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Workers link office environment to productivity.

Most office workers say that the proper physical environment is important for productivity, according to the 1989 Office Environment Index, a survey sponsored by Steelcase and conducted by Louis Harris and Associates, Inc.

Nearly seven in 10 (69 percent) office workers surveyed in the US feel that it is -very important' to have -the right kind of physical office environment' in order -to do as much work as they reasonably can-. This seems to be especially true for office workers in technical jobs (77 percent), unions (76 percent), and government jobs (73 percent).

The survey also revealed that top management and facilities managers tend to underestimate the value workers place on the office environment. A lesser 60 percent of top executives and 58 percent of facilities managers thought that workers found this "very important", gaps of nine and 11 percentage points, respectively. Popular Workspace Features

Most of the office workers surveyed identified the following features as -very important- in allowing them to do as much work as they reasonably can:

*Proper lighting - 92 percent

*Comfortable heating and air conditioning - 81 percent

*A comfortable chair that can be adjusted - 73 percent

*Enough workspace to spread out, display work - 72 percent

*Adequate storage and file space 65 percent

*Enough privacy and quiet 59 percent

*Attractive work area - 57 percent

Heavy computer users (those using a computer five or more hours per day) placed a higher priority on a comfortable chair-40 percent vs. 73 percent overall-and fewer of these heavy users reported that they were at their peak of productivity (46 percent, vs. 49 percent of all office workers). Seventy-eight percent of workers used computers in their jobs, 32 percent for -five or more hours each day". The Privacy Issue

The majority of workers (56 percent) believed it was very important to have the privacy they needed to work. This emphasis on privacy was down from last year (62 percent). However, only 34 percent reported that this was "very true" of their current jobs, the same percentage as last year.

Office workers in organizations of over 5,000 employees (40 percent) and heavy computer users (45 percent) reported more frequently that they currently occupy partitioned space, as compared with 32 percent of workers overall.

Continuing a trend from previous years, facilities managers reported that -partitioned- office space is the most common form of office environment in their organizations. According to their estimates, office employees now occupy a median of 50 percent partitioned space, up slightly from 48 percent in 1988. They expected this trend to continue, estimating that 53 percent of workers in their organizations would occupy partitioned space in five years.

The 1989 Office Environment Index was conducted through telephone interviews of U.S. and Canadian office workers; top executives of organizations employing 1,500 or more nationwide; facilities managers of similar organizations; and contract interior designers. Editor's Note. Copies of the summary report of the 1989 Office Environment Index are available to the public. Contact Steelcase Canada Ltd, Corporate Communications Department, P.O. Box 9, Don Mills, Ontario M3C 2K7
COPYRIGHT 1989 Canadian Institute of Management
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:according to new Steelcase/Harris survey
Publication:Canadian Manager
Date:Sep 22, 1989
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