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Badly designed offices holding back economy, research shows

New research has revealed that poorly designed offices are severely damaging the UK's economy.

The London office of international architectural firm Gensler, which commissioned the work, claims the research reveals a desperate need for improved office environments.

The firm insists that poorly designed offices could be cutting UK productivity by a fifth and costing British business up to £135 billion every year.

The report - These Four Walls: The Real British Office- is based on research among senior and middle managers in the legal, financial services and media sectors.

These professionals claimed that improved workplaces would increase employee productivity by 19 per cent - an improvement equivalent to a £135 billion annual increase in the UK's service-sector output.

Perhaps the most shocking statistic shows that 58 per cent of those surveyed believe their office has not been designed to support their company's business objectives or their own job function.

Gensler's work has won the support of the Design Council. The organisation's chairman, George Cox, said: 'This report confirms what I have long believed, that the design of the workplace is far more than a question of making efficient use of space.'

And, unsurprisingly, Gensler's director of workplace, Gary Wheeler, agreed. 'The challenge for 21st century business is to increase knowledge worker productivity,' he said.

'Our research shows that good office design can increase productivity by nearly 20 per cent - equivalent to an £135 billion annual increase in UK service sector output.

'Office design is a crucial factor in job satisfaction, staff recruitment and retention,' he added. 'Poor office design in the UK is a false economy.'

by Ed Dorrell

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