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Deliberate Design is Necessary for Success

July 30, 2018

The study asked 3,500 participants about the design and layout of their offices. Read on to find out what interior designers need to know.

Capital One’s 2018 Workplace Environment Survey was released July 31, 2018. Done in support by Capital One’s Workplace Solutions team that is dedicated to building dynamic and scalable workplaces for Capital One associates, the survey was conducted with 3,500 total responses. Of the responses, 1,000 were done nationwide while the other 2,500 were done in five markets: San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago, Washington D.C., and New York City.

The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research between April 19 and May 2 in 2018 via email invitation.

For interior designers, the survey highlights three findings that should be taken into consideration when coming up with workplace solutions:

  • Deliberate design remains crucial to attraction and retention
  • Office design drives productivity and innovation
  • Employees want flexible workplaces and employers

Deliberate Design Remains Crucial to attraction and retention:

In an ever-evolving technological environment where many jobs can be done nearly anywhere, attracting and retaining employees means providing an environment that is conducive to their productivity. For many surveyed, that comes in the form of the office’s design. When asked about their preferences in considering a new job, the design of the office was much more important than location to 10 percent, somewhat more important to 22 percent, and of equal importance to 33 percent. Only 34 percent said that the location was more important than the design of the office.

What that means for designers is that offices are part of a person’s every-day life, and they expect to enjoy spending 40+ hours there a week. With a vast amount of their waking hours spent in the office, it becomes a “second home” for some employees, so design is still paramount, particularly for those considering whether to accept a position at the company.

However, when it comes to retaining talent, 73 percent said a flexible schedule would come into consideration when contemplating whether to stay or leave. The next highest choice, access to health amenities, came in at 39 percent. Up-to-date technology measured at 37 percent and assistance commuting was at 31 percent.

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 Office design drives productivity and innovation

A vast majority of those interviewed—80 percent—believe that being able to change locations while working makes them more productive. This makes sense: studies have shown that a change of scenery boosts cognitive connections in the brain. Employees who are able to move around the office or work from a variety of locales experience the same type of rise in their productivity.

When looking at other design elements, more than half (57 percent) responded that they would like to see natural light incorporated into their office environment. Additionally, 36 percent said they would like artwork and creative imagery.

Interestingly, the response for spaces that encourage rest and relaxation were a desire for only 25 percent of respondents, so napping pods—as futuristic as they seem—may not be a trend yet.

Employees want flexible workplaces and employers

Of those surveyed, 85 percent of employees think flexibility in workplace design is very important (37 percent) or somewhat important (48 percent); however, only 34 percent of Gen Xers felt workplace design was very important compared to 42 percent of Millennials (32 percent of Boomers listed it as very important).

However, the number of participants who believe flexible spaces are very important is up six percent from the 2017 survey done by Capital One. Meanwhile, those who said flexibility is somewhat important lowered by three percent (48 percent in 2018 versus 51 percent in 2017) and by another 3 percent of those who believe it is not important (12 percent in 2018 versus 15 percent in 2017).

In fact, easily configurable furniture and spaces came in second with 37 percent when asked about design elements they would prefer to have in their office, and collaborative spaces ranked fourth out of six with 30 percent.

What this means for the design industry

The question of open office or closed is all but moot in 2018. Studies and end-user surveys continue to show that a variety of spaces for both collaborative and heads-down work are necessary for optimal productivity in the workplace.

Additionally, employees are looking for environments that incorporate health and wellness, including natural lighting and fitness amenities, as well as good design to bolster their creativity.

For more information on this study, please tune in to the interiors+sources podcast Episode 3 on August 13, where editor-in-chief Kadie Yale will discuss the survey results with the Capital One team.

More Workplace Design: Five Things You Need to Know About the Changing Office Space

About the Author

Kadie Yale | Former Editor-in-Chief

Kadie Yale holds a BA in Industrial Design from San Francisco State University and a MA in Decorative Art History and Theory from Parsons the New School. In her role as editor-in-chief from 2015-2018, she led the interiors+sources team in creating relevant content that touches on sustainability, universal design, science, and the role of design in society.

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