Creating the right working environment for you

Kat Nicholls explains how a new test can reveal which work environments suit us best according to our personality types

CREDIT: This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on Happiful

After taking a short survey on the ISG website, I discover I’m a ‘flexible worker’. This means I enjoy collaboration, socialising and shaping the company culture, but I also have days when I need my own space and enjoy working from home. 

This couldn’t ring more true, especially as I’m now deep into working from home life. I’ve tasted both office life and remote working and, the truth is, I want a little of both. 

ISG is a global construction specialist which teamed up with a clinical trainee psychologist to create this personality test which reveals our workplace preferences based on the ‘big five personality theory’. This theory looks at five key dimensions of personality – agreeableness, stress, conscientiousness, extraversion and openness to experience. The test outlines 10 statements and you answer based on whether or not you agree with them.

Hannah Baker, the trainee clinical psychologist, explains why we all need to take a more individual approach to how and where we work. “When considering your workspace, it is important to remember that all people respond to their environments differently. It can be helpful to think about where your motivation comes from; some people are motivated internally, while others respond to external factors. Also, understanding how other people impact your work can help.

“Individuals who are more introverted might find thinking independently in a quiet space most helpful. Extroverts, however, might prefer a busy office space, where they can exchange ideas and information with others.”

Some interesting, worldwide, results

Surveying 5,779 office workers in the UK, Spain, Germany, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong prior to lockdown, ISG gathered some interesting results on the power of workplace.

Results found the top priorities for UK workers are having plenty of natural light (55%), fresh air (48%) and the ability to work remotely, either at home or outside of the workplace (45%). Having good working conditions doesn’t just improve employee satisfaction, either; 39% of employees in excellent working conditions said they felt a belonging to their company, compared to just six per cent of those working in poor conditions.

While remote working may not suit everyone – as many will have discovered after being forced to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic – the majority of office workers surveyed said they would like at least some level of flexibility to work remotely. Just nine per cent said they wanted to work from the office full-time in the future.

“The Covid-19 global crisis has proven the ability and desire to work remotely more routinely; this is likely to accelerate changes in the workplace,” Matt Hurrell, ISG’s board director for its UK Fit Out business, explains. “Consequently, it is probable that there will be a reduction in the allocation of desk space in the typical office, though this might be offset with an increase in the space attributed to social engagement. This is key in bringing teams together, enhancing collaboration and stimulating creative thinking.

“In tandem with growing awareness, and consideration, of neurodiversity and wellbeing in the workplace, we may see a greater emphasis being placed on light, sound and further enhancement of the flexibility of the workspace area.” With my new label of ‘flexible worker’ in tow, I can only hope Matt is right about the changes to come in the workplace. It’s time to recognise our differences and ditch the ‘one-size-fits all’ approach.

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