02 December 2019 | Martin Read
Martin Read discusses workplace productivity, revisiting the Stoddart Review's 'Workplace Advantage' report, published three years ago.
Three years ago we reported on the Stoddart Review's 'Workplace Advantage' report, which focused on this profession's direct connection to productivity enhancement. A few weeks ago we checked in with many of those who produced that report to assess its subsequent impact (see this month's features). Plenty of good has come from its publication. Organisations are more aware of how the workplace can boost performance, with interest coming from public and private sector alike.
As we close the chapter on this second decade of this 21st century, the issue of productivity - the UK's in particular - is informing much of the economic debate surrounding this rather surreal general election campaign. Yet despite all the noise, and despite the UK having the fourth-highest average weekly working hours in Europe, our productivity growth continues to be anaemic at best.
On the face of it, little overall has changed to the productivity picture since Stoddart reported. But that would be to ignore that growing interest in the organisational 'reach' of workplace.
We talk often about the potential of technology to transform the way workers use their workplaces - and this profession's role in deploying it - with productivity enhancement as the goal. And to this end, it's worth mentioning IWFM's newly announced project with Microsoft to explore 'the art of the possible'. But it is easy to overplay the potential of new tech, valuable though it undoubtedly is. Where FM can and does already help is in how happy people are in their work.
Just three years on from Stoddart, the way the health of workers affects productivity is something that researchers - and political parties - have done much to highlight. Who would have thought that overworked, overstressed and overlooked employees would have such an impact on performance? Precious few people until recently, that's for sure.
From wellbeing to workplace activism and beyond, 2020 will surely throw up more opportunities for those managing workplace and facilities services to put themselves in the spotlight for a change. That's got to be a positive note to end the year, and indeed the decade, on. Happy holidays one and all.
Martin Read is editor of Facilitate Magazine