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Facilities Management Journal March 2017

FM CLINIC MARCH 2017 19 FMJ.CO.UK bullets. Disciples of the “no email” school fill up the time clawed back with an ever-expanding ecosystem of productivity apps and gadgets. Businesses that recognise the time hoover that is the detested meeting, rename them huddles or scrums rather than removing them altogether. Our measurement and Simon Heath tracking tools are shiny and attractive but the whiff of scientific management follows in their wake. The eminence grise with the clipboard could be certain of a worker’s productivity when there were assembled widgets rolling off the production line. The ephemeral nature of much knowledge work means that is not so readily measured. And what exercises economists and policy makers is not productivity but Productivity. We have a more highly educated workforce working longer hours than ever before but it’s not feeding through into the kind of economic growth that raises wages and living standards. There is no guarantee that removing blockers to productivity will have any eff ect on Productivity. That is not to say that we shouldn’t look to remove them. Those involved in the design and management of workplaces can certainly have a hand in enabling that process. Neil Usher, Sky’s workplace director, has long propounded the Elemental Workplace, an unscientific yet entirely correct, common sense approach to providing the kind of environment in which people, individually and collectively, can get their work done in the best possible manner for the type of work they need to do in the configuration of their choice with technology that works and is appropriate to the job whilst taking care of their fundamental needs (greenery, fresh air, natural light, healthy food etc.). This is the kind of place in which we could rightly expect people to be productive. And, in the Leesman Index we have analysis of qualitative selfreported data against a single question to suggest that these types of workplace make people “feel” productive. Of course, feeling productive doesn’t necessarily mean you are productive (or, indeed, Productive). As workplace professionals we can provide people with great workplaces. It’s not so easy for us to determine what will happen in the space we provide. Poor job design is another factor in productivity. So is poor management and a lack of the right personal development opportunities. And still knowledge work retains a nebulous quality that defies easy measurement. Perhaps it’s a fool’s errand in any event. As William Bruce Cameron noted, not everything that can be counted counts; not everything that counts can be counted. Perhaps the UN’s World Happiness Index might be a better place to look. In that context, selfreported productivity might be a more useful indicator. But that is not our current reality and it’s not likely to be the reality for some time to come however much we might wish it otherwise (and I oft en do). THE CHAIRMAN'S VIEW JEREMY WAUD, CHAIRMAN, INCENTIVE FM GROUP LTD Traditionally I would have said no, it is not really possible. However, I recently met with Tim Oldman, CEO of Leesman, and we discussed the Leesman Index in-depth and this led me to think that there is a refreshing new angle. Tim explained that it is near impossible to derive a consistent and transferable measure of productivity across the extremes you mentioned, even for those that exist within the same organisation. However, he explained it is possible to consistently ask whether the workplace provided by the employer allows the employee to "work productively". This involves a simple question with a simple yes or no answer. "My workplace enables me to work productively." You can ask that of the receptionist or the chairman. Essentially, Tim explained it is almost impossible to measure employee productivity, in this regard. But it is possible to measure the fitness for purpose of the space and infrastructure provided. I believe that Tim makes an extremely valid argument. Jeremy Waud Your workforce, mobile & connected. Concept Evolution Workplace Technology & FSI GO Mobile Workforce Management from FSI +44 (0)1708 251900 info@fsifm.com www.fsifm.com ADVICE & OPINION


Facilities Management Journal March 2017
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