panels. These findings tie into the fact that younger workers prefer a work environment designed to enhance opportunities for interaction and communication. Environments that are creative, casual and social are the preferred tone styles of this generation’s workplace, cited at 59%, 54% and 53%, respectively. Conclusions In the context of this study, workplace design not only includes the physical attributes of space, but the multiple possibilities for how, when and where people want to work. While the findings address the role of the physical workplace in relation to worker productivity and satisfaction, they also reveal many untapped opportunities for companies to enrich the overall work experience of employees. In contrast to traditional, monolithic approaches to work design and space planning, the findings reveal a desire on the part of employees for more choice and flexibility on at least two levels – the design of the physical environment as well as the programs and policies that afford greater control over time and work life. The findings also show that companies have opportunities to motivate and inspire workers by creating environments that underscore inspiration, innovation and creativity, attributes which are highly valued by all workers, no matter what their age or educational background. In the face of changing workforce demographics, and as competition for workers continues to intensify, companies can consider leveraging workplace design in order to: Attract and retain the “best and the brightest.” Companies can exceed the expectations of college educated employees by providing a functional, yet beautiful, work environment - and surprise and delight less educated workers

Meet the demand for pleasing, supportive environments as women increasingly influence the workplace. Female employees are most likely to make the case for “productive” workplaces that promote emotional and physical well-being Create open, social, collaborative environments to meet the new expectations of a growing contingent of Gen Y workers as formality gives way to creativity, even among the executive ranks “Set the tone” in the workplace by creating environments that inspire and motivate coupled with the flexibility and choice that allows employees to balance the demands of work and life


				
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