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AECOM knows the importance of a well-designed workplace

AECOM knows the importance of a well-designed workplace

 February 21, 2019

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(Above) Photographer: Hufton + Crow

You might not be surprised to learn that an inspiring workspace can lead to inspired employees. But how is this achieved?

Director and EMEA Workplace Market Sector Lead at AECOM, Nicola Gillen has offered insight into how AECOM creates a motivational environment for workers.

Nicola specialises in the relationship between behaviour and the built environment, and her clients include Rolls-Royce, BMS, BP, Sky, Estee Lauder Companies, Palace of Westminster and Museum of London.

Nicola has shared her knowledge about how strengthening the relationship between people and place through workplace transformation can influence employee and organisational performance.

Encouraging innovation, collaboration and wellbeing

Nicola understands that the workplace is no longer just a place where people go to ‘work’.

"To attract and retain the best talent, today’s workplaces need to inspire, support wellbeing and encourage collaboration and creativity. So how do you create workplaces that achieve all these things while also driving employee performance and achieving return on investment?" she says.

Well, here's one example. Following an acquisition, AECOM brought together its two central London offices into a single workplace over five floors in Aldgate Tower, East London. The move created the opportunity to drive cultural and behaviour change across AECOM: the company's vision was to encourage innovation, collaboration, wellbeing and employee engagement.

Nicola explains that, in order to do this, AECOM established an internal multi-disciplinary project team from workplace strategists and interior designers through to IT, human resources and organisational development. The team then developed and implemented many vital workplace strategy and design initiatives such as agile working, technological transformation and comprehensive change management processes. These were all designed to better the user experience during and after the transformation.

Measuring a major AECOM success story

But did the move to a single workplace have the desired positive impact? To measure its success, AECOM collaborated with professional services firm AON.

"We created a bespoke method of assessing performance, building on existing world-leading psychometric tests assessing performance, pre and post occupancy, by measuring concentration, logical reasoning, multi-tasking, and creativity," explains Nicola.

AECOM architecture design
Photographer: Hufton + Crow

The post occupancy evaluation (POE) results showed major improvement in collaboration, which included a threefold increase in the value of cross-discipline client proposals; performance, where the new heavily-occupied open plan agile environment led to a 10 per cent increase in creativity while not preventing people’s ability to concentrate, multi-task or think logically; and wellbeing, where there was a 26 per cent increase in retention and a maintained level of wellbeing post transformation of the building.

"Ultimately, the project outcomes demonstrate it is possible to influence employee and organisational performance through defining and strengthening the relationship between people and place in the workplace," adds Nicola.

Considerations for the office of the future

The collaborative work of twelve experts in their fields, led by Nicola Gillen of AECOM, have come together to write a new book by RIBA publishing Future Office: Next-generation workplace design. This considers everything from graphene to battery powered buildings, and provides an eye-opening guide for architects, designers, developers and occupiers to create office spaces that promote wellbeing, innovation and growth for the future.

Join talented women like Nicola at top employer AECOM

AECOM architecture design career
Photographer: Hufton + Crow

A great time to join AECOM

AECOM offers some fantastic career opportunities for ambitious women.

As a global organisation which is experiencing significant growth, there's no better time to join AECOM than now.

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