Places People Prefer

The Office
Agenda

The Office Agenda brings together our extensive insight into what makes an office that people – from employees to the board – prefer.

Places People Prefer

The Office
Agenda

Technology

High alert

Knowing what makes a secure office, and understanding how important this is to workers, is a smart way to attract and retain talent, our research reveals

With issues of security a growing global concern, ensuring workers feel safe at the office could be a great business move. An overwhelming majority of employees rate security features – such as access-controlled barriers, security guards and a perceived safe location – among the top qualities of the ideal office, according to our research.

In our survey of more than 1,000 workers from businesses across the UK, 92% of respondents said workplace safety and security facilities are important to them, making it the third most important feature of their ideal office.

However, many employees don’t feel as safe as they’d like to – 19% are unsatisfied with the security facilities at their current workplace. Striving to make those employees feel safe could secure their loyalty, as 86% of those polled said they would stay longer with an employer offering the ideal office. A good safety record could help secure elite employees too – 84% said that office features help them choose between similar jobs.

Addressing threats

Unsettling global events such as the Paris terror attacks in November 2015 mean that employees need reassurance, explains Jonathan Schulten, Associate Director, Security & Business Resilience at Broadgate Estates.

“It hit home so much to office-dwellers, because we’re not talking about something on a beach 2,000 miles away,” he explains. “We’re talking about a two-hour train ride from where we’re sitting. There was an awful lot of reassurance needed; we increased our visibility on the properties we manage. Simple measures like issuing high-visibility vests to security staff made a big difference in terms of employee perception.”

Other security measures, such as checking passes or ID when people enter the office building, can also offer reassurance. However, it’s a fine line to tread. “Colleagues may actually feel that there’s a heightened cause to be concerned [if] they suddenly notice there’s additional security,” Schulten explains. “The communication around it is important: an appropriate key message would come from us as a property management company, then the individual occupiers spread that message to each of their staff.”

Our research suggests that women and men are similarly concerned about security. However, outside London, female workers feel less safe – office locations could be lacking after-hours security or a safe route home, for example. Some 94% of women outside the capital said safety and security facilities are important, but only 79% are satisfied with their present facilities. Firms with a female-heavy workforce may thus struggle to hold on to staff if their safety features fail to fulfill expectations.

Nationwide issue

Perhaps surprisingly, concern about security is not confined to perceived ‘target’ areas such as London, where 92% of Millennials (those aged 18-29) and 94% of Baby Boomers (those aged 50-plus) said security rated highly. Outside London, an average of 91% said security was important.

The way employers tackle office security, and how safe they make employees feel in the workplace, is clearly a vital consideration for companies across the UK. So sending out a confident message to employees – current and potential – could make a real difference to the success of a business. As the global situation remains insecure, companies must address safety and security in their recruitment plans and internal communications if they are to attract and retain the best talent.

Tagged in: FACILITIES, SECURITY, WELLBEING

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