Blame the decor: poorly designed offices affect performance of GCC businesses
The companies in GCC with poorly-designed, cramped and overcrowded offices, are taking a significant slice out of their bottom line, according to a new study commissioned by workspace at Index exhibition (formerly The Office Exhibition) in association with HNI, and conducted by YouGov has revealed.
The workspace at Index is the largest commercial interiors fit-out and design exhibition in the Middle East. It is the premium showcase for high-end products and services which combine to create outstanding working environments.
The findings indicate that associated loss in productivity and business potentially accounts for as much as $70,000 per year for a large business and more than $35,000 a year for a medium-sized company in the region, stated the report.
A total of 867 senior managers across the GCC were surveyed to analyse the leading cause of employee accidents within the workspace, as well as the major causes of occupational health issues.
More than a third of both large and medium sized businesses said that ‘poorly designed, cramped and overcrowded office space’ was a principal factor in employee accidents (35 per cent and 38 per cent respectively) and a similar number cited ‘old, poorly maintained or broken office furniture, equipment fixtures and storage’ as culprits (34 per cent and 35 per cent respectively) .
Three quarters of the panel surveyed (76 per cent) believe that allocating company budget and investing in a design upgrade of their office space would result in a significant reduction in the number of accidents and illness, and ultimately of a reduction in loss of revenue, said the report.
The results were announced at the workspace at Index exhibition, one of the largest Mena commercial interiors trade fair, which concludes today (May 22) at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
Organised by dmg events, the show attracts thousands of top tier architectural and interior design firms and end-users from the Middle East and beyond.
Commenting on the findings, Rebecca Lockwood, the event manager - dmg events, said: "A well-designed office environment not only motivates staff but also helps business thrive. The results emerging from the YouGov survey confirm just how crucial well-considered office design is, and the strong impact that it has on the company’s business and its employees’ health, wellbeing and productivity."
"The growing interest in workspace design is also confirmed by the increasing number of visitors to our show – up 16 per cent up in 2013 compared to 2012 – and in the quality of international exhibitors that are exhibiting at workspace at Index 2014," she added.
The senior managers surveyed by YouGov estimated that their companies on average had each lost 14 manpower days due to employee accidents in the office and a full 39 days due to employee sickness related to occupational health issues over the last 12 months.
Among the top factors contributing to accidents in the office are: poorly designed, cramped or overcrowded office space (37 per cent); and old, poorly maintained or broken office furniture, equipment, fixtures or storage (35 per cent). Other issues of concern are: blocked walkways and corridors due to lack of space (26 per cent); and overloaded cupboards due to lack of space (25 per cent).
When asked about health issues developed because of workplace conditions – such as back pain and strain – half (49 per cent) of the total respondents flagged the poor design of the workstation as a major cause and almost as many (44 per cent) named office chairs which are too often old, poorly maintained or broken.
The show is running alongside Index International Design Exhibition, its partner trade show which covers the residential, hospitality, and retail interior design and fit-out sectors.
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