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Modern Office Trends for 2020

Professionalism in the workplace is a topic that continues to evolve as we head into a new year and a new decade. Gone are the days of the completely formal office environment stuffed with cubicles and suits. Today those are being rapidly replaced with open floor layouts and casual dress codes.

Business owners are shifting their office culture and office layouts with their employees need in mind first and foremost to adapt to the demands of the modern worker. So how does this shift impact both business owners and employees?

Olivet Nazarene University recently surveyed over 2,000 American workers to try to gain more insight into this trend. The goal of this survey was to learn more about the average American workers’ satisfaction with their current office environment and how it contributes to their happiness and productivity in the workplace.

Let’s take a look at what they found:

Modern office layouts

Olivet Nazarene first asked respondents about the type of office layout they currently work in. Cubicles, which were once the most common type of office layout, have now been replaced by a mixture of open floor layouts and private offices.

Listed below is the breakdown of the top 5 most common types of office layouts:

  1. A mix of open floor and private offices (34%)
  2. Cubicles (28%)
  3. Private offices (21%)
  4. Open floor plan, assigned seats (13%)
  5. Open floor plan, no assigned seats (4%)

The survey found that over 77% of American works are currently happy with the way their office is set up. Workers in private offices reported the highest levels of happiness with workers in cubicles reporting the lowest levels of happiness.

Productivity levels while at work

A majority of employees (67%) reported that they are currently as productive as they can be in their current office layout. Once again workers in private offices reported the highest levels of productivity and workers in cubicles reported the lowest levels of productivity. American workers stated a quiet location as the thing they need most in their office to be productive followed by a dedicated working space and a comfortable chair or desk.

Workers were also asked about the things they like most and least about their current office environment. When it comes to what makes us happiest while working, amenities like free food and drinks, exposure to natural light, pet-friendly working environment, outdoor space and access to nearby walkable locations should come as no surprise. There were however a few surprises on the list of things that workers dislike most at work. Noise, lack of privacy, distractions, lack of energy and isolation were among the top answers for things that people dislike the most while at work. 

Workplace distractions

Digital distractions are becoming a more common problem in many of today’s workplaces, negatively impacting office productivity for many workers and business owners. Technology has made it more convenient to communicate with colleagues through channels other than face-to-face interactions. Today the average employee has more daily conversations through messaging apps (9) than traditional face-to-face conversations (8). There is also a negative connotation with messaging platforms as work with nearly half (45%) of all workers believing that these messaging platforms are used for employee surveillance.

Working from home

The last part of the survey asked about the often-controversial topic of letting employees work from home.  59% of workers said they dress more casually than they would while at work. Surprisingly enough 1 in 3 workers admitted to having worked naked or in their underwear while working from home. Also, 58% of workers reported being less productive on work from home days. Workers admitted to having trouble dealing with distractions and communicating with colleagues while working from home as well.

About the author: Matt Zajechowski is a content strategist at Digital Third Coast. He is passionate about surveys, data analysis, and data visualizations. In his free time, he enjoys traveling and live music. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.  

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