Performance, engagement and innovation matter to business. Despite this simple and accepted fact, the corporate world has been slow to recognise that employee wellbeing accelerates productivity as well as benefitting the bottom line.

Wellbeing can be an elusive concept, covering everything from work-life balance to physical environments, making measurement a daunting task and many businesses fail to record key metrics at all. As a result UK companies are failing to make wellbeing business critical, relegating it to a soft measure at the bottom of the priority list.

The British Council for Offices (BCO), Morgan Lovell and Hatch set out to quantify the impact the workplace has on employee wellbeing by measuring the precursors of high performance – from collaboration and autonomy to innovation and contemplation.

We investigated working conditions, attitudes and expectations by surveying 2,000 UK office workers. Analysed by sector, geography and size, the results reveal the transformations to culture and design that are needed to drive greater performance. Ultimately it presents the business case for getting offices right, fostering wellbeing and productivity, and prioritising a healthy corporate culture. 

Perhaps the most striking finding is the sheer pressure currently on employees to perform. A staggering 99% of UK employees are expected to be high performing and 98% to also display creativity and innovation, and yet at the same time 96% are expected to be relaxed and stress-free. This amounts to a pressure cooker of expectations, with little evidence that we are providing a culture to support them.

Most UK employees believe the design of their workplace supports their physical wellbeing, but more than half (54%) complain their corporate culture does not. Organisations are making change, but culture is lagging behind design.

In addition to outlining the research findings, this report uses the combined expertise of the BCO and Morgan Lovell to explore ways businesses can transform their workplace culture.

We would like to thank all those who contributed to this study and hope that it proves a helpful guide to building your own business case for wellbeing.