Surveys sometimes deliver surprising truths

In The Next 250K report published in September 2017 by Leesman Index – and widely reported in the facilities management media – over a quarter million employees in 2,200 locations across 67 countries were asked whether their workplace enabled them to work productively.

Only 57% of those asked believed their workplace did. Worryingly then, 43% of those people asked reported that their workplace didn’t.

Here in the UK that figure rose to 46%. So nearly half of this nation’s workplaces do not aid the productivity of their people. That’s got to be a major concern for every enterprise.

So is a workspace re-design the answer?

Well, yes. And no.

We know from years of hard-earned experience gained during hundreds of projects that a workspace redesign and refurbishment is so much more than throwing together some cool new décor and downlighting with funky new floor-coverings and furniture.

Because, as Dr Peggie Rothe PhD who led Leesman Index’s research said, ‘Great organisations build a business framework that enable their employees to do their best work. And the workplace is integral in this equation. Offices are assets – tools in talent management strategies, gears in product innovation, instruments in brand development and organisational performance… increasing employee engagement, loyalty and output.’

Our approach has always reflected Dr Rothe’s view. We’ve always designed, developed and delivered exceptional workspaces where more inspired and effective people and their businesses, flourish.

It’s a methodology that makes absolute personal and commercial sense. We spend around one third of our lives at work. Clearly then, the place we work is bound to have an impact on our overall happiness and levels of enjoyment, motivation and productivity, every day.

The way we work simply works

At CBS we know our workspace re-design and refurbishment programmes deliver results for our clients and their teams because our clients and their teams constantly tell us so.

But instead of just relying on anecdotal evidence we decided to adopt a more methodical approach. We now undertake our own ‘before’ and ‘after’ research survey for every client project.

Measuring the difference we make

Our Employee Survey is both scientific and simple. It consists of just five questions plus the option for staff to make additional comments.

It’s been created specifically to measure people’s attitudes to their workspace and how it contributes to their personal motivation and productivity.

It’s provided to all of our client’s employees before we even think about design, let alone build. It’s then provided to all of our client’s employees again after the refurbishment project is complete.

Being anonymous, what these surveys tell us is honest – sometimes brutally – and provides a very revealing picture of what people really think about their workspace, before and after our work.

What do our surveys prove?

Our Employee Surveys show impressive improvements in our clients’ team’s collaboration, productivity, motivation and Employer Net Promoter Score (eNPS – a method for measuring how willing an employee is to recommend their workplace to those they know).

The Virgin Experience Days’ team, for example, reported a 38% increase in motivation and a 48% increase in productivity. Their comments included:

’The major result from introducing this new space is that we’ve brought all the teams together and that’s led to greater productivity.’

‘It just allows us to be more productive, and create new ideas.’

Virgin Experience Days wasn’t a one off. For Salon Supplies in Southampton our post-refurbishment staff survey results were off the charts. There was an incredible 71% rise in both motivation and productivity. Their NPS point score increase of 132% – the biggest we’ve seen to date.

How to recruit and retain the best people

Our own research figures and all the evidence suggests that a carefully designed, delivered and inspiring new workspace can help your enterprise recruit and retain the best people.

Our Maidenhead-based client, Juice Plus+, reported they have people walking in off the street to hand in their CVs, simply because they want to work in our client’s ‘awesome new office!’

As the British Land survey of 1,000 UK workers in 2016 put it, ‘If you want to attract and retain talented employees, having an office in the right location, with the features that today’s workers want, is more important than you may think.’

There’s no doubt that the right workspace is a source of competitive advantage. Poorly thought out and simply not fit for purpose workspaces represent a huge missed opportunity for business leaders.