The Nation’s Dream Office Space

The Nation’s Dream Office Space

Read Time: 8 Minutes


18 Apr 2023

There’s no denying that the pandemic brought about lasting effects for many employees and businesses, with many of us finding ourselves working completely remotely for the first time in our working life. 

And according to recent ONS data, one in six (16%) UK’s employees are still working completely remotely, with a further 28% now classed as hybrid workers, splitting their time between home and the office.

Whilst for some, working from home may not be quite to their liking, for other working from home offers a number of benefits such as an improved work life balance, to saving cash on the daily commute and other associated workplace costs. 

Naturally, there are also several pros about heading back into the office, whether it’s spending time with your colleagues and co-workers or creating a clear barrier between your work and your home life, there are certainly benefits to both options. But for many of those now used to working in a hybrid or remote capacity, heading back to the office more frequently or even full time may not be so appealing. 

With this in mind, we spoke to 2,000 UK based hybrid workers to find out whether they’d be more inclined to head into the office if the facilities on offer combined with the design and décor of the workplace were more to their taste. Here’s what we found…


Back to the workplace?

According to our survey, more than half of UK workers say they’d be more likely to go into the office if the design and facilities were more to their taste (55%). 

Overall, just fifteen percent of those we spoke to said that the décor and general facilities on offer would not be enough to entice them to go into the office more, whilst a third would still prefer a flexible or hybrid approach to working life.

When examining the age groups, Boomers were the generation with the highest percentage of respondents who stated that even if their place of work had décor and facilities that were more to their liking, they’d still not be likely to go in (21%).  

Boomers also had the highest percentage of respondents who said they’d prefer a hybrid or flexible approach to work (38%), whilst Millennials had the highest percentage of workers who said that their dream office set up would be likely to coax them back into the workplace (74%).

Regionally, Belfast was found to have the highest percentage of workers who said they were more likely to go into the office if it were more in line with their personal preferences (79%), this was followed by Bristol (68%) and Glasgow (62%).  

For more than a quarter of Newcastle residents (26%) it was a firm no, and joining Newcastle workers were employees living in Sheffield (24%) and Norwich (22%). 
But what aspects of office life would be enough of a draw to encourage UK adults to venture back to the workplace?  

The nation’s dream workplace facilities? Free fruit, tea, and plenty of snacks! 

When it comes to the nation’s most desired workplace facilities, well, according to our poll, free fruit in the office is the most appealing benefit for Brits (34%). 

Coffee machines (33%), free biscuits or snacks (31%), and a fridge (31%) were all high on the list of desired features amongst the nation’s workers when it came to working in an office. In fact, seven of top ten most desirable facilities in a working office related to food and drink.  

Offices with key facilities that centred around food and drink were found to be more popular amongst women, as more than a third (37%) said free fruit was one of the most desirable benefits for them at work, versus just thirty per cent of men. 

The nation’s biggest tea drinkers can be found in Sheffield (42%), Belfast (41%), Nottingham (37%), all of whom had the highest numbers of employees for whom a kettle was their most favoured office facility.

And when it comes to coffee, employees in Cardiff (44%), Sheffield (42%), Nottingham (37%) and London (36%) stated a coffee machine was their workplace facility of choice.  
Interestingly, something as simple as having a water cooler in the workplace may be enough to coax more than a quarter of workers back to the office (28%). According to our data, those living in Leeds (33%) and Glasgow (29%) found it to be the most alluring characteristic.


Most desirable facilities in a working office, according to Brits  % of UK adults who voted this a top feature 
Free fruit  34%
A coffee machine 33%
Free biscuits / snacks 31%
Fridge 31%
Free onsite parking 29%
Kettle 29%
Water cooler 28%
Microwave 26%
Ergonomic seats 25%
Outdoor space (yard/garden) 23%


Fitness focus at work? It’s a no for many

Compared to food-related facilities, features related to working out and exercise were much lower on the list of desirables. 

For example, very few Brits appear to wish to commute to their workplace by bike, with just seven per cent of respondents opting for bike storage as a favoured facility in their dream workplace.  

Yet despite the low numbers of UK adults who seem keen to commute on two wheels, exercise bike desks were actually found to be the most popular in-office workout perk. One in six (17%) Brits were keen to see this item in their dream office space. That said, this was still low on the list of priorities for many UK workers. 

Similarly, under desk treadmills (15%) and an onsite gym (13%) also secured less than a fifth of the votes, respectively.   


Location, location, location

With so few workers looking to cycle their way into the workplace, it may surprise you to learn that when examining the preferred office location, marginally more respondents stated they’d be more attracted to a workplace housed in the countryside (11%) vs one based in a city location (9%).  

That said, almost a quarter (23%) said they would value an office that boasts a yard or garden where they could enjoy fresh air. 

And so, with a more rural setting being voted the more favourable location of choice for the nation’s dream office, it makes sense that for almost a third of UK employees (29%) onsite parking was a top priority. 

Interestingly, Liverpool was home to the most workers who said this was one of their most desired perks (41%), followed by Southampton (39%). 

Generationally, free on-site parking was also found to be most sought after amongst the Boomers (57%). In contrast, this was substantially lower for the majority of millennials (15%)

2023: The year of the greener workforce? 

Despite our previous study revealing that over two fifths of UK adults believe it’s very important that businesses operate sustainably, a paperless office (i.e., an office with no printer) was deemed the least desired office feature with 96% of Brits opting not to select this as a top feature. 


Brits least desired facilities in a working office   % of UK adults who voted this a top feature  
No printer - paperless office 4%
Projectors 4%
Wheelchair accessible 4%
Free to use hairdryers/straighteners 5%
Onsite childcare/nursery 5%
Whiteboards 7%
Bike rack storage 7%
Oven 9%
Central location - city/town 9%
Flat screen TV's 11%


That said, recycling features were a focus for 15% of UK employees. Similarly, more eco-friendly design features such as solar panels were voted as a top feature in the workplace for 12% of Brits. 

Norwich appears to be the city that cares the most about sustainability and nature almost 40% of respondents in the city said that one of the most favoured features for them in the workplace is the presence of plants. 

In fact, nature was a big focus for many when it came to the design and décor of the workplace as real plants trumped faux plants with more than a quarter (27%) of the votes, compared to artificial grass and fake flower walls which were both favoured by less than ten percent of respondents (7%). 

And it seems that a lack of natural light is a bit of a deal-breaker for Brits, with nearly all (98%) respondents expressing that they would not be attracted to an office with a lack of windows or natural light.  

Similarly, harsh design features such as metallic or industrial style (3%), or dark and moody décor (3%) both lacked in popularity amongst respondents in the workplace.

Prosecco taps, puppies, and no kids allowed, say Brits

Overall, when to comes to the design features and décor of an office, the inclusion of sofas or a comfortable seating area was deemed the most desirable feature amongst UK adults.  


Brits most desired design features in a working office   % of UK adults who voted this a top feature 
Sofa or comfy seating area 35%
Plants 27%
Dog friendly elements 21%
An indoor pond or water feature 19%
Quiet reading area 18%
Beer or prosecco taps 18%
Lots of artwork on the walls 17%
Comfy area for napping 16%
Access to rooftop - seats and tables 16%
Floor to ceiling windows 16%


Self-care design elements were also found to be high on the list of priorities for UK adults when it came to the workplace, as both a quiet area for reading (18%) and a cosy area to take a nap (16%) both proving to be covetable workplace features for some. This was found to resonate with a fifth (20%) those looking for the perfect workplace in Nottingham. 

Whilst for almost one in five (18%) self-care looks a little different, with beer or prosecco taps being voted a desirable feature in their dream office space. 

Beer and prosecco taps were the most popular in Sheffield, with over a quarter of (27%) saying they would find this appealing. In stark comparison, 94% of workers in Norwich would not be drawn to this workplace addition. 

And with more than 10.2 million dog owners (34% of UK households own a dog) in the UK in 2022, according to research, it goes without saying that Brits are a nation of dog lovers. Perhaps it’s of no surprise then, that one in five (21%) said an office featuring dog friendly elements was high on their list of priorities.  

This highlighted that Brits are more in favour of a dog-friendly office than they are a child-friendly one (5%) – we’re right there with ya! 


Brits least desired design features in a working office   % of UK adults who voted this a top feature 
No windows - artificial light 2%
Metallic / industrial decor 3%
Dark / moody decor 3%
Mini basketball courts 5%
Ball pool 6%
Ring lights 6%
Brightly coloured decor 6%
Hammocks 7%
Artificial grass 7%
Faux-flower walls 7%


This was the case for more than double the number of women (7%) than it was for men (3%) and was found to be most important for those aged between 25 – 34 (14%).


The nation’s dream office space, visualised by AI

With so many interesting findings to come out of our study, we were keen to discover exactly what the nation’s dream office space might look like. As such, we used AI-generated image tool, Midjourney, to visualise what it would look aesthetically…

With an abundance of natural light, plenty of plants, woody aesthetics, and not forgetting the addition of a cute dog, it’s certainly somewhere we’d be happy to work from.

Of course, we were also curious to see how the UK’s least favourite office space might look, so asked the AI tool to work its magic for us here too. 

Whilst the aesthetic is much moodier with less natural features, the office space still has a certain appeal, though we predict the lack of natural light may mean we need to take more naps on our lunch break… 

Which is your favourite – let us know via Twitter.

Sources and Methodology  
Survey of 2,000 UK workers currently in employment correct as of April 2023  
AI-generated imagery created through MidJourney. Midjourney Bot is an artificial intelligence tool that generates art. It works by taking written prompts and then ‘thinks’ about how best to visualise these, referring to billions of relevant, publicly available image sources to come up with new design.


About the Author

Hi, I’m Ally and I’m instantprint’s PR Lead. I enjoy writing content to help small businesses succeed and inspire them to get creative with their print marketing.