Workplace Week is a captivating week-long event, organised by Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA), that shines a spotlight on some of the most innovative, creative and celebrated workspaces in the world, all while raising money for children’s charities. We caught up with AWA founder Andrew Mawson to hear more about Workplace Week London, which will grace the capital this November.
What inspired Workplace Week’s creation?
It all started on a Friday evening in 2009, when I was watching a popular TV show dedicated to raising money for the BBC charity ‘Children in Need’. This particular UK charity does incredible work to help support the development of children who are often from disadvantaged backgrounds. I was impressed with the work it was doing to help kids across the world, and I had a brainwave. I realised that the AWA team could get its clients, contacts and partners to open their doors and sell tickets for a series of visits and events. The idea was that Workplace Week could open people’s eyes to new thinking on ways of working, workplace design and technology.
How has Workplace Week evolved over the years?
To start with, we relied on our extensive network – our friends in the industry – because, as you can imagine, back then it was an unknown event. After year three, it started to take on its own momentum. By then, people had heard about the week and approached us to get involved. And that’s how Workplace Week flourished in the UK, and the same thing is already happening in the States.
Each year, Workplace Week has gotten bigger and better, bringing new insights on work, place and creativity to the ‘workplace’ community. The core goal is to expose people to new workplace thinking, have fun and raise money for the charity. In the UK, the event has also raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for the BBC’s charity and has engaged with more than 2,500 workplace professionals and leaders in a celebration of workplace innovation. In the US, we’ve already raised over $40,000 for I Have a Dream Foundation (New York), a charity that empowers children in low-income communities to achieve higher education.
Are there future plans to expand to additional cities as well?
Of course, world domination! We are having ongoing discussions with various interested parties in America – Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle – as well as other places in Europe. We will work with anyone around the world who wants to take on the idea, and we can offer guidance and the framework to drive it forward. But the principals remain the same; the event has to open people’s eyes and stimulate workplace innovation, but it also has to give something back to the children. So, if anyone’s interested in joining forces, get in touch.
What's something that surprised you the most about bringing Workplace Week together?
I find the amount of goodwill it generates the most surprising thing. Generally, people attend the events as part of the week, they smile, and they give more generously than we expect. Also, we sell out every year.
And, what can workplace professionals expect for the Workplace Week event in London later this year?
For the 2019 London event, we have decided to turn up the whisk on workplace innovation by looking to attract international visitors and showcase London’s design and innovation expertise. In London we will be running more than 20 tours, six fringe events, and the Workplace Week Dinner. Throughout the week, we will be introducing some new workplaces, liked the LinkedIn HQ in Farringdon, as well as showcasing some old favourites like the head office of insurance market Lloyds of London, whose heritage dates back to the 17th century.
We are determined that Workplace Week stays on the cutting edge of workplace management and design. As a science-based workplace consultancy, AWA understands that there is growing body of research on the impact that working environments, workplace habits and culture have on people and broader business performance. We have now entered into a new age of workplace management that is about designing and delivering multi-faceted, multi-sensory experiences that reflect an organisation’s personality, support human effectiveness and lure in the best talent. What Workplace Week attempts to do is find workplaces that best exhibit this crucial trend.
Workplace Week London 2019 starts on the 11th November. This year’s week-long workplace spectacle involves a dynamic programme of workplace tours and fringe events across London. Click here, to find out more.