As we move into a new normal of post-pandemic workplaces, it’s more important than ever to create an environment that brings people together and supports your team.
Strategy is a key element of our Think, Create, Make methodology in order to ensure our workplaces actually work for our clients’ people. Based in London as EMEA’s new Regional Principal of Strategy, Tom Helliwell will be leading our Strategy team, enabling our clients to understand their needs through robust analytics, engagement surveys, workshops, insights and change management. We chat to Tom about his new role and why he’s excited to join the Unispace team.
What drew you to Unispace?
Firstly, it was the people I met. After talking to a few team members that I’d be working with, the drive and enthusiasm was infectious. I can’t wait to be part of an organisation that is clearly going places and I’m excited about the sense of space for innovation and entrepreneurship at Unispace, but with the support of a larger business to really make it happen.
What are you looking forward to doing once you get started?
I’m really looking forward to meeting the rest of the strategy team, to see where we can go next. Exploring how we can engage with our clients and enabling them to imagine their organisations in the future will be paramount.
To drive success, we need to collaborate and share knowledge. We need to show our clients that we are at the very forefront of the post-pandemic workplace.
What are your thoughts on the future of the workplace?
I really feel that we’re embarking on a golden age for the workplace. It’s going to be an exciting time. All the barriers for change are now gone, or at least seriously eroded.
The “other spaces” that were secondary to desks will now become the most valuable. In an ever more mobile world, the spaces we occupy will become more people centric. We will need spaces to form relationships with our clients, more dedicated spaces to train and inspire the next generation, flexible and intuitive spaces for idea generation and for project delivery.
But most of all we want to connect with each other, remember why we are part of the common goal, the collective, the belonging.
What relevant or interesting expertise and experience are you bringing to this role?
I really get a kick out of getting to know an organisation, their business goals and their clients. In order to bring them the most value, I want to understand the challenges they’re facing and what role the workplace can play in solving them.
I also have a keen interest in using new technology, sometimes in ways that it wasn’t originally designed, to create engaging data gathering experiences for our clients.
Do you have any career-defining moments or highlights to share?
There have been a few but a couple to mention are:
Being a key part of the competition-winning team that defined the building concept for 22 Bishopsgate, or “The Vertical Village” as it’s become known, which is an icon in London’s city landscape.
Still one of my favourite projects was the headquarters for Investec. It was such a great project that I saw through from feasibility, to handing out mimosa’s on opening morning. It’s such a perfect example of a physical environment representing an organisation and where they wanted to go. I’m immensely proud of it.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I would say my leadership is about empowering people to do their best, to ensure we achieve high standards for ourselves and our clients. I’m passionate about team culture and connections. I want openness, cohesiveness but also, I want us not to be afraid to challenge and make each other accountable. This is how we keep pushing ourselves forward.
What’s your preferred ‘go to’ subject matter expert topics?
The main topic would be storytelling, how we build the narrative of the business we are working with into our reports. We want clients to feel as though we’ve fully understood them.
And data, of course. I love data.
What are a couple of facts about you on a personal level (hobbies or special talents, where you grew up, interesting or unusual facts, family life)?
My wife and I have literally just welcomed our second son Woody into the world so don’t be surprised if I look a little tired...!
I am/was a keen rugby player but due to age and injuries I limit myself to coaching my eldest son Freddie and the rest of the under 8’s at Chipstead RFC. I’m also massively into all types of cycling and now have a shed full of bikes for all occasions. My pride and joy is my electric bike that I regularly ride from Surrey into London.
We are thrilled to have Tom head up the EMEA Strategy team to help clients make their future workplace a reality. By blending science and storytelling, our strategists and designers transform workplaces to bring out the best in people, reaching business goals and delivered to our high-quality standard.