Are you feeling exposed?

Teknion Corporation thinks you probably are, based on the results of their new workplace survey that reveals a lack of privacy and collaborative spaces in today’s office.

“We have noticed a major shift towards the collaborative, open environment office over the last several years,” said Steve Delfino, vice president, Corporate Marketing & Product Management at Teknion. “Collaboration is no doubt an extremely important business tool, but its translation to the office plan may have been a little too extreme. A fine balance between privacy and the degree of openness is needed to be effective. Our workplace survey results indicate that employees, although understanding the benefits of collaboration, are looking for more privacy.”

When asked, “What is the one thing missing most from your office?” survey respondents identified a lack of lounge space, meeting rooms and quiet zones. Sixty-seven percent of those in the Education field identified casual spaces as the key missing element, followed 67 per cent in Law, 54 percent in Marketing, 52 per cent in Finance & Insurance, 50 per cent in Art & Media, 35 per cent in Science & Research, and 30 per cent in Healthcare.

When survey participants were asked, “What areas of your office do the best meetings or collaboration take place?” casual spaces – primarily lounges – are preferred. Lounges were the first choice of four industries – Art & Media, Education, Law, and Marketing. Meeting Rooms were selected first by three industries – Finance & Insurance, Healthcare and Science & Research.

“These results are not surprising, as studies continually indicate that the need for employee privacy is growing in step with increased collaboration in open-plan office environments,” says Delfino. “In fact, Gensler’s 2013 U.S. Workplace Survey determines that employees who can effectively focus are 57 per cent more able to collaborate, 88 per cent more able to learn, and four per cent more able to socialize in their workplace than their peers who are unable to focus. Distracted employees are obviously not as productive as those with spaces designed for focus work. Our challenge is designing workplaces that effectively support the ability to focus and collaborate simultaneously.”

Teknion conducted this workplace survey at Ideacity in Toronto, where three-quarters of the conference attendees were owners/founders of their own businesses, senior managers or executives within an organization.