People, performance and place: How using perceptive and cognitive data can create inspiring and collaborative workspaces that enable growth and innovation

Nicola Gillen, Hilary Jeffery, Charlotte Hermans, Ramona Verhees, Malcolm Louth, David Barrett, and Robin Bott

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Abstract: AECOM is a leading global infrastructure services provider. A major acquisition in 2015 led to the company rationalizing its real estate, bringing about the opportunity to transform its workplaces and drive cultural and behaviour change across its offices in and around London.


This paper sets out AECOM’s approach to the formation of its new Greater London Campus, the drivers underpinning the project, key features of the campus and measures used to identify changes in employee performance, collaboration and wellbeing. It primarily focuses on how return on investment (ROI) was achieved, with a spotlight on the campus headquarters in Aldgate Tower, East London, and the process used to capture the underlying metrics. A key objective was to go beyond spatial metrics and people’s perception of changes in performance to direct business impact. AECOM partnered with professional services firm AON’s talent assessment team to create a bespoke method of assessing performance, building off existing world-leading psychometric tests and including leading-edge wellbeing surveys. The post-occupancy evaluation (POE) results demonstrated a significant improvement, as evidenced by a three-fold value increase in cross-disciplinary working, a 10 percent increase in creativity measures and a 26 percent drop in attrition rates in the central London location.


The paper concludes with key messages and learning points for future workplace transformation projects. It is important to note that this paper focuses on research in practice. The working hypothesis was to seek measurable connections between behaviour, space and business performance in a live working environment. Detailed descriptions of psychometric tests and opinion-based assessment are provided along with findings from a POE study.


KEYWORDS: AECOM, infrastructure services, cultural change, behavioural change, Greater London Campus, AON, post-occupancy evaluation (POE), psychometric tests



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