Crafting the perfect employee workplace survey is both an art and a science. Get it right, and you’ll understand how to improve your workplace experience. Get it wrong, and employees will ignore it.
If you’re trying to figure out your workplace strategy, refine your hybrid work policy or redesign your offices, understanding what employees think and feel about the physical workplace is invaluable.
But even more importantly, employee workplace surveys are one of just many ways you can get the data you need to rebuild the workplace as a facilitator of social connection.
And that’s absolutely key these days, since we’re smack in the middle of a social connection crisis.
Not only does a lack of social connection damage productivity and performance in the workplace, it also erodes our wellbeing.
The Surgeon General of the US National Health Advisory, Dr. Vivek Murphy, believes this has reached epidemic levels, saying “The harmful consequences of a society that lacks social connection can be felt in our schools, workplaces, and civic organisations, where performance, productivity and engagement are diminished.”
Workplace leaders and innovators have an opportunity to rebuild social connection in the workplace and benefit society as a whole.
Designing your workplace in conjunction with employee feedback doesn’t just build connection between people and leadership teams – it ensures that the end result is a place where people can build friendships, communities and stronger relationships while doing their best work.
But surveys can be a tricky puzzle to solve. What you don’t want is non-descriptive, unactionable feedback that tells you nothing about what people actually think of your office.
That’s why the questions you ask, as well as how they’re asked, are critical to getting enough responses and getting the data that can help you improve the office and the workplace experience it offers.
Benefits of a (great) employee workplace survey
- Understanding employee work patterns and preferences
- Increased employee engagement
- A physical workplace that boosts social connection and performance
- Employee-centric office layout and design
- Successful hybrid policy and hybrid work schedule choices
However, getting the right kinds of feedback from employees is easier said than done. Many view employee surveys as an empty gesture or a box-ticking exercise, and feel their input won’t make a difference.
What’s more, employees might hesitate to say how they really feel, or their written answers may simply not reflect how they’re currently using the physical workplace and want to do so in the future. That’s why it’s key to look at other metrics, like occupancy levels, to paint a full picture of employee behaviour in the office.
Asking the right questions can go a long way to overcome these roadblocks.
Best practices for creating an employee workplace survey
✅Ask both close and open-ended questions.
Close-ended questions (yes or no, multiple choice) are easier to pull data from but don’t provide the full spectrum of employee feedback. Open-ended questions provide more detail on what employees really think and feel, but are time-consuming to answer and make it more difficult to collate data from hundreds and thousands of responses. Using both in your survey gives you the best of both worlds.
✅Be mindful of the order and ensure there’s no leading questions.
The order of the questions impacts how people answer them. And when a question is worded so it prompts employees to give the desired response, the feedback you get won’t be accurate and employees will automatically disengage from the survey.
✅Pilot the survey with a small group of employees.
Based on their feedback on the survey, you can tweak the order, phrasing and number of survey question, so any kinks are ironed out before the entire company gets the survey.
✅Prioritize ease and speed.
To get the full breadth of feedback, you want as many employees answering the survey as possible. But what tends to happen, just like with Yelp reviews, is that only those with strong negative feedback take the time to give their input. Make the survey as quick and easy as possible to get more feedback from more employees within a shorter time period.
Everyone’s busy, and employee feedback surveys are going to be at the bottom of people’s to-do lists unless they have strong opinions. Sending a few reminders, and emphasizing that feedback will make the office and workplace experience better, will prompt employees to take a few minutes to give you their thoughts.
✅Share the changes you’ve made based on feedback.
This builds trust, credibility and demonstrates that employee feedback is taken seriously. So if new meeting rooms are in the works because the majority of survey responses said there weren’t enough, shout it from the rooftops.
23 employee workplace survey questions to improve your workplace experience
Here are 23 questions to include in your next employee workplace survey to get truthful, actionable feedback that will help you create a productive and connected workplace.
- How many times do you come into the office on the average week?
- Which days of the week do you typically come into the office?
- How many times a week do you plan on coming into the office over the next 6 months?
- In your opinion, what’s the ideal number of times to be in the office per week?
- How often do you use different areas of the office (e.g. individual desks, hot desks, meeting room, break room)?
- What do you enjoy most about coming into the office?
- What do you enjoy least about coming into the office?
- To what extent do you feel that the office provides the tools and resources that help you work your best?
- What do you enjoy most about working remotely?
- What do you enjoy least about working remotely?
- Which of the following would make you more likely to come into the office?
🧠 Spaces to collaborate and brainstorm with my team
🤝 Knowing that my colleagues and work friends will be in on the same day
🤫 Quiet spaces to work individually
🍻 Opportunities for connecting social with colleagues like breakfasts, lunches and happy hours
❓ Other [please describe]
- How often do you work outside of regular business hours?
- Which office amenities do you use? (e.g. kitchen, break room, office pods, phone booths)
- How important are natural light, greenery, and ergonomic furniture to your work environment?
- How satisfied are you with the current office layout and design?
- What would you change about the current office layout and design?
- What changes would you suggest to improve your work environment?
- Are there any specific areas in the office that you find distracting or disruptive to your work?
- How do you prefer to work in the office – alone or with others?
- How often do you need to access office storage and files?
- How important is noise level and privacy to you when working?
- How do you prefer to work, sitting or standing?
- Do you need any specialist equipment that can only be accessed in the office?
Employee workplace surveys are one of several ways you can make your hybrid workplace the place to be for connection, productivity and peak performance. For a deeper dive into what it takes to rebuild social connection for high-performing hybrid organizations, tune into our upcoming webinar on Thursday October 26th at 4 PM BST/ 11 AM EST.