Corporate America and, in truth, professional work environments throughout the globe are experiencing a drastic shift in workplace design to positively influence and enhance culture and engagement.

Companies are realizing that to engage their employees means doing exactly the opposite of how traditional offices have behaved for decades.

They’re bringing down walls and hierarchical barriers; they’re using furniture and varying space design to provide flexibility and choice in how their employees work; and, ultimately, they’re ensuring communication effectively crosses all levels of the organization, ultimately enhancing productivity and presence within the workplace.

A 2016 Steelcase global report titled Engagement and the Global Workplace studied the parallel between employee engagement and workplace satisfaction, both tremendously powerful indicators of employee well-being and organizational performance. Looking at 12,480 participants from 17 countries across the globe, the study brought to light, among other findings, the realization that only 13 percent of workers feel they are highly engaged in their workplace.

“Without a doubt, low employee engagement — a result of severe barriers in communication, little or no ingenuity in space design and an overall absence of workplace culture — is one of the major drivers behind the strategy we employ each and every day,” said Mary Beth Oakes, CEO of Indianapolis- and Dayton-based Business Furniture. “Our client partners choose us not simply because they need new furniture for their offices, but because we offer a vision and a product that disrupts, excites and reinvigorates their workplace and workforce.”

This sharp decline in employee engagement raises a lot of red flags for the future of the workplace and the future of individual companies throughout the globe, and is a major driver for why organizations are increasingly dedicating more time, energy and focus on their own workplace strategy. It’s simply become a business imperative to enhance engagement across the workforce, and the best way to do that is to focus like a laser on increasing employee satisfaction across the entire company.

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