Investment Professional of the Future

Investment Professional of the Future

Effective Workplace Design


Adapting the work environment to enhance the employee experience will be a key challenge for most firms and will enable employee growth. Silicon Valley firms like Google and Apple are leading a transformation in workplace structure and practice. These organizations are heavily dependent on intellectual capital and innovation characteristics, as are investment organizations.

The Bloomberg working arrangement in the City of London is a good example of workplace design in a financial services context, where the workspace is designed to improve the employee experience and business outcomes, in part by creating more opportunity for serendipitous interaction and boosting collective intelligence. The ideas that shape this workspace are presented by the architect Foster+Partners:xl

Central to Bloomberg’s ethos, the double-height “pantry” on the sixth floor is the heart of the building, reflecting the importance of sharing and collaboration at the company. Everyone passes through this animated space, increasing the likelihood of chance meetings and allowing people to hold brief ad hoc conversations with colleagues, whilst not impeding the flow of people.

These exemplar new office developments have been well researched, and considerable attention has been given to effective design based on new working practices and support for the employee experience. It seems logical that many investment organizations will pursue the evidence-based methods and beliefs-based methods to pursue innovation in the world of work.

The work environment is capable of considerable evolution in the next 5–10 years in a range of areas. The following seem fertile areas for productive changes in specific contexts:

  1. Flexible working arrangements
  2. Job-sharing arrangements
  3. Remote working arrangements
  4. Agile team-work breaking away from organization chart structures
  5. Workplace design, particularly open plan and agile spaces, no fixed offices or desks
  6. Complete pay transparency
  7. Radical transparency communication ethos
  8. Personal productivity metrics tracked through wearables and other technology
  9. Email replaced with alternative communication mediums
  10. Performance appraisals stopped in favor of performance check-ins
  11. No vacation policy; the employee schedules these according to needs
  12. Sabbatical policies
  13. Secondment policies and international experience
  14. Workspace devoted to leisure facilities and/or including childcare facilities