Close to 1,000 London office workers completed the survey looking in to how friendships, trust and appreciation play a big part in workplace happiness and how seasons can affect our happiness. The survey also revealed the changes to the workplace environment which people highlighted that would help them fight any winter blues and boost their productivity levels.

The highlights of our office survey are:

  • Motivation: 80% of people say they suffer from Seasonally Adjusted Motivation (SAM) and believe that winter negatively effects their mood and productivity
  • Motivation: 67% feel more motivated in the summer months versus only 7% who feel more motivated in the winter months
  • Boredom: 70% confess to feeling bored sitting at their desks, while 65% wish they had a wider choice of work spaces to break the monotony
  • Home Comforts: while 69% have full kitchen facilities in their office, only 27% saying that they have quiet zones to escape to, and less, 19%, saying that they have free fruit or breakfast
  • Appreciation: 56% feel they are only sometimes or never appreciated in the workplace
  • Appreciation: most important to make people feel appreciated is that they have the right tools/technology (36%), followed by the right rewards/recognition (27%) and training (23%)
  • Trust: 58% wish they were more trusted to manage how, where, and when they work
  • Frolleagues: 83% count colleagues as friends, and 89% say they value the friendships
  • Frolleagues: biggest factors cited as helping create frolleagues were communal social spaces, informal break out areas and in-house social events
Having analysed the results of the survey, we then applied our own expertise to create some advice for companies looking to help support their staff during the winter months and keep their business buzzing.

Motivation: Businesses can counter SAM by maximising daylight to boost serotonin, using bright colours on feature walls, organising office social events and ensuring staff take regular breaks from their desk.

Boredom: Providing diverse work spaces are vital to help counter boredom. By introducing sit-stand desks or standing meeting tables, staff will be more active and move around during the day. They will also be more likely to catch up with colleagues which is good for motivation and business. Boredom means different things to different people, and all personalities must be considered.

Home Comforts: Introducing elements of home comforts makes a team feel happier. Providing fruit, herbal teas, or cereals is a low cost option which staff are grateful for when their energy is at a low ebb. Soft furniture such as sofas and comfy chairs can improve acoustics and also provide a welcome break from their desks for informal meetings, quiet working or simply resting. In addition, other home comforts, such as showers and bike storage, would encourage staff to be more active. By investing in home comforts staff will also feel more appreciated.

Appreciation: Top ranked by respondents to make them feel more appreciated at work are tools and technology which ranked above training and development and recognition and rewards. By investing in the right tools and technology, businesses would receive a double win with staff potentially working longer hours whilst feeling more motivated in the office.

Trust: Giving staff tools and technology will demonstrate trust but companies also need provide diverse work spaces to properly free them from their desks. Being seen to work is no longer as important as the output. Staff should also be trusted to meet offsite.

Frolleagues: Enjoying the company of people you work with goes a long way to creating a positive environment. Bosses can facilitate this by creating social spaces and communal eating areas to bring people together. In the survey, communal spaces, informal break out areas, and social events were scored highest by respondents in terms of importance to help promote friendships at work. Centralised refreshments, recycling, and printing will also get people up on their feet, helping create social interactions with colleagues.

Following the survey feedback, our science buffs created the equation of a happy office, giving appropriate weighting to each factor based on the strength of responses and applying our expertise of almost 30 years in designing award-winning offices.

And the equation of a happy office is…

H = (T9+A8) + (F7+HC6) – B7

Frolleagues (F), Home Comforts (HC), Appreciation (A), Trust (T) and Boredom (B).

So what are the key lessons from our survey and equation? It is clear from the survey data that people need to feel trusted and appreciated by their employer and want to avoid boredom to help get them through the winter months. By trusting and appreciating staff, businesses will address home comforts, boredom and help foster more workplace friendships – it’s a virtuous circle.

We’d like to thank everyone who completed our survey. If you’d like to talk through how best to implement some of our recommendations to create a happy office then we’d be happy to tell you more!

To create an office that is an oasis of positivity and productivity, apply the Happy Office equation to get through the dark winter months. To get the most out of your staff you need to get the most of your office, and that includes using every inch of floor space to offer variety and stimulation. A happy office promotes trust and appreciation and empowers the individual to choose for themselves how best to fulfil their role.

By Jitesh Patel, CEO, Peldon Rose