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Do you really add value at work?

May 22, 2014 / By

“How did the day fly past and why haven’t I achieved what I set out to do today?” All of us ask ourselves this question at some point or another. Being productive at work often comes down to prioritisation and ultimately focusing on activities that create the most value for your business… simple.

Now take a good look around you and ask yourself: “Does my workplace actually support these activities?”

A global JLL poll revealed a staggering disconnect between what we actually do at work, and what generates the most value. 72% of respondents say that thinking, talking and brainstorming create the most value for their organisation – but only 19% indicate that they spend most of their time on these high-value activities.

Fig 1. A significant disconnect between time spent and value added

Some might say that this is obvious and that phone conversations, e-mailing and attending meetings are required to facilitate higher value activities. This might be true, but it doesn’t take away from the following: “Shouldn’t your workplace support the processes and activities that ultimately drive business value?”

The poll tells us that creative collaboration, concentrated work and face-to-face interaction are viewed as the highest-value activities. However, the balance of how you spend your time at work and how much these activities are valued obviously differs significantly between functions. For example, as a property researcher, I highly value a place to think, write and basically just ‘get on with things’ without being constantly disturbed by lots of noise around me. At the same time, sitting with the business, listening to their issues and soaking up the knowledge can be very handy from time to time as well. This balance will be completely different for a sales exec or an IT support role.

This is often where things go wrong, as many offices are not equipped to facilitate the required balance of focused and collaborative work that their employees do. Getting this delicate balance wrong can significantly impede a company’s ability to best develop new products and services and generally deliver best value to clients.

The key is not to apply a ‘silver-bullet’ approach to your workplace strategy and get dragged into new ‘fancy’ or ‘flashy’ workplace formats without first having a detailed look at your business fundamentals. These formats may be the right solution for some, but won’t necessarily best serve your organisation.

To achieve measurable workplace productivity improvements, organisations should ask the right questions from the outset—questions that will uncover what makes your company successful—and then, and only then, look at what workplace fits best.

To find out which questions frame this discussion and how the workplace can ensure measurable productivity improvements, please visit our SlideShare channel and sign up to receive our latest research report, Forget the Workplace… for Now.

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