“The single most important long-run economic factor that underpins everything else is productivity growth.” – The Stoddart Review
The Stoddart Review recently published the study, ‘The Workplace Advantage: The £20 billion key, why the office environment is key to productivity’. The study aims to establish why the workplace is a performance inhibitor and facilitator, and why “it makes intuitive sense that a well-designed and fit-for-purpose workspace contributes to productivity just as skills, software, and physical equipment do.”
Simply put, better use of workspace could give companies and workers a productivity boost.
The problem many companies are facing (and even some traditional workspace operators within our industry) is that the workplace is not going through regular appraisal and calibrations. According to the Stoddart Review, this is an issue because for many businesses “workplace strategy is still dictated by lease events.”
“While businesses review the effectiveness of their employees once a year, the infrastructure supporting them is typically only reviewed when a lease even arises, perhaps once every 10 years.”
Granted, during the last few years we’ve seen how flexible workspace solutions and coworking spaces have become a key component of corporate real estate strategies; nonetheless, many still approach the workplace with operational savings in mind.
This approach needs to be changed.
The Stoddart Review stresses that “focusing on productivity gains rather than operational savings will always deliver greater long-term benefits.” Unfortunately, “measurement to date has largely been about utilisation of space rather than productivity of it.”
“Measuring utilisation–how many people per square foot of accommodation–has led design and occupancy strategies to support density at the expense of performance and productivity.”
The above is true for open-plan workspaces. “Some organisations are still at the stage of implementing open-plan solutions for cost reasons, other have accepted that a large, open-plan office does not necessarily result in greater collaboration, more efficient working, or world-beating innovations. They now realise that open-plan offices can also be noisy, distracting, irritating and counterproductive.”
This is an issue flexible workspace operators are familiar with. We’ve seen the industry go from traditional executive suites, to open-plan workspaces, to (now) a more balanced, hybrid approach that combines both private and open-plan workstations.
“The key to increasing density effectively is mobility–with the freedom to choose coupled with a choice of environments that suit different types of work and personal preferences.”
As a flexible workspace provider, you want your members to be able to choose how and where they want to work within your space. You need to acknowledge that the choice will depend on the type of work that needs to be carried out and even the mood that they personally find themselves in.
It’s not about delivering more. It’s about delivering smarter.
To be able to deliver smarter, workspace operators should aim to keep their workspace centers in beta.
Fact is, you can’t design a perfect workplace from the get-go. There is no such thing as the perfect workplace, and if there were, in order to keep its status it would need to be constantly evolving and adapting to current trends and market needs.
“Demands on the workplace are constantly evolving and to maximise its impact in a fast-growth world means seeing it as a constant work in progress and budgeting and planning accordingly. The workplace is an asset which, like any other, needs regular attention so it does not become a liability.”
This is true for corporate offices, but it is also true for flexible workspace operators.
If you want to remain agile, fast-moving, and competitive, you need to ensure that members feel (and are) productive when they’re working from your workspace. This means enabling them by providing the right design, environment, technology, and workplace solutions that they need.
You are only as successful as your members; the more productive they are, the more time they will spend in your space, and the more ROI you will receive.