13 December 2016 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
A specialist role of 'chief workplace officer' (CWO) combining the functions of four professions including FM could close the gulf between "people, place and process" and raise productivity, according to the long-anticipated Stoddart Review published by the BIFM.
A CWO who would perform a combination of functions from human resources, FM, information technology and corporate real estate professions, is an emerging role that would remove "obstacles, foster collaboration and oversee an environment in which peer-to-peer information sharing, collaboration and production can occur", says the seminal report into the role working environments play in organisational and UK productivity.
The CWO would be "a super-connector who knows the right people to run to, and who is able to match the right people to the right opportunities" and develop integrated businesses cases and act as "the interpreter between individual team/business until needs and the infrastructure teams that deliver them".
The report states that good role models already exist within all four above professions for such a role.
The report also found that mobile working was not the norm and that 91 per cent still work solely from the office and the "social value" of the workplace has profoundly changed to being a catalyst for "community and cohesion". It also found that "business agility is no longer a luxury, it is critical to survival" and rapid changes in technology could help to empower workplaces.
The review said much has been said about the productivity gap but "little connection has been made about the vital contribution of the workplace as a performance inhibitor or facilitator".
Alison Nimmo, CEO of the Crown Estate, who was leading the review, said measurement had been one of the problems in discerning productivity. "Measuring utilisation - how many people per square foot of accommodation - had led design and occupancy strategies to support density at the expense of performance and productivity," she writes in the Stoddart Review.
Nimmo says the review found a disconnect between the workplace, the industry serving it and the people it is intended to benefit.
The report concludes that there is "no silver bullet for the workplace productivity debate - no panacea workplace plan" but that businesses had to assess and measure whether their workplaces were "proactively supporting the roles of those they accommodate".
The Stoddart Review was been named in honour of Chris Stoddart, the 2011 BIFM Facilities Manager of the Year, who passed away in 2014. It was been set up to address the low UK productivity rate in comparison with other G7 countries.
The aim is for the Stoddart Review to be a periodical publication.
To download the report, go to www.stoddartreview.com