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Can your business now afford to miss the opportunity of an effective workplace?

27-09-17, 15:37

Blog by Peter Brogan, BIFM Reasearch and Information Manager.
At nearly every conference there continues to be a focus around workplace and productivity.

When we think of the workplace of the future, our vison is often powered by technological revolutionary forces such as the potential that megatrends like the Internet of Things have to offer. Not only could they shape some of the type of work we do, but the data harvested will provide firms with the opportunity to drive efficiencies and employee productivity. Fundamentally, they have the potential to reshape the world of work for good.

For the majority of business a Smart building is so far into the future it may seem unreachable. So, rather than waiting until 'then', should the question be what can we do now? How can the people within a business enable a workplace to evolve from tomorrow?

The impact and link between workplace design and productivity has been talked about in FM circles for some time. And data released by the Leesman Index, and featured in the 'Workplace Advantage' report published last December by the Stoddart Review, shows that only one in two workers believes their work environment helps them to be productive. Which, taken at face value, challenges organisations to consider how much more productive their people could be if their surroundings were more inspiring?

If this is truly the case can your business really afford to miss the opportunities that an effective workplace could deliver?

The findings of the Workplace Advantage report identified how the workplace can be used to leverage productivity. With this in mind, why not use these points as a starting point for the workplace journey of your business?

1. Who should make sure the workplace is delivering to its full potential? A paradigm shift within the workplace is creating new roles. A recommendation to introduce the Chief Workplace Officer was one of the most notable recommendations from the Workplace Advantage findings. Bringing together input from CRE, HR, FM and IT, the role would focus on managing the employee experience†- seen by those it serves as the person who facilitates an organisation's productivity.

2. Do we have a workplace strategy? The workplace as a catalyst for change is often discussed at a senior level. But surprisingly it is still anecdotally felt that the majority of organisations don't have one. Where does your organisation sit?

3. Are we being presented with evidence-based information to make decisions about the workplace? Although technology in the future will create opportunity, what information do you currently have available to create evidence-based decision making?

4. How do we measure our productivity? The million-dollar question! But is it to increase revenue at the triple bottom line, or is it time for a new matrix taking the measurement away from people per square foot and shifting focus to revenue square foot?

5. Does our workplace support our business goals, enabling cultural transformation, competitive advantage, innovation, agility, capital efficiency, talent optimisation and facilitation of effective leadership? It's back to the CWO, but have you also asked the question of what your competitors are doing better?† Do you consider this as a differentiator? And are you taking a strategic approach to your physical environment?

6. Have we asked our people if the workplace makes them proud and gives them a strong sense of community? It is generally known and accepted that people who are happier in the workplace, and feel a strong sense of belonging, are more productive. Therefore, how does your workplace create a sense of community that increases employer engagement?

7. Have we asked our people how the workplace could be more productive? Have you asked employees for feedback on how their individual needs could be addressed? Have you considered how we appraise the person and not the place?

8. Are we using technology to help our people work productively? We already have access to mobile technologies that also support agile working, so we don't necessarily need to wait for the technologies of the future. But, have you created a digital strategy and how do you intend to embrace the future opportunities?

9. Are we using technology to measure how our people are using the workplace? Working in a Smart building is a long way off for most organisations. However, are there other ways in which you can make the most of the data that you can capture?

10. Finally, do we think our strategy is maximising the full commercial potential of our workplaces? This reflects aspects of the earlier point, first of all do you have a workplace strategy and do all the internal stakeholders realise the potential value of this?

If by considering these points it's possible to start to create marginal gains from the outset, that can make a difference now, then why wait for the future?
You can find a copy of the Workplace Advantage report, publish by the Stoddart Review of which BIFM is a founding partner here.

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