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Observing The Green Revolution From A Planning Perspective

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Observing The Green Revolution From A Planning Perspective

February 27
11:09 2020

Murray Rankin

Environmental issues are becoming increasingly important to many operators and are nowadays one of the key issues shaping the future of the commercial property market.

Murray Rankin looks at the repercussions this is having from a planning perspective, and examines how companies should respond…

Facilitated by developments in mobile technology and the internet, the world of work is becoming ever more peripatetic, these days, and so being in the office is these becoming less important.

Working remotely allows people to use their time more efficiently. Cloud storage, video conferencing and on-line project management also help drive real productivity enhancements.

This revolution is also being driven by the new demands and aspirations that are coming from the working population. Indeed, HR departments all over the country are reporting that so-called millennials – young people born in the last 20-25 years – are not prepared to work in the same inflexible ways as have previous generations.

However, in this challenge there also lies opportunity; providing agility in the workplace can offer real benefits in terms of attracting and retaining the best talent, increasing productivity and offering surprising benefits in terms of property.

The importance of getting the work/life balance right is one of the main reasons driving the demands of millennials for more flexible working arrangements, and it’s one of the drivers in the growth of remote working, hot desking, video conferencing and flexible shifts.

A further key reason for this change is the rise in property prices, especially in central locations. Today, it is not easy to live in close proximity to the workplace, especially in cities such as Edinburgh. If you have a long commute then it makes sense to have a more adaptable arrangement with flexible hours and the potential to work from home for some of the time.

The importance of achieving the right W/L/B blend is a priority for millennials

According to a study by recruitment consultants Michael Page, millennials are indeed looking for a such an approach.  Many employees cannot, for logistical and personal factors such as childcare, parking restrictions or proximity to home, spend as much time behind their desks as previous generations used to. Agile working at its core provides greater freedom over when, where and how an employee works to fulfill their particular role.

One of the historical arguments against this, however, has been the idea that people are intrinsically lazy and won’t work as efficiently from home. However, the experience of many companies is proving the opposite and, thanks to new technology, it is even possible to follow and track their employees’ productivity levels.

The ‘flexible revolution’ also opens up some interesting opportunities for organisations thinking about their property options. The fact that a smaller percentage of a company’s overall workforce needs to be in its central office at any one time will in turn provide considerable cost savings.

Choosing how to get to work can have a positive effect on employees’ attitudes and mindset

This is also one of the many positive impacts of hot desking – where no one needs an allocated desk – so the demands for workspace can decrease. The potential impact of this for companies is demonstrated in a recent project led by G+S, which involved VisitScotland finding new office accommodation. To work out how much space the organisation needed for its workforce we undertook a space planning and outfitting exercise, helping them to reduce their accommodation footprint by over 25%.
The consequent move not only provided VisitScotland with significant cost savings – equivalent to the salaries of two high-level employees – it has also improved the working environment for its staff and clients.

Utilising such a space planning expertise ensured that the accommodation works for the business, reducing running costs, improving the working environment and meeting the flexible working demands required by the current working generation.

The ‘flexible revolution’ in the world of work also opens up some interesting opportunities for companies thinking about their property options.

Murray Rankin is a chartered planner at Graham & Sibbald whose team of specialist chartered surveyors advise and assist clients in the hospitality sector on all aspects of commercial property transactions. Visit for more information.

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Catering Scotland

Catering Scotland

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