What is top priority for the 21st Century employee? It’s not salary, it’s not development opportunities – no, it’s location, location, location.A new study released by the British Council for Offices (BCO) and Savills revealed that location would strongly influence 73 per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds and 64 per cent of older jobseekers in their decision to take a job. What makes this report important is that it shows why staff retention, productivity and employee happiness could all be bolstered by being in-tune with modern workplace issues. Money and opportunities are not the only ways to win over the best applicants and keep team members happy. A convenient location and comfortable office environment are what really counts. It is not least mobile tools that have given professionals higher expectations in terms of flexibility, and less patience with their daily commute – after all, if you can work from anywhere, where is the use in wasting hours of time travelling every day? “You don’t necessarily need to ‘wow’ staff or prospective occupiers – space, comfort, good lighting, kitchen facilities and WiFi will have huge value and won’t necessarily break the bank,” said Marie Hickey, associate director at Savills. Interestingly, older workers rated access to WiFi more than younger workers. Some 45 per cent of over 55-year-olds said it was very important in their ideal workplace, compared to just 36 per cent of 18-24 year-olds. This may be due to the increasing adoption of iPads by corporates, particularly for those in senior management positions. “It is becoming increasingly apparent that the needs of office workers, after years of uniformity, are ever more diverse,” said Richard Kauntze, chief executive at the British Council for Offices. “The advent of new technology and more innovative approaches to workplace design along with the growing age range of office workers are likely to accelerate this trend.” When it comes to workers who chosen an office fit-out, there was on the whole a marginal preference for a design-led approach over a standard corporate design. Typically, those from the media and creative sectors showed the greatest preference, but those from traditional business services are also becoming more receptive to this. Fit-out preferences for Generation Y’ers leaned towards design-led, with offices such as Mind Candy and Innocent Drinks capturing this demographic’s imagination. Despite the emergence of new technology and working practices, the top three features of an ideal workplace remain conventional – with comfort, temperature and lighting ranked as the most important.
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