As Freehold LGBTQ+’s oldest partner, Cluttons has recognised the importance of diversity and inclusion in real estate for a while now. Property is an industry that technically services land and buildings, but we understand that most importantly it is about the people and the relationships you build.
In a world where technology and data have evolved to replicate most core functions that agents, planners, cost consultants and other advisers provide, it is telling that most property stakeholders continue to prefer working with the people rather than tech alone. In property, relationships ultimately trump everything else.
As such, it is peculiar that we, as an industry, are so far behind when it comes to having diverse and inclusive organisations. We are getting better, sure, but there are still many lessons to be learned and much education needed.
As companies fight for the best talent, the diverse make up of workforces will play a role in whether people see themselves “fitting in”. In today’s world, where the brightest employees have the pick of organisations, it is more important than ever to understand people’s differences and needs and ensure they are supported in their role accordingly.
It is also key that organisations take a leading role in educating employees about inclusion, appropriate behaviour and language to further foster an inclusive culture.
This all starts with our passion, our values and our culture but should also feed into the workplace itself. It is essential for offices to accommodate a variety of wants and needs, and for the spaces to feel inclusive.
Landlords and companies that put their employees first will also have created property strategies around what makes their employees feel included, respected, healthy and happy, and specifically what facilitates them to perform in their roles.
This shouldn’t be anything new. But 2021 shone a spotlight on this more so than ever before due to the pandemic and an increase in hybrid working.
This is no bad thing at all, as it has brought practices that had yet to innovate up to speed. But it shouldn’t take a global pandemic to shine the light on creating workplaces to match the way people want to interact with property.
We understand that people are not homogenous, and this, of course, should be celebrated, but also recognised in the way we design buildings. Everyone is unique, including in the way they work, and we cannot design identikit buildings that have a “one size fits all” approach.
Building in flexibility
It will take some time to observe how employees wish to work and how they interact with certain environments, but it’s up to us to then recognise this in the design, as well as management of workplaces, and build in enough flexibility to adapt to people’s changing wants and needs.
With the office fighting for its place post-pandemic and the increase of hybrid working, it is more crucial than ever that it represents a safe and respectful environment for all employees.
With property so inextricably linked to relationships, and proving triumphant over all challengers, isn’t it about time that the property world takes the lead in creating inclusive workplaces, both as organisations and as partners with the LGBTQ+ community?
This content was written for, and published by, EG Radius.