In this exclusive article, KKS Savills explore topics such as:

  1. How employers can manage the daily challenges and demands in the global workplace
  2. Why engaged, satisfied and happy employees are critical for business survival
  3. What we can learn from the What Workers Want Report 2019 and the trends that are emerging in current and future workplace design
  4. Why agile and flexible working is growing in popularity
  5. Why buildings and workplaces need to align in meeting these goals by creating creative communities
  6. Why technology is vital as the sustainable platform of an inclusive and diverse workplace

Savills LinkedIn final



Katrina Kostic Samen, Director, Head of Workplace Strategy & Design, KKS Savills
Yetta Reardon Smith, Associate Director, Senior Workplace Strategist, KKS Savills



Organisations must embrace change in order to survive day to day issues, unanticipated events and challenges, so how can organisations survive a crisis and get the most out of today’s frequent and disruptive changes?  Engaged and satisfied employees are critical to a business’s success, so what employees want in their workplace is fundamental to the effective realisation of business strategies.

The Savills What Workers Want 2019 survey investigates the wants and needs of over 11,000 European office workers. It investigates what they consider important, what they are dissatisfied with, and therefore what landlords and employers need to improve, in order to attract and retain talent in the workplace.  The key findings indicate that the key factors are the length and cost of commute, the ability to work in a variety of workspaces and provision of quality IT infrastructure.

According to Savills, 51% of workers across Europe work in an open plan office, the highest of which is the UK at 73%.  The workplace is experiencing transformation with increased numbers of flexible, agile workplaces being provided, which aligns with the report findings that employee satisfaction improves when they have choice and variety in their working environment.  Effectively designed agile workplaces will provide both open and private settings proportionally based on the needs of the business, the fundamental difference is that they are not allocated to a person but are there to support employee requirements.  Agile working is very different to ‘hot desking’ where the priority was to save space and little or no alternative work settings were provided.  An agile workplace does not necessarily mean taking less space.




Of the respondents, 54% would prefer to work in an urban environment, which is reflected in the importance of the commute. 

Location is important, as our behaviour and psychology is affected by many social and physical factors.  Numerous advantages exist when working in an urban environment however it is imperative for mental as well as physical health to maintain a connection with nature especially in a city location. There has been a steady increase in outdoor spaces in new developments, with developers responding to occupiers’ demands, as employers seek to provide space to enhance staff experience.  Real estate and amenities are all significant factors and therefore play a substantial part in attracting and retaining talent.

Satisfying basic human requirements is a necessity although often overlooked or forgotten.  Employee wellbeing requires the right balance of noise, light, outlook, colour, fresh air and variety. Humans are inquisitive and need inspiration - art within the office is critical to stimulate and motivate.  Subdued environments increase the performance for complex tasks, often preferred by introverts, whilst extroverts prefer a higher degree of stimulation. Wellness in the workplace is crucial, improved employee experience and health means lower turnover and greater productivity. 

Many occupiers look to smart building technology to assist them with social and sustainable goals, and gain accreditation through sustainable assessment, and for some this is employee driven.  58% of the respondents of the survey conducted by Savills said that environmental building was important to them.  Smart buildings offer much more, an effective interface between the occupier and landlord systems to deliver a seamless user experience will enhance tenant enjoyment.  A fully dynamic building needs to respond to wider stakeholder needs which feeds back to the optimum workplace experience.


Technology affects every aspect of working life and is constantly transforming how we work, it is essential to have appropriate technology to enable productive and effective working.  A further the part that it can play is in creating more inclusive workplaces. 

architecture-building-business-2451567By bringing people together with different backgrounds, experience and skills, businesses can optimise the workforce, and establish engaged and productive employees who will support the company vision and contribute to commercial success.  For example employers who recognise the talents of neurodiverse individuals, potentially more than 10% of the population, and understand the benefit of adopting process and protocols to accommodate the differently abled population can only help both the current workforce and the business as a whole.  Technology is critical and ranges from using AI to remove interview unconscious bias, utilising IM, webinars and webcasts, to remove the barrier of not being present and employing assistive technologies to improve individual functional capabilities, some low tech and familiar (reading glasses and hearing aids) however others are more advanced, using cutting edge science and technology, and there are ATs under development that could have a huge impact on all our lives.



The optimum workplace experience must cater for both what tenants want in their building and what they want in their workplace. 

Our Buildings: 

  • Flexible - Occupiers want flexible space, to manage future expansion or contraction, which is easily implemented to minimise disruption.
  • Intelligent - digital buildings are vital to consumer experience, greater comfort and convenience will yield the greatest returns.
  • Healthy: A workplace that promotes wellness will create environments strongly linked with innovation, productivity and creativity.

Our Workplace: 

  • Choice - Variety and choice of work settings is fundamental, to support concentration, collaboration and communication. Social interaction promotes improved communication and can achieve more with less direction. 
  • Nature - Connection to nature has noticeable and measurable benefits for both companies and their employees.
  • Activity - Physical activity in the workplace assists with disease prevention, promotes mental wellbeing and reduces stress.


The fast pace by which the world is changing means that organisations have to innovate to differentiate themselves from their competition; workspace design and technology are key drivers for progression and transformation, demonstrated by What Workers Want 2019 research by Savills.  Key for employers is supporting a healthy work life creates a positive working culture with clear vision and purpose, to support and sustain the business strategy.


If you're interested in finding out more from Savills about the Future of Work, you can also download their
What Workers Want 2019 report here



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