2 August 2018 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Businesses must break down traditional silos within IT and HR to facilities, for a more "streamlined workplace experience which supports employee productivity", says a report backed by Interserve.
A two-year study, Optimising Performance: Defining, Designing, Maintaining and Evolving Workplace Experiences, was undertaken by Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA) with support service and construction group Interserve, to examine effective working environments.
It calls on companies to recognise the workplace as integral to delivering a business' commercial strategy, urging them to treat employees as 'workplace consumers' - creating 'frictionless' experiences and environments that help them perform to their best ability.
It calls for investment by businesses in technology to boost engagement in the workplace, using social tools to foster cohesion. The introduction of new systems to measure workplace performance - for example, real-time monitoring of assets such as meeting rooms, social spaces, and desk areas - is also essential, says the report, to allow for the continued evolution of the working environment to tailor it to building users.
Jeff Flanagan, managing director of commercial at Interserve, said: "We need to see board-level backing for an integrated approach which puts employee productivity first - unifying management of the workplace under a single team tasked with shaping a more intelligent, commercial approach. Doing so will ensure that businesses maximise the investment that they make in their physical place of work, focusing on the value it brings, not simply its cost."
Andrew Mawson, the founder of Advanced Workplace Associates, added: "What's clear from our research is that we have to stop thinking about the workplace as a necessary 'commodity' cost which needs to be constantly driven down. We have to think about the workplace experience as a value-adding resource designed to help people work at peak levels and reflect organisational personality. This means having real estate and facilities management leaders driving the requirements for experience-related service contracts with their procurement colleagues providing a service (and not the other way round).
"The old idea that FM and the workplace were 'non-core' is demonstrably not true anymore. Designed and managed correctly the workplace provides the environment in which creativity and performance must flourish. The science tells us what we need to do to achieve those conditions and that is encapsulated in this leading research."
Interserve's report, Optimising Performance: Defining, Designing, Maintaining and Evolving Workplace Experiences, is available here.