More than half (53%) of job hunters would turn down a role if they did not like the company’s office or working environment, according to research from Furniture123.co.uk.
A survey of 1,014 UK workers in full- or part-time work found that outdated décor would put off 41% of job seekers, while a lack of natural light would deter 38%.
A third (32%) would reconsider a new role if they felt the office was dirty or unhygienic, and the same number would consider broken office furniture as a strike against taking a new role.
However, the biggest factor when it came to the working environment of a new role was location. Half (50%) of those polled said they would be deterred by a role that was situated away from transport links, places to eat and other amenities.
Oliver Heath, biophilic design consultant of Oliver Heath Design, told HR magazine he was not surprised by the results. “Studies show people like working where there is natural light, indoor plants, and views of water, greenery or trees,” he said. “A direct connection to nature can be beneficial for both your mental and physical health. For example, having timber walls in your workplace helps to reduce your heart rate.”
Heath said some employers overlook the benefits of a well-designed workspace. “You could choose not to invest in this, but then you won't get the benefits of reduced turnover and better productivity,” he said. “Plus you could end up losing some of the best talent to your competitors who are investing in their workspaces.”
Mark Kelly, marketing manager at Furniture123.co.uk, said the research shows that companies need to pay attention to much more than salaries and benefits when trying to attract candidates.
“Employers looking to attract the most talented staff in their field should keep this in mind when inviting candidates to interview,” he said. “It’s not so easy to change the location of the office. However, they can ensure that there are on-site catering facilities and breakout areas for lunch, and even arrange car pools or an employee bus service that connects to local transport links.
“Also, ensuring the space is always kept clean and tidy, furniture is in good condition, and the décor feels fresh and modern is a great place to start.”