The UK could reshape its economic future and unlock its share of £39.8 billion in untapped GDP if organisations were to optimise their workplaces, according to a new study by Ricoh and Oxford Economics, titled ‘The Economy of People’.
The findings from The Economy of People are based on forecasts of how productivity in various industries will improve, if investment in workplaces makes them optimal for those that work there and their employers. Surveys and in-depth interviews were conducted with employees and executives across the UK and Ireland to uncover how critical workplace elements, such as culture, physical workspace and technology, affect performance and productivity. Executives were also asked how much of their operating budget they plan to spend on workplace initiatives next year.
The insights were used as a benchmark, along with economic factors including gross value added, labour productivity in industrial sectors and employment figures, to form an economic model that calculated the gross value-added contribution to GDP that an optimal office would deliver.
Phil Keoghan, CEO of Ricoh UK and Ireland said, “Ricoh has always believed that the path to newfound performance and productivity lies in bespoke workstyles designed and developed around people and the way they work. As we reflect on the past 10 years of productivity and consider what the next two years hold, it’s clear 2018 represents a critical crossroads. As a business community we have a responsibility and opportunity to ensure tomorrow is better than the day before and improving the way we work together can positively reshape the United Kingdom and Ireland’s economic trajectories for the foreseeable future.”
The study found that culture is the foundation of an optimal office, driving emotional motivators, which are a catalyst for creative thinking and performance. Technology proved critical to ensuring high output-per-hour, which equates to productivity. And the physical workspace was identified to be the bridge between culture and technology, influencing both performance and productivity.
- Strong company culture remains critical to improving employee trust (87%), motivation (83%) and well-being (69%) within the organisation
- 71% of millennials and 73% Gen Z employees feel their organisation’s approach to ethics and sustainability positively affect their productivity and performance
- 73% of millennials report that incentives for innovation enhance their performance and productivity, in comparison to 88% of employees age 38-52 and 83% age 53 and older
- 93% of all employees unanimously agree that working from a fixed location is where they feel most productive.
- 85% of employees stated their workstation is essential to productivity
- 26% of employees feel they are productive working from home today but, given the right tools, 78% believe they could be more productive working remotely
- 44% executives feel they provide technology that is effective at assisting remote working.
- 77% of CEOs said technology infrastructure can lead to greater business performance, versus 87% of CFOs, 86% of CHROs and 84% of CIOs
- 93% of executives planning to spend more than 10% of their operating budget on office improvements identified facilities management (sensors, monitoring equipment, temperature, etc.) as the biggest driver of productivity
Overall, the vast majority of executives (70%) feel that the impact of an optimal office environment could increase the productivity of their organisation by up to 10% and is therefore vital to unlocking GDP for the country. If industries were to take the initiative and optimise their workplace, they could drive significant increases in productivity and ultimately generate a GDP increase for their sector. The top three were healthcare (£8.8bn UK / £753mn Ireland), financial services (£8.5bn UK / 953mn Ireland) and business services (£8.5bn UK / £490mn Ireland).