Gensler’s Global Workplace Survey 2024 Highlights the Transformational Shift from Employee Presence to Workplace Performance

Janet Pogue McLaurin

SAN FRANCISO– Gensler, a leading global design and architecture firm, announced the findings from its Global Workplace Survey 2024, offering groundbreaking insights into the future of work.

The comprehensive study, encompassing over 16,000 office workers across 15 countries and 10 industries, shifts the focus from employee presence to workplace performance, emphasizing the evolution towards more dynamic, people-centric spaces.

For the first time, the survey reveals how the best workplaces perform as part of an ecosystem of spaces and experiences beyond the office. Both building quality and buildings situated in amenity-rich neighborhoods showed an increase in workplace performance.

The research also highlights a significant transition in how workplaces are evaluated—moving beyond traditional metrics of density (amount of space per person) and efficiency to include the emotional and experiential responses of employees. With less than a third of global workplaces having undergone redesigns in the past three years, the findings underscore the benefits for organizations to reimagine their spaces to foster better outcomes for individuals, teams, and organizations.

“The data are clear: we are moving beyond measuring success by presence and need to focus instead on performance—creating workplaces where top performers can do their best work,” said Janet Pogue McLaurin, Global Director of Workplace Research at Gensler. “Providing a functional and effective workplace is no longer good enough. A great workplace today must not only work but be intentionally designed for human emotion—engaging how people feel about their workplace experience. Design can impact both individual and team performance.”

Key insights reveal what makes a high-performing workplace, including the importance of diverse space types and the role of building quality in enhancing workplace performance. Top performers—individuals, teams, and organizations—report better experiences and outcomes in environments that cater to how they work and support their emotional well-being.

Key Findings and Data:

  • Top Performers Set the Standard From Good to Great to Exceptional
    • The most engaged workers value the workplace for the learning, networking and socializing opportunities it offers – the least engaged spend 44% of their time working alone, compared to just 36% of time for the most engaged.
    • Top performers rate having a diversity of workspaces, and the ability to move seamlessly between them, as critical to their job performance.
    • At the individual level the most engaged employees prioritize socializing and learning, while strong teams seek in-office connections, and innovative companies thrive on distributed collaboration.
  • Great Workplaces Elevate Experience
    • Top performers not only use the workplace differently, they also have access to better environments.
    • In high-performing workplaces, 94% of employees have a choice in where they work within the office, with greater access to multiple different types of work settings.
    • The best workplaces offer choice, diverse spaces, and support autonomy, significantly impacting employees’ sense of value and engagement.
  • Exceptional Workplaces Offer an Ecosystem of Experiences Beyond the Office
    • Building quality had a direct relationship to workplace quality, with those in higher quality buildings reporting more positive feelings about their company.
    • Higher quality buildings create better experiences by expanding the suite of spaces workers have access to within and beyond the office.
    • Higher-quality buildings are also more likely to be in amenity-rich neighborhoods that enhance workplace performance and experience, underscoring the importance of strategic location and design.

The Gensler Research Institute conducted an anonymous, panel-based survey of over 16,000 full-time global office workers across 15 countries including U.S., Mexico, Canada, UK, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the Philippines. Respondents were distributed across 10 client industries and represented a broad cross-section of company sizes, roles, ages, and geographies. The survey was fielded between Oct 31, 2023, and Jan 29, 2024. Respondents excluded full-time remote workers.