A recent survey of 7,600 office workers from 16 countries, including 500 Australians, confirmed that majority of office spaces are still not getting the basics right.
The report was commissioned by carpet company, Interface and led by Sir Cary Cooper, Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at Lancaster University. The results revealed an astounding 51% of Australian workplaces have no natural light, 28% of workers spend their day in an environment without windows, and 65% have no plants.
“With 93 per cent of Aussies working in an urban setting, we are right up there with China at 96 per cent, but the design of our offices isn't compensating for city squeeze and its potential negative impacts on staff wellbeing” said Interface’s Sally Orme.
The report brings to light the question “What do workers want?” Topping the wish list across all countries when asked what elements they'd in their ideal workplace was more natural light, with indoor plants a close second.
Open plan offices received heavy criticism, more than one-third of Australian respondents said they didn't have a quiet place to work if needed. Open space is subjected to noise and visual distractions reducing productivity unless the area is balanced with designated enclosed areas for concentration.
There may be no easy solution but if the survey results suggest anything it is the most effective way of improving environments and boosting employees productivity is the adoption of "biophilic" building design. Put simply, connecting an office environment to the outside natural world.