Employee engagement is a serious bottom-line issue. As the workplace continues to evolve in the post COVID world, business leaders need a highly engaged workforce more than ever. Unfortunately, the number of disengaged office workers outnumbers the engaged by a landslide.
Disengaged employees make up one-third of the average workforce, and only 13 percent of global workers are highly engaged. While it’s tempting to regard the former as a human resource issue, disengaged workers can cost you a lot of money.
At Egyptian Workspace Partners, we realize increasing employee engagement is a complex issue that requires time and money. Still, we believe it’s important to pinpoint exactly why employees are disengaged and provide solutions that engage them.
The Steelcase Global Report, conducted in 17 countries with 12,480 participants, explored the relationship between the workplace and employee engagement. The study also uncovered five key findings to help organizations address the challenge of increasing employee engagement.
In this article, we’ll break down the Steelcase Global Report, its five key findings and potential strategies for achieving a resilient workplace that can help boost employee engagement and satisfaction in your organization.
5 Key Findings that Impact Workplace Engagement and Satisfaction
1. Employee Engagement Positively Correlates with Workplace Satisfaction
To compete in today’s world, every organization needs engaged workers that generate new ideas and fuel innovation. Highly engaged and satisfied workers are in high demand and they're incredibly hard to find.
The most engaged workers are highly satisfied with their work environment and feel a sense of connection to the company culture. According to the Global Report, 93 percent say their company takes a genuine interest in their wellbeing.
The study also found that 37 percent of employees are either highly to somewhat dissatisfied with their work environment. To be specific, only 10 percent of these workers feel their employers recognize and value them.
About one-third of all workers fall somewhere in the middle. They’re only somewhat satisfied with their workspace and somewhat engaged in the work they do. To help these workers become highly engaged and satisfied, organizations need to make employee wellbeing their top priority.
2. Engaged Employees Have More Control Over Their Experiences at Work
People want to feel a sense of control over their work environment. Employees who have more control over their experience at work are more likely to be satisfied with their workspace and be more engaged.
Engaged employees are able to make more choices about where and how they work, whether they choose to work in the office, at home or from satellite spaces. They can also move around the office easily and choose where they want to work based on the tasks they need to do.
Disengaged employees, on the other hand, have the least amount of control over their work environment. They’re typically limited to working in the office and may not have their own workspace, which means they’re less likely to feel connected to their company and the work they’re doing.
In the study, it showed that 86 percent of employees are unable to choose to work in alternate settings based on the tasks they were doing. 87 percent are frequently interrupted while working in teams, and only 15 percent can concentrate when doing individual work.
Business leaders need to be able to provide employees with a greater sense of control over their physical environment and how they work. They should also strive to find solutions that help positively shape behaviors within the organization.
3. Fixed Technology Exceeds Mobile 2:1
In today’s workplace, technology is everywhere. Although recent reports suggest there are more mobile devices than people on the planet, organizations are leaning toward fixed technology solutions at a ratio of over 2:1.
Employees with laptops, mobile phones and tablets are more likely to be highly engaged than those who are deskbound by landline phones and desktop computers. People with access to mobile technology also have the freedom to choose where they work based on the task they’re doing.
Only half of all employees have this kind of control over their work, according to the study. Disengaged employees usually have limited access to mobile technology and may not be able to work outside the office, which can negatively impact how they feel about their work environment.
Organizations need to align their workplace and technology strategies to support both resident and nomadic workers. They should be able to provide them with mobile technology, so they have a greater sense of control over how and where they work.
4. Traditional Workstyles Persist
Despite the rise of collaborative work, most workplaces are configured with traditional private offices instead of open space layouts, and traditional workstyles continue to be more common around the world.
Typically, private offices symbolize status and an implied level of control within many cultures and organizations. The higher people are in their company, the more likely they are to have their own private office and be satisfied with their overall work environment.
The Global study showed that 60 percent of employees are assigned to either an individual or shared private office, while approximately one-third have assigned workspaces in open environments. Only eight percent are nomadic workers who regularly work in different locations throughout the office.
While these statistics vary by country, it’s still important for companies to understand how traditional office layouts and workstyles affect people. By listening to what workers need and how they want to work in the future, organizations can implement changes that positively impact employee engagement.
5. Culture Context Influences Engagement Levels
The country someone lives in, its cultural norms and economy impact how employees feel about their physical work environment. These factors can also influence how satisfied employees are with their workplace and how engaged they are.
In the study, the more satisfied and engaged workers live in countries with plenty of work opportunities. They’re more energetic, more optimistic and more likely to be highly satisfied with their work environments.
On the other end of the spectrum, disengaged employees come from countries where hierarchical management styles are common. They often feel stressed and do not feel a sense of belonging to their company and its culture.
These insights can help global organizations exploring workplace strategies in different countries and regions. To meet people’s needs in diverse cultures, companies need to explore a wide range of workplace design solutions.
How Can You Increase Employee Engagement and Satisfaction in Your Workplace?
No two organizations are the same. Through continuous research and exploration, Steelcase uncovered two key design principles that can help organizations create resilient workplaces that lead to higher employee engagement and satisfaction.
First and foremost, the workplace should be designed to support its employees’ physical, cognitive and emotional needs. When their needs aren’t being met, it can communicate to people that they aren’t highly valued and make it challenging to inspire productivity.
Secondly, workers need space to focus, collaborate, rejuvenate, socialize and learn throughout the day. The workplace should be designed as a broad ecosystem of interconnected zones so people can have more choice and control over where and how they work.
It may take a lot of work to achieve a resilient workplace, but it’s worth it. By working with an office furniture provider who understands what your employees need to be engaged, you’ll be better positioned to attract and engage the best talent, outperform competitors and thrive.
Ready to Take the Next Steps?
Still have questions about achieving a resilient workplace? Whether you’re ready to engage an office furniture provider or want to learn more about furniture bids, your partners at Egyptian are here to help you.
With 140 years of industry experience, our team of experts can help you design a powerful work environment that not only incorporates an ecosystem of spaces, but also results in highly engaged and satisfied employees.
To learn more about Egyptian and our approach to interior furnishings, connect with a Workspace Partner today!