Savills Office FiT report e1628526285662

Safety tops list of priorities for office workers

Personal safety is an important factor for more office employees than workplace experience or transport connectivity, a Savills survey of landlords and occupiers has shown.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents (74%) in Savills’ latest Office FiT survey said personal safety has “high importance” to them – more than any other factor. Workplace experience ranked seventh (62%) and public transport connections ranked tenth.

The report, based on a survey of 100,000 Savills clients in the UK and EMEA, is a follow-up to a similar survey last year and reveals some of the shifts in workspace preferences among office workers in the last 12 months.

Personal safety was the top priority for respondents regardless of gender, age or seniority.

The report said: “How companies respond to this through building management is clearly important in terms of how much safety consideration can be built in by the owner/developer and what this means for the design of buildings in the future.”

In regards to tech, basic infrastructure was seen as the most important factors in creating an “ideal office”. Good quality Wi-Fi and mobile signal were highly important to the vast majority of respondents (91% and 85% respectively).

By contrast, the perceived importance of building apps ranged from about 20% (apps for hospitality/visitor access/wayfinding) to 26% (apps to help locate colleagues/desks).

However, the report argues that tech has to play a crucial role in managing spaces, helping to monitor and manage factors such as air quality and busyness.

Other takeaways

  • The office will remain essential for successful business operations, post-pandemic, according to 87% of respondents (down slightly from 89% last year). However, among respondents to a YouGov poll also included in the report, that figure falls to 67%.
  • A fifth of respondents would consider working at client offices when not in their main office, which Savills said might have implications for client office space and the need to accommodate more remote workers. The percentage of people who would work at a serviced/flexible office rose substantially from 3% to 12%.
  • Among people aged 25-34 in the UK, 40% are looking to change where they live. While this is the highest percentage of any age group, it marks a fall of a third from last year when 62% of younger people said the pandemic would influence where they live.
  • Acoustic design will be critical for user experience. As calls become longer with a greater number of participants from a mix of locations, offices will have to provide more than just noise-cancelling headphones and headsets. Acoustic design from the outset should be a primary concern, Savills said.
  • Those in managerial positions are more likely to perceive health and wellbeing as a high priority in their organisation than those in non-managerial roles. “There is a clear need for more positive communication to the workforce from the C-suite and at all management levels,” the report said.

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