The Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM), Liverpool Business School and Workplace Unlimited have launched a tool to measure the impact of workplace projects on organisational performance.
Despite evidence that the "design of a workplace impacts the health, wellbeing and productivity of its occupants, space and its design has been stuck on the wrong side of the value equation for three decades", says the IWFM. It argues that "a lack of ‘real-world’ proof of its value has allowed a reductive ‘non-core’ narrative to prevail about the workplace and facilities profession and its impact".
The Return on Workplace Investment, or ROWI Tool, is a calculator for determining the impact of workplace projects on organisational performance. It has been developed for use in high-level cost-benefit analysis assessments for new fit-out or refurbishment projects to factor in this additional value, so they no longer depend on cost alone.
The move comes three years to the week that the institute added workplace to its name as part of an initiative to reposition the FM profession. Launching a new mission in 2018 the new IWFM pledged to "help the profession advance from one consigned to little more than a cost centre by the aggressive outsourcing culture of the nineties, to a value-creating super-connector that can help organisations achieve strategic goals including on sustainability and improved performance".
IWFM CEO Linda Hausmanis said: "Five years ago, the Stoddart Review proved the existence of the workplace advantage and today we have the ROWI Tool which has the potential to demonstrate that advantage in real workplaces in real time.
"Workplace and facilities professionals know their own worth but until now the means of demonstrating their added value has been as elusive as the holy grail. Today’s publication is an important step to settle doubts about their strategic impact once and for all and to show organisations the true impact that this professional community contributes."
Nigel Oseland of the ROWI project team said: "We commenced this project knowing that we might not find the final answer, but starting the process by exploring and collating the evidence was as important. We intended to remove the mystery around the challenge of demonstrating the return on workplace investment, and believe we have found a feasible and practical starting point.
"The work has been very encouraging and as all eyes are on the future post-pandemic workplace, we’re pleased to publish our progress so far, so we are sharing our findings, our methodology and plans for the future. Most importantly, we want to involve the profession because it is only in the practical use of any such tool that its true impact can be understood."
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