For employers

How office space is becoming a deal-breaker for job seekers

You had me at hello, but you lost me at the avocado bathroom: 41% of people would reconsider a job offer if the office had bad or outdated décor.

A recent study by retailer Furniture123 asked 1,014 part- and full-time workers what would influence their decision to accept or reject a job. The top 5 office space deal-breakers for job hunters were:

  • 41% of workers were turned off by bad taste in decoration
  • 50% of candidates were put off by a bad location
  • 38% of respondents were deterred by a lack of natural light
  • 32% of people would be influenced by old or broken furniture
  • 32% would be turned off by a dirty or unhygienic workplace

office space

We can understand location. If there isn’t a Pret nearby, what on earth will you eat for lunch? Coffee granules? Natural light, too, would sway most – unless you have vampire tendencies or model yourself on the basement-dwelling IT Crowd. And broken furniture? Well, who wants a spinny-roundy chair that you can no longer spin?

office space

But in some ways, these results were surprising – who would want to work in a dirty office over one with Artex swirls on the ceiling? Yet, 9% would choose filth over, say, bad light fittings.
The findings might also surprise anyone who has had trouble securing a job in the past. The reality is: some people don’t have the luxury of choice.
Working conditions in the UK are held to a certain standard by Health and Safety. For those desperate to get their teeth into a bit of legislation, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 is a ripping yarn. Amongst its many non-negotiable safety rules, it specifies that lighting must be adequate for you to do your job, you must have a rest area and clean facilities and your workplace must be safe and uncrowded.

office space

However, aesthetics aren’t covered. The regulations were established in their current form in 1992; we dread to think what kind of décor was considered bad taste back then.

Whilst there isn’t any rule against outdated décor, offices would do well to take note. We are living in a Pinterest-ready world and image seems to matter more than ever before. And, happily for us at Perkbox, people are realising that they want more than just money out of work – they appreciate rewards, lifestyle and, as we can see from this study: beauty.

Mark Kelly, marketing manager at Furniture123.co.uk said: “The data shows that companies need to pay attention to much more than salaries and benefits, when trying to attract top talent.Employers looking to attract the most talented staff in their field should keep this in mind when inviting candidates to interview.

“It’s not so easy to change the location of the office, however they can ensure that there are onsite catering facilities and breakout areas for lunch, and even arrange car pools or an employee bus service that connects to local transport links.”

office space

With this in mind, we considered what would make our own list of office space deal breakers:

Table tennis table set on a rough surface

The slight angle affects our trick serves. And when we drop the ball on the floor it shoots off in an unexpected direction faster than a lost hamster: Unacceptable.

Bead curtains

Somehow impossible to navigate with any semblance of style without looking like you are entering a boudoir: Unacceptable.

Artificial daylight lighting

This harsh white light is said to imitate daylight, minimise headaches and be better for you. It looks cold and unforgiving when first seen, but we accept that the mid-afternoon headache has disappeared: Acceptable.

The ugly, but inexplicably comfy chair

There’s always one in the office: outdated, ugly, a little worse for wear. But whenever the owner’s away, you steal it as your own, because sitting on it is like sitting on a cloud: Acceptable.
We all have our preferences for an office space, but, then again, there’s a lot more to office life than just Danish Modern furniture and Farrow & Ball walls.

- By Sonia Rach, editor and employee happiness evangelist at Perkbox.

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