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SME workplace issues revealed by industry study

20 July 2018

Results from an industry survey conducted with 500 SME organisations have been shared with PFM Magazine.

When comparing SMEs with those with a turnover of £50m or more, just 54% believed that service offices were available to them, compared with 92% of larger companies.

The figures for different regions in England showed that 83% of London businesses thought serviced offices were available to them, compared with figures of 60% in the North East and 54% in the South East.

Reasons provided for inaccessibility included high cost (51%), being in the wrong location (29%), not suiting company brand or ethos (24%) and lack of flexibility (14%).

Respondents were also asked about the barriers that prevent companies creating optimum working environments.

Cost of renting was identified as a barrier for 38%, while 22% referred to the length of their lease and lack of suitable office space and 19% stating the inflexibility of their landlord as another reason.

However, 68% of businesses also expressed their concern that their current working environments were limiting engagement with employees.

London-based companies (75%) proved to be the most concerned on this aspect and their ability to retain the best talent.

London businesses were also most concerned that the suitability and appearance of their office is preventing them from attracting the most suitable employees.

This compared with figures of 49% for the North West and 42% for South East England.

Further thoughts on future requirements of SMEs were revealed by the survey, with 28% of business owners stating that more areas for quieter and confidential working were needed.

Additional needs included open and flexible space (26%), better storage (25%), increased energy efficiency (21%) and improved broadband and wireless technology (19%).

The survey was conducted by Crown Workspace and a white paper on the results will be published in October, the company states.

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