While more employers arejumping on the open-office-concept bandwagon, what employees reallywant is more flexibility to work remotely. (Photo;Shutterstock)

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A spiffy open office design with all the latest bellsand whistles isn't going to keep top employees at a company thathasn't given those employees the flexibility to decide whether theywant to work in an open office—or that hasn't paid enough attentionto employee wellness.

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Those are among the key findings of the 2019 Staples Workplace Survey, which alsoreports that not only would 67 percent of employees considerleaving their job if work arrangements became more rigid—notsurprising considering that 90 percent say more flexible workarrangements and schedules will increase morale—but wellness is soimportant to them that 41 percent said they'd take a 10 percent paycut for a company that cared more about employee wellness.

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Related: Given the choice, most workers prefer working atthe office. But they still want a choice.

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Oh, and about wellness—a great majority of employees (78percent) say it's their employer's responsibility to help them staymentally and physically well.

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Incidentally, millennials are less likely to hang aroundanyway, with nearly a third saying that they'll be chasing highersalaries at another employer five years from now. And 41 percent ofemployees have seen to their own wellness by taking mental health days. Among the brave few whoexplicitly told their supervisors that's what they were doing,though, 92 percent said the boss was supportive about it.

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But by and large, employers, for their part, aren't getting themessage. Only 34 percent of employers have a formal or informalpolicy in place on remote work (that flexibility issue), while 64percent of workers say they work remotely at least part of thetime. And while employers might jump on the latest office designbandwagon—open offices versus closed ones—employees aren't thrilledwith that either, with 52 percent citing the distractions createdby an open office layout and 40 percent saying their office spaceis too open.

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Most companies are only given a grade of C by employees on theirfocus on health and wellness. Just 42 percent of respondents saidtheir employer even offered a health and wellness program, and ascant 22 percent of workers say that the boss has a dedicatedwellness room on the premises that can be used for breastfeeding ortaking medication.

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Employees with disabilities are particularly disappointed in howwell the workplace supports their needs, with just two thirdssaying their office space is physically supportive compared with 82percent of workers with no disability. In addition, 77 percent ofemployees without disabilities say their office spaces enableproductivity, but just 64 percent of employees with disabilitiesagree.

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“The concept of work-life balance has given way to the simplerconcept of 'work life'—one's life at work,” says Chris DeMeo, vicepresident, Staples Brand Group. “Employees no longer embrace thetraditional 9-to-5, and instead seek an environment thataccommodates the fact that their needs may change day to day. Thesmartest employers are acknowledging this reality and offeringtheir workers more autonomy when it comes to where, when and howthey work. It may be a leap of faith for offices used to the oldways of doing things, but it's one that could yield dividends interms of recruitment, retention and productivity.”

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Marlene Satter

Marlene Y. Satter has worked in and written about the financial industry for decades.