In 2003 the first MT Workspace Satisfaction Survey identified a considerable gap between the awareness of the benefits of better work environments and real action by companies to provide them. The author of this article asserts that there is no excuse for maintaining a “21st-century equivalent of a sweatshop” when workspace satisfaction can be achieved “simply by paying closer attention to the basics: lighting, air quality, sound proofing, external views, [and] breakout spaces away from the desk.”

A MT/ICM Research survey of 600 middle and senior managers reveals that managers are willing to make considerable sacrifices to get a well-designed workplace that is easy on the eyes, ears and lungs. Nearly half of respondents would forgo a week’s vacation; many would also give up four figures in salary or job benefits for a better work setting.

So what is holding companies back? The author points to a lack of evidence that supports a clear case for a better workspace. Heading the effort to provide a link between office design and business performance is a British consortium led by the British Counsel for Offices. The author notes the enormity of the linkage problem due to factors as varied as the volatile economic context and the sheer complexity of business practice. The consortium is currently focused on developing more discourse between developers, architects and the managers and employees who will work in the facilities. The article ends with a look at several new workplace designs developed for small-, medium- and large-sized companies.

Source: Jeremy Myerson, Management Today (London); Apr, 2005

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