MRI Software (credit image/Pexels/Fauxels)Employees today want more ‘hotel-style’ amenities such as areas for socialising, state-of-the-art infrastructure, outdoor spaces, onsite cafes and air conditioning. These flexible work facilities are required to entice them back to the office – and stay. This is according to new global research released by MRI Software, a provider of real estate software.

MRI Software Market Insights: The Workplace Report reveals almost two-thirds (64%) of respondents say such hotel-style features impact their decision on whether to work for an organisation. This includes more than one in ten who see failure to provide the right amenities as a deal breaker.

The survey of more than 6,000 consumers includes statistically significant responses from the US (2,005), the UK (2,004) and Australia (2,008). Results are relatively consistent across all three markets; hybrid working is leading organisations to rethink the workplace. Most people want the flexibility to combine work-from-home with in-office options.

Back to the office

(credit image/LinkedIn/Brian Zrimsek)
Brian Zrimsek, Industry Principal at MRI Software

Attracting people back into the office – even if for only part of the week – is vital to facilitating face-to-face interactions. This boosts collaboration, information-sharing, learnings, mentorship and the development of the desired company culture,” says Brian Zrimsek, Industry Principal at MRI Software and the report’s author. “Modern offices must be places where people feel welcomed and enjoy working while they are there. Creating work environments that reflect today’s more fluid working dynamics is critical to retaining and attracting the best talent post-pandemic.”

Overall, just 9% of survey respondents globally don’t care about workplace amenities. In contrast, 19% say they are “critical” to deciding whether to stay at a job or not. 11% assert, “If an employer doesn’t have a lot of these things, I’m not interested.” Over a third (34%) of employees see them as important factors after the nature of the job itself. When asked about specific amenities they are looking for onsite in an office, 40-50% of respondents identified air conditioning, effective network connectivity, and free parking. All three of these are largely standard in many workplaces today.

Flexible and creative use of space

The second tier of less common, modern amenities also emerged in the findings. This highlights the need for flexible and creative use of space with features that enhance the environment. To make it more appealing in the post-COVID era. These include:

  • Areas for socialising (28%)
  • Onsite café/cafeteria/restaurant (28%)
  • Outside/green space (26%)
  • A gym (21%)
  • Changing/shower facilities (15%)
  • Bicycle storage (13%)

Technology ranks highly on the wish list of modern amenities. A significant number of employees identified technology-enabled amenities that will improve their efficiency and collaboration in the hybrid working world. This included:

  • Hotdesking, bookable meeting rooms, and break-out meeting spaces (24%)
  • 24/7 access (19%)
  • Smart conferencing tools (15%)

Hotel-style amenities

Hotel-style office amenities and user-friendly work tools are emerging as a key part of the employer playbook for winning over new and existing staff,” Zrimsek says. “Visionary organisations are using technology in planning for their future as they refashion workplaces to ensure layout, capacity and accompanying features meet the needs of their teams. While using booking systems, sensors, desk screens, mobile apps and other tech aids to improve the office user experience and boost efficiency.”

The survey also shows most workers want flexibility in their working environment. Only 15% of respondents want to work at home all the time. That figure is skewed by the fact that over a quarter (26%) of those aged 55 and up want to work at home every day. While 10% of those under 25 want to do so. The older the respondent, the more likely they are to want to work at home full time. The survey shows that a third (33%) of respondents want to alternate between home and some type of office set-up. 38% prefer to work in a formal office or a flexible co-working space – or a combination of those.

Enterprise Times: What this means for business.

The events of the past few years have impacted the way we all work, rest and play. Many individuals have become comfortable with working remotely. Post-pandemic workplaces now have to strive to find the best way to entice employees back to the office. While on the home front, people continue to reassess the requirements of their living spaces – which, in some cases, have become home offices. The availability of technology that enables the ‘work from anywhere’ mindset creates a high degree of individual flexibility.

Unsurprisingly, most workers want flexibility in their working environment, combining work-from-home options with in-office work. These findings are quite consistent across the three regions surveyed. Hybrid work schedules create the need for more flexible workspaces that provide better collaboration and access to outside spaces. While office amenities are of growing importance, especially for millennials, they are only a deal-breaker for a relatively small number when selecting an employer. Firms that have flexible technology in place to enable agility will be better positioned to navigate the changes ahead and adapt their strategic plan to make it a reality. Enterprises that don’t have the technology to support hybrid work practices will have to get with the programme. Otherwise, the great resignation trend will continue.


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