With many workers spending up to 40 hours a week in an office, it should come as no surprise that the office environment is vitally important to 21% of people. Happy workers are up to 20% more productive – so making sure the office is a positive place to be is in everyone’s interest. But what is it that makes an office space feel right?

New research from leading price comparison site MoneySuperMarket surveys the views of business owners and employees, to find out what perks, facilities, and styles are the most sought after in different industries.

Business office models

While there’s a clear preference overall, with employees simply wanting an open plan office, a coffee machine and to be close to home, in individual industries the tastes of employees differ significantly. Some of the office environment choices include:

  • Style – Both Business & HR and Media & Marketing workers share a preference for light and airy offices (23% and 29% respectively), whilst creative employees prefer to keep things simple with 44% wanting a traditional and functional building.
  • Physical features – Like their bosses, 38% of Creative workers name recycling facilities as an important feature. But Media & Marketing employees proved to be the most eco-conscious with a remarkable 62% wanting recycling facilities.
  • Luxury features – Both Business & HR and Media & Marketing would like free snacks, meals, and soft drinks. Creative types, meanwhile, want video games (46%) and sleeping pods (44%).
  • Location – In contrast to the 63% of business owners overall who want parking spaces, 62% of Media & Marketing employees and 54% of Creative employees want transport options.

Flexible hours and fixed desks

Something agreed on by all groups in all industries is the desire for a fixed desk, favoured by 74% of business owners and 73% of employees.

Likewise, everyone wants flexible working hours rather than the standard nine to five, with 59% of employees picking this out as their preference and 52% of employers. Only 47% of full time employees are offered flexible hours, however2.

Rose Howarth, head of business insurance at MoneySuperMarket, commented:

“Small changes around the office can make a huge difference to mood and productivity, not only for employees, but also for the business owner.

“Not every change needs to break the bank or affect your business insurance policy. Many of the options both sides selected in the survey were a question of picking the right location and creating the right environment, rather than buying new assets for the company. You just need to ensure that all changes that do affect policy and location are reflected in your business insurance policy as you grow your company.”

Visit MoneySuperMarket to see the visualisations of the ideal office environment for business owners and employees.