ResearchLeesman review: New insight shows the power of the green agenda

Dr Peggie Rothe, Development Director at Leesman, says that while only 61% of employees agree their workplace enables them to work productively, an elite group of employers are bucking this trend.
Content Team5 years ago9 min

Since 2010, Leesman has canvassed the views of employees in order to arm business and real estate leaders with the insights they need to provide both an effective work environment and an outstanding workplace experience. We would argue that the two are inextricably linked.

A truly effective work environment, one that enables people to work productively on both individual and collaborative activities, is one that also offers a great day at work.

Common sense dictates that the environment we are in impacts how we feel, interact and behave. An employee’s overall experience is therefore generated by the sum of all the touchpoints that they have with their organisation. The workplace is one, as are the physical features and services offered within it. Perhaps that is why 85% of the half a million employees we’ve surveyed agree that the design of the workplace is important to them.

So, how can organisations ensure the work environment is not only fit for purpose but also conducive to an enjoyable experience? Firstly, it’s important to understand what employees are doing, and how well each of the activities they undertake as part of their role are supported by the physical, virtual and social infrastructures on offer. Once that data has been collected, the next step is to consider the impact that the space is having on employees’ overall experience, from their perception of their own productivity to whether there’s a palpable sense of community.

Over the years, we’ve asked these questions in order to understand how corporate workplaces support employee and organisational performance. In that time, we’ve accumulated 500,000+ employee responses from 3,600 buildings across 91 countries, via our employee experience benchmarking tool.

The findings expose some stark differences between what employers are providing and what employees want, need and expect.

Currently, only 61% of employees agree that their workplace enables them to work productively. And an even lower number – 59% – would describe their work environment as being an enjoyable place to be. Sadder still is the fact that only 51% report that they would feel proud to welcome visitors to their workplace.

The latest deep dive into the data, however, reveals that an elite group of employers are bucking this trend, by delivering individual workplaces that brilliantly support the employee experience. Some of these spaces –ones that comply with qualification criteria – are awarded the Leesman+ certification.

In 2018, Leesman measured 971 spaces and just 28 achieved this increasingly coveted status.

And the results from last year’s analysis are striking. When it comes to how well the workplace supports personal productivity, for example, the Leesman+ average soars from 61% to 77%. In the world’s best workspaces, there’s a 20+ percentage point increase in those that report a sense of pride (80%) and enjoyment (79%) when compared to their peers.

Interestingly, one of the most notable factors that separates the best from the rest concerns environmental certification.

Our research reveals that organisations which have worked to improve the green credentials of their workplaces also generate an upswing in employee pride. Moreover, of the 28 workplaces that achieved the Leesman+ status last year, 11 had some kind of additional certification – either LEED, BREEAM or Green Star.

What we found is that the Lmi (workplace effectiveness score) for these environmentally certified spaces was higher than the score for the Leesman+ workplace that did not have an environmental certification: 78.8 instead of 74.1.

There was a large gap on pride levels, too, with 72.8% agreement across the workplaces without certification, compared to 87.6% in the environmentally certified spaces. When it comes to whether employees agree that the workplace has a positive impact on corporate image, the green spaces once again trump the non-certified spaces: 89.9% compared to a still praiseworthy 76.5%.

Another exciting development is that the score for environmental sustainability across all Leesman+ buildings has improved year on year since 2015, likely as a result of an increased corporate awareness regarding environmental sustainability.

While only 61.3% of the respondents in the Leesman+ buildings of 2015 agreed that that their workplace had a positive impact on environmental sustainability, the 2018 result has increased to 78.0%.

These statistics point to a growing belief in business that today’s employees want to work for organisations that are serious about their ethical responsibilities and want to make a difference. It also further validates the green agenda that has long since dominated the industry discourse.

To find more workplace productivity content, click here

Dr Peggie Rothe is Development Director at Leesman, the leader in measuring workplace effectiveness. To download the Leesman+ Insight book, please visit:

61% of employees agree their workplace enables them to work productively, an elite group of employers are bucking this trend.
Dr Peggie Rothe, Development Director at Leesman

Content Team

Work in Mind is a content platform designed to give a voice to thinkers, businesses, journalists and regulatory bodies in the field of healthy buildings.

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