| Office Life

Aug 17 2011


Study identifies key workplace factors that keep employees happy and engaged

MILWAUKEE—August 15, 2018— A vast majority of American workers, 92 percent, say that when their physical workspace is not up to par, their mental well-being and productivity can suffer, according to a new Kelton Global study on behalf of National Business Furniture (NBF).

The study, which surveyed adults ages 18+ who are employed full or part time, examines how the physical workplace affects the mental workspace including which elements have the greatest influence on workers’ mood, stress levels, performance and happiness.

The study pinpointed four primary factors that can derail workplace satisfaction:

1. Cluttered work area: Nearly two-thirds of respondents (62 percent) say having a cluttered work area would make them unhappy; this is especially true among employed women (70 percent) compared to men (55 percent).

2. Outdated technology: Having to use outdated technology is a close second (61 percent) in driving workplace discontent; in fact, more than one in four respondents (32 percent) say having multiple computer monitors is critical to workplace happiness.

3. Poor workspace ergonomics: More than half of respondents (54 percent) say an uncomfortable workspace or chair would cause them displeasure.

4. Lack of privacy and flexibility: 43 percent of employed Americans say not having a private space would affect their mental wellness; one in four (25 percent) value flexible areas to work away from their usual workspaces.

“Many of us who work full-time spend the majority of our day at our desk or workstation, so it’s not surprising that layout and design has a major effect on our mood,” said Dean Stier, chief marketing officer for NBF.

Women vs. Men–Office Comfort Zones

• Women are more likely than men (60 vs. 49 percent) to say an uncomfortable working environment would cause them to be unhappy.

• Working women are more likely to admit their physical workspace has an impact on their anxiety levels (47 vs. 38 percent).

Millennials Impacted Most by Physical Workspace

The research shows millennials are more likely than boomers to say the design of their personal workspace affects their ability to be productive and happy. The study shines light on ways to keep younger employees content:

• Access to privacy amid open floor plans: Although nearly one in five working millennials (18 percent) attribute open floor plans to their happiness at work, they still desire some privacy in the workplace; 40 percent of millennials, compared to 30 percent of boomers, say having privacy screens or walls around their workspace are essential.

• Flexibility: For millennials (30 percent) more than boomers (21 percent), having breakout areas to work at drives their happiness at work. Working millennials also want various types of desks—stand-up and/or treadmill—and adjustable computer stands.

• Connectivity: Millennials (27 percent) say they really want whiteboards, corkboards or glass boards for shared use in the office, compared to far fewer working boomers (11 percent) who say the same.


The National Business Furniture Happiness in the Workplace Study was conducted among 560 Americans ages 18+ who are employed full or part time using an email invitation and online survey conducted by Kelton Global. In this particular survey, the margin of error was +/- 4.1 percent. Quotas were set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. population. To download the full study, go to National Business Furniture.


With the mission to improve every workplace, National Business Furniture offers more than one thousand products that can ship today, exclusive products from its NBF Signature Series line, expert service, a dedicated outside sales force and an unbeatable lifetime guarantee. To request a free catalog or to browse the complete selection of office furniture, such as desks, chairs, file cabinets, bookcases and reception furniture, visit


Kelton Global is a leading global insights firm serving as partner to more than 100 of the Fortune 500 companies. Kelton Global partners with thousands of smaller companies and organizations as well. For more information about Kelton Global, visit

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