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Workers set to influence rental income

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According to a survey for Savills by YouGov, worker’s building preferences are a fundamental consideration for investor’s and developer’s looking to maintain rental income as staff retention becomes of greater concern to employers. 

“What Workers Want” reports on the views of 4,570 employees in offices, shops and warehouses.  It reveals that aside from the more obvious demands such as salary and job security, workers are primarily concerned with workplace conditions.  In fact, 82% of workers rate comfort of work area, lighting and temperature as factors of great significance in the working environment, taking precedence over location and facilities.  

Although factors such as green credentials were high, in fifth place, these are targeting recycling policies and not building performance or Corporate Social Responsibility policy.  Furthermore, location of workplace in terms of length of commute, public transport and proximity to shops were also of concern within the top ten rankings but comfort remained of top priority.

Marie Hickey, associate director of Savills research, said: “Companies are becoming more and more concerned with staff retention, introducing flexible working policies as well as paying more attention to onsite facilities such as gyms and crèches for example.  Our research would however suggest that property fundamentals such as light and temperature are a primary concern, and investors and developers should factor these into buying criteria.

“With capital value growth set to slow down in the short term, landlords will need to focus on occupier preferences, and ultimately the needs of their employees, to maintain rental income.”

This has property implications when it comes to masterplanning, design and fit-out.  Buildings with good (natural) lighting and environmental controls is one way of keeping workers happy.  Centrally located buildings are also attractive, providing good access to public transport connections and proximity to shops & leisure.  This is not possible in all cases, in which case greater attention to on-site facilities such as canteens, bicycle storage, and showers etc becomes a priority. 

The truth is that people will put up with most things if their remuneration is above average.  Where this is not the case, and as the attraction and retention of staff continues to be a primary concern for employers, addressing the property concerns of staff may become a necessary requirement for employers and ultimately developers and investors.


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