Ping pong tables, picnic chairs and quirky office designs may look good in pictures, but they do little to make employees happier, according to a poll of UK employees. Perhaps that’s why we’ve seen an increase in non-essential office furniture being put into our various storage units around London.

86% of UK employees surveyed said fun office features are of no value to them. 25% find certain features annoying.

Table football in an office

Table football in an office

Recreational equipment such as foosball, arcade games and ping pong tables had the worst impact on employee satisfaction, with 25% of those working in places where these were available saying they found them ‘annoying’.

61% say they don’t mind having recreational equipment in the office, but they don’t use it. Only 14% say they value having recreational options in the office.

On the whole, free coffee and good quality chairs are fine, ball pit meeting rooms and hammocks are not.

liverpool's coolest office

Liverpool’s coolest office? Angel Solutions. Pic courtesy of Liverpool Echo.

Our research found that environmental perks were rarely taken advantage of while simple lifestyle perks were appreciated on the whole. 

 

PerkUsed daily by those with access
Free coffee77%
Drinks fridge*41%
Free breakfast*34%
Free fruit*30%
On-site gym22%
Break-out spaces19%
Chill-out areas/relaxing furniture11%
Sensory features (ball pits, fake grass, sand)7%
Fun furniture (hammocks, beanbags)6%
Office toys (table football, ping pong, arcade games etc)4%

 

*when available, if not available daily.

 

Most Bizarre Pointless Office Features

 

Among the unusual office features listed by employees as being ‘not of value’ were;

 

“Hay bales for sitting on instead of chairs”

“Fake grass in meeting rooms”

“Deck chairs”

“An indoor picnic table with a parasol”

“Motivational quotes on walls”

“Music themed meeting rooms with song lyrics on the wall”

“A throne in reception that nobody wants to sit on”

“Beach huts”

 

Occupational health expert, Sir Cary Cooper CBE, professor of organisational psychology & health at the ALLIANCE Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, believes some companies are missing the point when it comes to offering office perks.

864px-Cary_Cooper_-_World_Economic_Forum_Annual_Meeting_Davos_2010 (1)

“Businesses often confuse perks with culture. Providing recreational spaces and a fun environment are not the same as establishing a positive culture that makes employees happy, improves retention rates and increases output. There’s a growing trend for businesses to promote their superficial perks, such as welcome packs, free breakfast and ‘fun’ office spaces as if it’s a sign of a positive culture, but it really isn’t. Cool furniture is nothing more than a nice-to-have bonus and businesses should be wary of focusing on it at the expense of genuine culture.

 

“Anyone can order a few hammocks and beanbags from Amazon, but it takes years of hard work, research and commitment to values to establish a meaningful workplace culture.”

 

The Kiwi Movers team were prompted to conduct the study after noticing an increase in companies moving non-essential items into storage

 

“We’re in an out of offices around London and the UK every week, so we see a lot of different styles. There are some genuinely cool offices that are well designed and thought through, but others appear to be more haphazard and self-conscious.
Over the past 12 months we’ve certainly noticed a rise in businesses putting non-essential furniture into storage, even when moving to larger premises, which prompted us to look deeper.”