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Places People Prefer

The Office
Agenda

Wellbeing

Space for inspiration

A new survey reveals what workers in the creative industries want from their workspace and explores the links between creativity and wellbeing

What does the optimum workspace in which to do creative work look like? That’s what Creative Review magazine set out to discover when it surveyed readers of its website as part of a major new report sponsored by British Land, called Working Well: Wellbeing in the Creative Workspace.

The respondents – the majority of whom work in design, advertising and related creative industries – were overwhelmingly aware of a correlation between workplace design and the quality of work produced, with 88% saying they saw a link between the two. But when asked about their current workplace, 43% said it was ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ conducive to creativity, so there is plenty of room for improvement.

The survey paints a clear picture of the type of office environment in which people feel they can do their best creative work. The word most commonly used by participants was ‘open’, cited by 26%, often alongside similar words such as ‘airy’ and ‘spacious’. Other popular qualities were ‘light’ (16%), ‘quiet’ (15%), ‘collaborative’ (9%) and ‘relaxed’ (also 9%).

At the same time, many participants mentioned the need for a mixture of spaces within the workplace that would enable different kinds of work. One summed it up as follows: “Open plan with breakout areas, quiet rooms, meeting rooms. Variety is key.” Others wrote about the importance of being able to move around between different spaces.

Feeling good

The survey also investigated the role of the workplace in promoting wellbeing. Participants were asked how significant a range of factors were to their wellbeing at work, and the second most popular answer, cited as ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ important by 96% of respondents, was the physical environment within their workplace. The most popular, with 97%, was the way their manager or employer treated them.

Other significant factors were ease of travel to the workplace (third, 95%), the ability to flex their time (fourth, 92%), contractual benefits and remuneration (fifth, 90%) and the geographical location of the office (sixth, 89%). These results echo some of the findings of a British Land survey carried out last year, which looked at the features workers would like in their ideal office.

So how do today’s creative workplaces rate? Just over half of respondents (51%) said their workplace supported their overall feeling of wellbeing, but 34% disagreed with the statement. Moreover, while 39% said that their employer encouraged them to look after their health, only 31% said theirs actively provided a wellbeing programme, and 45% said this was not encouraged at their place at work.

Key features

One of the most challenging findings of the survey was that only 36% of respondents said that their workspace had been designed as a space to be comfortable in.

43% said their workplace is “not conducive to creativity”

Responses to other questions shed some light on why this might be. For example, 50% agreed that their workplace ‘felt stuffy a lot of the time’, and only 39% were able to adjust the temperature of their working environment. Noise emerged as another significant issue for workers in the creative sector: 53% said they found it hard to concentrate because of the noise in their workplace, and 50% said their office didn’t have places set aside for quiet, focused work.

On a more positive note, 70% said there was plenty of daylight where they worked, and 52% said they could see trees or nature from their office window – both factors that have emerged from numerous studies as important contributors to a feeling of wellbeing at work.

To download the full survey report, click here

Tagged in: CREATIVITY, FLEXIBLE WORKSPACE, WELLBEING

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