New tool could put value of strategic workplace and facilities management beyond doubt


  • Employment and Skills,
  • Future of work,
  • Workplace

17 November 2021

Return on workplace investment

IWFM, Liverpool Business School and Workplace Unlimited have today launched a tool that could consign any doubts about the return on workplace investment permanently to the past.

Despite overwhelming evidence that the design of a workplace impacts the health, wellbeing and productivity of its occupants, space and its design has been stuck on the wrong side of the value equation for three decades. A lack of ‘real world’ proof of its value has allowed a reductive ‘non-core’ narrative to prevail about the workplace and facilities profession and its impact.

The Return on Workplace Investment, or ROWI Tool, is a calculator for determining the impact of workplace projects on organisational performance. It has been developed for use in high-level cost-benefit analysis assessments for new fit-out or refurbishment projects to factor in this additional value, so they no longer depend on cost alone.

The move comes three years to the week that the Institute added workplace to its name as part of an initiative to reposition the facilities management profession. Launching a new mission in 2018 the new IWFM pledged to help the profession advance from one consigned to little more than a cost centre by the aggressive outsourcing culture of the nineties, to a value creating super-connector that can help organisations achieve strategic goals including on sustainability and improved performance.

IWFM CEO Linda Hausmanis said:

‘Five years ago, the Stoddart Review proved the existence of the workplace advantage and today we have the ROWI Tool which has the potential to demonstrate that advantage in real workplaces in real time.

‘Workplace and facilities professionals know their own worth but until now the means of demonstrating their added value has been as elusive as the Holy Grail. Today’s publication is an important step to settle doubts about their strategic impact once and for all and to show organisations the true impact that this professional community contributes.

Nigel Oseland of the ROWI project team said:

‘We commenced this project knowing that we might not find the final answer, but starting the process by exploring and collating the evidence was as important. We intended to remove the mystery around the challenge of demonstrating the return on workplace investment, and believe we have found a feasible and practical starting point.

‘The work has been very encouraging and as all eyes are on the future post-pandemic workplace, we’re pleased to publish our progress so far, so we are sharing our findings, our methodology and plans for the future. Most importantly, we want to involve the profession because it is only in the practical use of any such tool that its true impact can be understood.’

Read the summary report and take part in the ROWI Tool pilot

Read the summary ROWI report here

If you have a project that might benefit from the insight that this tool will provide, contact IWFM’s Research and Insight team to request a copy of the full report and/or to express interest in taking part in our pilot project. Get in touch by 17 December by contacting:

Join us for the webinar at 12pm, Wednesday 17 November

Meet the team as they introduce the ROWI Tool, explain the background to its development and show how it works in practice. Register here.

Join the conversation on LinkedIn

Use the hashtag #ROWI to get involved in the discussions on the tool and the return on workplace.