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20 March 2019
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Companies will support the 'whole person' © iStock

9 March 2018 | Martin Read


The quality of managerial support and levels of job control can be better indicators of performance in the workplace than more traditional workplace metrics, according to representatives of consultancy AECOM.


Speaking at yesterday’s Workplace Trends Spring Summit in London, AECOM Strategy Plus’s director Nicola Gillen and workplace consultant Charlotte Hermans added further detail to the company’s recently published report on the key predictors of well-being. 


Managerial support and job control are essential for people to perform well, particularly where this allows individuals to have the autonomy to set manageable targets, and where they feel that the choices they make about how they go about heir work are approved by line managers.


“You have to think of your management capability first before anything else,” argued Gillen, who explained that one of the research team’s key findings is that “the emotional element (of the relationship between managers and subordinates) is perhaps more important than we’ve considered before.”


”Managerial support goes hand in hand with employees’ job control; autonomy over location and work design is key. The old command and control way is on the way out.”


Turning to workplace design, Gillen and Hermans noted that the provision of facilities for socialising appear also to be predictors of individual performance, while provision of ‘good office technology’ appears to support intellectual well-being.


Focusing on the likely outcomes of these insights, companies will in future do more to support the ‘whole person’, suggested Gillen. Real estate will evolve to become part of an overall employee experience delivered via HR, IT and FM, with well-being classified as a top business priority. What’s more, change management projects will be increasingly focused on “maintaining and enhancing employees well-being throughout that change journey”.


With such an emphasis on well-being linked to career progression, Gillen suggested that ‘line management’ could become its own distinct profession.


”We will stop promoting excellent technical professionals to become bad managers,” she argued. “We will (instead) start to see a specific line management profession that is much more about career management.


In support of the environmental factors underpinning workplace performance, “facilities management will become about data science,” said Gillen. “It’s not going to be about pipes and boilers anymore.”