The problem with poorly designed workspaces in the UK

a modern office interior design


Workplace experts, the Leesman Index, recently released insights from their groundbreaking global report, ‘The Next 250k’ which examines the impact of the workplace environment on employees.

The report draws on results from more than 250,000 employees (28% of which are based in the UK) in 2,200+ workplaces in 67 countries.

‘Uncomfortable reading’ 
Overall, the Next 250K report found that 57% of employees surveyed believed that their workplace helps them to be productive, while 28% disagreed and 15% had no view either way. The report makes for uncomfortable reading for UK employers, however, with 46% of UK employees surveyed claiming that their workplaces do not enable them to work productively. Based on ONS employment figures, this represents as much as 1.3 million UK employees. An alarmingly large number of potentially dissatisfied workers, which places the UK among the top 10 worst-performing countries included in the report.
Interestingly, UK employees were found to value office design more, on average, than their colleagues worldwide, with 85% of respondents worldwide – and 87.4% in the UK – claiming that office design is important to them personally. This figure makes the fact that 46% of employees find that their workplaces do not enable them to work productively all the more alarming.


What makes a good workspace?
Here at Accent, productivity through design is our speciality, and much of the Next 250k report echoes our experience in creating state-of-the-art workspaces for our clients. We believe that the environments we work in are crucial to our sense of wellbeing as well as our productivity. According to the survey, there are three crucial factors that determine an employee’s ability to work productively. In no particular order, these are: reducing noise levels; not using office dividers; and allowing enough space between work settings.

The modern work-force often undertakes a variety of different tasks over the course of a working day, and your workspace should reflect this fact. While one task may call for group collaboration, another may require more focused, solo work. Flexible workspaces which account for this diversity are crucial to optimise productivity and to foster a sense of wellbeing among employees.
As many employees are accustomed to sitting at their desks for eight hours plus a day, comfort is a crucial factor their wellbeing. What begins as mild-discomfort as a result of poor posture or an uncomfortable chair, can result in something much more serious if not addressed in good time. Employers should ensure that their employees are as comfortable in their work environment by investing in ergonomically designed office furniture and flexible sit/stand workstations.
Light, and natural light, in particular, is one of the important elements of a well-designed workspace. Scientific studies have proven that a lack of natural light can result in mood changes and sometimes to depression. An absence of natural light leads to a decline in serotonin, the soothing chemical in the brain, while an abundance of natural light has the opposite effect, leading to an increase in serotonin, and a corresponding improvement in mood. Employers sensitive to the wellbeing of their employees must ensure that they are exposed to ample natural light, or that they have the option to relocate to positions in the office which allow for natural light exposure if they so choose.

If you would like to explore the possibility of redesigning your office to ensure the wellbeing of your employees, and to maximise the productivity of your business as a whole, then please get in touch with the team at Accent on 08456 595911 or email, we’d be more than happy to help. We provide interior design, office refurbishment, and office relocation services.