People of Asuwere - Adnan Belushi
Adnan’s obsession with workplace culture, and how it can be optimised to benefit the human experience, is second to none. With a Master's Degree in that very discipline and a successful corporate career in it too, Adnan turned his hand to his own workspace, Johnson Corner, launching in New Plymouth's West End Precinct in 2018.
Drawing on Adnan's years of experience and knowledge in what creates the optimal space for productivity, enjoyment, and purpose, Johnson Corner is not the shared workspace you're used to.
Adnan's unparalleled attention to detail (i.e, a HVAC system that circulates out carbon dioxide 6 times an hour to reduce cognitive impairment), separates them from the pack.
With a second location having opened in May 2022 in Auckland's Highbrook, Adnan is transforming the face of modern work as we know it, and we're here for that.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, Adnan?
I’m a father of 3. I grew up in the Emirates. I have been living in New Zealand for 13 years now. Growing up in the Emirates, you had to be outrageous with your ideas and execution, being great was not good enough. It is how I conduct myself with everything I do. If someone says that I’m crazy, that’s a great sign. I’ll pursue it. Which is what my startup, Johnson Company, is all about — building a product-focused consumer-first real estate company. We can use manufacturing techniques to build at scale, integrate technology, and facilitate efficiently to make real estate more accessible and affordable, from workspaces to homes. The more we build, the better the built environments get in quality, and the more affordable they become.
What’s your favourite thing about being a dad?
That they challenge me to be a better person, and encourage me to heal from generational trauma.
You do a fair bit of travel around work and life. Do you have any life hacks/tips to share to others sharing a similar lifestyle?
I drink more water and fast as much as I can when I travel. I use MitoQ to improve cell health for energy production. I shake a lot of hands so I use a product that prevents me from getting sick. I make the most of my off-time on the plane by listening to podcasts that help me maintain neural plasticity. The most recent one was Joe Rogan speaking to Bobby Azzarian about how the universe organises itself to create life, consciousness, and cosmic complexity.
How did you come to start Johnson Corner?
I have always been obsessed about work and how we can improve the way we work everyday. I have a deep sense of responsibility to contribute to human life that has been created by the people who came before us, to add to that, to improve it, and do it for future generations. My entire career has been about human and technology transformations in large organisations so we can be efficient, create high quality thinking, and progress on our mission.
The most powerful change I have seen has been in organisations where they had gone to the extreme to create a great work day experience for their people. That’s how Johnson Corner came to be — to create work environments where our members have a great day at work so they can do their work in a way that maximises their life and contribute to something bigger.
Congratulations on opening Johnson Corner Highbrook! What does the design process look like when putting together a new space, and optimising it for productivity & creativity?
Thank you. We start with the user experience and work backward connecting the dots. The first is the intangibles that ensure we have a healthy experience at work. For instance; the HVAC system refreshes the air 6 times an hour to ensure carbon dioxide is cleared from the space to avoid cognitive impairment and help with faster decision making. We curate the food we serve at events that assists with physical and mental energy production.
The resources are designed to enable people to have a great day at work—all the little details matter; from accessing the space, quickly organising your day with the help of a workplace experience manager, dumping your raincoat on the hanger, ordering a coffee on our app before you arrive, booking a room or a phonebooth for all your zoom calls, doing focussed work at your private office, being serendipitous at the café area running into people that spark new connections or ideas. Then there is the aesthetics: we like to keep the design neutral so it allows every person and organisation to express themselves. Every element of design and function ensures every user is having a great workplace experience, every day.
How do you muster your own creativity? Do you have other creative outlets you’re working on?
Neural plasticity. For me, it is all about new thinking. I do that by talking to new people I meet at Johnson Corner every day, listening to podcasts, reading books or learning something new or watching videos online. My favourite YouTuber at the moment is Tim Dodd, The Everyday Astronaut.
What does it mean to elevate one’s consciousness? and how does Johnson Corner play a part in that?
It is about being highly aware of oneself. It is the ability to pay attention to every detail and analyse everything you do so you can improve 1% every day. Because at Johnson Corner we obsess about providing you with a great work day experience, we help you become more aware and that triggers everyday new habits which elevate your consciousness so you can live the best life.
There’s a lot of noise out there about working arrangements, i.e, remote, hybrid... Where do you see the future of work going?
The future of work is about a set of problems to do with work and currently, it is all centred around better quality of life. Wherever you can get the best work day experience so you can perform well at a sustainable level and it improves your quality of life, that's the most important thing. The other way to think about it is why do people leave their job? It is often because the experience is no longer adding to their quality of life, it is not enhancing their performance or maximising their life. So as a leader, you can’t just think about the experience of your employees at work, but care about how their work experience improves their quality of life.
How does Johnson Corner differ from its competitors?
Most are focused on location, design, brand, and perks. We are focused on experience.
Do you have any heroes? If so, who are they, and how have they inspired you?
My mum. I come from a family of 11 and my father was not in our life. We grew up in poverty and were excluded from modern systems of life. Through her everyday struggles, hustle, and begging, she made sure we had a great life experience every day. Even when she was faced with a tough situation for many years, all the hardship you can imagine, not sure where she is going to find the next meal for her kids, she made sure we had a great childhood filled with fun and excitement. A society grows great because women plant trees in whose shade they will never sit. That’s a lesson that inspires me every day.
How does Asuwere fit into your life?
It makes my everyday experience of dressing up simpler. I don’t think about what I wear every day because everything in my wardrobe works well together for any setting. The Asuwere collection is masterfully designed to work together well, whatever your style is. I also never have to worry about my wardrobe health, because Asuwere knows what’s in my wardrobe and they refresh it every month through the Asuwere membership. My goal was to not think about what I wear every day, never to shop again, and have someone else look after my wardrobe in a simple way, and Asuwere has helped me achieve that.
Head here to learn more about Johnson Corner