Employee Engagement: Impact Of Workplace Design

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In recent years, the idea of worker engagement in the workplace has reached an apex, and for a good reason. When employees focus with their job, studies have shown that they’re also more ardently motivated to contribute to their employer’s goals and achieve organisational above expected result. Engaged workers are generally more enthusiastic about their work, too, and will often take the initiative to further their company’s reputation through positive actions.

However, as the conversation around workplace engagement has grown louder, many workers feel anything but “included” during the workday grind. Moreover, often, it’s not just the work itself that leaves folks lacking drive during the workday. In many traditional office environments, people are given a permanent workstation, what to do, and how to do it. Managing work with the many distractions that inevitably pop up at work is a constant battle, and poor workplace design leaves employees feeling like they have no place to go to get away and focus.

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It’s sad, but for a significant population of the world’s workers, work is something they only put up with out of necessity. With their efforts set squarely and singularly on not getting terminated and not much else, these disengaged workers can drag down the team and cost the company in loses.

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The Study
Recognizing that worker engagement is a crucial issue in the office, a group of researchers set out to shed light to see what causes and effect, if any, the work environment could have on job satisfaction levels. During their information gathering, they realised that the physical environment dramatically affects how employees feel, think, and behave concerning their work. Probing more, researchers wanted to know how the workplace immediately impacts worker engagement, and recognise the kinds of changes that can make an impact in reversing the lack of workplace motivation in both traditional and non-traditional office environments around the world.

Researchers partnered with global research firm, to conduct a study. Participants answered 13 questions about their physical workplace, such as the kind of space they worked in, and nine questions about their engagement with their job, such as whether or not they were happy to go to work most days.

Mining The Results
Combing through the collected data, researchers ultimately learned the following:

Keep this juxtaposition in check; organisations must practice a highly synchronised balancing act to keep disengaged workers from cancelling out the efforts of their more engaged counterparts.

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Space Is Key
Results from the data showed a direct correlation between employees’ thoughts about their work and how happy they are with it and how engaged they are while at work. To put it just, people who expressed a more ordinary level of happiness with their overall environment in the office tended to be more engaged, while the people who were dissatisfied with their work environment tended to feel more disconnected.

Importance Of Flexibility
When comparing the differences between highly engaged and highly disengaged workers, a pattern emerged.

In most cases, highly engaged workers aren’t chained to their desk and usually have the option to choose where they work based on the task at hand. When workplaces allow for this freedom of movement, employees can control their own need for privacy, can concentrate more efficiently and can work alongside teammates minus the constant disruptions.

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Turning Data Into Action
Ultimately, the workplace should be designed to give employees choices and enable them to have a higher degree of control over their work experience from task-to-task and day-to-day.

According to the research, 88% of highly engaged employees feel they have control over their work experience, while only 14% of highly disengaged employees feel the same. Which means that when workers are empowered, organisations can leverage that feeling to help boost engagement levels.

Workplace engagement is a complex topic for many industries — one with many variables to take into account. Merely redesigning a workplace is not going to solve every engagement issue. However, it’s a strong motivator when employees walked into an environment where they feel energised and inspired to do their best work. Wouldn’t it be amazing to experience that enthusiasm on the job, at least most of the time? According to the research, that feeling can impact employee engagement in a meaningful and robust way.