Line up of speakers announced for Workplace Trends: Research Spring Summit

The research-driven Workplace Trends Spring Summit returns for 2019. We have two sessions with invited guest speakers, our keynote and the after lunch debate. Following a recent Call for Abstracts and a blind peer review by our two moderators for the day, Nigel Oseland (Workplace Unlimited) and Mark Eltringham (Workplace Insight), the remaining sessions have now been filled with the highest ranked submissions.

Conference Registration

Register Delegate ButtonRegistration is open now with our super-early bird delegate rate of £225 + VAT per person, or £445 + VAT for two people. These rates are only available for a very limited time, after which our early bird rate will apply.  Your registration fee includes all refreshments, our famous post conference Drinks Social, electronic copies of presentations / papers, plus access to videos of presentations filmed on the day.

Keynote: An Evidence-Based Approach to Workplace Management
Rob Briner, Professor of Organizational Psychology, Queen Mary, University of London
Scientific Director, Center for Evidence-Based Management

Rob BrinerRob is Professor of Organizational Psychology at Queen Mary, University of London and also Scientific Director of the Center for Evidence-Based Management (  His research has focused on several topics including well-being, emotions, stress, ethnicity, the psychological contract, absence from work, motivation, work-nonwork and everyday work behaviour.  Beyond academic research Rob helps practitioners and organizations make better use of evidence, including research evidence, in decision-making as well as encouraging academics to make research more accessible.  He has written for and presented to practitioners on many aspects of HR and organizational psychology and is now involved in many initiatives aimed at developing and promoting evidence-based practice. He has received several awards for his work in this area including the British Psychological Society Division of Occupational Psychology Academic Contribution to Practice Award in 2014 and topped HR Magazine’s Most Influential Thinker list in 2016.

The role of Virtual Reality and psychological tests in workplace design research
Atkins and the University of Bath

Work plays an influential role on our lives, and the quality of working environments can have considerable impact on our health and wellbeing. Atkins’ recently collaborated with the Departments of Psychology at University of Bath and Bath Spa University on new ways in which we can study psychological responses to workplace design.

Using virtual reality environments and Visual Spatial Perspective Taking (VSPT) tasks to assess cognitive responses and spatial awareness, these studies have provided further insight into the complex relationships between different spatial attributes and different methods that can be used in design research.

As the future of the workplace continues to be driven by flexibility and openness, our presentation will discuss the use of Virtual Reality and psychological tests in design research, the opportunities for applying these methods to design optioneering tools, and the challenges facing design communities when using new technological methods.

How to measure well-being and productivity in the workplace: a case study
Julia Ayuso, Technical University of Madrid

JuliaIn response to the challenges of how to measure the improvement of productivity and well-being through biophilic architecture design, the main contribution of this study is the development of a tool that measures the predicted features that improve productivity and well-being, based on a scientific method, which is tested by conducting a pilot experiment.

A scheduled pilot experiment, as a small-scale version done in preparation for a major study, has been conducted to test a tool that quantifies the impact of biophilic design features on performance and well-being, to evaluate the influence of variables such as greenery and daylight on improving workplace performance, and look at biophilic design knowledge in greater depth.

Julia Ayuso is an Architect and Project Manager who is in charge of International Real Estate Consultancy CBRE LAB in Madrid.

Before coming to CBRE, she gained extensive professional and research experience. She completed a pre-doctoral stay at Keio University, Japan, and at the same time she worked at the Japanese architecture firm Nikken Sekkei in Tokyo. She also has previous international professional experience working as a freelance and at such firms as the internationally renowned Campo Baeza Architecture studio in Madrid.

She is currently researching the relationship between architecture, productivity, and well-being, focusing on the ability to measure the impact of architectural features on people. The results of her research are applied to design and consultancy work to create buildings that focus on well-being. Therefore, enabling an increase in productivity, well-being, and creativity, saving on costs and being socially responsible to companies, which has proven and quantifiable economic benefits.

People, Performance, Place – Measuring the success of workplace transformation using perceptive, observational and cognitive data. – A 1-year post-occupancy evaluation of AON’s London headquarters.
David Barrett, AON, Nicola Gillen, AECOM

NG pictureWorkplace transformation can be a powerful vehicle to initiate culture change, inspire innovation and improve productivity. What businesses really want to know is – is it worth it, and does it have a lasting impact on the bottom line. AON took the opportunity to transform its London real estate into a thriving Greater London campus community and leveraged the change as a study environment for measuring the impact of spatial and cultural transformation on performance, collaboration, wellbeing and hard metrics.

A 1-year post-occupancy evaluation was carried out in a live working environment as an exercise of research in practice – the key focus was to investigate whether ROI for an extensive change project could be demonstrated in the context of a fast-paced, client-facing organisation. Partnered with professional services firm AON’s talent assessment team, AECOM created a bespoke method of assessing performance, building off existing world-leading psychometric tests and including leading-edge wellbeing surveys. Financial, HR and Real Estate data was obtained and triangulated to complement the holistic measurement approach to assessing the success of workplace change. The findings revealed powerful insights and made a strong case for investment in holistic workplace transformation to improve how people perform, collaborate and feel in their work environment.

David Barrett, AON, is a business focused occupational psychologist working with clients across a spectrum of challenges from large scale international psychometric, assessment, development and performance management projects. Much of David’s work focuses on looking at how behavioural, values and cognitive attributes in humans predict work performance and assisting organisations use smart talent measurement system and data analytics to predict and advise on this. David is an honours Psychology graduate from Trinity College Dublin and holds a postgraduate MSc in Occupational Psychology from Queens University Belfast.

Nicola Gillen, AECOM, is an architect with a business degree. This provides her with a complimentary perspective on the physical and business environments, through understanding the complex and often contradictory interests of the owner, users, designers and managers of buildings. Nicola leads Workplace Strategy at AECOM Globally and drives thought leadership around the future of work, regularly publishing and speaking at conferences.

Indoor Environmental Qualities and the effects on human performance and productivity
Ian Baker, EMCOR

Ian BakerWithin the workplace, how much is too much CO2? Do you know whether the energy used to lower indoor CO2 (creating more of it to pump into the atmosphere!) is beneficial? Or, are you like most organisations, not even measuring it?

And, what about the effects of temperature and humidity?

Leading facilities management company EMCOR UK, joined a consortium research project named Whole Life Performance Plus (WLP+) with seven other industry leaders. The aim of this two year study was to establish the role the Workplace has in closing the productivity gap, by focussing on how Internal Environmental Qualities (IEQ) affects cognitive function and productivity of office workers in the first long term, real world study.

Will the results be as you expect?

Ian Baker is Head of Workplace for EMCOR UK a leading facilities management company. Heading up the client facing workplace consultancy. He’s an advocate of how workplaces can contribute to an organisations productivity, employee engagement, health and wellbeing. A strategic thinker and agent for change, Ian combines data with his knowledge and skills as a workplace leader to promote evidence based designs that improve workplace performance.

Location Independent // #MyLifeAsADigitalNomad
Deborah Simmons, Camino Insight Ltd

Location Independent is an in-depth qualitative study into the growing movement of Digital Nomads, and how the demand for greater working flexibility is forcing the workplace to redefine itself. It follows a community of Nomads living and working in a different city each month for a year (March 2017-18), in Europe and Latin America. Through a combination of approaches, Location Independent considers the remote working status quo, and looks at how culture, personality, goals, job role, industry sector and employment status all feed into the individual’s ability to adapt to a nomadic lifestyle. The study includes an in-depth review of 14 co-working spaces, generating fresh insight around workplace needs; both met and unmet.

Deborah Simmons is the Founder and Director of Camino Insight Ltd; a future-focused consumer insight consultancy which has particular expertise in researching younger audiences, innovation, digital and media.

Through her experience as an agency-side researcher – and previously as a marketer for leading magazine brands – Deborah has developed an intrinsic understanding of the influences that shape the way different generations interpret their worlds and shape their futures. Deborah engages audiences, generates insights and aids clients in putting research outputs into action, helping brands to develop, grow and stay relevant.

Deborah has spent much of the last two years living and working as a Digital Nomad in Europe, Latin America, the US and South Africa. During her initial year of travel, she conducted a year-long ethnographical study into the Digital Nomad movement.

After lunch debate: “The workplace profession is now just pandering to fads and fancies, and the ‘workplace’ is now done: we’ve run out of meaningful things to say”.
For the motion: Rob Harris, Ramidus Consulting
Against the motion: to be announced!

Rob Harris crop“I spent some time with Frank Duffy recently, releasing a stream of memories of working with him, first as an employee at DEGW during the 1980s, and then as a client while directing developer Stanhope’s research programme during the 1990s. Along with his long-term business partner, John Worthington, and thinkers including Franklin Becker, Gerald Davis, Michael Joroff and Jack Tanis, to name a few, Frank helped sketch out the grand scheme of what we now call ‘workplace’. Much of the work of their successors has involved filling in the matrix of detail within the grand scheme.

But further reflection has caused me to ask whether, in filling in the finer details, we have recently somehow lost our way? Are we, the ‘workplace profession’, instead of standing on giants’ shoulders, now just pandering to fads and fancies. Or, even more radical, might it be that ‘workplace’ is now done, and that we’ve run out of meaningful things to say?”

Rob will speak for the motion that we have lost our way in workplace design and management. A worthy opponent (to be confirmed) will  make the case against!

Here and Now: Measuring subjective productivity of knowledge workers using experience sampling app
Iva Kleinová, HB Reavis

IvaMeasuring productivity of knowledge workers, who may not have measurable work outputs, is difficult. Perceived productivity seems to be a viable proxy for understanding environmental effects on productivity (Sullivan, Baird & Donn, 2013). We developed and tested an experience sampling application to measure productivity of our employees in Bratislava, Slovakia and London, UK. We measured how productivity relates to space and type of activity as our company moved from traditional closed offices to activity-based spaces. We asked each participant four to five short questions at three random times during the day to assess levels of productivity for different spaces and activities. The experience sampling approach seems promising since 74% of prompts were answered within 5 minutes. The most frequently performed activity – individual work – was most productive during home office, while even informal spaces outperformed current hot desks. We discuss the use of the results and methods for our workspace consulting and value-based discussions with workspace tenants, and for further research.

Iva Kleinová currently leads a team of researchers in the international workspace provider company HB Reavis headquartered in Bratislava, Slovakia.

After her undergraduate studies at Princeton University, Iva worked as a Business Analyst for McKinsey & Company in Prague, Czech Republic. She also served as an independent consultant for the New York City Fire Department, where she and her team developed a unique performance management tool measuring how much property the department saves from fires every year. From January to May 2010, she served on a team of consultants for the Mayor of Newark, NJ, designing a neighbourhood stabilization program after a devastating wave of foreclosures and building vacancies. She had previously interned at the United Nations Development Program, listed as co-author on 2 official publications. Iva set up of Economics Discovery Hub that within several months serviced hundreds of students and young professionals in improving their data analysis and programming skills. Her other previous working experience includes being Deputy to Plenipotentiary for Knowledge Economy at the Ministry of Finance, Slovakia and co-founder of LEAF and LEAF Academy, unique boarding school high school located in Bratislava. 

Crafting Work – Crafting Workplace
Suvi Nenonen and Ursula Hyrkkänen, Tampere University of Technology

Work crafting is defined as self-initiated change behaviour that employees use with the aim to align their jobs with their preferences, motives and passions. It is proactive work behaviour aiming to improve person’s job fit over work motivation. The places and spaces is one element for employees’ work crafting.

The presentation is based on the data gathered in the project New Ways of Work Crafting, which has investigated how the working time and workspace management practices are crafted by employees in Finnish SME-companies.

The goal of the presentation is to offer information and insight on how people are working in a mobile and multi-locational manner and especially how they craft – within the regulatory limits – their working time, work habits and the various workspaces they use. The results presented are based on both qualitative and quantitative data.

The relationship between the workplace environment, employee wellbeing, and productivity:
Michael Roskams, KTP Associate/PhD Student, Sheffield Hallam University & Mitie Energy

michael roskamsMichael will discuss his PhD research, the aim of which is to explore the relationship between the physical workplace environment, employee wellbeing, and productivity. The PhD is being completed in partnership with Mitie, a leading facilities management provider who are pioneering the use of wireless “Internet-of-Things”-enabled sensors to monitor indoor environmental parameters (CO2, temperature, humidity, light intensity, and sound pressure level) in real time.

First, Michael will present the Environmental Demands-Resources (ED-R) Model, an extension of an existing framework from organisational psychology which is also applicable for understanding the effects of the workplace environment on the job performance of knowledge workers. In the ED-R model, the workplace environment is seen as a composite of ‘demands’ (which cause strain) and ‘resources’ (which improves motivation).

Subsequently, he will discuss the series of research projects he is conducting across the course of his PhD. These studies will explore the extent to which the real-time workplace environmental data captured using wireless sensors, as well as other forms of buildings analytics data, can be used to predict employee wellbeing and productivity. The research also takes into account individual difference characteristics (e.g. task type, personality), to explore whether this improves predictions.

Michael is currently completing a PhD at Sheffield Hallam University, as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) being conducted in partnership with Mitie Energy. The aim of his research project is to explore the impact of the workplace environment on employee wellbeing and productivity.

The Eight Laws of Workplace
Neil Usher, Executive Consultant, Unispace

Neil Usher newHowever we look at workplace, whatever research we do, however we break down our thinking and evaluate components of the workplace, we always return to seven basic and understandable laws. They form the basis of our entire understanding of the workplace. They are not optional. It is the vital frame of reference that all practitioners, thinkers, writers and analysts need, and will help us focus on the right paths of enquiry in future rather than re-processing that which has been solved.

The talk will expand on each of the laws featured in a blog post of 19 October 2018 – a similar birthplace to the book The Elemental Workplace, and a line of thinking to be included in its sequel in 2019. It will provide supporting evidence from 23 of 26 years in property and workplace as an occupier-side leader. It will be theoretical, practical and useful – and amusing.

It might just change how everyone presents at Workplace Trends from here on.

With over 25 years in the industry as a property, workplace and change leader, Neil has delivered innovative environments for organisations in a variety of sectors, all over the world including Warner Bros., Honeywell, Rio Tinto and Sky. He hasn’t just talked about it – he has been there and done it. Together with this practical experience, his influential blog (, regular conference talks and occasional performance poetry have made him a leading thinker in the profession. His first book The Elemental Workplace was published in March 2018.

Conference Moderators and Abstract Review Team

Mark Eltringham, Workplace Insight and Nigel Oseland, Workplace Unlimited

Mark Eltringham has worked in the office design and facilities management sector for 25 years. He is the publisher of Workplace Insight, an online publication (this one, in fact) that explores the relationships between commercial interior design, workplace management, technology, property, human resources, the wider business world and society. The publications is now the UK’s most widely read title in its field.

He is also the European Director for Work&Place, the world’s leading journal looking at the many facets of the workplace, which is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese editions.

Nigel 2017 cropNigel Oseland is a workplace strategist, change manager, environmental psychologist, researcher, international speaker and published author. He draws on his psychology background and his own research to advise occupiers on how to redefine their workstyles and rethink their workplace to create working environments that enhance individual and organisational performance and deliver maximum value. Nigel founded the Workplace Change Organisation and is the programme advisor for the Workplace Trends conferences.

Drinks Social

As with all our events, everyone is welcomed to an informal drinks social immediately after the conference close. Here the discussion continues, and you can catch up with old friends and make new connections.

Conference Dinner

As an optional extra you can now join speakers and supporters of the conference at an informal buffet dinner from 7pm. Early bird tickets for the dinner are now on sale at £65 + VAT.

Conference Registration

Register Delegate ButtonRegistration is open now with our super-early bird delegate rate of £225 + VAT per person, or £445 + VAT for two people. These rates are only available for a very limited time, after which our early bird rate will apply.  Your registration fee includes all refreshments, our famous post conference Drinks Social, electronic copies of presentations / papers, plus access to videos of presentations filmed on the day.

Image: Herman Miller


Workplace Unlimited



Insight logo_0000