Conducted by independent research firm OnPoll on behalf of Mindspace, 5000 people from 7 countries1 were surveyed in the Mindspace Employee Happiness Survey 2019. Participants came from various sectors, including finance, engineering, law, information technology, healthcare, media, transport and logistics, creative arts and design, public service, etc.

On the whole, Mindspace found that nearly 84% of respondents were ‘happy’ or ‘very happy’, with the average response of 3.2 out of 4. The survey revealed that, from the set of participants, men, millennials, managers and self-employed reported that they were happier compared to women, employees aged 40-50, employees, and those working at a company respectively. In particular, the survey found that 73% of people who are self-employed reported that they were happy, compared to 25% of people employed by a company. Participants who were working in the creative arts industries were found to be most satisfied (3.36 out of 4). 

Mindspace has identified the following factors that contribute to employee happiness:

1. Sense of purpose

Mindspace states that having a sense of purpose at work is among the top things that people look forward to when they go to work everyday. In the survey, 75% of ‘very happy’ people reported having a strong sense of purpose at their jobs. In addition to business owners and managers, social workers and people working in the tech industries have reported the highest sense of purpose.

2. Feeling valued

Employees who feel valued are more likely to feel satisfied and motivated, leading to a greater engagement with their work, despite challenges. 90% of ‘very happy’ participants reported feeling valued at work.

3. Wellness

The survey showed that happy people tend to participate in wellness programs more, although it is uncertain if they are happier because of the wellness programs or if happier people are more likely to participate in these activities. 

Younger employees (ages 18-24), employees in the US, and employees working in research and marketing are more likely to participate in wellness programs. On the other hand, the survey found that people working in administration and logistics have the lowest participation rates. These were reflected in satisfaction levels, with participants in research and marketing reporting higher satisfaction at their jobs than participants working in administration and logistics. 

The majority of people think that wellness in the workplace is important, regardless of whether they participate in the activities or not. Happy employees are more likely to feel that wellness is important at their companies than unhappy employees (3.7/4 vs 2.3/4). 85% of businesses feel that employee wellness is important to their organisations, although some employees2 feel that wellness is not given importance in their workplace. 

4. Employee engagement

99% of ‘very happy’ people feel very or somewhat engaged in their job. Despite the importance of employee engagement, approximately 21% of companies do not assess employee engagement, although this figure varies by country and company size. 

5. Collaborative environment

75% of people feel that working in a more collaborative environment would make them happier, with younger people tending to prefer a more collaborative environment. Self-employed people have also responded that they would be happier working in a more collaborative environment.

For productivity, most participants preferred working in private offices or small shared spaces. Approximately 15% of participants preferred working in large open spaces while 10% preferred working at home. This can be contrasted with 30% and 20% of respondents preferring to work in private offices and small shared spaces respectively. 

6. Flexibility

The survey found that 70% of happy employees have flexibility. On the other hand, 70% of unhappy employees did not have flexibility. Furthermore, almost a third of participants who were not engaged in their jobs reported a bad work/life balance. 

50% of participants responded that flexible work hours is one of the most important office perks, while a flexible working location is one of the most valuable benefits for 30% of the respondents.

7. Workplace culture

33% of happy people describe their workplaces as friendly, compared to only 10% of unhappy employees. 10% of happy employees describe their workplace as fun and exciting, compared to 3% of unhappy employees. Almost 40% of unhappy employees describe their workplace as mundane, compared to 12% of happy employees.

Some employees3 seek a work culture that facilitates personal development, with employees wanting to have a sense of purpose and to achieve set goals/results. On the other hand, some employees4 look forward to going to work for social reasons, such as interacting with colleagues. 

Takeaways for employers and landlords

The Mindspace survey noted that certain workplace attributes can contribute to employee happiness. A nice and healthy workspace and environment is important. 30% of employees state that good air quality and lighting have the greatest impact on their mental wellbeing. 

Flexibility in work hours and locations have been found to be a highly ranked perk that all employees want. Wellness programs and services have also been found to be valued by happy people, as observed by participation rates. Finally, meeting employees’ professional, emotional and physical needs can make employees happier. 

CBRE’s Australian Occupier Survey 2019 has found that 77% of Australian Occupiers believe that workplace experience is key to attracting and retaining employees. With that in mind, these are some of the ways landlords can attract tenants by providing spaces that make their employees happier: 

1. Offer flexible space options

The Mindspace survey has indicated that employees with flexible working hours and locations tend to be happier. Coupled with other factors driving demand for flexibility, such as the rise in the gig economy and project-based workstyles of companies, this suggests the need for offering office spaces with flexible lease terms, allowing tenants to scale up or down when necessary, alongside traditional lease options. 

Flexible solutions such as coworking spaces and activity based working spaces may also foster a collaborative work environment and offer opportunities for social interactions, which may also contribute to employee satisfaction levels.

2. Offer perks and amenities

Depending on the perks and amenities offered, these can contribute to employee satisfaction levels, allowing companies to better attract and retain talent. 

After core requirements such as indoor environmental quality, amenities in and around the workplace can influence the decision of tenants in renting a space. Sharing parallels with Mindspace’s Employee Happiness Survey, CBRE’s Australian Occupier Survey 2019 has found that 56% of tenants consider wellness initiatives important (a 16% increase from its 2016 survey), while 42% of tenants consider access to a nearby/on-site gym as important (a 9% increase from the 2016 survey). CBRE also found that 45% of tenants want the head office to be near a childcare while 57% want access to quality on-site cafes. Proximity to childcare, in particular, has experienced a 23% increase from CBRE’s 2016 survey possibly due to a 7% increase in families with two working parents in the past decade, with the trend expected to increase in the future. Employees working in companies that lease offices near childcare centres may feel more valued – as their needs are being met - and may also have a greater capacity to engage with their jobs. 

The CBRE Occupier Survey has found that the activities employees engage with in and around the workplace fall into 4 categories – ‘Of Body’, ‘Convenience’, ‘Social & Community’, and ‘Of Mind’. ‘Of Body’ and ‘Convenience’ scored highly in the 2016 survey, and are now considered to be a minimum requirement. Compared to the 2016 survey, ‘Of Mind’ and ‘Social & Community’ perks gained importance, with employees valuing perks that facilitate personal development and lifelong learning, as well as social and community activities. These support Mindspace’s findings that employees with access to personal development opportunities, wellness activities, and social opportunities may be happier.  Hence, landlords offering these amenities and perks in their buildings can differentiate themselves from competitors. 

3. Embrace technology

Technology such as wayfinding services (e.g. services to find and book workspaces/meeting rooms), technology-aided concierge services, building management services, sensor technology5 etc. can make life easier for employees. Propmodo notes that these can improve the workplace experience for employees and save them time, allowing them to work on more meaningful tasks which would likely increase their satisfaction levels.  

Connectivity functions such as Wi-Fi enable flexibility and freedom of movement within the building, allowing employees the flexibility to work where they want, depending on their preferences for quiet spaces or places with more activity. 

In addition to staff mobility, connectivity facilities such as video conferencing and AR video conferencing also allow communication and collaboration between employees in different work locations, giving employees the benefit of a collaborative environment in addition to locational flexibility. 

Cover Image: Hub Parliament Station offers light filled office spaces as well as wellness spaces such as an on-site exercise studio.

  1. Participants were from the US, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Israel, Poland and Romania.
  2. 25-30% in Israel and Germany; and less than 5% in the US and the Netherlands.
  3. 22% in Poland and Israel, and 12% in the US and Western Europe.
  4. 16% in Western Europe compared to 5% in the US, Israel and Eastern Europe.
  5. In addition to making it easier for users to control their internal environment, sensor technology can also provide cost saving benefits to tenants.