They have the information you need, so you’d think they’d spill it like a fountain when you ask for it. But office workers tend to be resourceful, so even if their desk is a bit too far out of reach, their chair is lumpy and their window blinds are tattered, they’ve probably jerry-rigged solutions so they can focus on doing their jobs.

It’s no wonder they often go silent when they’re asked how their office space can be improved. And as for workplace wellness ideas? This is an even bigger stretch than the one they make to their desk.

So where does this leave you? Rather than forego the whole idea of making improvements to your employees’ office space, turn to a study conducted by Olivet Nazarene University. More than 2,000 workers talked about how they felt about their respective office spaces—and they spilled information that you can either adapt to your workplace or use to start a conversation with your employees.

Workers prefer private offices

The average age of the 2,009 workers in the study was 37, with 55 percent being female and the rest male. To the extent that their opinions were influenced by their own work setup, it may help to know that:

  • 4 percent worked in an “open office,” meaning they had no assigned space.
  • 13 percent worked in an open office with an assigned space.
  • 21 percent had a private office.
  • 28 percent worked in cubicles.
  • 34 percent worked in a hybrid of a private office and open floor plan.

When asked if they were “happy with the way” their office is set up, those with some type of private office led the pack. Ninety percent of workers with an entirely private office said they were happy while 79 percent of those with a combination private office and open floor plan gave a thumbs up.

The quest for privacy was a recurring theme in the Olivet study. When asked what they disliked about their office setup, the respondents ranked their answers with authority, citing:

  • Noise
  • A lack of privacy
  • Too many visual distractions
  • Too little energy
  • The feeling of being “on display”
  • Being too isolated

Workers equate quiet with productivity

The study’s respondents were also precise about what they need to be productive at work, with:

  • 35 percent of the respondents saying “a quiet location.”
  • 24 percent wanting “a dedicated office space.”
  • 22 percent expressing a wish for a “comfortable chair or desk.”
  • 8 percent preferring a door.
  • 11 percent listing other amenities.

Workers may influence future office layouts

The study’s findings suggest that workplace wellness ideas aren’t far from workers’ minds. The authors conclude: “As professional expectations evolve along with the modern American workforce, it’s only natural that the space we work in follows suit. Even cubicles are disappearing, often replaced with much-debated open floor plans… Increasingly, offices are being designed with employees’ wants and needs in mind.”

If you find yourself pursuing this goal but aren’t quite sure how to follow through, allow the design experts at Rightsize Facility to help you. All you have to do to get started is make an appointment for a consultation. We’ll take it from there. Whether or not you use the Olivet study to elicit employee feedback, we can help you make the best use of your office space – and maybe incorporate the workplace wellness amenities that will set an upbeat tone for the new decade.


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