Using facilities management to harness engagement, productivity and loyalty in the workplace

Using facilities management to harness engagement, productivity and loyalty in the workplace

Iain Shorthose is Interserve’s customer experience director and will be speaking at Workplace Futures on 7 February, discussing the links between facilities management, the customer experience and how this translates to the workplace and can impact employee productivity.

Facilities management is often thought about as the service that looks after the building, ensuring it performs at its optimal level. But what about the role facilities management teams play in influencing the experience and productivity of those that use these buildings?

Research[1] shows there are nine cognitive dimensions that drive customer loyalty in a consumer environment.

The products or services that have been successful in the consumer world are those that evoke strong emotional responses from its customers.

Customers who feel that a brand understands, cares for and even loves them have consistently demonstrated loyalty to that brand.

Sensory inputs
People are believed to react more favourably to certain colours, like blue or warm-coloured backgrounds, and that certain scents, like the small of freshly-baked bread can have a strong impact on increased sales.

Studies have drawn a direct link between a customer’s experience and their future purchasing intentions, or loyalty to the brand.

A customer’s experience will be largely influenced by their preconceived expectations of the brand: their expectation of the quality of the product or service.

Something that excites a customer at the start of the relationship will lose its ability to do so overtime. The customer experience must evolve if it is to continue meeting customer expectations.

In the consumer world advertising is used to communicate and reinforce positive aspects of the experience to remind the consumer and influence buying power.

Knowing what to expect, and having expectations met reinforces positive experiences and leads to certain expectations in future encounters.

When product or service providers are experiencing economic growth consumers believe it can afford to invest more in its offering, therefore, the consumer expects more.

The workplace experience

When it comes to the workplace, the way in which we as human beings process the environments around us is largely the same: our experiences are still defined by the same dimensions, whether we’re in the space as a customer or as an employee.

Emotion, sensory inputs, evolution and consistency are the strongest dimensions in the workplace: the space we work in will bring out certain emotions and feelings in us.

Factors such as temperature, smell and lighting all have a direct impact on how productive we are. Also, as the way we work continually evolves, the space in which we work must also evolve, while service levels should remain consistent so we know what to expect from each space every time we use it.

So, how does all this relate to facilities management?

Facilities managers need to be acutely aware of the cognitive factors that influence the way people feel about their workplace: noise, light, scent, temperature, nutrition and hydration.

A workplace that has the right smell and temperature, has good quality lighting with easy access to food and water will positively influence how productive we can be. These are all areas in which facilities management teams can make a difference.

While there are differences in the way consumers and employees engage with retail or work environments, there are also many links between the two. By focusing on the building’s needs, as well as the needs of the customer, visitor or employee, we can create environments that harness engagement, productivity and loyalty.


Explore more about how organisations can better understand the link between working environments and commercial success in our ‘Workplace experience – the science series’. Interserve is leading a comprehensive research project to define, understand and apply the science behind designing effective workplaces. This is a two-year project which will deliver five reports. Read our first three reports.

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[1] Interserve, in partnership with Advanced Workplace Associates, has studied over 100 research pieces and scientific reports into the customer experience and its impact on consumer behaviour. Read more.

Iain Shorthose

Iain Shorthose is customer experience director at Interserve.