13 October 2017 | Marino Donati
Companies with good environmental conditions in the workplace and flexible working are more productive, innovative and profitable.
Sapio Research carried out a study of 1,000 UK-based office workers and 50 facilities management experts to examine the relationship between workplace and business performance.
The Wellness Together project found that companies with facilities that promote well-being - such as showers, cycle parking, personal lockers, plants, quiet working spaces, variable lighting control, workstations that promote healthy posture and social amenities - are more likely to be higher-performing organisations.
Workers in high-performing firms say they are freer to choose how they work and move around. However, only 53 per cent of those surveyed agree they have enough control over their comfort when working.
Nearly half (48 per cent) of those questioned say workplace design has a notable impact on their deciding whether to stay with an employer. A quarter of respondents claim they would like the option to stand or sit at work.
Half of the people surveyed agree having their own desk is important, with 27 per cent saying that breakout and collaborative spaces are important, while 43 per cent agree that quiet private space is important.
The study also found that companies that are very profitable are more likely to have workers who say they have better physical and mental well-being.
Companies with more flexible working practices have, on average, 6 per cent higher gross profit margins than those that are less flexible.
Higher levels of innovation and creativity are also associated with higher profitability.
Jane Hales, managing partner of Sapio Research, said: "Given the apparent inverse relationship between productivity and absenteeism currently in the UK, it's no surprise that over half (55 per cent) of employees recognise there is a problem with their own company's productivity. Of course, there is no single quick fix to this, but it's great to be able to identify a number of key facilities and behaviours that companies can change to overcome the challenge, many of which are often very low-cost.