Over two-thirds of office workers in the United States are disengaged from their work. Eight of 10 of those workers are stressed out. So it’s little wonder that U.S. companies struggle to find and retain talent at a time when emerging technologies and co-working trends empower more workers to step off the corporate treadmill and become freelance consultants, a trend that could result in 40% of the U.S. workforce being independently employed by 2020.

These are some of the key findings in Gensler’s “U.S. Workplace Survey 2016,” for which the industry’s largest architectural firm polled over 4,000 American workers in 11 industries using its newly redesigned Workplace Performance Index platform. That platform combines factors that impact user experience to calculate qualitative ratings for physical environments.

This is the 10th year that Gensler has conducted a poll of office workers.

The respondents to the latest survey represented all generations and roles in the workplace, companies of various sizes, and were geographically spread across the country.

Gensler paints a cramped portrait of the American workplace, where smaller desks and less privacy “are the norms” for many workers. From 2013 to 2016, choice of workspace fell at every level of the organization, even as senior leadership continues to report greater choice than professional or administrative staff.

C-Suite and managerial staff are more likely to see their organizations as innovative, with admin and professional staff expressing the opposite viewpoint. Perhaps not surprisingly, Gensler’s data uncovers a link between the quality and function of a workplace and the level of innovation that employees ascribe to their companies.


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