By Daniel Hunter

With the UK relying on the services sector to drive growth, uninspiring office environments are hampering performance, according to findings released today (Tuesday).

A new report, by fit out and refurbishment specialists Overbury, found Financial Services (FS) firms have the least inspiring workplaces compared to any other sector, presenting a prime opportunity to address the issues holding back performance.

The Social Workplace found almost half (45 per cent) of FS workers are experiencing a crisis of creativity at work and half (50 per cent) find their workplace a demotivating place to be. Yet four in five (82 per cent) need to be creative either ‘constantly’ or ‘frequently’ in their job.

FS firms have much to gain from tackling their demotivating offices. More than half (55 per cent) of FS employees say their companies would be ‘significantly more profitable’ if staff were able to be more creative at work.

This is in sharp contrast to the Manufacturing sector, where three quarters (76 per cent) of employees are motivated by the space in which they work.

“The Financial Services sector has a remarkable opportunity to lead the UK’s economic recovery, but only if it makes the most of its talent," Anthony Brown, board director at Overbury said.

"At a time when businesses need their workforce to drive competitive advantage through innovation, working environments must help fuel creativity.”

Overbury’s report is based on opinion research among 2,000 office-based employees from across the UK.

It’s not just FS employees who could reap the benefits from sparking creativity.

According to Overbury’s research, more than a third (36 per cent) of Retail and FMCG employees believe a lack of creativity is a problem for their organisation. And half (48 per cent) say enabling employees to be more creative would multiply company profits.

Public Sector and Not For Profit workers are also uninspired by their offices with less than one in five (19 per cent) claiming their office has been designed to boost creativity.

Almost one in ten (eight per cent) go as far as to call their workplace a ‘creative a cultural desert’ and a quarter (25 per cent) prefer to work from home wherever possible.

Worryingly, in addition to demotivating the UK’s workforce, uninspiring offices are stopping employees from talking to one another — with companies losing out on all important ‘water-cooler’ moments as a result.

Professional and FS employees are the least likely to interact with co-workers, with almost half (41 per cent and 48 per cent respectively) admitting they wear headphones in the office to avoid talking to colleagues.

However the majority of Professional and FS workers (59 and 64 per cent) say many of their best ideas come from impromptu conversations with colleagues.

“Businesses are failing to realise that great ideas don’t arise from sitting in silence at a desk for eight hours a day. People need physical environments that foster creativity and collaboration," Anthony Brown commented.

According to UK workers, the most demotivating working environments are found in the following sectors:

1. Financial Services (50 per cent)
2. Professional Services (46 per cent)
3. Retail & FMCG (34 per cent)
4. Creative Industries e.g. Media, Advertising, etc. (34 per cent)
5. Technology (34 per cent)
6. Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals (30 per cent)
7. Public Sector & Not For Profit (30 per cent)
8. Manufacturing (24 per cent)

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