Treating employees as workplace consumers could help improve productivity

Treat employees as workplace consumers to help improve productivity says reportEmployers need to recognise the workplace as integral to delivering a business’ commercial strategy, and treat employees as ‘workplace consumers’ – creating ‘frictionless’ experiences and environments that help them perform to their best ability. This is according to a report: ‘Optimising performance: defining, designing, maintaining and evolving workplace experiences’ from Interserve, undertaken in partnership with Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA). The two-year study into the science behind effective working environments argues there is a need to radically re-envisage workplaces to optimise team productivity and maximise the value of physical working environments. It sets out a series of critical steps for knowledge-based businesses to revolutionise the workplace – and thereby aid employee performance. The report argues that traditional silos, from IT and HR to facilities, need to be broken down to integrate the management of the workplace as part of a ‘one-team’ approach; doing so will ensure companies can deliver a streamlined workplace experience which supports employee productivity.

The report also calls for investment by businesses in technology to boost engagement in the workplace, using social tools to foster cohesion. The introduction of new systems to measure workplace performance – for example real-time monitoring of assets such as meeting rooms, social spaces, and desk areas – is also essential, the report says, to allow for continued evolution of the working environment to tailor it to building users.

Jeff Flanagan, managing director – commercial at Interserve, said: “With the rise of the knowledge-worker in Britain’s economy, business success and, indeed the success of UK plc, is increasingly dependent on how well our workspaces are set up to support people who think for a living.

“We need to see board-level backing for an integrated approach which puts employee productivity first – unifying management of the workplace under a single team tasked with shaping a more intelligent, commercial approach.  Doing so will ensure that businesses maximise the investment that they make in their physical place of work, focusing on the value it brings, not simply its cost.”

Andrew Mawson, founder of Advanced Workplace Associates, added: “What’s clear from our research is that we have to stop thinking about the workplace as a necessary ‘commodity’ cost which needs to be constantly driven down. We have to think about the workplace experience as a value-adding resource designed to help people work at peak levels and reflect organisational personality. This means having real estate and facilities management leaders driving the requirements for experience-related service contracts with their procurement colleagues providing a service (and not the other way round).

“The old idea that FM and the workplace were ‘non-core’ is demonstrably not true anymore. Designed and managed correctly the workplace provides the environment in which creativity and performance must flourish. The science tells us what we need to do to achieve those conditions and that is encapsulated in this leading research.”

Interserve’s report: Optimising performance: defining, designing, maintaining and evolving workplace experiences, is available to download here.