“One of the misconceptions of workplace strategy,” Charlotte Timms says, “is that it’s just about physical space, in reality it’s so much more than that. It’s about business, people, culture, technology and creating lasting value for all involved.
“The ‘traditional workspace was designed at a time where we weren’t constantly being inundated with new information from our phones, email, LinkedIn and everything in between…while I strongly believe tech is a good thing, achieving true undistracted concentration for the task in hand is a bigger challenge than ever before.”
For Timms, a new Americas Board Member, collecting data to understand how we now work, coupled with a holistic approach to the workplace is the key to transformative change for the better, whether it’s working with a large corporate, fast-growing start-up or a professional body that works for positive change in land and the built environment. To create lasting value, she believes there is an onus on businesses to deliver flexible spaces and ecosystems that function for the way we work today and are conscious of tomorrow. This is the message she’s bringing as she enters her first full calendar year on the RICS Americas Board.
She has a diverse background in the real estate industry, starting out in valuation and leasing at the big four. However, she joined a workplace startup in London and got hooked on the rapidly ascendant field, now focusing on workplace strategy for Colliers in the U.S.
One of her specific goals this year is to help qualified professionals think more strategically about the places we are creating and the benefits of leveraging tech in the built environment. There is no one style or trend for workplace that is right or wrong; rather, the strategy needs to be right and create value for the company, it’s goals and the employees who are vital to its success.
One common misstep Timms has observed is stereotyping employees by generation and deriving answers around their work preferences from that alone; Boomer, Millennial, Gen Z etc.
“In my experience, it doesn’t always work out that way,” she says. “I often see experienced professionals enjoying working on a laptop in an informal space and younger professionals with a strong need for quiet, solo spaces. It’s often more of a function of personality, preference, cognitive diversity, the degree of introversion vs. extroversion or simply the task at hand; collecting the correct data helps simplify some of these complexities.”
There’s a lesson in all of this that jibes with RICS’ approach to all aspects of the built environment.
“If we’re going to strive for livable outcomes for the benefit of everyone, we have to make sure we’re trying to understand as many people and their needs as possible. Whether it’s contech or valuation standards or workplace strategy, we have to understand the issues we’re fixing before we can evangelize the solutions.”
“Roles are changing and businesses are evolving incredibly quickly. RICS’ leadership in guiding this change is more crucial now than ever before. It’s important that we be the change as well.”
Hear more about workplace strategies at the RICS Summit Series Americas 2020 where Charlotte and her colleagues from Workplace Evolutionaries will be included in the program.