The Need for Adaptability in Workplace Design

2019 Work Environment Survey Uncovers What Top Talent Wants and Expects in the Workplace

For the third year in a row, Capital One surveyed full-time office professionals for their thoughts and attitudes towards workplace design and experience, and how those elements impact their productivity, ability to collaborate, and overall well-being. The 2019 Work Environment Survey found that employees deeply value flexibility and adaptability when it comes to their work spaces and schedules, and that top talent are increasingly expecting employers to foster and encourage mental and physical well-being in the workplace. 

  • Workplace design forms a basis for success: Those surveyed acknowledged a strong correlation on the impact of thoughtful office design on their success in the workplace: 90% of office professionals agree that they perform their jobs better in workspaces that are well-designed. What does a well-designed workplace look like? Design elements like natural light and adaptable spaces are key, as is flexibility. 71% of employees agree it’s important for their company’s workplace design to be flexible and 73% say they are able to work better when they have access to flexible furniture arrangements, like alternative desks.

  • Adaptability and flexibility: Data also revealed that companies must remain adaptable in their approach to workplace design to satisfy employees’ changing preferences. 77% of respondents agree they perform better at work when they have spaces for collaboration in the workplace, and 88% say that space for focused, heads-down work helps them perform better.  Employees also define flexibility in terms of where and when they work. The top two perks that professionals expect from the next company they work for are flexible hours (61%) and the ability to work remotely (54%).  

  • Supporting mental health and well-being: Nearly all professionals surveyed agree that it’s important for companies to create programs and spaces that support their employees’ mental health and well-being (87%). How can companies achieve that? Professionals cite flexible work schedules (67%); access to natural light (53%); and quiet spaces (42%) as mental health and well-being resources that would improve their satisfaction at work. In addition, 89% say they are able to work better when they have spaces in the office to take a break throughout the day. 

“Professionals today increasingly expect employers to examine the bigger picture of workplace design and their overall experience at the office,” said Stefanie Spurlin, Vice President, Workplace Solutions at Capital One. “The findings of the 2019 Work Environment Survey indicate that it’s critical to remain adaptable when it comes to designing workspaces and amenities. Dynamic and adaptable spaces that not only accommodate various work styles but also foster employee well-being give companies an edge when it comes to helping people achieve better work-life integration that ultimately enables them to create better products and services for customers.”         

Other key findings of the 2019 Work Environment Survey highlight the design elements and benefits that matter most to employees. 

  • Bringing the outdoors in: Creating connections to nature in the workplace is more than a design trend - it can actually improve employees’ well-being and productivity. When asked to rank what types of natural connections would support well-being and productivity, 57% cited a visual connection (windows, natural light); 45% cited a physical connection (outdoor spaces for working, relaxation or socializing); and 31% cited a material connection (natural materials, indoor plants or water features). 

  • Location, location, design? For the third year in a row, over half of employees agree that when it comes to considering a new job, office design is equally or more important than office location (54%). That number increases among mid-level employees (64%).

  • Attracting and retaining talent: Amenities and benefits are key when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent, and the top two perks that would make people stay with a company remained consistent between 2018 and 2019: 81% of employees rank a flexible schedule as a top two perk, up 8% from 2018, followed by health amenities (40%).  

  • Design elements that matter: For the third year in a row, natural light is the most desired workplace design element (58%). Highlighting the shifting desire for more total wellness experiences in the workplace, spaces for rest and relaxation are the second most desirable, trending up to 50% in 2019 from 25% in 2018. The list is rounded out by individual work areas other than a traditional desk or work station (45%), integration of natural or organic elements in or just outside the office building (26%) and bold colors (25%). 

To view and download images of Capital One’s workspaces, please click here. For infographics with the 2019 Capital One Work Environment Survey results, please click here and here.

Survey Methodology

The Capital One Work Environment Survey was conducted by Morning Consult among 3608 office professionals who are employed full-time in an office setting in the United States. The survey includes 1,000 national respondents, 518 from Chicago, 520 from Dallas, 512 from DC, 517 from New York City, and 541 from San Francisco. The survey was conducted from an online panel from April 18 – May 6, 2019. The margin of error for national respondents is +/-3% and +/-4% for each of the city DMA results. 

About Capital One

Capital One Financial Corporation ( is a financial holding company whose subsidiaries, which include Capital One, N.A., and Capital One Bank (USA), N.A., had $248.2 billion in deposits and $364.0 billion in total assets as of June 30, 2018. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Capital One offers a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients through a variety of channels. Capital One, N.A. has branches located primarily in New York, Louisiana, Texas, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and the District of Columbia. A Fortune 500 company, Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "COF" and is included in the S&P 100 index.


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Contact: Megan Carrier 

Capital One Corporate Communications | 571-389-5360

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