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Simone Fenton-Jarvis
Simone Fenton-Jarvis

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03 June 2019 Simone Fenton-Jarvis

Simone Fenton-Jarvis explains the need for more chief workplace officers (CWO) in the workplace.

February’s edition of Facilitate addressed the ‘super-connector’, a term borrowed from the Stoddart Review in 2017 to refer to an emerging role, the chief workplace officer (CWO), “who knows the right people to turn to and who is able to match the right people to the right opportunities”. 

The CWO would focus on people, place and process by connecting HR, IT, property and FM to make marginal gains in the performance of every team member. 

I am a CWO – or was before moving into a workplace consultant role – and there aren’t many of us out there. But this is no good because people are the most expensive cost for organisations; property is second. It makes sense to look after them both, right? So, why is it that: 

  • Only 53 per cent of UK and Ireland respondents said their workplace enabled them to work productively (Stoddart Review, 2017);
  • Mental health issues in the workplace costs the economy £10 billion each year (Centre for Mental Health, 2017);
  • Having an optimal office could unlock £39.8bn within the economy (Ricoh UK, The Economy of People, 2018). 


The CWO can fix these problems by focusing on the physical workplace, reviewing how people work compared with how they want to work, and reducing the pain points preventing happiness, well-being and productivity. By balancing internal communications, culture, leadership, learning and development and well-being, the CWO can enhance the employee experience. 

These super-connectors are able to coordinate collaboration between departments, ensuring the best interaction between people, places and processes. CWOs sound brilliant! And we need more of them. If you’re passionate about improving people’s working lives, you may have what it takes to be a CWO. 

Simone Fenton-Jarvis is workplace consultancy development director at Ricoh