Redesigning Work Before Place

As organisations are navigating this new landscape of “hybrid” work, a conversation that is happening more and more, is one that centres around “how do we work?” and “how do we want to work?”, before we start talking about, “what does our office look like?”.

Today’s guest, Dan Mottau, did just that.

Dan was introduced to me by a mutual colleague when I was looking for thought leaders in the People & Culture space to join me for my book launch panel in Melb.

From the first conversation I had with Dan, I was completely blown away with his approach to work and workplace. This was someone who spoke my language and absolutely understood the impact of how a workplace design NEEDS to respond to the operations of the business.

So much so, that when the opportunity arose for Dan and the team at Redbubble to create a new workplace, rather than heading straight out to market and chatting with leasing agents, though took a moment to really think about “how do we want people at Redbubble to work?

That simple question set them off on a journey that completely transformed, not only the way they work, but then also the place that would best support that way of working.

So, I’ve invited Dan to join me here for a conversation, to share what really is a progressive, insightful and in some ways quite a radical approach to the whole process, and one that I would welcome more organisations to consider when embarking on the opportunity of creating a new workplace. To first, really question the nature of work, the way their people work and then what they truly want from their workspace to facilitate and enable that work.

What I find fascinating about this approach, is that it was a people led approach. As Dan shares with us, the project lead was their head of DBI. This was not a project that was handed down to the facilities team, via finance, it was entrusted to the People teams to deliver, hiring in the support they needed, when they needed it.

This is an approach that I want to highlight, as taking this approach to creating your next workplace, leads your business to creating a very different outcome. An outcome that puts you people at the centre, and a focus on create a space that optimises the performance of your people, not just the performance of your building.

Dan is a senior people, organisation development, learning and communications leader, who enjoys examining the underlying motivations and patterns of thinking that elicit amplifying and diminishing behaviours within and between teams.

His approach is heavily influenced by behavioural psychology and anthropology, especially as their principles may be applied to team functioning and the cultivation and sustainment of psychological safety and high performance. With a passion for accelerating the growth of leaders, and for increasing their personal impact through the success of their people.

As you’ll hear him say, he’s a people geek!

So, let’s jump into today’s conversation!

This podcast was made possible with support from the Alastair Swayn Foundation. Find out more at

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