RICS review makes business case for better working environments

Posted on Jun 17 2014 - 8:11pm by Sustainable News

A six-month investigation by RICS has found that organisations such as the BBC and The Co-operative Group, who adopt a strategic approach to the management of their properties and facilities, can create better places for people to work and customers to visit.

The findings are published today (3 April) in a report which looks at how leading organisations achieved major improvements as a result of prioritising the needs of employees and customers.

RICS commissioned the study by Workplace Law – specialists in employment law, health and safety, and environmental management – in response to concerns about the impact of cutting the property budget, as many organisations did during the economic downturn. The report includes six in-depth cases studies with practical examples from some of the UK’s leading businesses and organisations with a focus on procurement, innovation, technology, sustainability, talent management and health and safety.

“The case studies provide a valuable insight into how value organisations can benefit from giving Project Delivery and Facilities Management (FM) the attention it deserves,” comments Alan Bainbridge, Property Director at the BBC. “Maximising value from the facilities at MediaCityUK and making our new home play an active role in delivering benefit was the vision for my team. This model subsequently went on to be the successful foundation for our recent procurement which will see the FM services playing a strategic role in serving audiences and best value from the license fee.”

Johnny Dunford, Global Commercial Property Director at RICS said: “We have seen too much focus on cost cutting over recent years, which is having a detrimental impact on business. If property and facilities do not meet the needs of employees and, crucially, customers, then sickness leave will increase, repeat business and staff retention will decrease and, ultimately, the business will fail to meet its objectives.

“The fundamental principles laid out in these case studies can be applied to any organisation in order to increase productivity and, in a commercial setting, help drive up profits. We therefore urge business leaders to take these lessons on board and, most importantly, incorporate facilities management within their board level decision making.”

The report makes five recommendations that can be applied in any business, sector or region:

1. Understand the core values and mission of your organisation – FM that is not authentically aligned to the corporate values and mission cannot deliver sustainable value. Successful FM is part of the leadership function of the organisation involved in shaping and driving the corporate mission and values.

2. Understand the contribution and impact that FM can make to the brand and performance of the organisation – FM can have a real bearing on reputation, brand and customer/employee experience. Making the effort to develop a well thought-through strategy is time well spent.

3. Engage staff and supply chain – making sure that the team is aligned and engaged with the values and the mission is of paramount importance. Success comes easiest when there is the right team culture, where everyone is working towards a common goal. A clear message that there should be no compromise on values and cultural fit should be communicated to the supply chain.

4. Measure impact and outcomes through the use of intelligent data – without measurement and analysis we are unable to demonstrate contribution and impact. With the emergence of big data and new technology tools, FM can now provide information and insight to customers and business to enhance strategic decision-making across the board.

5. Communication is the glue that holds everything together – compelling communication is a major factor in ensuring that FM is perceived as making a strategic business contribution.

David Sharp, Managing Director, Workplace Law added: “This study will help organisations understand and plan strategically for the workplace needs of their people. The case studies all feature first-class working environments, and demonstrate how innovation can make a difference to an organisation’s performance.”

With an introduction by Kath Fontana, Managing Director of BAM FM and board member of RICS, the full suite of case studies includes:

• Fostering creativity at the BBC
• Ethical procurement at The Co-operative Group
• Sustainable practice in the Higher Education sector
• The importance of a good health and safety culture
• Harnessing technology at Emrill
• Talent management at MITIE Client Services

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