Oktra is pleased to announce that Richard Johnstone has joined the business as Managing Director of the newly formed workplace success team, Oktra Rise.
Richard joins Oktra from Lendlease, where he spent 11 years helping organisations extract value from their assets, delivering business transformation. He has been brought in to establish a best-in-class team of workplace strategists, change managers, analysts, designers and project managers focused on strengthening the workplace’s role as a strategic enabler and source of value-generation for our clients.
Having worked with a range of organisations in the UK and internationally, Richard has an intricate understanding of the way organisations work and the challenges they face.
“The pace and scale of change that’s occurring within today’s business environment is phenomenal,” says Richard. “Never before have we seen so much transformation taking place and it’s really exciting. What it means for organisations is that they need to continuously evolve if they are to remain relevant and achieve their goals. Workplaces can be an excellent vehicle for this.”
Richard has a particularly apt way of explaining the erudite functions of the workplace in business. “I liken an organisation’s workplace to the engine of a car,” he says. “It can drive business performance and deliver significant results if planned well from the outset and regularly maintained thereafter.”
But workspace does a lot more than get a company from point A to point B; “Workplaces also speak volumes about a business to its employees, clients and shareholders and the value it places on those relationships.” With potential for such positive impact, you’d think the spaces we work in would be prioritised as one of the most valuable assets of any company. “Yet the influence a workplace has on the organisation as a whole is often overlooked and its full potential is never truly realised,” adds Richard.
“Organisations need to stop thinking about their workplaces purely in the tangible form. Whilst ‘look and feel’ are undoubtedly important considerations, critically, it’s about understanding the performance objectives of the workplace: what it needs to achieve and its alignment to business strategy. I think part of the problem is that the term ‘workplace’ can be misleading. Perhaps an easier way of thinking about it is as a ‘peopleplace’ because it’s ultimately our people – what they do, how they do it and the environment they do it in – that makes the difference. We need to think of the places we create in the context of our employees and how we can maximise their potential. If we do this, and do it well, then the organisations and the people in them will thrive which, in turn, will help the economy and society as a whole.”
As for his business unit, Oktra Rise, Richard’s got big plans. The team stands as a revitalised version of Oktra Client Services and the new MD sees the reorganisation as a massive opportunity. “Client services within the workplace sector has, historically, become a bit of a byword and an after-thought,” he says. “We’re about ensuring that the workplace continues to live up to its expectations.”
There’s an undeniable sense of direction as Richard speaks about the future of the Oktra Rise team. “There’s a vast amount of talent in the business. For me, it’s about tapping into that talent and harnessing the opportunities to grow the team and develop our business. It’s about taking everyone on one journey as we explore the new opportunities ahead of us,” he says. “It’s going to be new; it’s going to be exciting; it’s going to be challenging, but we all share the same vision.”
As for his first impression of Oktra, “I really enjoy it, it’s a fantastic place to work,” says Richard. “There’s a real sense of energy, drive and ambition in the whole company. The culture is fantastic which is quite incredible when you consider how many people we are.”
Richard is joining the company as we prepare for a major transition, relocating to a new office in Clerkenwell that’s twice the size of our current headquarters. “It’s a very exciting time in the sense that we have an idea of where we want to be, the space we want to create, and it’s a new space in the work environment we’re creating here,” he adds.
To learn more about the often-overlooked benefits of moving office, read our article on the transformational opportunities involved in workplace relocation.