GovernmentΓÇÖs Merging of Office Space Could Hinder Services & Staff
For many years businesses operating out of serviced offices have enjoyed the benefit of having access to office space that is both cost effective and appropriate in size to their requirements, but with government departments and an array of property heavy businesses engaged in a flurry of work and office space mergers – could the ability of their staff to work effectively be hindered?
While it is easy to understand the logic and financial intentions behind trimming / streamlining the cost of property by businesses and government departments, the impact of such changes also need to be considered.
Taking the serviced office market as an example, the amount of space per person is based on a per workstation rate. The amount of space assigned to an individual workstation does of course vary depending upon the individual provider, but normally ranges from between 60 ΓÇô 75 sq. ft.
For anyone who has visited a modern serviced office it is likely they would agree that such an allowance works well and provides a great balance between effective workspace and staff comfort.
In the case of the UK government, the current target for workspace allowance is 10 square meters per person (around 107 Sq. Ft.). Based on the success of the serviced offices model it would appear that savings and efficiencies are certainly possible without degrading the quality of the working environment for their employees.
But in the event that this drive to cut-costs becomes a dogmatic pursuit of reducing the bottom line, and workspace allowance were to fall even further, the welfare of the workforce affected could be dealt a mortal wound. More importantly the integrity of the system to which they belong could become undermined and ineffective ΓÇô negating the push for efficiency that sits at the heart of such moves to rationalise office space use.
If anyone doubts the ability of the layout or quality of an office space to impact upon employees and their ability to work effectively, consider that research carried out by the Commission for Architecture and Built Environment and the British Council for Office has shown that something as simple a good lighting can reduce absenteeism by 15% and increase productivity by up to 20%.
The knowledge of such workspace dynamics are now actively incorporated by designers into new office space developments, but as it will be existing office buildings that will be becoming home to an increased number of staff in the case of the UK government, the absence of such design features could result in the working environment being degraded. If this is not addressed then the UK taxpayer could end up with a system that while costing less performs poorly ΓÇô a situation which would surely mean those behind the rationalisation had missed the point.