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UK property industry ‘lags-behind’ customer service revolution says BCO

UK property industry ‘lags-behind’ customer service revolution says BCO

Customer service lags behindOnly 1 in 5 office occupiers rate their property management service as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’, according to new research by the British Council for Offices (BCO). While two thirds of occupiers are happy with the quality of their office and three quarters perceive the quality of office space to have improved over the past 10 years, less than one in three occupiers feel the industry understands their business needs. This clear gap between customer expectation and customer experience has led the BCO to call on the industry to develop a better understanding of what a well-performing building looks like from an occupier perspective. The BCO has developed a new definition of building performance, which sets out to frame a more sophisticated approach for property owners and managers to engage with occupiers, focusing upon value and quality creation, rather than simply cost reduction.

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Winners of BCO Scotland awards programme are announced

Winners of BCO Scotland awards programme are announced 0

GDFSuez-Aberdeen workplaceAt last week’s British Council for Offices’ awards dinner the regional prize for best corporate workplace in Scotland went to the headquarters of energy firm GDF Suez in Aberdeen. Judges said the 40,000 square foot development showed what can be achieved by a “clear vision that puts the needs of the occupier centre stage”. Opened last October, the five-storey building is home to the development and operations teams of the firm. The Grade A office accommodates up to 200 people and provides the company with the required space to grow operations in support of existing, and, new exploration and production projects.  The facilities include ‘state-of-the-art office accommodation and meeting rooms, all supported with IT and audio-visual infrastructure and was designed to achieve a BREEAM Excellent score, making it one of the first buildings in Aberdeen to achieve this rating.

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BCO announces winners of national awards for Britain’s best workplaces

Britain's best workplaces - One RiversideThe BCO has announced the winners of its prestigious annual National Awards to honour what it considers Britain’s best workplaces. The overall winner was Number One Riverside in Rochdale (above). The office, home to Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council, was also recognised as the Best Corporate Workplace in the UK, and topped a list of six other award winners recognised for excellence in office space.  Number One Riverside was singled out by the judges for its consolidation of the Council’s estate from 33 buildings into one. The project is also the centrepiece for the first phase of a major regeneration in the borough of Rochdale, ‘providing a new civic office that promotes new ways of working and creates a sense of community, engagement and social transparency.’ The building was commended by the judges for its incorporation of a range of public space alongside the workplace, including a library and cafe and customer service facilities.

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Much anticipated BCO Specification Guide update for 2014 launched

BCO specification guideThe British Council for Offices (BCO) has launched the much awaited new edition of its Specification Guide. Last updated in 2009, the 2014 issue aims to cement the publication’s position as the ‘definitive guide to office development in the UK’. As well as its traditional subjects of occupier density and building infrastructure and services, the latest edition covers topics such as building information modelling (BIM) rights to light, updates to BREEAM and amended planning law and building regulations as well as topical issues such as the inexorable rise of the ‘coffee shop workplace’ and the provision of cycle parks.  Richard Kauntze, chief executive, claims the revised BCO Specification Guide represents a greater focus on the needs of end users.

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BCO study finds office remains the best place to do business

BCO study finds office remains the best place to do businessThe challenge for the typical office is that it is meant to satisfy a broad range of individuals and a variety of working practices; which means what some may describe as a distracting open-plan layout, others would view as a busy collaborative workspace. These conflicts are highlighted in a new study by the British Council for Offices (BCO), Morgan Lovell and Hatch, which surveyed 2,000 UK office workers’ working conditions, attitudes and expectations. For example while over two thirds were critical of the distractions of the open-plan office, nine out of ten employees believe that support from colleagues enhances their wellbeing. Putting aside the open-plan debate, the study espouses the continued importance of the office as the best place to do business and comes up with three key starting points to help employers create a culture of wellbeing: care; control and collaboration. More →

BCO office standards include guidance on provisions for cyclists for first time

guidance on cyclists provision in BCO guide

The new edition to the British Council for Offices’ Guide to Specification, which provides guidance on industry standards for workplaces across the UK will contain guidance on provisions for cyclists for the first time. The new 2014 edition to the office standards guide due for publication later in the year, recommends one shower per ten cycle spaces and one cycle space per 100m2, reflecting the evolving face of travel to and from the office environment. Another significant change is to the recommended workplace density, which has been reviewed to take into account the ever more diverse way businesses are now using their workspaces; which includes the adoption of more flexible working patterns. The report states that: “Considering workplace density alone may overstate the demands placed on building infrastructure, or result in over provision if used as the basis for design.”

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BCO’s London workplace design and fit-out award winners revealed

One Embankment PlaceYesterday the British Council for Offices announced what it considers London and the South East’s best recently completed workplaces at an awards dinner. The winners included One Eagle Place, BBC Broadcasting House and Brent Civic Centre, who will now go forward to the national awards which will be announced in October. Earlier this month, the regional finalists for Scotland, the Midlands and East Anglia were announced. Ceremonies will be held to announce the regional winners for the North of England and South West during May. Yesterdays’ event saw PwC’s One Embankment Place designed by t p bennett crowned as Refurbished/Recycled Workplace, Argent’s One Stable Street office win the small office category, while the award for Best Fit Out of a Workplace went to The Walbrook Building designed by Scott Brownrigg. The renovation of BBC Broadcasting House and Brent Civic Centre shared the award for Best Corporate Workplace.

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BCO report claims to reveal link between green offices and business performance

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A new report from the British Council for Offices claims that building owners could enjoy significant savings in their operating costs of up to £50 per square metre as well as improved staff productivity  and wellbeing by investing in environmentally friendly offices and work practices. The research, Improving the Environmental Performance of Offices claims to illustrate the benefits of energy efficient offices and highlight the positive impact they can have on employee productivity. The report calls on building occupiers to focus on key areas such as benchmarking and monitoring their energy usage. The BCO believes there is already a shift in attitudes towards a greater understanding of how offices actually perform environmentally rather than simply how they are designed and that more and more businesses are waking up to specific issues such as how much energy their buildings use outside of office hours. More →

Businesses missing the potential of property to benefit performance says BCO

Organisations need to unleash potential for property to benefit performance

The UK spent an estimated £28.5 billion on offices in 2012 – outstripping business expenditure on legal services (£24.3bn), accounting (£14bn) and insurance services (£23.8bn). Yet despite this, nearly three fifths (57%) of 250 senior executives from large organisations in a recent poll said property issues are not regularly discussed in the boardroom and responsibility for property is still likely to fall outside management teams. The research, carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) and Populus, found businesses take a very cost-centric view towards the workplace. Although almost three-quarters of organisations were constantly analysing and assessing whether their space is being used efficiently, cost was still found to be the most important factor in assessing the office’s performance (73%). More →

Refurbished office named ‘best of the best workplace’ in BCO awards

BCO best of best winner 2013A refurbished building which houses the manufacturer of the hi-tec GoreTex fabric range has been named the best of the best workplace in the British Council of Offices (BCO) annual awards. W. L. Gore’s Edinburgh headquarters was recognised for its transformation from a building which was no longer fit for purpose to a modern, green and inspirational workplace. National winners in the BCO 2013 awards include the Crystal in London for innovation; Birmingham City Council offices for fit out of workplace; Cannon Place in London for refurbished workplace; and Astellas in Chertsey and Nestle Product Technology Centre in York for projects up to 2,000m²

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Workplace Anachronisms: No. 1 – the BCO Specification Guide

Boy Wearing Men's Dress Shoes and Suit --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisThe British Council for Offices claims that it is ‘Britain’s leading forum for the discussion and debate of issues affecting the office sector. Its members are organisations involved in creating, acquiring or occupying office space, whether architects, lawyers, surveyors, financial institutions or public agencies.’ If true, this makes its Specification Guide all the more remarkable for not only being wide of the mark about at least one key issue when it was published back in 2009, but about which it is growing increasingly redundant by the day.

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Rejection of flexible working request shouldn’t blind employers to their legal duties

Rejection of flexible working request shouldn’t blind employers to their legal duties

Amy Leech of Shoosmiths looks at a recent case following the rejection of a flexible working request and considers its implicationsFlexible working has continued in many workforces since the pandemic. The most common pattern is a hybrid one where employees split their time between the office and home. However some employees are now looking to work remotely on a permanent basis. This is what happened in Wilson v Financial Conduct Authority 2302739/2023. The Claimant submitted a flexible working application requesting to work entirely remotely using her computer and other electronic equipment and to complete all her work without attending a physical office location. The Respondent’s policy was that post-pandemic, the Claimant was expected to work in the office 40 percent of the time and could work the other 60 percent remotely. More →