Improving productivity has been a persistent problem for the UK economy. The most recent figures for the first quarter of this year showed that productivity fell and continues to lag the rates achieved before the financial crisis. The Centre for Cities think-tank is the latest body to try and address this issue, suggesting in the summer that the focus should be on boosting exporters and improving skills in the regions.
Certainly enhancing the skills of the UK’s workforce is a common refrain among experts seeking a solution for this issue and very much allied to this is increasing recognition that the working environment could provide part of the answer to this challenge. A recent survey by Peldon Rose found 91% of UK workers believe their office environment directly impacts their productivity and Gensler’s Workplace Performance Index concluded that good office design could boost employee productivity by 20%.
Productivity is essentially about optimal use of time, space and resources and establishing a workplace environment that exactly meets the needs of your business and its employees to maximise productivity requires research
Below Jitesh Patel, CEO of Peldon Rose, leading workplace consultants, outlines how evaluating the office environment and involving employees will ensure businesses are taking the right office space and investing wisely on things which the business and its people both want and need. These essential changes can help make staff more engaged, inspired and ultimately productive.
Have a clear vision
If you are planning to make worthwhile changes to your workplace, it is vital to ensure that senior management
Whether it is boosting productivity, reducing the number of staff absences, staff turnover and overheads or simply creating an office environment that is a pleasure to be in, having a clear, well-communicated vision of what the office transformation is trying to achieve will keep the project team focused on the things that are going to help realise this goal. The on-going support and leadership of senior executives also
Conduct an in-depth analysis
For an office transformation to truly release optimal productivity, a workplace evaluation with input from the backroom to the boardroom is required. This in-depth analysis should take into consideration the future goals of the business as well as evaluating what the business and its people truly want and need from the workspace.
A space utilisation study reveals how the current workplace performs and identifies inefficiencies in how
A workplace consultation can also boost productivity by identifying where employees will work most effectively. For example, it might be that two teams which would benefit from being closer together are currently at opposite ends of the office, and putting them next to each other would save time and facilitate idea-sharing.
Engage with employees
Understanding what a workforce
Some of these issues may be beyond the immediate control of business leaders, but listening to and understanding the needs of the workforce instead of taking a one size fits all approach or gut feel is more likely to produce an improved and more productive working environment. Engage directly with staff through a variety of methods, including focus workshops, collaborative sessions, interviews, online surveys and
Be driven by data
The full workplace analysis will yield a treasure trove of data to use, which will form the basis of the office transformation plan. Useful data may be both qualitative, for
Make the process collaborative
Collaboration with employees should continue into the office transformation stage. Change management is a valuable tool for supporting your staff through the inevitable transition of their behaviours and habits. Discussing proposed changes with staff throughout the process can help to motivate them and ensure they are fully on board with their new workspace. It might well be there are several design options available for consideration and discussion. Getting feedback from employees will prove a useful exercise in both making them feel a part of the process, as well as identify potential problems that may otherwise have gone unnoticed.
An office environment that is pleasant to work
 Peldon Rose Happy Office Survey. April 2017