People are now more important than cost when it comes to workplace strategies according to new research from the Property Directors Forum.
The forum has confirmed that whilst historically businesses have put cost and in particular cost reduction as a main priority, its importance has been replaced with priorities that are all people orientated.
The research has revealed that the number one priority for businesses is now greater employee productivity for 40 per cent of property directors. The number two priority (28 per cent) is attracting and retaining the best talent.
As a result of this new focus on people, ‘soft metrics’ such as employee engagement, satisfaction and retention are now preferred by 61 per cent of property directors for measuring the performance of workplace strategies.
Traditional space and furniture or business agility metrics take the last two places in the ranking.
Eighty-two per cent of those property directors surveyed believe an effective workplace strategy needs to cater for the different needs of each generation of employee. However, despite the priority given to attracting the best talent and achieving improved productivity, employee wellness is still not being given much importance in the workplace with only five per cent regarding this as a priority, suggesting that organisations may need expert help in developing a joined-up approach to creating a people-centred workplace strategy.
With the use of non-owned space, such as coffee shops and short-term meetings rooms on the rise, 86 per cent of property directors think that it should be planned for in advance when drawing up a workplace strategy.
In addition, members expressed the need for workplace strategies to have a more holistic approach that goes beyond the confines of the owned building to include the quality of the local facilities in the public realm. It is thought that the quality of both office (82 per cent) and non-owned (68 per cent) space are very important to the ability to attract and retain the best staff. Sixty-nine per cent of members agree that the right mix of open space, enclosed/quiet space, collaboration/concentration space and social space is needed to create a truly successful working environment.
When it comes to workplace thinking, the research has identified that Boards are split into three ‘generations: early adopters who see workplace strategy as vital to success (27 per cent); the ‘majority’ who think it is important but haven’t actioned it yet (45 per cent) and, the ‘laggards’ for whom workplace isn’t on the agenda at all (23 per cent).
Nick Cook, principal and managing director of Avison Young UK, commented:
“A significant competitive advantage will be delivered to those companies who are already seeing workplace strategy as amongst their top priorities.
“Early adopters understand what it takes to create a workplace that brings out the best in people to deliver business advantage. If the others want to remain competitive they will delay at their peril.”