Quantifying the Hard to Quantify: Understanding the Link Between People, Place and Performance

September 17, 2019 David Barrett

First published on LinkedIn

Organizations are undergoing radical transformations and the impact is on jobs, styles and behaviors and the physical workplace itself. No longer is our workplace simply the place in which we work as it needs to boost our wellbeing, foster collaboration and encourage our creativity. In short, we need workspaces that support our productivity. Workspace and workplace design play a significant role in our productivity but, until now, it has been hard to quantify its impact.

It has been interesting to work with engineering and design company AECOM as it designed and implemented new office space for its new Greater London campus. This gave it the opportunity to look at how cultural and behavioral change could be achieved through the physical workspace by encouraging collaboration, innovation and wellbeing.

At the outset, AECOM brought together a multidisciplinary team to optimize the employee experience and to out in place measures to gauge the impact the change in workspace had on behavior. We were delighted to be part of that team and to support AECOM as it rolled out a suite of assessment tools both pre-and post-move.

As a starting point, the team at AECOM benchmarked how its people worked in a number of key areas including their abilities to concentrate, think logically, and multi-task. They also measured the levels of creativity, well-being and collaboration of employees and their work styles and motivation and levels of noise comfort. One year after the move, the same people completed assessments again.

Increased performance, wellbeing and collaboration

The results were exciting with improvements in:

  • Collaboration – threefold increase in the value of cross-discipline client proposals
  • Performance – 10% increase in creativity
  • Wellbeing – 26% increase in retention

In addition to this, the team discovered that, despite the change to a more dense and agile working environment, focus and concentration levels were maintained – and people were comfortable with the noise levels.

For us at Aon, this was a great example of how to measure the impact of the working environment on performance. Rapid technological shifts are taking place which influence the way we all work. This study shows how we can measure the impact of such changes.

Read more about the AECOM project here.

Watch this two-minute video to hear the thoughts of Charlotte Hermans, Senior Change Consultant at AECOM on the project.

About the Author

David Barrett

David Barrett is the Chief Commercial Officer of Aon's Assessment Solutions and is a business-focused occupational psychologist. David is a recognized global expert in online assessment, recruitment, talent and human resources technology. He leads the company’s professional advisory and commercial teams across 35 countries and was cut-e’s Chief Operating Officer when the cut-e Group was acquired by Aon plc in 2017. Aon's Assessment Solutions undertake 30 million assessments each year in 90 countries and 40 languages.

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