- Ninety percent of office professionals said that they perform their jobs better in well-designed workspaces, Capital One's 2019 Work Environment Survey found. Capital One polled 3,608 full-time office professionals in the U.S.
- More than three-quarters of respondents agreed that they performed better in workspaces that encouraged collaboration, and 88% said that spaces to concentrate helped raise the quality of their performance.
- Respondents also wanted outdoor elements, like plants and water features, in the office. Flexible work schedules (67%), access to natural light (53%) and quiet spaces (42%) were important "mental health and well-being resources" that respondents said would help them feel satisfied at work. Capital One also found that 89% of respondents felt it was important to have places to take a break throughout the day.
While open offices that aim to foster collaboration have long been popular, employees in the Capital One study expressed a desire for quiet areas for serious focus and concentration, as well. The 2019 Staples Workplace Survey showed that more than half of workers think an open office layout invites distractions, and 40% agreed that their office space is too open. Apple employees had similar feelings when the tech giant constructed an open floor design for its new office space in 2017. Some even threatened to quit over the new layout.
Employers with workforces that report feeling distracted or on-display in an open office may need to consider how to incorporate more private areas for focused work — keeping in mind workers' needs for both privacy and collaboration in planning office layouts.
"[It's] critical to remain adaptable when it comes to designing workspaces and amenities," Stefanie Spurlin, vice president of workplace solutions at Capital One, said in a statement. "Dynamic and adaptable spaces that not only accommodate various work styles but also foster employee well-being give companies an edge when it comes to helping people achieve better work-life integration that ultimately enables them to create better products and services for customers."
As respondents to the Capital One survey noted, natural light, plants and water features can also make workers feel more comfortable in the office environment. Some office designers recommend that employers consider replacing the tradition neutral office colors of gray and beige with more vibrant colors, as well. Sunshine yellow and fire red, for example, can distinguish a workplace and even lift employees' moods, Nicole Andreu, senior vice president and design director of commercial interiors at CannonDesign, previously told HR Dive. "Red has energy and passion. Yellow is for happiness. Green is for growth and stability," she said.