Workplace Week New York 2018

Everyone’s talking about the increasingly important “workplace experience”. But what does it really mean, and where is the science to guide facility, workplace and design professionals? These questions, and a dozen others, were addressed last week as part of Workplace Week New York 2018, a philanthropic event that raised thousands of dollars for the “I Have A Dream” Foundation, New York – a charity that provides individualised social, emotional, and academic support to young people from low-income communities.

Following a successful six years in the UK, and having raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for BBC Children in Need, Workplace Week went Stateside this summer, marking its US premiere. The event, which is run by Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA) and supported by the IFMA Workplace Evolutionaries Group, partnered with organisations across the “Big Apple”. Neuberger Berman, Delos, Nickelodeon and Viacom were just some of the big names participating in the week to celebrate and showcase workplace innovation and creativity, proving that designers, architects, real estate professionals and facilities managers have the ability to influence behaviour, health and performance.

The week-long programme of events included a busy schedule of ‘working workplace’ tours across New York. High-profile organisations opened their doors for the first time in June. Investment management firm Neuberger Berman was one of them. In addition to being named “Best Place to Work in Money Management” by Pensions & Investments each year since 2013, Neuberger Berman’s new global headquarters earned the firm a 2017 International Facility Management Association (IFMA) Award nomination and a 2017 Avenue of the Americas Association’s Avenue Architectural Award. The HQ, which has been designed for function as opposed to merely form, enables people to work individually, collaboratively and the flat organisational structure helps to empower people and improve access to senior management executives. The tour also included a sneak peek of ‘new mother’ and relaxation rooms, complete with mattresses to encourage a daytime nap as and when needed.

The jam-packed week also included a sneak peek at Nickelodeon’s recently redesigned offices, spanning six floors and 233,000 sqft at Viacom’s 1515 Broadway location. Key design elements include increased exposure to views and daylight, making leadership more visible, assigning private offices based upon need rather than title, and informal “refresh and connect” areas to foster a sense of community. That said, the energy and ‘vibe’ wasn’t as palpable as some of the other tours, proving that change management is an essential part of any workplace transformation journey.

In addition to the ‘working workplace’ tours, the established London conference, Workplace Trends, graced New York for the first time in the same week. The programme focussed on ‘Designing Environments for Wellbeing & Performance’ and featured an impressive speaker line up, including AWA’s Andrew Mawson, Leesman’s Tim Oldman and Neil Usher, author of The Elemental Workplace. The conference and the fringe events that cushioned the week explored new research to find out how the c-suite in partnership with the RE, FM and HR spheres can boost productivity and performance through being playful with space and bold by pushing for change.

Workplace Week London is up next in November 2018. For more information about the event and to get involved, please visit –


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Ben Keeley