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An interview with Unispace CEO, Steven Quick

“The market is in transition. It’s an immense time of change and compressed workplace evolution.” Mix sits down (virtually) with Steven Quick, who took up the role as CEO of Unispace last month.

19/10/2020 4 min read
Steven Quick

Global workplace specialist, Unispace, has recently appointed a new global CEO to champion client-centred solutions and drive growth in key international markets, as owners and occupiers worldwide continue to grapple with the short and longer-term impacts of COVID-19 on office fit-outs, commercial tenancies and real estate portfolios. We managed to ask Steven Quick all about himself and his exciting new position.

What will your role at Unispace entail day-to-day?  

As CEO, I’ll be focused on leading the company’s growth efforts around longer-term client relationships and driving new Design and Build concepts that fit with the changing world that we live and work in. Day-to-day, this means collaborating with the global and regional leadership teams to consult on current design projects, new leads, and global trends and challenges impacting our clients. A key element is providing direction to our teams and inciting the team to push the boundaries within design in order to create great workplaces, which ultimately elevate our brand position in the market.

What do you feel your key strengths are?  

Having worked for large global multinational companies within commercial real estate for over two decades, I have a broad perspective on how people think about the evolution of their workspaces and deep industry understanding. I think my other main strengths lie in devising strategies that help companies grow and innovate and in adopting a client-centric mindset. Every company has its own unique needs and aspirations, and it’s only through understanding these that a successful strategy can be devised.

Tell us about your career to date

I have been working in commercial real estate and facilities management for over 25 years. Before joining Unispace, I was Chief Executive, Global Occupier Services at Cushman & Wakefield, where I oversaw a portfolio of occupier clients including major corporations, institutions and government agencies. Prior to this, I was Executive Managing Director of Global Corporate Services at CBRE and held UK-based leadership roles at Johnson Controls Global Workplace Solutions, including leading the company’s $3 billion-plus EMEA business.   

What attracted you to Unispace and this particular role?  

I was really impressed by the company’s organic growth and its disruptive ‘think, create, make’ methodology, which has enabled the company to position itself as a serious challenger to more established brands in the workplace sector. While many other Design and Build companies focus on construction or architecture, Unispace offers an excellent service in both these areas but also in workplace strategy – a component that has become even more relevant in the current COVID and post-COVID world. I believe it’s a model that will take over the industry in the coming years, and Unispace is in a great position to lead the way. I am very excited to be leading Unispace into the second decade of growth, innovation and world-class design.

What innovative design solutions can end users currently consider when looking to enhance a return on investment? 

Design solutions, such as Unispace’s ‘Propeller’ office model, offer companies a clear means of delivering an effective workplace strategy and solution in adapting to the new workplace needs. Propeller takes a ‘home and hub’ approach to combine the collaborative physical office space with the ease and familiarity of home working for focused work, creating a balance for both locations. It is designed both to assist businesses as they tackle the challenges of establishing a COVID-19-secure workplace, and to embrace the changes in working practices to propel businesses forward as they adopt the new normal.

In terms of enhancing ROI, behind the Propeller concept, there is a simple formula. Companies may reduce office space by 30% but invest a certain amount per square foot on renovating or reshaping that space. The cost is offset by the capital. One key advantage of a model such as the Propeller office is that it allows clients to test scenarios early on, before making large investment decisions.

How would you describe the market right now? Which sectors are thriving/struggling?  

The market is in transition. It’s an immense time of change and compressed workplace evolution. Everyone is taking a fresh look at their workplace strategy in order to get the best out of their staff. They are considering the long-term impact and making adjustments accordingly.

In terms of returning to the office, certain regions are ahead in this regard. A higher percentage of staff have returned to the office in Asia, together with some European countries, while the US is taking a more cautious approach. There is variance across industry sectors too. Technology companies are taking more time to return to the office, while we’re seeing a speedier return amongst companies in, for example, the financial service sector. That is not to say that these sectors are struggling, just that they are taking different approaches to tackling the obstacles imposed by the pandemic and to adopting new workplace strategies.

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