Flexible Workspace Occupier's Top Frustrations Revealed

The availability of quiet spaces, good quality wireless technology and the environmental performance of the office are the elements that are most likely to fall short in terms of meeting the expectations of workers based in flexible workspaces, according to Workthere and Savills.

Workthere has examined the responses of workers based in flexible workspaces (i.e. serviced office or co-working space) throughout the UK. The survey was run as part of the What Workers Want project, carried out by Savills and the British Council for Offices, to establish what matters to them most and highlight where their offices are falling short in terms of their requirements.

The survey asked the workers the importance they attach to a detailed range of aspects in the office, as well as how satisfied they are that their current flexible workspace meets these requirements. This reveals a disparity between workers’ expectations and the reality as well as informing providers where they should target efforts to improve satisfaction levels.

Providing ‘a quiet space for focused work’ is the highest area in need of improvement according to the results, followed by ‘good environmental performance’ and ‘good quality wireless technology’. ‘Having food facilities’, ‘having a green space/garden/roof terrace’ and ‘cleanliness of the office’ are the next three aspects in the ranking..

Top six aspects where the gap between workers’ expectations and the reality of their offices is widest:


Aspect of the office

Proportion of respondents who ranked aspect as important or very important

Proportion of respondents who are satisfied / very satisfied with this aspect of their office

Satisfaction/ importance rating (out of 10)*


A quiet space for focused work





Good environmental performance





Good quality wireless technology





Having food facilities (e.g. canteen/ café/ bar, food vending machine, kitchen)





Having a green space/garden/roof terrace





Cleanliness of the office




Source: Savills and BCO What Workers Want 2016, with YouGov. *Dividing the percentage of respondents that are ‘highly satisfied’ with each aspect of the office by the percentage that rate the same aspect as ‘highly important’ creates a percentage which is presented ‘out of 10’ for simplicity. The lower the score ‘out of 10’, the lower level of satisfaction relative to the importance. The six lowest ratings are shown in the table above.

Growing volumes of occupiers, big and small alike, are seeing the benefits of flexible workspaces, such as the ease of taking more space on an ad-hoc basis, and having access to other benefits. They also like the opportunity to network with other like-minded companies. Getting the immediate working area right is evidently crucial to workers and organisations are increasingly conscious of the impact, space has on the wellness and wellbeing of their staff. There is no doubt that many providers are getting the office right, however as workplace design has changed so quickly over the course of the last few years, this research shows there are still aspects that can be improved to meet staff expectations, such as providing more quiet spaces for them to work.