[Skip to content]

FM World logo
Text Size: A A A
20 February 2019
View the latest issue of FM
Sign up to Facilitate Daily >
FM World daily e-newsletter logo


Think Tank: Productivity or cost control?

14 August 2015 | Herpreet Grewal

Recent research by the Property Directors Forum suggests employee productivity is now seen as being almost three times as important to property directors than reductions in cost. 

The study includes contributions from some of the UK’s most significant occupiers, with combined revenues of over £600 billion. 

The top priority is now greater employee productivity – the highest priority for 40 per cent of property directors. The next highest priority (28 per cent) is the attraction and retention of talent. 

As a result, ‘soft metrics’ such as employee engagement, satisfaction and retention are now preferred by 61 per cent of property directors for measuring the performance of workplace strategies. Traditional space and furniture, or business agility metrics, rank last. Yet despite this focus on talent retention and improved productivity, employee wellness is not yet being given much importance in the workplace. 

Did you recognise this shift? Only 31 per cent of you had seen a shift to wider productivity metrics. One respondent said: “I work for Sodexo, whose entire strategy is around quality of life and people engagement so it’s my bread and butter and it drives all we do with our people, our customers and our clients with often unmeasurable results within the communities in which we work.”

Another said: “We can measure levels of workplace satisfaction, but it is not possible to show causality as opposed to correlation between that and productivity. People’s productivity is affected by multiple factors, which include the workplace but will be overridden, for example, by management style, commitment and the organisation.”

Another said: “FM shall always remain a financially driven industry which I believe to be an important component to delivering quality of life services now and in the future.”

Thirty-one per cent said no, you are led by traditional space and furniture or business agility metrics. One reply said: “Employee engagement was becoming an area of attention, but now seems to be losing its popularity.”

A government worker said: “Productivity metrics are easier to use in some quarters than in others. I think where there is ample bottom line or output data, productivity metrics are relatively easy to compile. But where the primary driver is (say) prevention of floods, or reduction in animal or crop disease it is difficult to tie in any positive results with what goes on within our built environment.”

Only 38 per cent said it was a mix of the two. A respondent said: “In high turnover business such as call centres, where the staff are relatively higher cost to train, such as in phone banking, employers are interested insofar as it reduces their turnover and training costs.”

Join the FM World Think Tank