A recurring theme in Sodexo’s Workplace Trends 2013 Report is the need for Corporate Real Estate (CRE) and Facilities Management (FM) professionals to shift their entire approach. The new method is a mindset where “human centric” needs are given just as much attention as traditional asset and infrastructure considerations. In other words, it’s about shifting from a “Cost per Square Foot” to a “Quality of Life per Square Foot” approach.
In embracing this new perspective, it is imperative that CRE/FM professionals come to appreciate the importance of meeting a more holistic set of employee workstyle and lifestyle needs. It is even more important that these professionals understand how integration of workplace service solutions can more effectively meet employee needs in order to influence business outcomes and create higher value.
The “Quality of Life per Square Foot” approach is designed to capture all of the key attributes of this real estate and FM “2.0” strategy. Quality of Life (QOL) references the general well-being of individuals and societies. In the context of the workplace, however, QOL includes not only physical and social well-being, but also career well-being. This third spoke of the QOL wheel encompasses engagement, morale, and overall satisfaction with one’s work and work environment.
Decades of research support a connection between the built environment and employee engagement, productivity, and well-being. The role of the FM/CRE professional is, then, to promote and help create a workplace that supports improvements in all of these outcomes in an evidence-based, measurable way.
Environmental solutions in the workplace can include wellness hubs, collaboration spaces, and improvements to lighting and air quality, just to name a few. For today’s FM/CRE professional, however, meeting the holistic needs of the workforce must go a step further in order to truly affect the employee experience and improve operational efficiencies.
An expanded definition of “workplace solutions” can include anything from IT systems, to workplace design, to human resources initiatives, to wellness, facilities, and more. But the reality is that inefficiencies almost always arise when different solutions are managed in silos. To prevent this, the FM/CRE industry must also support the integration of services solutions.. Inherently, increased productivity, innovation, and performance occurs when diverse systems in the workplace are “talking with each other” and when the needs of the “whole person” and not just the employee are met.
Even the concept of “integration” has evolved. No longer referring to merely the aggregation of services, integration in today’s business environment asks employers to view the needs of its workforce and workplace services solutions in a way that deliver both the optimal employee experience with the greatest operational value. Alignment with professionals from other disciplines will be key to fulfilling the vision for a new approach to employee experience and well-being.
For more information on the “Quality of Life Per Square Foot” approach to corporate real estate, download the full report here and join the conversation at our Quality of Life Per Square Foot group on LinkedIn.
Debra Dailey is vice president, Human Capital and Outcomes at Sodexo.