“Today, we regard the quality of work environments and work experiences as important forms of corporate social responsibility (CSR), benefiting employers and employees alike,” said CoreNet Global in a recent statement that encourages companies to adopt new workplace practices and policies.
And with more than 7,500 CoreNet Global members worldwide, people are taking note.Ãƒâ€š
“The nature of work is changing dramatically, transcending the traditional definitions of productivity to include the concepts of enabling work, employee engagement, employee satisfaction and employee wellness framed around an emerging ‘work-life support’ business model.”
The statement marks the first time that corporate real estate (CRE) practitioners from the demand side have advocated sustainable workplace practices.
More than nine in 10 (93 percent) of senior-level CRE executives rate the quality of work environments and work experiences as the most urgent issue facing their companies, according to results of CoreNet Global Industry Leaders Opinion Poll.
“The new job #1 of corporate real estate executives is enabling work and creating the conditions for employees to engage more fully with their coworkers and their companies’ strategic plan or direction,” said CoreNet Global Chairman Jim Scannell, senior vice president, Administrative Services at The Travelers Companies, Inc.
“Mobility and other technology advances are blurring the lines between work and personal lives, making effective work practices a lifestyle-management question — not only a series of work-related activities.”
Like technology, economic conditions and demographics are major change drivers that are requiring companies to look at working environments and work experiences in a different light.
“Companies — regardless of size or industry — risk losing competitive advantage by not addressing the new cultural, social, and behavioral drivers that determine success in today’s and tomorrow’s business world,” Scannel said. “In this important sense, addressing the quality of work environments and work experiences is becoming a form of risk management against a reputation-driven landscape.”
The statement advises that to better understand the impact of changes in work styles as they relate to lifestyles and productivity, the CRE industry should work with their counterparts in human resources and information technology to devise new ways of measuring workplace effectiveness.
“A greater ability to assess the return on the investment made in employee wellness is a fundamental step toward improving employee engagement to the extent that company culture, industry type, location, financial resources, job functions, and other factors allow.”
CoreNet Global offers two key action steps for companies that recognize the inherent strategic value of workplace transformations:
- The use of more empirical and evidence-based data is needed, as compared to the more qualitative and anecdotal case-based methods used today
- Shifting from the 2-dimensional measures of cost per square foot to 3-dimensional outcome-based metrics such as quality of life per square foot. The “Quality-of-Life per square foot approach” to real estate is a philosophy developed and espoused by Sodexo, a CoreNet Global Strategic Partner. Sodexo isÃƒâ€š the global leader in services that improve Quality of Life, an essential factor in individual and organizational performance.
3 practices companies can implement now:
- Provide food choices that reflect healthy options and offerings such as fresh, local healthy meals and snacks
- Offer flexible work terms and work schedules and introduce “third places” and “third spaces” as alternatives to the main workplace setting
- Integrate personal devices with company servers and systems as an extension of the emerging work-life support “eco-system” trending toward employees using their own technology while working
3 practices companies can implement over time:
- Rework the office space so that all employees have access to windows and natural lighting
- Provide employees with ergonomically sound furniture and equipment that include the use of non-toxic and reusable materials
- Incorporate personal amenities with an eye toward integrated wellness, such as on-site wellness facilities, or offer employees incentives to make health and wellness a part of their workday