Gensler research changes open office conversation

Gensler revealed data from 6,000 U.S. workers that it says shifts the narrative for workplace design. It’s time to stop talking about open vs. closed, the global design firm said.

Washington, D.C. — New workplace data from the Gensler Research Institute disproves the current narrative surrounding the open office debate and uncovers the right way to invest in work-focused amenities, including co-working, that result in higher employee engagement, business performance and profit, the design firm said.

“One of the most important decisions companies need to make is how open they should make their office,” said Gensler co-CEO Diane Hoskins. “For the first time, we have data to help inform this decision as well as other decisions about the type of workplace strategy offered by employers. This new data will help companies devise more effective real estate strategies that will improve employee productivity, deliver cost savings and make an organization more attractive in recruiting top talent.”

The 2019 Gensler U.S. Workplace Survey represents the input from more than 6,000 U.S. office workers across a variety of industries and demographics to provide new insight into not only what makes an effective workplace, but the investments companies can make to improve employees’ workplace experience and performance.

For employers looking to create a great workplace experience to entice and retain top talent, there are three things companies can implement to optimize employees’ performance in the workplace:
  • Design open environments to include private space, too. Open environments with on-demand private space are the most effective and offer the best experience.
  • Create amenities that are about optimizing work, not escaping it. High performers work everywhere — both inside and outside the workplace. Amenities are central to a successful workplace, but some offer significantly more value than others.
  • Use co-working as a part of, not a replacement for, a great workplace experience. When large companies offer employees the option to use a co-working space it is associated with a better work experience and higher performance, but it loses its luster if used more than one day a week.

In today’s diverse workforce, employers are challenged by often competing expectations of five generations of workers. In the war to attract and retain top talent, the research finds employees want, and expect, a great experience at work — spaces with mostly open environments combined with the right amenities and on-demand private space are the ones that deliver this best. The five top-performing amenities with the greatest impact include innovation hubs, maker spaces, quiet/tech-free zones, outdoor workspaces, and focus rooms.

Additionally, Gensler’s data confirms that access to co-working directly correlates with effectiveness and experience when offered as another choice of where to work, but not a replacement for the main office.

For more actionable data on how to create a great workplace experience, visit

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