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Why Office Environment Trumps Good Pay When Choosing a Job

Imagine you have two job offers (yep, sometimes people get lucky, you know).

One job pays very well but your impression is that the office environment is not great – the offices need redecorating; the office chair is likely to cost you a lot in osteopath bills; and your co-workers clearly have interests rather than friends.

The other job pays less than the first one, but you like the modern feel of the offices, the ergonomic design of the office furniture and the open spaces where colleagues chat and have coffee.

Which job would you choose and why?

I asked my husband. He didn’t even hesitate: he will choose the second job which offers much better working environment. Thinking about it, so would I.

Research shows that so would about one third of millennials; which is surprising because the millennial generation and I don’t often see eye to eye.

This research was conducted by the online office agency Free Office Finder. Over 1,500 office staff aged between 18 and 65 were surveyed. Results show one key difference between millennials and baby boomers:

[box] Millennials accord the importance of office environment much higher priority than the baby boomers.[/box]

Hence, 33% of millennials, and only 13% of baby boomers, see office environment as important when choosing a job. For baby boomers, pay is still much more important than the conditions at the office.

Why office environment trumps good pay

Pay is important, I’m not going to claim it isn’t.

Still, the importance of good office environment is hard to dispute. After all, for well over forty years of your life, and probably longer, you will be spending a good third of your life at work.

You can think about it differently: for over forty years of your life you’d be spending half of your waking time at work.

So, let me ask you something:

[box] Would you choose to be happy at the office and earn a bit less; or you’d live half your waking life in misery and earn more?[/box]

Hence, office environment trumps good pay when selecting a job. (Difficult work environment is also one of the top reasons to quit your job.)

More specifically:

Good office environment is great for your health

office environment

There are many ways in which your working environment is likely to affect your health.

Working in dark, damp offices that are an aesthetic sore and a breeding ground for infection is clearly unhealthy. Old, uncomfortable furniture will make your body hurt never mind how much flow yoga you may practice.

Good working environment is great for your health and your health is one of the most importance currencies you have throughout your life.

Good working environment increases your happiness

Remember that you are spending half your waking hours at work?

Clearly, working environment that promotes wellbeing and happiness is important.

No, this is not lefty-liberal nonsense. Being (relatively) happy for 8-9 hours, five days a week will, likely, have positive effects on other areas of your life. Conversely, being miserable at your work will bring about misery in the other parts of your life.

Good working environment makes it less likely to leave your job

Do you remember the five signs it is time to leave your job?

Choosing a job that offers good working environment, makes it less likely you’d leave, or feel like leaving and staying in your job while resenting it, because:

  • Good office environment is about reducing work related stress.
  • Performance (responsibility of the employer) and achievement (ambitions of the employee) are in alignment.
  • Your values and the values of your employer match.
  • The enabling management and close relationships at work, keep you motivated to achieve and engaged in the work.


Hesitation is to be expected when choosing a job. Do you go for great office environment and working conditions that make your heart sing every weekday morning or prioritise good money now?

I believe that the priority should be a good office environment. When you are happy with your job, and your working environment, you’d notice that your productivity goes up, you get noticed at work and the promotions (and better pay) start rolling in.

Choose great office environment, I say.

Do you agree? What was the top factor to accept your last job?

1 thought on “Why Office Environment Trumps Good Pay When Choosing a Job”

  1. The working environment is a huge factor for me when thinking through potential job opportunities.

    When you factor in the commute time, I am likely to spend more time in my office with co-workers and colleagues than I am at home awake with my own family. If we give serious thought to where we will live to be the happiest and productive, the logic goes that I should do the same for where I will work just based on the time spent there.

    Learning opportunities, work-life balance, and collaborative co-workers all can make a job infinitely more enjoyable, even if the pay is a bit less.


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