Workers Prefer Dynamic and Efficient Office Space with Comfortable, Convenient, and Communal Amenities

Survey of 2,000+ US adults finds 63 percent of employed adults feel their office could better configure its physical space

As employers seek to define the workplace perks most likely to attract and retain employees, a recent Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates survey found that the physical office itself could keep staff happier.

According to the survey results, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of employed US adults believe that their office could better utilize its physical space, and one-third (34 percent) say improvements can be as simple as a better floorplan.

“Over the years there have been many transformations that have shaken up the traditional office configuration,” says Fred Schmidt, president and chief operating officer of Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates. “These go beyond the headline-grabbing news of foosball tables and napping pods. Workers, and notably the newest members of the workforce, are demanding smart uses of office square footage, and commercial real estate professionals are taking note.”

The survey, which was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Coldwell Banker Real Estate, dba Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates, surveyed over 2,000 adults, including Younger Millennials (18-29), Older Millennials (30-34), Gen Xers (ages 35-49) and Baby Boomers (50-69), to identify worker attitudes toward their current physical workplace and better understand how office space can be optimized to meet worker needs and comfort.

Workers Want Convenience – and a Social Scene – At The Office

The survey also uncovered which popular office amenities resonated with respondents to see how office spaces could further improve the functionality of their square footage. Overall, the survey found that ample parking, food courts, and outdoor lounging space were the most coveted office amenities, signaling a desire for convenience and a sense of community.

—Ample parking is the most popular amenity: Sixty-four (64) percent of US adults surveyed report that having enough parking would be helpful to have within the workplace

—More lunchtime options at the workplace: Sixty (60) percent of respondents surveyed would want to have a food court, cafeteria, or restaurant onsite

—Rooftops, outdoor patios, and gardens are in vogue: Forty-one (41) percent of US adults surveyed would like to have outdoor lounging space available

“Younger Millennials appear to be the tastemakers when it comes to office trends. As this group continues to enter the workforce, there will be a greater demand for convenience and community within the workplace,” noted Schmidt. “Workers are demonstrating that they want to eat lunch with their colleagues rather than eat alone, and they want to spend time in outdoor office lounges rather than at their desks. Offices are becoming a center for social activity, and it is important for office commercial real estate to accommodate this.”

US Workers Demand Private Workspace Within the Open Office

Aside from identifying the added amenities that can enhance an office, the survey sought to uncover ways to improve existing open office layouts. Open floorplans might still be the dominant choice in US offices, but workers are increasingly seeking private space to temporarily withdraw from their shared workspaces, take a personal call, or focus on important assignments.

—Nearly 8 in 10 US adults (79 percent) report they would feel comfortable with an open floorplan if private spaces were available.

—This is especially popular among the newest generation of workers. Nearly 9 in 10 Younger Millennials (89 percent) would be comfortable working in an open floorplan if private spaces were available.

“Open floorplans can facilitate collaboration and creativity within the office, but it is also important to carve out private spaces in order to provide a break from the buzz around the office. We’ve noticed an increased demand for private space within the open office after years of conducting this survey. It is imperative that office developers and commercial real estate professionals alike counsel clients on the wants and expectations of today’s workforce,” added Schmidt.

View the full survey findings.

Download the infographic.