Key Findings and Trends from Two New Workplace Studies

workplaceToday’s workplace trends revolve around assisting collaboration, improving individual performance, enhancing work-life balance, and getting maximum ROI for office space investments. We’ve seen some interesting and polarizing trends emerge in recent years, and these trends have coincided with generational shifts in employee expectations. So how are workplaces evolving to meet the changing expectations of today’s workers? Two new studies have recently been introduced to shed some light on key workplace issues.

The Staples Workplace Survey 2019

This study was conducted by KRC Research in October 2018. Respondents consisted of 1,001 office workers in the U.S. and Canada. This study focuses on the flexibility of work environments and arrangements, connectivity and remote work, workplace design, and employee wellness. Here are some of the highlights in each area of this study:


90% of employees say allowing for more flexible work arrangements and schedules will increase employee morale, and 67% would consider leaving if work arrangements became less flexible.

80% of employees say their offices are set up in a way that enables their efficiency and 73% say their offices help them to be better at what they do, so the investments companies have been making in office setups, such as agile seating arrangements, are paying off.


Technology changes are being geared to support higher percentages of remote and mobile workers. Collaborative tools are making this easier, including many open-source and free software applications.

52% of remote workers use a work-provided computer when out of the office, 39% use a virtual private network, and 36% use cloud-based file management tools.

Workplace Design

78% of employees in a mostly open office space say it feels welcoming, but 52% say it creates distractions, and 40% say their office space is too open. Yet 76% say their office space enables the company as a whole to be productive.


Employees are increasingly expecting employers to account for wellness in their workplace strategies. They prefer programs that include health incentives, 24/7 access to health resources, gym reimbursement, and group fitness classes in office.

78% feel their employers have a responsibility to keep them mentally and physically well.

42% of employers offer a wellness program, and 41% of employees would take a 10% pay cut for an organization that cares more about their wellness.

Gensler U.S. Workplace Survey 2019

This survey of over 6,000 full-time U.S. workers sought to understand the key issues facing workers about their workplaces. The survey published key findings in the areas of collaboration, private workspaces, valued workplace amenities, and coworking spaces. Its most promising finding: 2019 marks the highest workplace effectiveness score measured, driven by high levels of balance and choice at work.

Collaboration and Team Building

Every three years, we have seen significant movements toward collaboration and away from employees working alone or in silos. In 2013, just 17% of workers collaborated in person, and that has risen to 30% in 2019. In 2013, 54% of employees worked alone, and that has fallen to 45% in 2019. Collaboration and team building figures into the best attributes of a workplace…

Attributes of the Best Workplaces

43% of workers say a workplace should promote team building and collaboration, 34% say it should support health and well-being, 33% say it should help with knowledge and best practice sharing, and 33% say it should provide the latest technology and tools. 32% say the workplace should inspire creativity and innovation, 31% say it should maximize individual productivity, and 29% say it should help with communications, and a sense of shared missions, values, and culture.

Open Environments

Mostly open environments have the highest effectiveness and experience scores, driven by high levels of choice, variety, and balance.


Investments that target work process have the most value in both employee effectiveness and experience quality, including the following (in descending order of value): innovation hub, maker space, quiet zones, outdoor workspaces, and focus rooms.

Both of these surveys showed that employers that have been willing to understand their employees and adapt to changes in workplace needs have seen major benefits in terms of employee performance, experience, and innovation.

If your workplace has changed significantly in recent years, which changes have supported your individual and team objectives, and which have not? Share your perspectives with us on Facebook!