What do Employees Want Most from their Workplace?

by Jody Ordioni

What do Employees Want Most from their Workplace?

In a bid to make the workplace more productive, employers are leaving no stone unturned. From yoga classes to meditation rooms, each perk is aimed at grabbing the interest of employees. However, studies have shown that employees are not overly impressed with superficial perks. What employees want is a complete reworking of the basic amenities that are provided to them. Companies that can successfully give the employees what they want are likely to retain employees more. There is also a 16% increase in productivity levels, which is always a lucrative benefit. It also attracts new talent by a margin of 30%.

To get started, here are a few steps to improve the workplace environments and promote the wellbeing of employees:

Don’t Waste Resources on Pointless Perks

Do not presume that leadership already knows what is advantageous for employees. Instead, you should always ask employees to enlist their necessities. The more the employees participate in such surveys, the more is the probability of finding the actual resources required by the employees. Incorporating changes that build a better workplace environment is always preferable, such as access to light and good air quality.

Highest environmental change in demand was better air quality. 58% of employees of the total surveyed, believed that their wellness would improve if fresh, allergen-free air was made available. Unsurprisingly, half the number wished for a view of the outdoors while working and one-third would want to adjust the temperature of the office. Noise distraction was also the greatest deterrent to productivity.

Half of those who participated in the survey wanted these issues to be addressed first, even if that meant they would not receive any perks. The priority should then be to see where the funds are being spent, instead of incessantly wasting them.

Made for Employees

Outside of work has been tailored to cater to the preferences of any individual. We can binge-watch the shows we like, order the food we like, create playlists for the specific music we like. We can even adjust the thermostats in the house or dim our lights without getting up, thanks to the advancement in technology.

It is no wonder that employees wish for the same luxuries to be availed at the workplace too. In fact, between 28%-42% of employees would prefer to customize their cubicles rather than enjoy unlimited vacation time. The three primary demands were- workspace temperature, overhead and desk lighting, and noise levels.

Companies don’t need to go out of their way to eliminate these distractions. For example, Cisco has come up with an innovative approach to tackle the problem caused by the varying level of noise in an open floor plan. They have not assigned particular seats to any employees, rather creating spaces based on the requirements of employees collaborating in person, working in groups, or wishing to work alone. The same strategy can be used to regulate light and temperature in the office space too, without making a great dent in the budget.

Workplace Wellness as a Whole

Wellness does not hinge on physical well-being only, it is a holistic approach. Therefore, while giving employees perks, it is important to remember that well-being also means mental, spiritual, emotional, and environmental wellness. A truly healthy workplace incorporates all the aspects into their wellness program.

Wellness can be established by lessening factors that trigger or stress out employees such as rushed deadlines or informing them on short notices that they have to meet an important customer.

Wellness can be accomplished by incorporating healthier food options in the office café or an in-house gym. Ergonomically workspaces also prove useful to maintain physical fitness. The fitness can be achieved by ensuring that workspaces have adequate light, temperature, air quality, and acoustics.

The Bottom Line

Companies that work towards achieving a holistic development for workplace wellness will realize that no department can work in isolation to achieve this goal. Our study, along with the findings of the World Green Building Council, allows organizations to realize that changes are needed, which actually matter in the long run. Elaborate and expensive perks are not necessary, instead, employers should go back to basics and analyze what employees want. Investing in the core areas would yield maximum return.

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