We are a specialist Workplace Strategy and Change consultancy
Founder, Workplace Strategist
Nina is a Workplace Strategist and recognised expert in flexible workplace design. Nina’s clients usually achieve increases in engagement, wellbeing and workplace satisfaction of up to 23% while reducing their office footprint and improving the value proposition of their office space.
Nina has been at the forefront of flexible workplace design since 2012 when she delivered a major strategic initiative for the Australian Government that doubled the number of people who work from home via the Internet. When hybrid and flexible work styles took many employers by surprise in 2020, The Workplace Connection had well-developed tools and frameworks to help them succeed.
Nina’s training in communication sciences (B App Sc Sp Path (Hons)) gives her unique insights into the science of human behaviour in hybrid and flexible workplace environments. Combined with her experience of managing remote and flexible teams for the last ten years, Nina provides an unparalleled expert perspective.
Nina is based in Wellington, New Zealand, where she enjoys walks by the harbour, the Wellington food scene and portrait drawing.
Karline de Boer
Karline de Boer
Karline uncovers the hidden trends in workplaces through occupancy studies and interviews. She is a field worker and researcher passionate about talking and really listening to people to uncover decisive insights. Karline supports your workplace strategy and design with the information you need to really understand your unique forward path. As a highly valued member of our team, Karline is a powerful asset in your workplace change.
When not working, Karline enjoys bush walks, wine tastings in and around Wellington, and spending time with her grandchildren.
Holding the motto that she can learn anything she puts her mind to, Hayley has developed skills in a broad variety of categories from business to art, using her creative mind to bring life the new vision of The Workplace Connection. Creating since her early days, Hayley has sold branding and artwork to vendors internationally.
When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her children and is always up for a good read with some hot chocolate.
Our partners are skilled Architects, Interior Designers, Business Value Analysts and ICT providers for flexible workplace design
The Workspace Connection was founded by Nina Fountain, an entrepreneur and Management Consultant with a varied career across various leadership positions.
In 2011 Nina was asked to lead a strategy and implementation unit delivering the Australian Government’s work from home (‘telework’) initiative. When Nina saw up close that key industry players had ‘cracked the nut’ of flexibility, she realised its huge business potential.
Since then, Nina has pioneered successful flexible Workplace Strategy in Australia and New Zealand, including through published guidance to the Australian and NZ governments.
What we do
The core of our work is creating fit-for-purpose workspace design and ways of working.
We are uniquely specialised in, and focused on solving workplace challenges with a human-centred approach.
We work with two main areas within a business: executive leadership and functional teams including Property and Facilities, Technology, People and Culture, Change teams and any existing workplace transformation program.
What we don't do
We are not Leadership or Organisational Development specialists. When it comes to individual transformation, People and Culture challenges or organisational architecture, we refer our clients to partners who could better support them.
Our work positively impacts culture, but we don’t set out to change culture specifically. Our clients usually see the culture change we create through improved systems, symbols and behaviours associated with our work.
We take a fresh approach to consulting. We’re interested in the results you achieve while we work together. While we may deliver reports or documents, these are usually delivered alongside leadership decisions, new ways of working, shifts in sentiment and attitude and new capabilities.
We fully understand the reality that achieving workplace transformation is difficult if you don’t get full commitment and alignment at the highest level. This is why we work mainly with executive and leadership teams. This is especially important during discovery and design.
In the course of the development phase, there is a lot of opportunity to work with teams or groups of teams that are not at the executive level. We love working with these groups of people to achieve satisfying, measurable gains in job commitment, overall engagement, wellbeing and stress reduction and overall productivity.
Workplace Strategy is a discipline that achieves alignment between an organisation’s property solution and their organisational goals. Property decisions can have far-reaching impacts on an organisation’s culture, delivery model and bottom line. Organisations with clear future goals tend to work closely with a Workplace Strategist to ensure that their property choices align with their future direction. Find out more about how not all Workplace Strategists are alike.
A Workplace Strategist is essentially a Management Consultant who assists with the design and development of your workplace solution.
A Workplace Strategist will generally start with a Discovery phase, during which they will gain a clear understanding of your organisation’s status quo, in all the areas that are important to the design of your property solution.
The Design phase is when your Workplace Strategist will advise your leadership team and key functional areas about the key features and requirements of your ideal workplace design. The modern workplace extends beyond buildings and workspaces. Ways of working are now integral to your workplace design. As such, your Workplace Strategist’s advice should understand and support ways of working that suit your organisation.
A Workplace Strategist may also work with you during your organisation’s Development phase to implement the workplace design that will support your organisation to achieve its future goals. Their role may be to work with functional areas such as your Facilities, Technology, People and Culture, and Change teams, to help them understand their role in implementing the workplace design. Find out more about how our process ensures your workplace redesign manages the people risks in your property solution.
An employees’ Workplace Experience is the positive or negative overall experience they have while working in an organisation’s workplace, both its workspaces and ways of working. It incorporates their individual experience of the buildings and spaces where they are located physically, including potentially their experience of working from home, and the experiences they have while working with their team and organisation to navigate traditional, flexible and new ways of working.
Workplace Experience can be measured by two critical factors – Workplace Satisfaction, which is a person’s overall satisfaction with the workplace; and Workplace Support, which is how well a person feels and understands themselves to be supported by their workplace to do a great job. Workplace Experience also incorporates stress and wellbeing, productivity, communication, teamwork and camaraderie and measures of these provide valuable insights into the two key factors of Workplace Satisfaction and Workplace Support.
Workplace Experience can also be understood as the Employee Experience as it relates to workspace design and ways of working.
Many employees consider the Workplace Experience to be a critical factor in their decision-making about which employer to align with. In particular, highly sought-after individuals will readily opt for a better Workplace Experience over a poor one.
Workplace Experience is a valuable indicator of employee sentiment. A poor Workplace Experience means by definition that people in the workplace are feeling unsatisfied with their workplace and believe they are not well supported by their workplace to a great job. A poor Workplace Experience may also mean an increase in workplace stress and a reduction in productivity.
As an example of the impact of a poor Workplace Experience on attraction and retention, workplace stress alone leads to an increase of almost 50% in voluntary turnover.
The term ‘Ways of working’ is used to differentiate flexible, agile and modern work styles from their traditional counterpart of a fixed pattern of work. Similar terms include ‘new ways of working’, ‘modern ways of working’, ‘remote work’, ‘flexible work’, ‘hybrid work’, ‘Activity-Based Working’ and ‘agile working’. In each of these examples, people no longer work in a fixed location at fixed times without significant variation.
Ways of working that are significantly different from the traditional work style (colloquially known as ‘9 to 5 in the office’) require organisations to redesign their operating model. This operating model redesign is integral to the success of modern workplaces. At a team and individual level, ways of working require people to navigate new norms around teamwork, communication and productivity. These transformative changes can be challenging. Most noteworthy is the challenge of maintaining productive teamwork and collaboration.