Shabby workplaces get big thumbs-down

Jul 18 2005 by Brian Amble Print This Article

If you think that you can't afford to give your shabby workplace a makeover, think again. Almost six out of 10 people would be put off working for a company with shabby premises.

What's more, almost three-quarters would think twice about awarding a contract to, or buying goods or services from a business whose offices were run down or whose equipment was neglected.

With Britons now spending an average of 44 hours a week at work, a survey for HSBC has found that stuffy, overcrowded and poorly-equipped workplaces are falling out of favour with customers and employees as fast as avocado baths, 1970s carpets and stale smells turn off homebuyers..

"The fashion for light and spacious living environments has rubbed off in the workplace," says HSBC's Ian Moore.

"Well-designed and managed property can lead to significant improvements in staff productivity, but despite this, property issues rarely make it into the boardroom. "

When it comes to our biggest bugbears in the workplace, the HSBC research shows that overcrowding is a definite no-no, annoying seven out of 10 employees.

Lack of privacy is also an issue - a quarter complained that a lack of private space was a problem, while nearly a fifth remain unconvinced about the benefits of open-plan environments, or 'hot-desking'.

And with summer now here, employers would be well advised to consider decent air conditioning for their staff during the hot weather, with ventilation sitting at the top of workers' wish lists.

Other turn-offs Ė cited by almost half of those surveyed - include a lack of staff facilities such as parking or canteen, dated equipment or computers and clutter.

For a design-conscious 14 per cent, even out-of-date furniture or fittings were cause for complaint.

"By enhancing their premises, companies can enhance staff retention, increase morale, boost productivity and increase their competitive edge," Ian Moore added.

"If businesses want to show they are serious about staff and prospective clients, improving their commercial property is a good start."