09 June 2016 | FM World Team
Nigel Bunclark, Corporate Real Estate Executive and Workplace Strategy & Transformation Leader
You're efficient. Well done. Now what?
What gets measured, gets managed, Nigel Bunclark told delegates at ThinkFM.
"I have seen people do some very silly, non-commonsensical things in the pursuit of space reduction because of the way that we measured it in the pursuit of cost reduction - and because we didn't know the value of what we were doing.
"When you start to put people into poor-quality spaces, when you start to condense them, things start to go wrong and a big one is interruption and disturbance from our colleagues. We've all got a colleague who talks too loudly and for too long on the telephone and colleagues who think it's OK to have a meeting at the end of your desk. They think they'll only be a few minutes, but that's two minutes too long. It takes some people half-an-hour to come back from that kind of disruption."
Bunclark said facilities managers could help to choose the direction in which their companies are headed. "Choose carefully what direction you want to go in," he advised.
As the world of work changes with more agile and flexible working, some are questioning whether it is necessary to have buildings at all, Bunclark said. "It's not that long ago in our evolution that we lived in caves from which we got warmth, shelter, companionship, a place to go to meet others and solve problems."
This idea has not changed, said Bunclark.
"It's what happens in these spaces that matters, not the building," he said.
Within a workspace different approaches to work are needed, he said. Merely flexible working, hot-desking or agile working is not what is required but a combination that is embedded into the culture of the workplace and tailored to employee needs. Bunclark said that some have the perception that flexible working is "coming in on Monday morning and telling an employee to sit wherever they like, saying we're going to keep the cafe open all day for you and keep that desk in the corner for your meetings".
"But that is not proper smart working," he warned. "That has not engaged anyone or changed them as an organisation except to annoy a lot of people and make life harder. If these kinds of reports coming out are based on this, I am not surprised."
Bunclark said companies should measure cost but with "a sense of productivity" in mind.
Being financially or space efficient does not increase employee wellbeing or productivity.
'Smart working' isn't a collection of flexible or agile working measures tacked onto a company's culture.
How people are treated at work is important as it leads to better productivity.
Well-designed buildings exist with employees with very low productivity but "scruffy" buildings also exist with employees that have a very high productivity.
FM and property do not have all the answers when it comes to productivity of employees, but are part of the solution.
Going beyond physical and into "the psychological contract".
Don't disrupt colleagues; some take longer to recover than others.
Within a workspace, different approaches to work are needed.
Choose carefully what direction you want to go in.
FM needs to work with the business to find the right solution.