Managing Employee Expectations for your workplace

Employee expectations of what a workplace should be has changed radically over the past decade. Today’s office is no longer…

By Andy Thomas


Employee expectations of what a workplace should be has changed radically over the past decade. Today’s office is no longer just a desk or cubicle but a space that blends experiences synonymous with home, work and play*.

We expect more than ever before from the spaces we work in and rightly so. According to a 2015 study by Vischer and Wifi*, “people’s Quality of Life (QoL) is directly affected by their quality of work life (QWL), which is in turn influenced by the quality of the work environment.”. This makes employee expectations a huge priority for any employer.

Leesman has looked at this idea in more detail, having amassed the largest employee dataset of its kind through their Office Workplace Experience Survey.

As of June 2018, more than 400,000 employees from 3,000 workplaces globally had completed the survey, resulting in the identification of six key elements that they believe impact the overall employee workplace experience:

The Workplace

The bricks and mortar, furniture, colour schemes, services and technologies.

Employee Expectations

Ensuring you continue to evolve to exceed employee expectations. For example, what is perceived as cutting edge / modern now, will soon become outdated.

Needs, requirements & Preferences

Enabling staff to complete an increasingly complex range of activities during the working day – providing space and support for focussed work, meetings, collaborative space, brainstorming etc. Ensuring you accommodate individual preferences and working styles.

Behaviour & Employee Expectations

A space can feel very different depending on the behaviours of those in it. An open plan office where everyone conducts focused work can feel very different when filled with people making calls and having open discussions.
Shockingly, 69.3% of employees globally are unsatisfied with workplace noise levels yet this can easily be addressed with technology and design.

Your Process

Make staff ‘co-creators’ of the change – Involve staff in the process to ensure they buy into the end solution.

Organisational structure & dynamic

There’s no ‘one size fits all’ workplace design. Organisation size, maturity, industry, culture etc will all have an impact on workspace needs and will also impact the employee experience.
These six elements can be summarised into three distinct groups:

Doing: Whether the workplace supports getting things done
The survey revealed that the key driver in getting things done was a provision for individual focussed work. Globally, staff felt their workspace could do more to support creative thinking and relaxation and were dissatisfied with noise levels, availability of quiet rooms and people walking past their workstations.

Seeing: Whether the workplace supports image and sustainability
85% of employees globally agree that the design of their workplace is important to them, however, just 43.1% of employees globally are satisfied with the general décor. Leesman highlights, that ‘design’ should not be limited to the initial creation and delivery of a space; equal attention should be given to ongoing maintenance. The provision for relaxing and taking a break was also a key driver of sentiment in this section, with just 38.2% of employees satisfied with informal work areas and breakout zones.

Feeling: Whether the workplace supports pride and culture
Providing employees with the environment they need to work individually also had the biggest impact on pride and culture, while general décor was the strongest driver. Relaxing and taking a break was also a significant driver, however, the study highlights that breakout spaces can sometimes be under-utilised, due to organisational culture.

It’s worth noting that an environment that supports employees relaxing during the working day was reported to have a positive impact across all three areas and a culture that supports this can reap many benefits.

It’s clear from the research that even small changes to your working environment can have a massive impact on staff and business performance. Isn’t it time your company joined the workplace revolution?

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