How office design can improve job satisfaction
Is it possible to design the work environment to improve the job satisfaction of the people who work there? In the latest roundup of scientific research, we look at studies that make a direct correlation between office space and employee satisfaction.
In the era of ‘The Great Resignation’, it’s clear that people are spending more time than usual thinking and talking about how satisfied they are with their jobs, whether or not they are actually quitting them. Job satisfaction is not the sole factor determining if people decide to look for a new job, but it has a big effect on whether people do so. In fact, in Veitch’s report (2018) she reports the core connections linking workplace design to job satisfaction: “Environmental satisfaction influences job satisfaction and higher levels of job satisfaction, which in turn, boosts organisational commitment and intent to stay in a job.”
Supporting the work we do
By supporting the work that employees are asked to do, managers are therefore communicating to employees that they are valued and their contributions to the organisation are respected.
That means there needs to be places where people can truly work without distractions, meet with others in real life or via technology that works, and take a short break to mentally refresh.
Sending the right signals
Sending the right signals to your employees can be done in so many other non-verbal ways too. Providing employees with a clean workspace and decorating it with attractive things such as plants are easy ways to showcase positive managerial attitudes. This is further backed by Lottrup and team (2015) as they found that, “a view of natural elements was related to high view satisfaction, high work ability and high job satisfaction.” These findings show us that implementing the outdoor environment indoors can be an important asset in increasing workforce work ability and job satisfaction.
Access to supportive facilities
Danielsson and Theorell (2019) investigated the relationship between office design and employee perception of its contribution to job satisfaction, comfort, and performance. The investigators gathered data from thousands of employees working in different types of offices and found that the hot-desking office offered the worst type of support, therefore leading to lower employee satisfaction and a negative perception of their workplace.
Control over the services offered in the office environment play a huge role in determining how comfortable employees are, which directly affects their job satisfaction. Veitch (2012) reports on field research that determined that control of lighting led to greater job satisfaction and organisational commitment.
This article is based on a research piece ‘Research roundup: how can we design in job satisfaction?’ authored by Sally Augustin, environmental psychologist and a principal at Design With Science, for WORKTECH Academy.