Survey: The Relationship Between UK Employees and Their Workplace

The complete national statistics on how UK workers feel about their place of work, and how much of an impact their job and professional environment has on their happiness.

At Matthews & Goodman, we have spent the last 150 years providing clients with expert advice designed to help maximise the returns and minimise the cost associated with their property interests. 

One thing we’re particularly eager to do is ensure that businesses across the UK find the perfect environment in which to thrive and develop a company of which they, and their employees, can be proud. 

But we wanted to dig a little deeper and understand from the workers of the UK exactly how important their professional environment is to them. So we launched a nationwide survey to find out exactly that. 

Here’s what we discovered...

The Key Findings

The commute

    • It takes the majority (63%) of workers in the UK less than 30 minutes to get to work, while 28% commute for between half an hour and an hour. Some 9% of employees commute for more than 1 hour.
    • More than half (54%) of Britons commute via car, however, driving is significantly less popular with under-35s (46%) than 35-55-year-olds (56%).


  • Walking is now the second most popular means of commuting (18%) while catching the train (12%) just edges out getting the bus (10%). Only 3% of workers commute to work via bike.
  • Interestingly, the vast majority of people (71%) find the daily commute to cause them little to no stress. Just 4% of the total find it ‘extremely stressful’. However, younger employees are more likely to find their commute stressful, with over a third of under-35s (35%) going as far as to say their journey affects their mood when they arrive in work, compared to just 24% of over-35s.

Workplace benefits

  • 57% of workplaces do not allow home working, with only 12% offering it freely. 22% offer it on occasion. However, smaller businesses (under 250 employees) aren’t as  likely (63%) to offer it as a perk compared to companies with more than 250 employees (50%)
  • Firms are more likely to offer flexible working arrangements, with 24% offering it whenever employees want, and 33% allowing it occasionally. Only 34% flat out refuse. 

Attitudes towards the workplace

  • 44% of respondents say their working environment makes them feel either happy or extremely happy, compared to 22% of people who say it makes them feel either unhappy or extremely unhappy. A large proportion of people (35%) say that it doesn’t make a difference in how they feel.
  • Teamwork and collaboration between colleagues is actively improved by their workplace according to 43% of employees, with 24% saying it actually contributes to poor levels of teamwork.
  • 44% of workers said an unpleasant office/work environment would definitely make them look for a new job, 45% said it might make them look elsewhere, while only 11% said it wouldn’t have an impact of what they felt about their job.

The three most important features of a workplace:

  • Tidiness (29% placed this the most important)
  • Natural light (22% placed this the most important)
  • Transportation (16% placed this the most important)

The three least important factors of a workplace are:

  • The latest gadgets (24% placed this the least important)
  • A good kitchen (25% placed this the least important)
  • A comfortable break-out area (10% placed this the least important)

The Complete Survey Findings

On average, how long does it take you to get to work?

Answer Choices Responses
1-15 minutes 29.76%
16-30 minutes 33.54%
Between 31 minutes and 1 hour 27.66%
Between 1 and 2 hours 8.31%
More than 2 hours 0.74%


How do you usually travel to work?

Answer Choices Responses
I walk 17.98%
By car 53.73%
By bus 10.41%
By train 11.57%
By taxi 0.63%
I cycle 2.84%
Other 2.84%


How would you describe your typical work commute?

Answer Choices Responses
Extremely stressful 3.89%
Quite stressful 24.61%
Not very stressful 46.48%
Not at all stressful 25.03%


To what extent does your commute typically affect your mood for the rest of the day?

Answer Choices Responses
It vastly improves my mood 8.20%
It slightly improves my mood 15.14%
It has no impact on my mood 44.48%
It has a slight negative impact on my mood 28.29%
It has an extremely negative impact on my mood 3.89%


Does your job allow you to work from home?

Answer Choices Responses
Yes - it's allowed in emergencies 9.07%
Yes - it's allowed occasionally 22.05%
Yes - it's allowed whenever I want 11.71%
No 57.17%


Does your employer offer flexible working hours, i.e. a working pattern that differs from the typical 9-5?

Answer Choices Responses
Yes - it's allowed in emergencies 8.23%
Yes - it's allowed occasionally 33.23%
Yes - it's allowed whenever I want 24.47%
No 34.07%


In the past 12 months, from how many different locations have you been expected to work for one working day or more?

Answer Choices Responses
1-3 84.28%
4-8 10.55%
9+ 5.17%


How happy does your current workplace typically make you feel?

Answer Choice Responses
Extremely happy 6.43%
Happy 37.24%
Neither happy nor unhappy 34.70%
Unhappy 16.46%
Extremely unhappy 5.17%


To what extent does your workplace have an impact on teamwork in your company?

Answer Choices Responses
It vastly improves teamwork 13.19%
It slightly improves teamwork 29.54%
It doesn't affect teamwork 32.70%
It has a slightly negative effect on teamwork 18.99%
It has an extremely negative effect on teamwork 5.59%


Rank the following in terms of importance to you. (1 is most important)

Answer Choices Weighted Score (The Higher The More Important)
A tidy workplace 6.05
Transportation 5.03
A creative environment 4.64
Accessibility to shops, cafes, restaurants and other local amenities 4.22
The latest gadgets 3.16
A comfortable break-out area 4.19
Natural light 5.28
A good kitchen 3.44


To what extent would an unpleasant office/work environment make you more likely to look for a new job?

Answer Choices Responses
It would definitely make me look for a new job 44.20%
It might make me look for a new job 44.87%
It would not change my opinion of my job 10.94%


If given the option, would you prefer to stay in the same workplace in your current job or move to another location?

Answer Choices Responses
I'd prefer to stay in the location 57.59%
I'd prefer to move to a different location 27.57%
I don't know 14.84%


Do you feel your workplace is big enough for the number of people that work there?

Answer Choices Responses
Yes 76.12%
No 23.88%



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