Productivity trumps cost reduction





Looking at the latest worker productivity data from ONS we can see that productivity growth has stagnated over the last decade. When we consider that current UK output is 30% plus below other G7 nations, we can see that reversing this trend is one of the most important opportunities available to UK organisation for their long term competitive position in a post Brexit world.

This month British Council for Offices (BCO) launched their report “Defining and Measuring Productivity in Offices” and we jointly launched a briefing note on LCMB’s Whole Life Performance Plus project (WLP+). This project sets out to improve workplace productivity by optimising indoor environmental conditions. Optimising the workplace for workers has the ability to plug some of the UK’s productivity gap.

For me, the standout conclusions from the BCO report and research is that productivity gains of 2-3% are available from improving the workplace environment. In cost terms, occupiers engaging in highly productive environments stand to make productivity gains equivalent to between 30 and 75% of their annual office rent. Our research shows that gains can be as high as 10%. Based on this evidence, my conclusion is that focusing on improving productivity, before cost reduction will deliver better results for an organisation and avoid cost reduction initiatives that harm productivity. Productivity should always trump cost reduction.

The BCO report is a helpful guide to designing or recreating productive spaces. They note that a productive building can’t be defined by any one element, and productivity should be considered throughout the design, construction, or refurbishment and occupation phases. For example, site selection, shell design and scenery are all determined early in the build process but can have a significant impact on how productive the completed building will be.

In summary, BCO suggest, that a productive workplace enables people to perform at their best by being:

  • Healthy – supporting and improving individual wellbeing
  • Efficient – making good use of space, time and information
  • Effective – enabling people to do their work well
  • Engaging – a desirable destination that looks and feel like a great place to work

Focusing on creating and building a space where your people and teams can be productive will ensure improved productivity follows.

Based on our work and research we have developed and launched our “Building Performance Evaluation” workplace optimisation tool which benchmarks building performance and productivity and identifies an implementation plan to improve performance and outcomes.

If you would like to discuss how our tool can improve the performance of your buildings, people and organisation do get in touch with Tom Cudmore.

Download a copy of the BCO report executive summary and WLP+ briefing note.

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