Good access to coffee and tea is vital to ensure employees stay happy, a recent survey of 12 000 office workers nationwide by office space and furniture consultancy Inspiration Office has shown.
“We asked people what was the most important thing for them in the workplace and 95% said access to good tea and coffee,” said MD Richard Andrews.
“This topped the list ahead of security (91%) and a healthy environment (87%).” Other important contributors to satisfaction in a working environment were natural light (85%), greenery (71%), canteens (65%) and comfortable chairs (52%).
“Essentially, it’s all the smaller things that people need to be happy in the workplace,” Andrews said. The poll also quizzed people on their biggest annoyances. Top of the list was loud colleagues, followed by colleagues who “smelled up the place” by eating lunch at their desk. Third was “unbearable bosses”.
“It seems as many offices move to open-plan design, the trend of squeezing more people into less space has brought workers in closer proximity to each other. There is nowhere to hide from other people’s habits. People talking loudly on the phone, endlessly talking to colleagues and making a general ruckus (88%) topped the list of the biggest peeve,” Andrews said.
“This was followed closely by people who eat lunch at their desks, thereby smelling up the workspace (76%).”
Andrews said a lack of privacy also featured, with more than 50% citing that as an office downside. Other strong dislikes were dreary office spaces, long meetings, dress codes and working hours. When asked about the best things about the workplace, the social aspect of meeting new people and becoming friends with certain colleagues was the best thing about the workplaces, according to 80% of respondents.
Also favourable was the “learning and personal development” that the workplaces offered (61%). This was followed by “a place to make money”, at 49%. Filling out the remaining office positives was stimulation, a sense of worth and contribution to society.
Andrews said more businesses in South Africa were moving to address needs such as those highlighted by the survey. “Quiet spaces, places to make private calls and a trend towards more comfortable and relaxed spaces will improve the day-today workday.”