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Steelcase has released an unprecedented new report on the global work experience. The Steelcase Global Report: Engagement and the Global Workplace finds that high workplace satisfaction positively correlates with high employee engagement and employees who have greater control over their work experiences, including abundant access to private spaces, are some of the most highly engaged in the world.

The findings are a result of data collected with global research firm Ipsos from 12,480 workers in 17 countries, including South Africa. According to the study one-third of workers in 17 of the world’s most important economies are disengaged. Steelcase set out to understand if the physical workplace could be used a strategic asset to help improve employee engagement and what changes could make the largest impact. The global report found diverse workplace experiences throughout the world and identified the factors impacting engagement, including the cultural context in which employees work.  

The key findings from the global report include:

  • Employee engagement positively correlates with workplace satisfaction. The data show that workers who are highly satisfied with various aspects of their workplace also demonstrate higher levels of engagement. Yet, only 13 percent of global workers are highly engaged and highly satisfied with their workplace. The inverse is true as well: 11 percent of employees are highly dissatisfied with their offices and are also highly disengaged.
  • Engaged employees have more control over their experiences at work. A distinguishing characteristic of engaged employee is that they have a greater degree of control over where and how they work, including access to privacy when they need it. They are empowered, both by organizational decisions and the spaces made available to them within their workplace, to make choices about where and how they work. This means they can manage their need for privacy so they can concentrate easily and work with teams without disruptions.
  • Fixed Technology exceeds mobile by 2:1. Despite the high global adoption of mobile devices for personal use, the vast majority of study participants report that their organizations provide twice as much fixed technology versus mobile options for work. The vast majority of workers report that they are equipped with land-line telephones (86 percent) and desktop computers (80 percent). Far fewer employees have laptops (39 percent), mobile phones (40 percent) or tablet computers (13 percent) available to them at work.
  • Traditional work styles persist. Across the globe, the most common workplace design features a combination of open spaces and private offices, but more than three quarters of global employees say they work in either individual or shared private offices. The greatest contrast in open environments and private or shared offices can be seen in Europe, where nearly half of all office layouts are entirely open in the United Kingdom 49 percent, and Germany where 54 percent of overall physical workplaces consist entirely of individual or shared private offices.

Cultural Context Influences Engagement Levels.  The most highly engaged employees hail from emerging economies, where people have different expectations of their work environments than those in established economies. Workers from developing countries such as India and Mexico are some of the most highly satisfied and engaged, while people in France, Belgium and Spain are less engaged. Analysis of the data identified a pattern indicating that the country where employees live, its culture and the resulting expectations have an impact on how highly engaged and satisfied they are with their workplace.

 

Source: FleishmanHillard

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