New Study Finds Millennials Care Most About Workplace Design (Plus Tips For Making Them Happier)

With the average American working 40+ hours a week, and entrepreneurs working often 2 to 3 times more, it’s important to understand how a physical workspace affects mental workspace.

Research firm Kelton Global carried out a recent study for National Business Furniture entitled “Happiness in the Workplace.” The findings shine a light on how American workers’ performance is influenced by their physical surroundings.

Nearly half (47%) of employed Americans say the overall design of their workspace influences their productivity, while 42% report that it also impacts their quality of work. The study found that millennials  — currently the largest segment of the U.S. labor force — are more likely than any other cohort to claim that workspace design impacts their happiness, motivation levels, quality of work life, and general well-being.

According to National Business Furniture executive Dean Stier, there are several key strategies entrepreneurs can implement to ensure that their office design helps drive job satisfaction.

Clear the Clutter

Over 62% of American workers surveyed in the study say they are negatively impacted by clutter, so that’s a key area to consider when it comes to enhancing productivity and performance.

“For entrepreneurs in particular, a cluttered office environment often stems from a perceived lack of time,” Stier explains. He recommends reserving a recurring monthly spot in your calendar to reorganize your workspace – physically and online. Have your employees do the same!

Stier notes: “Dispose of unneeded items and use organizational tools to keep the clutter at bay.” As the average employee spends 1.8 hours a day searching for files and other information, this can make a big difference in overall productivity.

Mix it Up with Collaborative and Private Workspaces

The ‘open office’ trend has taken off in recent years, and many new businesses use this concept to foster collaboration. However, new research shows that open plan offices may not be as interactive as originally thought. National Business Furniture’s study revealed that 43% of American workers value having a “private area where they can focus on the tasks at hand.”

Stier discusses the take-aways: “It’s important to have both collaborative spaces and private areas. Common areas with soft seating or bright, cheery break rooms are great for sparking open communication and casual touch-base meetings. For added privacy in the office, divider panels or allocating unused space as a quiet area helps. It can also double as a safe place for private conversations among coworkers.”