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Market Insight – Chinese Employee Office Space Preferences

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Employee loyalty is just one element of corporate success, but it is especially important in China where a highly competitive labour market makes it easy for talented individuals to change jobs at will. Smart companies looking for a new office space in Shanghai, therefore, will give serious consideration to the question: What is important to employees in Shanghai with regards to office space?

A couple months ago, Sofia Group decided to investigate this issue by conducting a simple online survey. Participants were asked to rate how each of eight office space parameters affect their work motivation and happiness. These parameters we identified as critical to employee happiness based on feedback that we have heard over many years. Ninety-nine individuals completed the survey, and the results are shown in the table below.

Unsurprisingly, participants ranked as most important to their happiness and motivation those workspace features that directly affect personal comfort, including proximity to a metro station, natural daylight, desk/workroom size and having a coffee shop in the building.

The high importance that participants placed on having natural daylight in the office is somewhat surprising, as daylight seems a less tangible element than such parameters as desk size and metro station proximity. In fact, if we combine the ‘very important’ and ‘important’ columns in the table, we find that natural daylight ranks as the top parameter:

An office in a famous building with a prestigious address is surely a strategic advantage in the business world, but comfort clearly trumps prestige as far as the participants of our survey are concerned.

Considering the relatively small scale of this survey, we don’t claim that it represents the preferences of all of Shanghai’s white collar workers. It does, however, demonstrate that if you are planning to move office and want to choose a space that fosters staff loyalty and motivation, you should to talk to your staff and find out what workspace features are most important to them.