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UK workers languish in dull corporate offices

UK workers are crying out for offices with more buzz – the combination of a good atmosphere, energy and teamwork – according to new research from workplace consultancy, Morgan Lovell

The Buzz Barometer, a gauge of UK office atmosphere, found three quarters (78%) of employees say they would be significantly more productive if their workplace had more buzz.

Nearly all workers (94%) say that a great atmosphere boosts productivity and more than four-fifths (87%) claim it sets rapidly growing, successful businesses apart from sluggish competition. 

For more than three-quarters (79%), working in a buzzy office is a key consideration when looking for a new job, with laughter (50%) and conversation (42%) considered the key drivers of this intangible quality. Yet, only a third of staff (33%) believe their leadership team is concerned by dull offices.

Corporates are failing to match small company buzz, with four-fifths (81%) saying SMEs offer a better working atmosphere than large companies. 

The study found bosses were rated as the top buzz kills and almost three quarters (72%) of employees say business leaders need to do more to reinvigorate their office culture. A further 82% state their organisation does not provide a choice of working environments.

More than three-quarters of workers (76%) feel tied to their desks for the majority of the day, despite 81% stating that being active would significantly improve the atmosphere. 

Monica Parker, head of workplace strategy at Morgan Lovell comments: “This research shows sedentary working habits and dull offices are draining UK businesses of much-needed energy. As a company grows and matures it is essential that leaders consider what they can do to reinvigorate the right kinds of social interaction at work and engage a demotivated workforce.”
The research also shows how buzz varies across the UK, with Welsh offices topping the rankings for overall atmosphere. Yorkshire came top for energy and morale, while employees in the East Midlands enjoy the most laughter at work.

London and the South East both fail to top the list for a single indicator of office buzz, with Northern Ireland coming out on top for creativity.

Monica Parker, comments: “Not surprisingly, this research found buzz means different things to different people, from teamwork to conversation. Leaders have to understand what drives their staff and apply this to create not just a great atmosphere, but also a flexible working environment and culture that supports different kinds of people. It’s about enabling staff to take control of their working day, unleash their creativity and build stronger teams.”

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