Jeff Flanagan   - Interserve/CBI 
Shifts in culture, advancements in technology, and the entrance of a new generation into the working world have all led to a concurrent shift in what the working population requires of the office environment. Countless studies have endeavoured to understand what exactly comprises the ideal working environment, with a few constants between them, and so in an effort to collate these findings into workable practices, support services and construction company Interserve recently set to work reviewing the findings of over 100 consumer studies and best practice examples as part of their wider Workplace Experience project, conducted in partnership with Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA). The ultimate goal of the project is to ascertain how modern businesses can craft a high-performance workplace that supports greater productivity, and the review’s findings do indeed provide some insight in that regard.

Many of the ideas put forward as a result of this fresh analysis simply reaffirm existing practices, such as flexible working arrangements and collaborative environments, but one particular recommendation made in the wake of the analysis merits mention; namely the appointment of ‘workplace guardians’. These individuals would be responsible for shaping how the workplace looks and feels in response to the wants and needs of those working within on a daily basis.

In an official press release on the CBI website, Jeff Flanagan of Interserve stated the following:

“One of the first things we have learnt is the need to give ownership of the workplace to the people who use it, establishing an employee-led team of ‘workplace guardians’ to shape how the workplace looks and feels. This could range from seemingly small things like the menu choice in the cafeteria, through to how meeting spaces are set up to support greater dialogue and team working. By understanding what employees are looking for, we can tailor better experiences for them that boost their performance.”

Basically, control of the office environment should be given by-and-large to those who must make regular use of the space, allowing it to better adapt to fulfil their requirements and boost performance across the company. Of course individual employees may have very different ideas as to what they require from the office environment, and so flexibility is once again key if you are to properly cater to all employees.

Mr Flanagan does however warn against relinquishing control altogether, asserting a need for employers to create a workplace that that, while serving the needs of workers, also reflects the culture, messages and values that employers want to instil in their teams. With this in mind these workplace guardians should work together with business leaders and facility managers to create an environment that works for all involved.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor as he continues to expand his horizons.
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