The smell, noise and temperature of the working environment are among the main factors that influence employees’ experiences of the workplace and can impact productivity and performance, according to a new report by the international support services and construction group, Interserve.

Decoding the workplace experience: how the working environment shapes views, behaviours and performance is the first report in Interserve’s workplace experience science series – launched in July in partnership with workplace change experts Advanced Workplace Associates to explore the science behind creating more effective workplaces.

The report is the result of an extensive review of over 100 leading scientific studies into how customer experiences influence behaviour in the consumer and commercial world; the principles of which can provide vital lessons for those who design and manage workplaces.

The research shows that improving employees’ physical and emotional response to their working environment – from the look and feel of a workplace to non-visual sensory inputs such as smell, noise and temperature – can significantly improve productivity and cognitive performance.

Jeff Flanagan, managing director – commercial, at Interserve said:

“While there is little data specifically about the workplace experience, there is a huge body of scientific research looking at how our experiences of a consumer environment – for example, a shopping centre or a retail outlet – impacts our behaviour when it comes to purchase intention and brand loyalty.

“The environment may be different in the workplace, but the way we process experiences and how this affects our behaviour is the same. By understanding employees’ physical and emotional responses to their working environment – which this report seeks to explain – workplace professionals can design and deliver positive workplace experiences that will contribute to improved productivity and performance for the organisation.”

Andrew Mawson, founder of Advanced Workplace Associates, said:

“UK businesses are currently locked in a battle to improve the calibre and productivity of their workforce. The workplace experience can be a powerful weapon in this battle – this report is designed to give organisations the knowledge and understanding to wield it more effectively.”

As a company that designs, build, fits-out, manages and maintains offices and workplaces in the UK and internationally, Interserve has a unique insight into what makes a modern, sustainable and effective working environment.

The research has been carried out on behalf of Interserve by leading workplace change experts Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA) and the Centre for Evidence-Based Management (CEBMa).





Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.