Employment Engagement is Now Top Priority

Employment Engagement is Now Top Priority

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Office Workers

Employee engagement is now the top priority for global businesses and nearly two-thirds are investing in their offices, according to a new global survey by ISS.

The majority of companies have no plans to reduce office space while those which do plan to reduce are at the same time investing significantly in enabling better innovation and collaboration among their employees. All in all, the office is being repurposed on a global scale, and flexible office space facilities are appearing in places that wouldn't have been seen before.

"It is not a question of whether people are in the office, it is a question of how they can best thrive, innovate and collaborate at work.”

– Jacob Aarup-Andersen
Group CEO at ISS World Services A/S

Workplace priorities have changed significantly for businesses over the past two years. Pre-Covid, operational efficiency and cost savings were two of companies’ most prioritised outcomes for office planning and decision making. Today, however, employee engagement is at the top, while talent attraction has also become a new priority in top five. Research from HSBC even shows that an organisation’s approach to flexible working is on par with salary when it comes to employee priorities.

The findings are taken from a new survey conducted by ISS, a leading workplace and facility management company, of 100 of its global customers in a range of professional, technology and industrial sectors, including some of the world's largest banks and professional services firms. The insights are estimated to represent over a million office-based employees worldwide.

Adapting to Hybrid Working Patterns and Personal Preferences

To reach their people-focused goals, the majority of companies have chosen to invest in their workplace offerings by upgrading their facilities, office environment and employee experiences - primarily to enable better innovation and collaboration by employees, to attract people to the office and to enhance the sense of belonging.

Jacob Aarup-Andersen, Group CEO at ISS World Services A/S, says: “Power in global labour markets has shifted to employees after many decades in which it favoured employers. In addition, the pandemic accelerated hybrid working models and employee expectations of flexibility. The new mandate of employers is to meet those expectations in ways that cater to the productivity needs of both employees and the company.

"It is not a question of whether people are in the office, it is a question of how they can best thrive, innovate and collaborate at work.”

“Right now we are seeing a lot of companies redefining their offices to accommodate hybrid working patterns and personal preferences, focusing both on the physical place that people work in and the experience that people get when they come to the office.”

No One-size Model for the Future Workplace

The survey also shows that 69 per cent of the companies are either expanding their office space, redesigning or keeping what they have or are undecided, while 31 per cent have decided to reduce it. However, the latter group is also the one that will invest the most in upgrading the workplace.

Jacob Aarup-Andersen says: “Despite the varying approaches to the real estate footprint, the target of employee engagement is the same. There is no one-size-fits-all model when it comes to planning the workplace of tomorrow because the workplace must match each individual company and its employees. One thing is for sure, though: predictions of the death of the office have been greatly exaggerated. Instead, what we are witnessing now are workplaces being repurposed on a global scale.”

Picture: a photograph of some office workers. Image credit: ISS.

Article written by Bailey Sparkes | Published 25 May 2022

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