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Designing a collaborative environment at AECOM

Designing a collaborative environment at AECOM

As well as her Director role at AECOM, Architect Nicola Gillen is the European Practice Lead for Strategy Plus at AECOM. As part of this position, Nicola is leading the Workplace Strategy for the business and has been responsible for the creation of an innovative multidisciplinary workspace for AECOM themselves.

Adapting to new ways of working

“A building alone will not change behaviour or drive productivity. Change management and employee engagement are essential for successful transition to activity-based working. Preparing people for the space is just as important as preparing the space for the people,” explains Nicola.

With this line of thought, Nicola and her team produced the first cost model on activity-based working in 2014. Since then the idea has gathered momentum and is often the starting point from which workplace strategies and office layouts are generated.

So what does this mean for diversity in the workplace?

An efficient and diverse workplace

With activity-based working, office buildings provide a range of different spaces. As the phrase suggests, activity-based working means it is design to support a range of tasks with formal and informal meeting rooms, quiet working areas, cafes and so on – to improve collaboration, information sharing and productivity. Activity-based working gives a diverse workforce the chance to meet and socialise and this is key. 

Effective IT and AV design are crucial

Of course, the rapid advancement of technology has certainly had a big impact on workplace design.

“Without an IT infrastructure that enables people to share information and communicate wherever they are in the building, activity-based working may struggle to gain traction,” she states.

Even factors such as ensuring audio-visual (AV) installation right is critical believes Nicola. With perhaps the most minor of outages in support systems such as Wi-Fi or room booking systems could lead to a loss of faith in the workplace strategy.

If you want to learn more about the impressive work of Nicola Gillen and her team, you can download the full report ‘Room to roam: costing commercial office fit-out for activity-based working’.

Building an exciting career at AECOM

“AECOM is a multidisciplinary company so the opportunities for career development are incredibly varied and diverse. The company benefits from a huge mix of expertise and offers a highly collaborative environment designed to ignite ideas across all our disciplines now and in the future," exclaims Nicola.

Interested in joining this innovative workplace? Take a look here to see the wide range of opportunities available.

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