Local authority staff frustrated by poor quality working environments

Employees at UK local authorities are frustrated at their poor quality working environments and councils are suffering as a result, claims a new study from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Over two thirds (68 percent) of employees polled for the report claim their workplaces need to be upgraded and nearly all (92 percent) said they take the standard of workplace into account when deciding where to work. Furthermore, 80 percent of current employees claim they take the standard of working environment into account when making decisions about whether to remain in the current role. In an interview with LocalGov magazine, Paul Bagust, director of UK commercial property at RICS, also warned that short term cost cutting in the workplace is likely to be counterproductive in the long term.

‘With numerous industries currently fighting a war for talent, capable staff and skilled new joiners are like gold-dust for many companies. On that basis, businesses should be doing everything possible to recruit and retain the best people,’ he said. ‘It’s disappointing, therefore, that many employers seem to be under-estimating – or perhaps not realising – the power of property in motivating, attracting and keeping staff. A well-constructed, designed and utilised office or workplace can pay huge dividends for the business that inhabits it.’

‘Rather than looking at your buildings and facilities as a cost, the approach would be that they’re an asset supporting the people,’ he said. ‘It might be short-term cost but evidence we’re receiving from the market is that priorities for lots of businesses are the wellbeing and retention of their people. The real estate is at the centre of that, so they’re not cutting it and are looking to invest in it.’