Employees in India are more engaged than anywhere else in the world, according to a report from JLL. Data from the real estate consultancy reveal that among the workers surveyed in India, 69 per cent feel "very engaged" at work – above the global average of 40 per cent.
In contrast, employees in Japan are the least engaged, with the data showing that only 27 per cent feel "very engaged" at work and 21 per cent feel disengaged at work – higher than the global average of 11 per cent.
Engagement is defined as a sense of purpose, motivation commitment an employee has to an organization and its goals. JLL's research revealed that the workplace experience is crucial to employee engagement.
"It's clear that there is a wide variation in engagement levels among employees in the different countries across the Asia Pacific region," says Jordi Martin, CEO, Corporate Solutions, Asia Pacific at JLL. But common among all those surveyed is that the human experience in a workplace involves more than just work-life balance 'box-ticking'. Organisations need to go beyond providing space to work; they need to create places that enable people to feel engaged, empowered and fulfilled. We believe this will drive transformational benefits for businesses as they will see strides in terms of performance and productivity."
Workplace design impacts employee engagement
While Japan is lagging in employee engagement, it is one of the front-runners in Asia in adopting open plan offices and hot-desking arrangements, whereby several workers use a single workstation. Sixty per cent of employees work in an open plan arrangement, compared to 40 per cent worldwide, while one in 10 Japanese professionals adopt hot-desking, compared to one in 20 worldwide.
However, it appears that this efficient use of space comes at a price: dense and vast open plan workspaces appear to adversely affect employee experience.
"This highlights room for improvement for employers seeking to attract and retain talent, and to balance an effectively designed workplace with employee productivity," adds Mr Martin.
Chinese employees most willing to embrace change
In China, a majority of employees currently work in enclosed offices, yet they have a greater appetite for change than most countries surveyed. Seventy-six per cent of Chinese respondents are willing to move to an open-plan layout in exchange for better workplace amenities, and 60 per cent are willing to relinquish their personal workspace completely for hot-desking. Among the Asia Pacific countries surveyed, Chinese organisations are the least crowded – half the density compared to Japan.
According to Susan Sutherland, Head of Corporate Solutions Research, Asia Pacific at JLL, "Chinese employees have the second highest level of perceived workplace effectiveness in Asia Pacific, after India, with nearly half of Chinese employees feeling their workplace enables them to work very effectively. We find that workplaces in China have a much higher penetration of innovative facilities and amenities, which are correlated with higher engagement and effectiveness."
In contrast, in Australia, where half of all employees report working in open-plan offices, we see some resistance for further change: nearly one-third of employees are reluctant to shift to hot-desking. "Change fatigue and poorly planned rollout of new work spaces in the past have led to this reluctance," explains Ms Sutherland. "This highlights the importance of change management programmes when introducing new office layouts and other innovative space offerings to ensure they provide what employees want, whilst driving employee effectiveness and engagement."
The global "Human Experience" research project, part of JLL's recently launched Future of Work outlook, involved 40 corporate clients with over 7,000 anonymous respondents across 12 countries: India, China, Japan, Australia, the United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and South Africa.
For more information, download the "Human Experience" report here.
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