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When the workplace is bad for productivity

BIFM and CIPD research reveals businesses being left behind in the workplace revolution. 

UK companies are jeopardising their ability to compete in the global economy by failing to adapt their workplaces to meet modern demands, according to new research from the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) and the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development. Highlighting findings from their report In Search of Better Workplaces, Gareth Tancred, BIFM Chief Executive said: “Over the years there has been a seismic shift in the way we live and work, and the workplace environment in particular has a profound effect on how employees feel about their work and working lives. We are seeing the dawn of the flexible workforce and a surge in trends such as remote working, hot-desking and the design of creative spaces and quirky features requiring businesses to think differently about how they enable work.

“The link between people and place, culture and the physical environment is crucial, yet many businesses are failing to respond and create environments that successfully support the changing nature of work. Good workplace design should not be the sole preserve of private sector organisations with large budgets, and management buy-in on the impact of the workplace in driving performance is imperative in delivering the best outputs from workforces.”

The report also reveals that many organisations are struggling to cope with the systematic changes that workplace modernisation requires; particularly large organisations with very ingrained working cultures and organisational structures. This report is the result of a three month online conversation launched in February this year whereby professionals from sectors including facilities management, human resources, IT, architecture and workplace productivity joined forces to help identify major barriers in creating better workplaces, improving efficiency, driving productivity and job satisfaction and promoting best practice. In Search of Better Workplaces forms part of a wider initiative, The Workplace Conversation, an ongoing collaboration between BIFM and the CIPD exploring the evolution of the working environment and what the future of the workplace looks like.

Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development said: “The world of work is rapidly changing and people are at the very heart of this change. Getting workplace design right can have a huge impact on how connected, engaged and productive people are at work. When workplace design takes into account the nature of work being carried out, how people interact and the unique culture of an organisation, it can unlock tremendous value for both the business and individuals.”

“Those organisations that get it right, feel right, and the proof can be seen not in striking features for design’s sake, but in the fact that they have thriving and successful workplaces. Recent research clearly shows the link between happy, healthy employees and the quality and quantity of their output at work. There is strong and mounting evidence on how organisational culture and the workplace environment influence the quality of our work and working lives.”

“To make the purpose of workplaces clear a completely different approach is required. This is individual to an organisation and what it does and how it does it. The workplace needs to reflect what it is trying to achieve and how it wants to achieve it. When that is clear then it should look at how it works well, a fundamental review of what gets the best out of their people and then build the workplace around that to support the workforce. It doesn’t have to be convoluted.  Building the case around getting the most from the huge investments in both people and place makes the most sense; given the numbers involved it is certainly a way of getting the attention of the board room.”

“It is crucial that what is seen as best practice becomes common practice. Good workplace design should be available for everyone and not the sole preserve of cash-rich private sector organisations. There is a range of starting points and organisations should take steps that are the right size for people within it.”


www.workplaceconversation.org.  

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