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Shoddy workplaces cost Middle East companies millions

Companies lose an average of US$0.5million in contracts due to unsightly office interiors: study reveals

14May 2012, Dubai UAE: No matter how slick your business attire, pitch or product, if presented in an unsightly office, it could be costing your company millions in lost revenue. For the first time in the Middle East there is now proof that business owners and senior executives avoid awarding contracts in significant numbers due to a supplier’s shoddy workplace environment.

The Office Exhibition, in partnership with research company YouGov, surveyed 1,172CEOs and directors from across the MENA region, to find out the extent a supplier’s office setting influences theirprocurement decisions. The results are astonishing.

According to the findings, untidy, smelly and poorly designed offices cost Middle East companies,on average, US$0.5 million in lost revenue.

“These results confirm, with quantifiable evidence, what we and the design industry have always known,” says David Wilson, Event Director of The Office Exhibition. “A healthy workplace environment not only boosts productivity, it signals professionalism and inspires confidence in the company’s product or service. Conversely, offices which smell of food or cigarette smoke, are dirty, or have furniture that is old and unwelcoming turn business away. Businesses in the region need to take a good look at what their work environment says about their company. Ignoring this could literally mean they are throwing contracts away!”

Released on the eve of The Office Exhibition 2012 - opening tomorrow the Dubai World Trade Centre -the results confirm that in business allfirst impressions count. Business decision makers almost unanimously (85%) agreedthey would be concerned about a company’s professionalism if their offices did not look respectable.

Among the top factors contributing to a poor impression of other businesses, respondents cited: dirty or untidy offices (70%); unpleasant smells (66%); noisy or chaotic offices (52%); and cheap or outdated décor (52%).

These concerns were followed closely by: uncomfortable or inappropriate seating in a meeting room (49%); substandard technology (50%); and uncomfortable or inappropriate seating in a reception area (50%).

In fact, more than two thirds of respondents (69%) said they find themselves wanting to leave a meeting early because of uncomfortable seating. A further 56% of respondents admitted to avoiding meeting at someone’s place of work all together because they did not like their offices.

In addition to lost revenue, poor office design is likely to have other negative ramifications on a business.

Cheryl Durst, Executive Vice President and CEO of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), comments: “Studies like this reaffirm that in business first impressions matter and allow us to justify the return on interior fit out investments. Business owners need to understand that their office represents their shop window. Poorly designed offices will see business walk straight out the door – if it even reaches the front door in the first place. When you add to that the more intangible costs of low employeemorale andpoor work rates, it is reasonable to assume that the true cost of bad office design to a business could reach millions of dollars.”

The Office Exhibition is the Middle East’s leading and largest industry platform for office design and fit-out solutions. Businesses wanting to learn more about how good workplace design boosts the bottom line should visit the showat the Dubai World Trade Centre from 15-17 May 2012.

For more information or to register your attendance visit http://www.theofficeexhibition.com

About the Survey

  • The survey was conducted by YouGov from 30th April to 10th May 2012.
  • Respondents are primarily from the UAE (81%), with the rest fromother MENA countries (19%).
  • Respondents are predominately male (82%). Female participation represented 18%.
  • All respondents are currently employed with the majority holding a senior position. 29% are business owners or managers; 20% CEO or director level; 18% sales or marketing managers; and 16% architects or interior designers.
  • More than 76% of respondents have been in their career for more than 5 years. 47% have remained in their career for 11 years or more.
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