9 June 2016 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
The property industry "is not very good at looking after its people", delegates at a conference heard this week.
Companies in the sector don't always appreciate how the space or building used by people is going to affect them.
Johnny Dunford, director of corporate real estate at property manager BNP Paribas, speaking at a Smart Working Summit held by Quora Consulting in London, said: "People want to be productive and we need to make them the centre of what we are doing. We need to make them the focus of our attention.
"We don't always consider our customers, which is bizarre considering people are using buildings all the time."
Dunford added: "We don't tend to think how is this space or building going to affect people who come into it. We do for the residential - we know what we like for houses and flats, but not for the commercial space."
He also questioned how many people actually wanted to work from home - despite the myth that it was becoming a more in-demand way of working, saying: "I think people want to be a part of something and be engaged in a group that gives them a sense of belonging. I think loyalty is really important working from home is fine, but I know people who work from home but come in regularly because they want that engagement with others."
He also predicted that workplaces would reduce catering facilities in future.
"A trend which I think is going to take off is seeing the in-house catering facilities reduced in size," Dunford told delegates.
"I wouldn't be at all surprised if you saw that delivery system coming to your desk. So the in-house canteen will be much reduced and people will be literally coming to your desk on an order system. Why not? If you go into one of the City offices at 6pm in the evening, there's a big stack of orders for Pizza Express etc so why not do that in-house and make it into something that works?"
He also said that it was becoming more attractive to live in cities despite urban myths that people wanted to move further out of conurbations.