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Survey: Office Design Is Becoming More Of A Priority Than Location For San Francisco's Workers

An example of an open office

San Francisco professionals are increasingly evaluating workplace flexibility and design as part of their decisions to stay at their current job or search for a new employment opportunity. This finding was revealed in Capital One’s 2018 Work Environment Survey of 3,500 full-time professionals across the country, including 500 respondents in San Francisco. The national survey also included 500 professionals each from Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York City and Dallas.

“Professionals today have high expectations for their experience in the workplace and what their employer provides for them,” Capital One Vice President, Workplace Solutions Stefanie Spurlin said in a statement. “By providing dynamic spaces to accommodate all kinds of work styles, companies can help facilitate the kind of collaboration and innovation that empowers employees to create breakthrough products and solutions for their customers.”

This year’s survey found 84% of San Francisco professionals, compared to 82% in 2017, said they have their best ideas when they work from flexible space options, and 80% said they are more productive when they switch physical locations while working.

Design also is a key driver and 85% of San Franciscans surveyed believe companies can’t encourage innovation unless the workplace environment also is innovative. Design elements that matter most to San Franciscans are natural light (63%), easily adaptable furniture and spaces (47%) and creative imagery (45%).

Being in a prime location may not be as important to San Francisco professionals as previously. When considering a new job, 64% of professionals said workplace design and environment are equally important if not more important than the office’s location and 36% said workplace design is more important than location.

Most San Franciscans also want more health and wellness. About 65% of San Franciscans surveyed said their companies don’t offer nursing rooms for mothers and 64% said their workplaces don’t have environmentally friendly programs. San Franciscans said their preferred on-site benefits are healthy food and beverage options (44%), health/wellness centers and programming (32%) and relaxation/social areas (32%).

More than 90% of San Franciscans surveyed said they also want more environmentally friendly initiatives at their companies. Preferred programs were paper-use reduction (53%), energy efficiency (52%) and on-site renewable energy (47%).