BCO Ideas Project | Highly Commended | The People’s Workplace by Andreas Leonidou

In his idea for ‘The People’s Workplace’ Andreas Leonidou, Consultant Cost Manager at Turner & Townsend, brings his range of experience in both the residential and commercial market sectors to the table. As a quantity surveyor, Andreas has worked alongside several major high street retail brands and organisations, as well as corporate business-to-business clients and residential developers. This first hand experience means he is well positioned to imagine a better future for the workplace.

The People’s Workplace

Magic Johnson, former owner of Starbucks and Burger King, once said: ’if the community is happy, then they support your business, and if your business is doing well, then you can give back even more to the community.’ This concept underpins the idea for The People’s Workplace — a genuinely hybridised working environment which brings community together in a productive, collaborative space.

Positive social impact is the driving force behind The People’s Workplace. It aims to address the inequalities between communities, which are based on the strength of community infrastructures, from design inception.

The current amount of underutilised UK office space, when applying the BCO’s recommendation of 89-108 square feet of space per person, would allow for between 530,000 – 650,000 people associated with local communities and educational organisations to be supported. By evolving these underutilised spaces into hybrid commercial community workplaces, we can drive positive change, bringing communities together. Crucially, this also avoids unnecessary construction, which is a step in the right direction towards addressing the climate emergency.

The People’s Workplace would incorporate spaces for both commercial businesses and local community and learning organisations, such as lecture theatres, seminar classrooms, exhibition halls and local charities. This closer working proximity would create a more fluid exchange between sectors, making it easier for organisations to achieve genuinely positive social impact.

Local charities could set up opportunities for their neighbouring employers to support events or fundraising activities, which would in turn assist the surrounding businesses in achieving their social impact goals. From an education standpoint, professionals from neighbouring businesses could offer relevant career advice, lectures and workshops.

Business professionals would be able to engage with charities and educational organisations, which would in turn create a strong sense of support from the commercial sector. New Technologies such as virtual collaboration tools could also be incorporated, further solidifying the sense of community.

Instead of a purely commercial-focused workspace, this widened working environment would break down the barriers between business, charity and education — creating genuine community. The People’s Workspace aims to transform the future of the workplace, for the benefit of everyone.

Written By Eilidh Tuckett.

Attend the BCO Ideas Project Final Showcase Evening on 29 September where the selected finalists will be sharing their 10-minute TED Talk style pitches. Visit bco.org.uk to book.