scroll down

“Don’t just come to work. Come to change.”

McKinsey’s value proposition for its team pretty much captures the essence of consulting firms. Whether it was the economic boom of the 1920s, the professional management era of the 1970s, the IT surge of the 1990s or the implementation of demonetisation in India – companies like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Ernst & Young etc have influenced nearly every aspect of business. Because of the unique ways in which these companies operate, creating workspaces specially cut out for them presents the most interesting challenges. How does one construct an environment where deals that move the world are made?

I prefer to start by finding ways to express the adage ‘come to change’ through space. I’ve tried to break down a few principles I keep in mind when designing workplaces like these.

   McKinsey Office, New York. Image source:

Pride and Prestige

One of the key aspects of consulting firms is the nature of talent they attract. It’s a world where cognitive and analytical power is valued over everything else – which is why they hire the best from the most prestigious institutions. These companies even serve as launchpads for some of the most prominent CEOs across the globe. This sense of prestige dominates design. From ergonomically excellent furniture and chairs to the selection of coffee – every element that makes up these workspaces is state of the art.

Globally Local

Another trait of these companies is the global nature of their operations. While they may have branches across the globe, the oneness of the brand is maintained through the colour schemes and layouts. But in spite of the standardisation, there is an emphasis on adding local flavour. For instance, in India, works by celebrated artists are often featured in these spaces alongside sculpted or photographic homages to the city.

Privacy is Paramount

The one thing that clearly separates a consulting firm from the rest of the world is confidentiality. It’s a space where focus time for top-level management is precious. While the open office layout is fast catching up with most industries, for the consulting world, the traditional work structure is more conducive to productivity. Besides, communal spaces are unable to convey the sense of exclusivity and prestige we discussed above. It’s safe to say that while companies like BCG may adopt a mix of open and enclosed spaces to increase cross-team interactions, the CEO suite at a consulting firm is here to stay.

   The BCG Office – located at Hudson Park, New York. Image source:

The Friday Effect

This is the most unique aspect of consulting firms. For most part of the week, team members are located at client destinations and it’s only on Fridays that they convene at the base. This mix of inter-city and even international team members makes up a vibrant ecosystem – one that other companies are trying to simulate in coworking environments. This is why most of travelling team members do not occupy permanent desks, leading to a more flexible set-up. Private meeting rooms are made abundant, allowing enough room to work out of.

Looking Ahead

Most business degree holders in these organisations are also tech graduates. It’s only natural for these workplaces to be the earliest adopters of modern office technology and automation like Microsoft’s Surface Hubs and futuristic pods equipped with everything from Bluetooth to video calling capability. These may not exactly qualify as breakthrough technology. But while most companies would treat these as attractive luxuries, for a consulting firm in the near future, these would be staples.

While the rest of the world is still grappling with technology and its impact on marketing, the consulting firms are already ahead of the curb.  Closer home, some credible sources report that a certain consulting giant could soon be taking over a prominent advertising and marketing conglomerate. This marriage of data and creativity is how the consulting world is making good on its promise of ‘change’ – by changing not just the way business functions, but by leading the change itself. As Accenture’s tagline puts it, “New isn’t on the way. We’re applying it right now.”



  • Workspace Evolution

Other Articles

Knowledge Sharing

My #RacetoRaise: A fundraiser campaign for Jai Vakeel Foundation at Tata Mumbai Marathon 2020

The Collaboration Quotient: 5 Ways To Know If You’re A Prime Mover

Reliving My Entrepreneurial Journey With ‘Shoe Dog’

5 Keys to the Algorithm for Success

Identifying 5 Biases That Are An Impediment To ‘Thinking Clearly’

Making A Watermark With Bisleri

5 International Masters Who Inspire Me

My 5 Key Takeaways from the Smart Office Summit

A Workplace Embodying A Global Outlook, Rooted in Tradition

Five Implications for all Businesses from ‘Zero to One’

The 3 Indias and the Shift Towards Co-working Spaces

5 Times I Moved To A New 'Normal'

Evolution of Work Culture: From Ergonomics to Empowerment

India’s New Leading Position in the Global Workspace Arena

5 Lessons Reinforced from Pacing a Faster Runner

5 Reasons Leadership is Overrated- Part 2

5 Reasons Leadership is Overrated- Part 1

My 5 Key Takeaways From The Goal

JTCPL Designers’ Pick: 5 Team Members Name The Best Features In Their Own Workspace

5 Quotes from Sales EQ to prove we are all sellers

5 Writings On The Walls At Spaces That Inspire

5 Reasons Goal Setting Is My Annual Ritual

Creating An Exponential Future Through An Engaged Organisation

5 Reasons Why Slow Is The New Fast

The Infinite Optimism for the Future at Abundance 360

Spaces: Turning a workspace from Good to Great

5 Rules of Workspaces – And How We Broke 4 Of Them While Creating Our Own

Museum Hopping For Design Inspiration

JTCPL Sessions: Art At Work With Arzan Khambatta

Knight Frank Partners With Delos: Moving Towards Spaces That Nourish Mind, Body And Soul

5 Strategies To Designing Your Environment For Success

Designing A Whole New Personality Through Habits

Construction Week Awards 2018: 5 Ways It Strengthened Faith In the Industry

Heart At Work: Dr Aashish Contractor's Health Tips For The JTCPL Designs Team

Automaticity: The Red Pill To Being Who We Want To Be

4 Reasons Why Will Power Doesn’t Work

Creating Academic Environments To Cultivate Unique Ability

Venture Capital Firms, The Incubators Of Disruptive Ideas

Designing Spaces for Those Who Drive Change

Coworking for the Gentry

Applying the Powers of Pre-Suasion to Life

The Changing Role of CRES in a Coworking Future

Exploring Discovery's Move to a Coworking Space

How The Coworking Culture Will Influence Large Companies

The Future of the Commute: Science fact, not fiction

Success Needs A Sense of Purpose... And This Book

Evolution of Workspaces – Part II

Creating a Co-working Community

Evolution of Workspaces - Part I

An Outlier's Route To Success

Launching 2018 with 5 Multiplier Strategies

An Ode to the Indian Masters

The world belongs to those who read

Success Equals Constant Progress For The Marathon Called Entrepreneurship

Human Potential: Optimism

Leap of Faith

​Unlocking Human Potential

Gratitude - The Underrated Value

Why Our Brookfield Project Hit The Right Note

The 3 Lessons I Now Realise I Learnt In College

4 Ways in Which Marathon-Running Is Like Running a Business - Part II

How Running A Marathon Is Like Running A Business - Part I

The Multiplier Effect of Great Collaborations

The Qualities I Value Most in Client-Partners – Emirates Group

Prepare for Departure – My Thoughts on Long-Haul Air Travel

Know Your Collaborative Style & The Archetypes

The Seeker & Knowing Your Collaborative Style in a Workplace

Know Your Collaborative Style in a Workspace - The Prime Movers

My Top Technology Picks in Building and Design, Continued

My Top Technology Picks in Building and Design

The Symbiosis of Culture and Workspace Design

KBS Creations – The Workspace As a Family Home

The 5 Leadership Traits That I Have Honed

Optimising Workspaces for Millennials

Better Running Through Proper Pacing

Designing a Workspace That Celebrates Millennials

My Lessons On How To Set And Achieve Goals In The New Year

Workplace Design and The Art of Sustainability

Life Lessons From Marathon Running

A Collaboration Scorecard For Leaders

The 5Ds Of Success

On Attending The CE Worldwide Conference

My Experience at FOAID 2016

The 'Prince' and the 'Ruby'

The Best Office In Bombay

Engagement and the Global Workplace

10 thoughts on “Engagement and the Global Workplace

  1. Rajendra Bendre

    Great post Ninad!

    We are at our joyful best in places that blow our breath away! Usually at the edge of the unkown, uncertain and the dangerous a precipice, a mountain top, down snow clad mountains while skiing, when the immensity of the landscape in front of us is incomprehensible and so on.

    Will be great when work spaces take our breath away and at the same time bring us all together to express our collective intelligence to make our work an expression of art!.

  2. Swati Balgi

    Congrats Ninad ! Nice to read expert’s views on Workspace Design. Will look forward to read more on your blog.
    Swati Balgi

  3. Praveen

    Ninad nice to read your post…Happy Ken”s session was impactful. .Let’s continue this collaboration around workplace knowledge..

  4. Kiersten

    Hello there! This blog post could not be written any better!
    Reading through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He continually kept talking about this. I am going to forward this
    post to him. Fairly certain he will have a very good read.
    I appreciate you for sharing!


    You’re so awesome! I don’t believe I have read anything like this before.
    So nice to find another person with a few original thoughts on this
    topic. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up.

    This website is something that is required on the internet, someone with a
    little originality!

Comments are closed.