On Friday 4th July, The Office for National Statistics reported that the UK’s productivity is well behind those of our European neighbours for yet another quarter.

Styles&Wood’s parent group, Extentia Group, also revealed UK employers could be losing out on employee productivity due to poor workplace environments.

Whilst there are many debates and trends regarding the future workplace, our Group’s research highlighted a concern that some environments aren’t meeting the basic requirements of a contemporary working environment. As businesses continue to evolve, employers must consider their environment and the direct impact this has on their people from productivity levels, retaining and attracting talent, to health and wellbeing.

The research found that a quarter of morning larks (24%) don’t go to work early despite this being their most productive time. And of the 76% of larks that do arrive early, more than half (59%) are frustrated by an inhospitable working environment. Common complaints include workplaces being cold (17%), depressing (12%) and eerie (10%) and finding it hard to concentrate due to a lack of quiet spaces to avoid disruption as co-workers arrive (20%).

If the office is dull, dark and uninviting, it’s likely this is how employees also feel whilst at work. Simple enhancements to the environment could address some of these needs to improve productivity and concentration levels of workers. Optimising workspaces can be a minor refresh or an extensive refurbishment, there’s no one-size fits all. Modest changes can create a different environment and atmosphere, from modifying lighting for a brighter environment or introducing some new colours or furniture into the space. Maximising the use of data and new technologies to drive efficiencies and costs can also support people and business performance.

Ultimately, UK employers should leverage the opportunity to equip their workforce with a modern working environment that enables them to do their job. Employers should consider how their estate and workplace strategies are (or aren’t) supporting their business goals; putting the needs of its people at the heart.

Download Extentia Group’s ‘Overcoming the UK’s Productivity Challenge’ report here for more information on how adapting workplace environments can maximise productivity

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