The industry’s role in shaping new, modern workplaces and building homes better equipped for working can be part of the solution to addressing the nation’s sustained slowdown in productivity growth, law firm Shoosmiths has said today.
Launching the firm’s report: ‘Can real estate help solve the productivity puzzle?’, head of real estate, Kirsten Hewson, said the slowdown in productivity that we’ve seen over the past decade – exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic – could in some part be addressed by developing collaborative workspaces and ensuring robust physical and digital infrastructure was in place so to allow people to work in a more agile, efficient and flexible way.
“There are a number of reasons for this slump – levels not seen since the 70s,” she added. “However, looking forward, I believe the built environment has an important role to play in aiding productivity in so many ways.”
Our ability to work remotely and flexibly, she says, has played a vital role in keeping the economy afloat this past year but warns that this societal shift would be more important than ever in the coming years.
She said: “Workplaces need to be more about collaboration than mere rows of desks, homes need to be better equipped for homeworking and supporting infrastructure needs to ensure better connectivity (both physical and digital). These aspects were important before, but if we are to stop the gradual decline in productivity and bring us back up to the level of our economic rivals in a post-Covid and post-Brexit climate, they will arguably play a bigger role in our recovery than we might previously have thought.
“With Covid having put a further dent in our productivity levels in 2020 and with us now entering a new lockdown period at the start of 2021, the issue is more pertinent than ever. The next decade will tell if our industry – and indeed our country – is up to the task.”
The report contains articles from several Shoosmiths experts, including views on the future of the office, factoring the needs of employees into office design, the role of data centres, employee welfare and more.
It can be found, here.