At just 26 years of age, Lola Hoya has joined Ernst and Young to help in the strategic design of spaces for the giant consultancy firm. A constant traveler, this winner of the second prize in the IE + Young Architecture Prize is convinced that good design in a workplace has many positive effects on health and productivity.
EMEIA Design & Framework Manager at EY
Just a few examples: who says it’s necessary to work in an office, or that you have to do so while seated?
Lola Hoya is a specialist in observing and listening to the needs of employees, and in changing the places where they work so as to achieve wellbeing and productivity.
“With emerging technologies, new work posts, mobility… the workplace as we knew it has been put into question. Nowadays we can work from anywhere. It’s time to innovate and introduce new kinds of spaces that are adapted to the new ways of working,” she explains.
At just 26, she has been appointed as EMEIA Design & Framework Manager at the Ernst and Young consulting firm, one of the so-called ‘big four,’ which is what earned her a nomination for the EPIC Awards in the Young and Ambitious Minds category. Hoya admits that the fact of being young has sometimes held back her career, but has also helped her to excel. Now she feels she is being valued for her enthusiasm, professionalism and technical excellence, just like her older co-workers.
Ernst and Young is aware that work spaces must be adapted to their changes in teams, and thus offer sessions for employees “to define their needs and develop unique spaces that are adapted to these changes.” She has been contracted to advise the firm internally on local and global level. Before that, in JLL, she did design consulting work for different clients.
“More and more companies are adding someone like myself, and I’m convinced that the strategic designers of spaces will end up being as essential as any other department in a company.”
Lola Hoya doesn’t think that designing interiors is something secondary. “The way a space is designed affects our mood, behavior, health, productivity… A workspace that’s designed with the right strategy and interior standards increases the productivity and wellbeing of the employees, reduces absenteeism, favors collaboration and even changes the organizational culture of the company and the way it is perceived from the outside, so it ends up helping to retain talent or reinforcing the value of a brand,” she adds.
Her meteoric career was given a push, in part, by the IE + Young Architecture Prize she won. “It was an important recognition in my academic career, as well as a big push of energy that made me follow my career as a designer, since due to the prize I received a scholarship to do the master at IE,” she says. She adds that during these studies she felt “great growth, both personal and professional.” It was there that she discovered her passion for designing spaces, which led her to change the course of her professional career during a period in which the economic crisis was hitting Spain’s architectural sector with considerable force. On the personal side, she recalls “staying up those nights working on projects with schoolmates from different backgrounds & cultures, and praises the professionals who taught her: she considers them all part of her “big family.”
At home she tries to apply some of the guidelines that she recommends in her work. “As a good millennial and ambassador of teleworking, I have my own workspace at home. It’s located near the window, I have an adjustable table lamp whose light can be regulated, and several natural plants, just as in many offices where we’re implementing the wellbeing of the employees by means of biophilia,” she explains. “I also try to get a good balance between spaces in which to be connected and spaces for disconnecting. I say ‘try’ because my flat isn’t very big,” she adds with a laugh. Why that differentiation? “Creativity often begins by leaving the laptop and the cell phone in the filing cabinet.”
Lola has lived in various cities in Spain, Paris and London and considers herself a great traveler. “For me, traveling means inspiration, learning and being conscious that diversity makes us unique. Being able to speak with people from diverse cultures is a real privilege. I could spend my whole life travelling and interviewing people, and I adore listening and observing. I’ve gotten many of the ideas for my projects when traveling.” In fact, when she received the news of her nomination for the EPIC Awards she was in the Dubai airport, on her way back to Madrid after an intense week of workshops with the EY design and projects team. “I want to thank IE for supporting young people like me.”
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