- Workthere, a flexible workspace broker, published the research report “What Coworkers Want” in July of this year.
- The research posed flexible workspace users questions on various office-related topics and asked their views on 48 workplace features.
- The research found that air quality, lighting, temperature, and free food have the greatest satisfaction gaps.
In July of this year, Workthere published its research report “What Coworkers Want”, which focused mainly on workers based in flexible workspaces. The research aimed to determine what the current flexible workspace landscape looks like, whether workers are happy, what things need to change, and what amenities truly do matter.
Workthere set out to question workers on various office-related topics and asked their views on 48 office features, divided into 7 categories.
First and foremost, that those who work from flexible workspaces report higher levels of satisfaction, arguing that “flexible office workers are significantly happier with nearly every aspect of their office” when compared to conventional workers. Specifically, they are more content with 46 out of 48 office features.
Beyond that, the report found that nothing beats workplace essentials when it comes to workplace satisfaction. While flexible workspace operators seek to differentiate themselves through niche offerings like crèches, on-site gyms, yoga classes, and concierge services, among many other amenities, Workthere’s report found that before thinking about these things, operators should focus on getting the basics right.
“In terms of the broader categories, technology is the most important factor for flexible office workers, followed by essentials (such as lighting, air quality, etc.) and then location.”
For example, the report found that while 80% of flexible workspace members think that wifi is important, only 61% of them are satisfied with it.
Workthere’s data shows that “quality Wi-Fi is indeed one of the most crucial components of an ideal flexible office. In fact, there are only three aspects that are more important: comfort of work area, cleanliness and lighting.”
As for workspace essentials, they reportedly have the greatest satisfaction gap. Workthere defines the satisfaction gap as the level of importance of a specific component minus the level of satisfaction.
“The essentials category saw the third greatest discrepancy in terms of importance vs satisfaction, indicating that it would be worthwhile as a flexible office provider to spend time and effort improving these factors.” Some of these factors include cleanliness, access to toilets, meeting room availability, security, smell, and comfort of work area, among others.
The report notes that “the sub-categories that have the greatest satisfaction gaps for flexible office workers are air quality, noise level and temperature.”
Suggested Reading: “5 Easy Ways to Revamp Your Workspace Bathroom”
A word on perks and amenities
Flexible workspace operators should first and foremost focus on providing a workplace that is conducive to productivity. For this, focusing on workspace essentials mentioned above is key. But creating a workplace experience that’s productive goes beyond these basics, and it requires some hospitality thinking in order to ensure that workers are not only productive, but also happy.
According to the report, free food has the largest satisfaction gap in terms of amenities. “Just over 60% of flexible office workers think it is important, but only 40% are happy with it.” Workthere argues that “we are predictably irrational when it comes to food, and even more so when it is free.” It’s not so much an issue of whether to provide free food, but more of a question of what foods; “free natural food can promote health and reduce sugar crashes from muffins and chocolate bars.”
Suggested Reading: “The Best Snacks to Improve Cognitive Function in the Workplace”
Though there’s been increased media coverage of flexible workspace operators offering childcare and crèche services, Workthere’s research found that only 28% believe having a crèche or nursing room in the office is important. On the other hand, in addition to food and snacks, flexible workspace members value car parking, storage areas, and access to a variety of networking events.