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The heart of the workplace experience

FM is the heart of the workplace experience
31 January 2019



The growth of the knowledge economy means we need to think differently about how we approach the workplace.

Knowledge is the fuel for innovation

The service industry – which now makes up circa 80 per cent of the British economy[1] – is built on people who think for a living; whose ideas, knowledge, experience and relationships form the crux of their organisation’s offering to its customers. Organisations may put dozens of systems, processes and technologies in place to help these knowledge workers do their job. Ultimately, however, their performance comes down to one thing: their ability to think and to process information (also known as cognitive performance).

While it’s true that all employees think as part of their job, for knowledge workers it’s the quality of thinking, creativity and the ability to fuse their knowledge with that of others that generates value for an organisation. But very few organisations truly understand how to support its employees to maximise their greatest asset – their brains.

Offering employees work spaces that are designed around their needs is quite possibly the most effective tool an organisation can offer its people. After all, real estate is essential for business. And is one of the most expensive costs to any organisation. So, why not use it to support business profit?


There’s also the recruitment costs to consider when sourcing and inducting the best candidates. But then these new employees are placed in an environment that does not maximise the skills they were employed for – their knowledge - and in many cases can hinder their performance. Added to this, candidates are quite often in the driving seat when it comes to choosing their employer. With the demand on talent but restrictions on salaries, benefits such as workplace experience and flexible working can be the deciding factor in who the candidate chooses to work for.

Designing workplaces around the needs of knowledge workers is a topic that receives a lot of traction. And many agree there is a lot of value in focusing on the workplace experience. Yet there is very little around how to actually define, design, maintain and evolve the workplace to use it as a productivity and performance tool.


Facilities managers are placed at the centre of spaces to ensure these spaces support the people who use them. Whether it’s retail outlets, entertainment arenas, corporate offices or distribution centres. It is the facilities manager’s role to keep facilities functioning. This involves working closely with many different teams and suppliers. And it’s vital facilities managers understand how the spaces are used, what’s needed and, most importantly, what’s expected. So it’s a very logical step to place facilities managers at the heart of the workplace experience, ensuring work spaces support employee and business performance.


We’ve recently completed a two-year study looking at the science behind effective workplace experiences. Working with change mangers and workplace consultants, Advanced Workplace Associates, we’ve published a series of reports highlighting key findings into what makes a workplace productive, and the practical steps businesses can take to turn their workplaces into productivity tools. You can read our reports here. You can also read more on workplace experience here.


[1] Financial Times – The UK economy at a glance, 2018




During our workplace experience research project, together with Advanced Workplace Associates, we: defined the concept of the workplace experience; presented the best available science on knowledge-worker productivity, cognitive performance and consumer experience design; offered guidelines on how to best design successful working environments; and looked at the consumer world to identify how to engender brand loyalty and build relationships that keeps our employees committed and happy.

You can read all five of our reports here.  


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