Google offices around the world have their own gyms, funiculars, relaxation capsules, basements with video games and movie theaters. The workspace of the Facebook headquarters resembles a small town - with "neighboring" cafes and parks. The architects of Inventionland Design Factory have gone even further: the employees of this company spend their 8 working hours … on a pirate ship. All of this is done in order to increase employee satisfaction with their work. But how effective is this method?
Kari Cooper, professor of psychology at the University of Manchester, has an opinion.
A cool office is not a guarantee of the satisfaction of its employees.
Where do the happiest Britons work? I will not languish for long: in the London branch of the travel company Expedia. At least that's the kind of data cited by job search analysts Glassdoor, who conduct anonymous survey of thousands of UK companies every year. So Expedi has been leading them for the second year in a row.
It's fair to say that this company has a really nice office. Like any advanced workspace of our time, it has its own seating areas, arcade rooms, table tennis, a mini soccer field and even a cocktail bar. Unsurprisingly, many business publications have linked Expedi's leadership to the look of its office. Yet this is a great misconception.
The fact is that when answering the questionnaire, Expedi employees themselves did not even remember what an attractive workplace they had. No, that's not why they are happy. Most often, respondents ticked boxes next to "corporate culture" and "career opportunities". This is what defines true job satisfaction. No play areas.
In my opinion, we are dealing with one of the most important social trends of our time, because often employers mistakenly associate the bad mood of their employees with the fact that they have to work in an ugly place, and ignore such important factors as the safety of the work process or the atmosphere in the team. Why is this happening? Because this is the easiest explanation. We can't post a photo of some abstract satisfaction on Instagram, but we can post a photo of a cool new office. And this, at first glance, will be enough - primarily because our society is accustomed to the fact that "beautiful" is a synonym for the word "happy".
I don't rule out that bonuses like BBQ areas or pools with plastic balls might be appropriate in modern offices, but it's important to remember that this has nothing to do with building a company's culture and, more importantly, it has nothing to do. luckily for her staff. The problem is that more often than not, managers go to such tricks solely for PR purposes - to look favorably on the pages of magazines, to attract new employees and to captivate investors - without even noticing that their workspace already looks more like a circus than an office.
I am not against attractive jobs in general. But using Expedi as an example, I would like to show that successful companies, in addition to investing in their interior design, should, first of all, invest in other things. Why are Expedia employees happy? Yes, if only because the company gives them $ 14,000 for travel every year.
Happiness is not in hammocks
Just imagine, every year large corporations spend millions of dollars to ensure that their employees feel comfortable in their workplaces. But in vain: despite the abundance of creative offices, in America, for example, more than 70% of employees still do not feel like part of a friendly team. So maybe it's not about toys after all?
Workplace privacy for 74% of workers remains a top concern
To be honest, I myself have recently done research on this topic. And I found out: it turns out that most of the employees, on the contrary, are annoyed by all these office "chips". Yes, it all looks beautiful in photographs, but whatever one may say, people do not like working in hammocks or holding crisis strategy meetings while sitting in a pool with plastic balls.
Surprisingly, if employers were less likely to listen to their ambitions and more often to listen to the aspirations of employees, then they would understand that in fact, their employees do not need much. For example, the privacy of the workplace - more than 74% of the respondents said that they are infuriated by the fact that any of their colleagues can spy on what is happening on the screen of their work monitors. This also includes just high-quality comfortable furniture, the presence of a cooler in the office and other basic amenities. Hammocks and decorations in the form of bales of hay (yes, yes, there are also such) makes workers only laugh.
But it is interesting that office workers are the last to remember about physical convenience. In the first place they have - the level of salary, career prospects, self-esteem, and so on. In other words, putting aside the topic of money, most people go to work for the sake of self-realization - professional, personal and social. If a person is comfortable in a team (he has good relationships with colleagues, he feels needed), then he will get up on weekdays at six in the morning with a smile and a feeling of great satisfaction.
And this is logical. In the end, back in 1980, Harvard scientists established that strong interpersonal relationships are the key to the happiness of any person (and not only at work, but in life in general).
This is what is worth investing in - building a strong team: corporate events, a common social network, and other events that bring your employees together.
Strong team relationships, or the beauty of social selection
But it may not be so easy either. The paradox here is that in order for the team to become truly friendly … you don't need an office at all.
One recent poll of workers across a wide range of industries revealed one curious thing. It turned out that employees of prestigious offices located in the very center of the city, where it would seem that there is a bar or a club on every corner, get along with their colleagues much worse. But the strongest friends were the workers of the same farm, the miners and those who work the night shift. It's funny that the more antisocial the work environment is, the stronger the relationship between colleagues becomes.
The point here is that comfortable offices contribute only to easy and direct communication. If all you do is hang out with your coworkers at a nightclub, then your relationship will be appropriate, depending on the level of convenience. The harsher working conditions force people to choose their friends more carefully - accordingly, the relationships in the team are built more fundamental.
In industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, construction or defense, the element of teamwork becomes one of the most important elements for survival in an organization. In offices, the need for teamwork is minimized - so the so-called “social selection” here also occurs at less intense speeds.
As a result, we have the following: the level of an employee's happiness depends on how strong his relationship is with the team. A friendly team is formed in conditions far from polished and comfortable. Therefore, there can be only one conclusion: if you want happy employees, invest in team activities, not in offices resembling Disneyland.
Original article - bbc.com
Photo: Getty Images, inventionland.com
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