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27 July 2020 | by Andrew Peers
Business performance is fundamentally a human issue and the way we work is the driving force behind productivity and profitability, particularly for the country’s growing number of knowledge economy businesses. As the cost of employment and staff salaries make up the largest portion of a business’s overheads, directors need to see a return on that investment, one that is measured in productivity, output and profitability as well as retained talent and expertise.
The workplace is an under-used but highly effective weapon in the productivity arsenal for it is the place where talent, shared purpose, collaboration, innovation, brand and culture coalesce and has the power to bring about transformative business change. However, before productivity can be increased, businesses must first improve their understanding of the needs of their people and organisation and how this impacts the workplace. This involves putting people, process, technology and place under the microscope.
Here are the eight key areas of your business that you must scrutinise and question before trying to extract strategic value from your workplace:
The workspace alone will not plug the productivity gap, but when combined with improvements to process efficiency and operations, there is potential for transformative change. If just a 1% increase in national productivity could deliver £20billion to the economy, even small, incremental improvements could deliver tangible profitability gains.
Whether your commercial priority is faster productive development, reduced operating costs, business flexibility or lower staff attrition, it’s impossible to write an accurate and detailed strategy to get there without first understanding how the organisation is currently working. Analysing people, the work they do and how they interact with each other, as well as looking at the tools, processes and spaces they use, provides a highly accurate and sometimes sobering view of how much more needs to be done.
The workplace has an important role to play in driving output and in a productivity crisis it is both timely and necessary to harness the power of well-designed and fit-for-purpose work environments. Organisations must see the workplace as productivity-enabler and means to future-proof their operations. The most productive workplaces are living and breathing environments, consistently evaluated and incrementally changed to ensure they remain aligned with the organisation’s overarching goals and keep the fires of productivity stoked. Just be sure to put the right foundations in place and make it your business to know the needs of your business inside out.
Associate Director - Head of Workplace Consultancy
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