RESEARCH: Top Companies Organize Their Workplaces Better Than You

Call me a glutton for punishment, but I like reading workplace research. There is something divine about snuggling up on a Saturday with a cup of coffee, a cat, and a good study. But really, workplace research is actually very interesting and necessary.

Which brings me to a 2008 Gensler Workplace Survey [pdf] that found four key areas where top performing companies design their workplaces more effectively than average performing companies. These companies also tend to fare better in certain important metrics. Let’s find out more.

Focus | Collaboration | Learning | Socializing

Pretty Chart That Shows Interesting Stuff

One of the debates I’m always bringing up is that of open vs. closed offices. While there is always a lot of anecdotal evidence that seems to prove both at different times, this research seems to show that top companies plan their workplaces around maximizing the best of both.

Employees need time to focus, but they also need time to collaborate.

Employees also need the ability to have community and socialization in the workplace to make it more meaningful.

Employees should also be encouraged to learn.

In order to achieve high marks in these areas, it is imperative that employers give employees opportunities through intelligent office design.

Of course, none of this workplace design gibberish would matter if it didn’t pay off, but the fact of the matter is that it does.

Better Workplace = Satisfied Employees

Gensler also measured workplace satisfaction across employees from the companies in their study and what they found is fairly startling. Employees from top performing companies are right around 50% more satisfied with their workplaces than employees in similar classifications from average performing companies.

You should also notice that satisfaction is more evenly distributed in top companies, whereas there is a large disparity in satisfaction amongst the ranks of average companies.

Pretty Chart That Proves a Point

Effective Workplace Design = Better Company Performance

The last aspect of the study ranks companies based on a variety of workplace factors (such as layout, access to privacy, space effectiveness, light, air quality). Here is their summary:

“The workplace is an asset that organizations can use to make transformational improvements to their organizational capabilities and drive stronger financial performance. Higher scores translate to improvement of key metrics that matter in the knowledge economy: talent attraction and  retention, brand strength, market leadership, creativity, innovation, profits and revenue.” (emphasis mine)