The DNA of Work

What should we do with our space?

April 25, 2023 Season 1 Episode 46
The DNA of Work
What should we do with our space?
Show Notes Transcript

As organizations continue to figure out their approach to hybrid working, many are finding that they have more space than they need. While some are holding onto that space, in the belief that people will gradually return to working in the office, others are looking for ways to offload it. And there is also a need to ensure that the space that is provided works well - generating confidence that it will fulfil the needs that they have when they come into the office to work with colleagues. 

 Here's a quick overview of the topics in this episode:

  • A paralysis of decision making about space? (04:27)
  • Many offices aren't designed for hybrid working (10:48)
  • Addressing the friction in our workplaces (19:17)
  • The new role in harmonising the delivery of the workplace (26:08)


AWA Host: Karen Plum


  • Nida Mehtab, Senior Associate, AWA
  • Clare Danahay, Associate & Designer, AWA
  • Mark Gilbreath, CEO/Founder, LiquidSpace
  • Matthew Atkin, Senior Associate, AWA

 AWA Guest details: 



AWA contact: Andrew Mawson 


AWA Institute contact (for details of upcoming events and membership):
Natalia Savitcaia

Music: Licensed by Soundstripe – Lone Canyon

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00:00:00 Karen Plum

Hello there. The way we use our offices has changed such a lot over the last few years, but what does that mean for the efficiency and for the usefulness of the spaces that we have? Are we making best use of what we have and if not, we probably have more than enough space and need to get rid of some of it. You'll hear a lot about chisels in this episode, so let's get on with the show. 

00:00:25 INTRO: Welcome to AWA’s Podcast, which is all about the changing world of work and trying to figure out what's right for each organization, because we know that every one is unique. 

We talk to people who have walked the walk, who've got the T-shirt, and who've learned lessons that they're happy to share with us. I'm your host Karen Plum, and this is the DNA of work. 

00:00:51 Karen Plum

It seems that more and more organizational leaders and leadership teams are deciding that people need to be back in the office regularly. They mandate two days or three days in the office for a whole range of reasons, from serendipity to creativity, to team bonding and shadowing. But is some of this about justifying holding on to their real estate, which is probably chronically underutilized? 

Mark Gilbreath, Founder and CEO of LiquidSpace, spoke at a recent AWA Institute webinar about innovation in how we use space. He argues that because space is so poorly used, the decision to downsize portfolios is probably long overdue. 

Mark likened this process to a sculptor initially taking big chisels to a new block of marble before fine tuning it with smaller ones, gradually working towards the desired finished object. 

00:01:46 Mark Gilbreath

At the risk of over generalizing, I think the vast majority of companies are in a big chisel moment, reach for that biggest chisel because you know every one of you, with few exceptions, should be lopping off large pieces with that chisel of your portfolio. You probably don't need more sensors to monitor the fine elements of it. You probably have substantially more estate that need for gathering and or concentrating together is going to call for. 

By default you should be presuming yeah, on that lease renewal, I'm gonna be downsizing or not extending, right? That then leads to the follow on discussion of, OK what do I do if it's not an end of lease and I wanna downsize that portfolio, what other options do I have? Everybody should probably be embracing the current reality that your portfolio is too large. 

00:02:29 Karen Plum

As a subtractive process where you remove parts of the material - so the marble - to reveal the object that you're creating, an artist needs a clear vision of what they want as a finished object, like Michelangelo's David for example. I've read some sources that suggest that Michelangelo had quite detailed drawings of the finished sculptures he created, so perhaps the sculpture’s creation isn't just what's in their head? 

Taking the analogy to portfolios of office space, if we hack lumps off it in our attempts to jettison cost, or what we think is unwanted space, are we in danger of throwing the baby out with the bath water? Like the sculptor, we surely have to know what the end product looks like. So how much space, where the space is and for what purpose. And we certainly can't forget that what we're left with has to serve the people using the spaces, otherwise they'll continue to stay away and potentially suffer from the lack of really usable spaces that they need for specific activities.

I'm joined in this episode by two AWA colleagues, first is Nida Mehtab from California, who was also a panelist on the webinar that I mentioned a few minutes ago. Hi, Nida. 

00:03:45 Nida Mehtab

Hi Karen. Thanks for having me. 

00:03:48 Karen Plum

And we also have Clare Danahay from the UK with us. Hi, Clare. 

00:03:52 Clare Danahay

Hi, Karen, it's good to be back.

00:03:54 Karen Plum

Good to see you both. So let's kick off with Mark's first comment as a backdrop. Office space is a tool, right? Nida, you said on the webinar that it's there to support the people and the ways of working strategy, which in turn supports the business strategy. The starting point has to be the business strategy, not the space strategy - that's the wrong way round. But focusing on the space strategy seems to be where a lot of organisations are right now, and some are simply not taking any action. 

00:04:27 Nida Mehtab

Yeah. So I think first of all, the reason why people start from the space is because it's easier to start there because most of the people understand that and feel like they're making progress if they're able to influence any changes in the space. 

Now to your question that why are some leaders and organizations not taking action? And I think the answer is in that question itself because, right now there are so many variables. Pandemic was one big element that we just got out of - we are still in that hangover state from the pandemic and before we even get out of there, there are other market variables that are changing. 

We are talking about the AI, the metaverse, businesses are actually hedging their future against this recession or the state of inflation that is being perceived right now. So in all of these variables coming together, business strategy is still in the process of evolution. 

So going back to why people are not making decisions, is because they're still waiting for the businesses to come up with the right strategy. Having said that, what leaders are doing right now, they are developing various scenarios that by modulating different variables assumptions to come up with the right future of work or workplace strategy that will inform their organizations drivers and goals.

So that part is still happening. Experimentation is still happening. Learning from experimentation is still happening. And this is all good, because this is all going to inform the decision making that will be coming in next six to twelve to eighteen months. 

00:06:03 Karen Plum

Yes, and the webinar guests talked about how many leaders are experiencing a decision-making paralysis. Let's hear from Mark again and then AWA's Matthew Atkin. 

00:06:13 Mark Gilbreath

There absolutely is a paralysis of decision making. These opportunities to continue with the rationalization, they exist every month, every day, every week, every month. And some of that wobble is leading folks to kick the can. I think history is going to end up frowning on that. Most companies could have done more sooner. 

I think they will ultimately come to those decisions and those organizations that were a bit bolder that were supported perhaps by firms like yourselves to affirm their convictions around those decisions, to be told that it's safe. If you give them the support, will not regret wielding the big chisel a little bit. 

00:06:47 Matthew Atkin

It's interesting you say that Mark about the wobble, because we've just had one of our clients that we're working very closely with and talking to the CEO of that organization, we were advising shedding, going back to your big chisel analogy, a lot of space and he said whatever the data says, I'm telling you, people are gonna be coming back into office more than they are now. 

You get to a point where, well, everything is telling you differently, but you know, he's the CEO of the organization and that's the wobble. That's the whole you've just described. They are believing that more people are gonna be coming in than they have coming in at the moment. 

00:07:14 Karen Plum

I wondered whether either of you have any examples like the one that Matthew spoke about. 

00:07:22 Clare Danahay

I was involved in the one that Matthew was talking about, and I think, and it's not the only one that we've had, that's for sure. I think we talked previously, Karen, about there being a real disconnection potentially between what senior leaders think it's happening within an organization and what is actually happening and whether some of that is because their ambitions and desired state says one thing, and it's not actually what is really going on, but they think that that's what’s happening.

Whether it's the fact that, you know for so long work has been about where you go - it's presenteeism - I'm somewhere, I sit at my desk - and those senior leaders have done that their entire career. So if they expect presenteeism, it's still - just because it's happened quickly and that is where the world has changed - have we really mentally caught up with all of that as a behavioral piece and are we ready to accept that change?

But equally I think Mark's point about the fact that property really cannot be kept - people can't keep that much property - is an absolutely valid one, not only from a cost perspective but from a sustainability perspective and environmental perspective. How can we have buildings that are burning energy and using carbon on a daily basis that aren't being utilized? And I think given our goals globally to achieve carbon net zero in many instances, how can we do that if we're keeping officers empty? It's not possible, is it? 

00:08:47 Karen Plum

Absolutely - it's morally not justifiable either, is it? Nida, any thoughts? 

00:08:52 Nida Mehtab

One thing, Karen, I feel like pandemic has not created a lot of problems, it has revealed the problems that already existed, now, with a higher sense of acknowledgement and registering and then thinking about what to do about it, I think based on what Matthew is saying that CEO is kind of right that people are not even - he thinks that people are going to be coming back more than they are right now. Absolutely, because nobody is going to the office right now, almost nobody. So even if they start transitioning to hybrid - going in once a week or twice a week, that itself is gonna be more than that.

And leaders are not deciding right now. They're desiring people to come into the office and the enforcing part and the mandating part - that is still being handled very cautiously. None of the organizations I know are actually mandating - they're starting to track the utilization, the presence and the attendance, but they're not having those hard conversations with the employees that you showed up one day where you were expected to. 

So there's still a lot of variability team by team because, to be honest, leaders are also understanding that team managers and team leads are not ready to manage the hybrid and remote workforce, so that itself is going to take some development and learning and learning to manage the hybrid workforce. 

So I think that CEO is right- people are going to go to the office more than how much they're showing up right now. But the other part is that when pandemic happened, that was a huge disruption to how things were run before. So people came to a sudden stop and pause and thinking that oh, now what do we do about it, how do we continue to work? 

But there was a window of time when that inertia kicked in. So even right now, when there's a higher desire of bringing people back into the office, that inertia has not kicked in yet to even bring people back because there's the role of the office changes from organization to organization. 

00:10:48 Clare Danahay

I think as well though that there's so much about the fact that most of the offices aren't actually designed to support the way that people want to work now, and why they're coming in. So they've not even got the right spaces when they're coming in, so they're having a bad experience when they do come into the office, so there's no encouragement to carry on. 

So I suppose part of the challenge, to Mark's point about taking a big chisel to your property portfolio, is that big chisel more about remodeling than necessarily cutting off huge chunks - and is it a mixture of both? I think it's not just saying we shouldn't be seeing offices that are rows and rows of desks, we should be seeing lots of alternative spaces because when people are coming in, they're coming in to collaborate. And they also, if they've got a Teams call during the day, they need to be able to find space to take that call. And I just don't think many offices, some are, but many are not designed to actually support hybrid working in the same way as Nida’s just said around management are not equipped, our offices and our real estate are not equipped for people to work hybrid. 

00:11:45 Karen Plum

Yes, I think there was somebody on the webinar yesterday that talked about repurposing the chisel. But if we accept that there's too much space, what are the options? Let's hear from Mark and Matthew, starting with some insights into what Mark's company LiquidSpace provides in this arena. 

00:12:07 Mark Gilbreath

LiquidSpace as a platform is a place where companies as well as professional space providers, the companies themselves can list space. So if you're a Fortune 1000 enterprise that has a portion of the portfolio that they've just logged off with the chisel, people they can call up their friendly broker and say help me sublet this. They can put a sign on the building. They can also list it on LiquidSpace, a digital marketplace that will give them, you know, substantial visibility to that asset. 

And so I think on one hand, every company that's looking to monetize its excess estate should be looking at all of the means, both the traditional approaches, the sign on the building, the broker with the sublet listing, but also the modern and contemporary approaches like digital marketplaces. They should do that, that's a best practice. 

Here's the perhaps sober consideration. I think the magnitude of portfolio that's going to fall to chisel is quite substantial. I think a lot of that estate lies with those companies that were the largest consumers of space - the larger organizations. I think a lot of that corporate enterprise Fortune 1000 inventory is going to be less relevant and either due to its location, that campus location or its fit out. 

And so I'm a little cynical about there being a silver bullet opportunity for some new mechanism to magically create demand that just might not be there. So I think the more realistic path for most, but not all, of the rationalization of portfolio for most companies  sadly, is going to be motions like not renewing the lease or as more and more companies are doing taking the impairment. 

Now that said, we may find that there's adaptive reuse opportunities. We may find that companies have the capital interested in refitting or reconfiguring space, like putting good money in to turn it into environments that might be more of a fit with what the market wants, for more on-demand uses. But I think for most, it's going to be an aging out of that excess estate versus a magic solution in the short term. 

00:14:17 Matthew Atkin

It's tough. There is no doubt that it is tough because lots of people are shedding space. However, if you're shedding space, which is extremely high-quality space, extremely eco-friendly space you know, environmentally very friendly space, that's not hard. That's not tough - that's going at a premium. There are other ways of thinking about using the space, so example if you're in a multi-story building and you've got three floors of a ten-story building or whatever it is, and there may be, for example, that you may have partner organizations that could use your space. It may be that within that building you could collectively, with the other tenants of that building, create Wellness facilities. 

It may be that you could create conference facilities. It may be there are things you can do that you haven't thought about doing in the past. Mark's absolutely right. If everybody's putting this big chisel to everything, there's gonna be an awful lot of bits of stone on the floor and not everyone's gonna want to pick them up. 

But for people to think outside the box a little bit more about what are the opportunities with those bits of space that are becoming available. 

00:15:13 Karen Plum

So people have to think outside the box. What examples have you ladies seen? 

00:15:18 Clare Danahay

I think one of the interesting examples is a project that we worked on last year where we were looking at how we can create more of a community around coming into the office. What is the purpose of coming in, but what benefits are there? So having extra facilities on site, so gym facilities but also dentistry and healthcare facilities so that people are actually getting a value out of it and creating more of that community spirit and hub when you are going into the workplace.

And going back a long time actually we worked with the client in Leeds who was very keen on creating a restaurant and bar area on the ground floor of their offices and they wanted it to be a space that their employees came to with their families at the weekend and that they were there as an actual community centre throughout - any time whenever they were in the city centre. It was somewhere that was open to them and could be used by them. 

And they really saw the value in actually fostering those social connections and really creating that bond between colleagues, but also between staff and the employer. And I think that's kind of the type of things that we will need to see, is a lot more cross functional environments which are based around community. 

00:16:30 Karen Plum

It's really interesting and one of the comments made in the webinar were about those sort of inducements, like the gyms and the sort of dentistry or the, you know, healthcare, Wellness, those sorts of things being inadequate to be the only hook that brings people into the office. You're giving them the wrong incentive. 

But to your point, if they're coming in for a work purpose, then having those things there will give them that added value. Nida, any thoughts? 

00:17:02 Nida Mehtab

So, Karen, one thing that Mark touched upon that the demand is not there right now and I agree with that because there are two factors that play a role in the investment decision making when it comes to real estate. One, if this is the right solution for that organization and B if this is the right time. And they both have to be backed by the availability of funds to begin with. A lot of organizations are struggling with right now - it's not that they're not realizing the savings that will come as a result of shedding and chiseling the portfolio, but doing that also requires upfront capital investment. And given that where the organizations are right now, hedging their future and the future investment - that capital investment is just not there.

Now, other part is that Matthew touched upon - that, Class A office buildings they have no problem getting leased or sold. I think even those buildings, if they're getting sold to the organization, that's not because they're going and buying more space, it's more to do with their consolidation and optimization strategy - where let's say they have 3,000,000 square feet of space - they go and buy 1,000,000 square feet of space, consolidate their entire portfolio into that one space. So the net effect on the market is still 1. 5 million square feet of space going back into the market. So that is how these equations are playing out right now. It's not that they're increasing their portfolio – it’s still the net decrease. 

00:18:36 Karen Plum

Right. That's really interesting. I think we should also talk about what all of this means for the existing workplaces. Really interesting that what you say there, Nida, that you know that whole consolidation process going on. But in terms of looking at what we've got already, if we're not into that sort of acquisition strategy and consolidation strategy, shouldn't we be thinking about refining what we have rather than hacking lumps of it? 

And in the webinar, the guests talked about trying to remove more of the friction points - the things that get in people's way of doing their best work. Here's Mark. 

00:19:17 Mark Gilbreath

If the collective “we” here in the audience are thoughtful, considerate people that are in the business of workplace and trying to come up with the right answers in an uncertain time, I think we need to be also honest that what friction is, for that individual employee of a Fortune 1000 company today includes things today that it didn't three years ago. 

Because we all endured or enjoyed this extended work from home or work from anywhere experiment, friction now, of course, includes things like when I get to the conference room at the location, how easy it is to get my slides up on the display, or how easy is to connect to the network, or how hard is it to order lunch or get in the building? We're familiar with all of those sort of typical friction points. But friction today also includes, what social anxiety do I feel about leaving my house? Friction also includes what am I going to wear today? You know, consideration of appearance. Friction also includes the commute, whether it's a time element of friction, or an economic element of friction. All of those are now additional parameters that sort of go into the calculus of am I going to gather with colleagues in person, or am I gonna work remote? 

And I think we shouldn't underestimate the level of friction associated with some of those things and they need to be considered by the people leaders and the workplace leaders that are considering what their policies or even mandates are going to be about returning. Gotta make the place frictionless. But we've also got to think about the human condition. 

00:20:48 Karen Plum

So, Clare, what do we know about friction from the studies that we do with clients? 

00:20:53 Clare Danahay

It's interesting. Mark's picked up on some good elements of what causes challenges for people during the day and friction. And I think other ones are even the mental load now potentially, of how you juggle your childcare situations or other responsibilities at home, how the day's gonna pan out when you've been used to being in a home environment on a more regular basis. 

But also there's some challenges around when you go into the office, how easy it is to access the facilities that you want to access. Do you know that you're going to be able to sit at a desk that you think you're going to be able to sit at? Or if you've got to book a desk, which potentially people haven't had to do in the past, that can cause a bit of mental load for people that they don't always feel comfortable about if they're not in the routine of doing it.

But we also hear things around people just having that general anxiety around seeing other people. It can be difficult if they're not sure who they're going to sit next to. So if people don't have the right tools in place when they design their offices, do they know - can people be comfortable that they've booked desk with their team and people they know? Or are they walking into an environment where they're not really quite certain who they're facing and what the day is going to look like for them. 

And people do want that certainty and security, so being able to have the right tools around supporting the workplace and design is really equally as important to resolve some of that kind of anxiety and friction, I think. But also, we see an awful lot now of Teams calls happening in open plan environments, which is not good for anybody, and that comes back to again the fact that people don't necessarily have the right workplace settings because the offices were designed for a different purpose and they were designed for a time when not everybody was operating on Teams calls. 

00:22:35 Karen Plum

Absolutely, and I guess what all of this means is that we've got to take our lead from the people, ask people what they need, give them choices and freedom, and watch to see which aspects lead to the best results. 

00:22:48 Nida Mehtab

I agree, Karen, and I think that Clare has touched upon something very interesting there too. I think starting from what people want and understanding what choices do they wanna stay within, actually helps leaders to develop that framework and guidelines that they want the organization to take forward and the work to be taken forward in. We can't ask everything from the employees, but how about starting from there? How about understanding that what is on the table and what's going on? 

Because the organizations are nothing but a network of brains. If we will not tap into that and understand where they wanna go and how they wanna work then it's a lost case. We can easily understand that fiction can also be categorized into many things, physical or spatial, mental, psychological. So these are the things that only a human being, or an employee who is actually in the moment of making a decision, should they go to the office to do the work, or should they continue doing that at home. All these things play a big role. 

00:23:51 Clare Danahay

If you go into the office and you've had a positive experience and it's been a great day and everything's worked really seamlessly and it's all been brilliant it’s going to encourage you more next week when you sort of think, oh, it's a rainy day, do I want to get out of bed? I've got to sort of sort the dog walker out, it's going to cost me, x to put petrol in my car. But you've had a great experience, you’re gonna be more inclined to go. Yeah, but last week was really good, it was so great, really enjoyed connecting with my colleagues. 

Whereas if you've had a really bad experience that day and everything seemed to go wrong and you turned up and your desk wasn't available and you went into a meeting room and none of the IT worked, and then you went into another meeting room and somebody already in there and they wouldn't get out for you and all that, you know, just generally a bad day. And you think why did I bother? That's what's going to inform you going in again or not going in the following week

And that's why I think what the environment is doing is really important. But I also think there's something around friction created by people not really having clarity around what's expected of them and not having a really clear hybrid working strategy in place. Because if you don't really know where the boundaries are, what's acceptable, what's not acceptable, how you should be respecting each other. There's a lot of friction I think caused around that, and that's a lot more behavioral than it is related to space. 

00:25:08 Karen Plum

And a lot more anxiety

00:25:09 Clare Danahay


00:25:10 Nida Mehtab

And that's why in the hybrid world, a few things that really help eliminate the friction is that setting meeting norms, team norms, scheduling norms, collaboration norms, because we are hearing consistently that all leaders want people to come to the office to collaborate. But collaboration is a wide term. There's an asynchronous and synchronous collaboration already happening. There's virtual collaboration already happening, so it's intentional in-person collaboration to achieve what? That why and what has to be transparent to people so that they can respond to that. And that is what brings in the alignment between the expectations and assumptions which creates a friction free environment. 

00:25:55 Karen Plum

Yes, a lot more figuring out what's right for the different roles and the different activities that we're trying to deliver. 

00:26:00 Nida Mehtab

And supported by the right processes and the policies and guidelines, because space is not the answer to everything. 

00:26 07 Clare Danahay

No, absolutely.

00:26:08 Karen Plum

Surprisingly! So I'd like to finish by thinking of what this means for the people delivering the workplace. We talk a lot about this on the podcast, and I was keen to know what Mark and Matthew thought about how this was affecting, particularly those people in real estate and facilities. Here's what they said. 

00:26:29 Mark Gilbreath

Our client base, which skews toward Fortune 1000 customers, is on a journey toward a truth or realization that as it relates to workplace, they're actually in a different business now. And if I was to prescribe sort of our language to that - they're in the Happy People business now, not the asset management business. 

And if that's too touchy feely, you could say they're in the employee productivity, the employee experience business, not the asset management business. And some companies are fully there and feeling that they understand that and embracing it. You know you've got the Dropbox’s and the Spotify's of the world, some of the more mid-tier enterprises that that have leapt to that realization that we're solving a people problem, not a place problem. Place is important because people need place, because they wanna gather, because there's certain tasks, certain emotional needs that they have where they want to do that proximate with others, but it's no longer starting with - I need to manage assets rather that's a byproduct, supports it. 

00:27:35 Matthew Atkin

Going back four years or five years or ten years, the real estate manager, it was very clear what he had to do or she had to do, which was, you know, you had a certain envelope. The hardest part often was finding out what the demand was but once you got that you had a set of tools that you kind of did, which was buy big buildings and fit them out with lots of desks. And what you found was that the role of IT in that was very siloed and the role of HR within that was very siloed. So you did your bit and IT provided the cables that made the technology work and HR provided to some degree the contracts that made people come into the office and it was very siloed. 

You're in a position now where if it's siloed, it's wrong. It needs to be absolutely, completely, 100% joined up and whoever joins that up or however it's joined up, there needs to be somebody who is making sure that this is joined up and it's all working harmoniously. And that basically is where the Chief Workplace Officer comes in because going back to this comment about happy people being productive people, they will only be happy if it is frictionless. If it does do the job, if it's the right thing, it has all the components - the technology works, the space works, their contract of employment is appropriate for this role and this way in which they're working. Then you're going to start to get things working together. And that's where this Chief Workplace Officer comes in. It is a different role, there is no doubt it is a different role to what it was three years ago, five years ago. 

00:28:59 Karen Plum

So all roads seem to come to the Chief Workplace Officer, Nida, because we can't think in silos anymore, right? 

00:29:07 Nida Mehtab

The need for a Chief Workplace Officer was not there before pandemic, I think that at that time, facilities, workplace and real estate were only considered to be a static service that would just respond to provide what the business needs instead of bringing them to the table for a conversation, that hey, there are other ways to better serve the business and the people needs and not just as an asset as Mark and Matthew both said, but as something that enables the work and how people work. 

So and the other reason why I think we before pandemic or even right now, it is still being siloed is even if we have realized the need to have technology, HR, and workplace, or in some cases, brand and corporate strategy to work together, they are measured differently. Their goals are different. And the way human mind works the way we all are geared to think is that we want to exceed someone’s expectation. We want to make sure that we are making progress. We measure ourselves by how we are measured. 

So if we are measured in a different way, like if a real estate head and the workplace head is measured by how much, how big of a portfolio he's managing; if the HR head or Chief People officer is being measured by how many people were attracted to the organization and not how they were retained or not; or the technology people were measured based on that, how much square meterage of cabling they did? Those are not the right measures and I'm of course I'm just oversimplifying them. 

So if there's one entity and one role whose whole goal and the way she or he is measured is the way things come together, as Clare said in a joined-up way, to create the experiences for the people, then that is something that can actually help us take a step forward. And the discussion that happens at the C-Suite level and the executive leadership level in the company, those are the right level of discussions to involve this role in because that's when you're forming the strategy to enable the work in the organization. 

00:31:15 Clare Danahay

It all comes down to people having a positive experience around the workplace and what that workplace experience looks like, and that has to be related to all three of those elements - not just space, but it's does my tech work, is it successful, is it enabling me to do what I need it to do? And also, are you supported with your behaviours, your policies what your expectation is within your role. And unless all three of those elements work together it's not going to be a successful workplace experience.

But I do think facilities and property was always seen as just the entity and a lot of projects were actually always driven, I think by that need and it always came from a - we've got a lease break, we need to save some money or we're growing. But it was always based around the physical property. And I think what we have seen - definitely since pandemic, but probably a little bit of a change pre pandemic, was that projects are not necessarily just being instigated by the property teams, but actually by the people teams and that there's actually a realization and recognition that the workplace strategy and the workplace experience is much more holistic. 

00:32:25 Karen Plum

Hopefully it's the end of the tail wagging the dog. Anyway, that's it for this episode. Many thanks to all the contributors - Nida, Clare, Mark and Matthew. 

If you'd like to join the next AWA Institute webinar or find out more about the group, take a look at our show notes or head to AWA’s website and check out the Institute page

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