Employees discussing survey results

5 Questions to Ask on Your Employee Survey

Find out what employees really need from their workplace

The workspace can drastically impact employee well-being and engagement. Furnishings and materials can affect people, their emotions, and their relationships—with one another and your company.

Why Surveys Work
Conducting a survey is a tried-and-true way to take the pulse of employees about their workplace experience because it goes straight to the source for experiential information, allowing a detailed exploration of people’s satisfaction on a variety of workplace issues. For these reasons, Haworth uses surveys as part of its process for creating a client’s space strategy.

"The great thing about surveys and analytics is, when they are combined with qualitative tools like workshops, we can quickly gain and share insights on important issues."                                                                                                                                                                                     — Dr. Michael O'Neil, who leads Haworth's Workplace Strategy and Research departments

With training in psychology and architecture, Dr. O’Neill has spent decades examining the connection buildings have with worker well-being and performance. His findings were recently published in the book The Healthy Workplace Nudge: How Healthy People, Culture and Buildings Lead to High Performance, which he co-authored with Rex Miller and Phillip Williams.

Employee sharing workspace performance  insights

What to Ask
When surveying a workforce, there are four major topics to cover: individual space, collaborative space, technology, and overall experience. According to Dr. O’Neill, research shows that these elements are closely related to employee stress, well-being, performance, and engagement. While Haworth typically uses surveys consisting of 30-40 detailed questions, five of the most important questions you can ask your employees surrounding these topics include:

  1. How effective is your individual workstation, including worksurface area, amount of storage, and the quality of your task chair?
  2. Do you have enough collaborative spaces in terms of the right array of sizes and types—and are they available when needed?
  3. How reliable and how easy to use is technology at work?
  4. How do you rate the interior air quality, temperature, and lighting in your workspace?
  5. How do you rate the water and food in the workplace in terms of quality and accessibility?  
Individual with a cup of coffee reviewing survey

The answers to these five questions can paint a picture of your workplace environment and how it affects your workforce. This will provide valuable insights that can help you craft a space strategy that creates a better workplace experience.

“Ultimately, your experience at work is what's going to impact you. That's what you will remember years from now,” Dr. O’Neill said.

For more information on how the workplace environment impacts human performance, and how you can create a space to meet people’s needs, check out the SPARK article on Affordances.
 

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