Improving Business Performance


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How the workplace drives business performance

 If an organisation’s workplace strategy hasn’t been designed to support its operating model and deliver the key objectives that drive growth, that business is broken. Here’s why: business success depends on employee productivity, and employee productivity depends on a supportive working environment.


The most successful companies have workspace designed to support their employees, providing the environment and the tools they need to be great at what they do. The UK’s leading office design company, Oktra, conducted a workplace report in partnership with YouGov and found that, of the more than 2,000 British employees surveyed, nearly a quarter (22 per cent) said they didn’t have the space they needed to be productive at work.


“It is productivity growth, the ability to get more output from the same amount of labour and capital, that has made us richer over time and that drives both corporate profits and workers’ wages,” explains economist Duncan Weldon in The Stoddart Review. The already looming 22 per cent gap in productivity has some pretty heavy consequences in terms of diminished business success.


Workplace success can be broken down into two categories: designing for performance and measuring impact. “Performance in the context of work- space is a measure of how well people perform their given tasks and enable an organisation to reach its goals,” says Oktra’s strategic operations director Ben Lonsdale. Designing for performance results in an environment that’s sympathetic to the tasks occupants perform, even when working remotely. Integrated technology enables seamless connectivity – an important asset in today’s economic climate, and one that will continue to enhance communication and creativity once normal working practices resume.


Effective workspace is human-centric, prioritising human health and wellbeing as basic requirements for productivity. Optimal levels of airflow, humidity, temperature, noise and low levels of dust, CO2 and VOC are all environmental factors that contribute directly to employee productivity. In his study, Creating the Productive Workplace, University of Reading professor Derek Clements-Croome found a clear relationship between indoor air pollution and human productivity, with a 10 per cent drop in productivity attributed to health issues related to poor indoor air quality.


The impact workspace has on the people who use it is what drives or derails productivity, but how is it measured? Using a mix of environmental and occupancy sensors, it’s possible to gather non-sensitive data on space use and environmental quality. Selecting appropriate KPIs is an important part of measuring impact, but data is imperative in terms of quantifying the way workspace functions and the resulting impact on employee productivity and business success.


Businesses can use these insights to identify opportunities for realignment between their workplace and business strategies. “Having clarity on the problems the space needs to solve for its users and which metrics drive success for the organisation may provide not only real, measurable results, but also a distinct competitive advantage,” concludes Lonsdale. In other words, it’s possible to identify gaps in performance and adjust the workplace to close those gaps and deliver success.

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