A view from above of an office with fairy lights across the ceilings

Changes in the Workplace

This year’s Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM) conference was the first since it’s re-branding to incorporate ‘Workplace’. Our Workplace Strategy team joined other experts across property management, people and culture and Technology, to embrace the blurring of lines between these practices and engage in discussion about health and wellbeing at work. Here are a few key themes from the talks given by this year’s speakers.

Anthony Slumbers, a transformation consultant, spoke about disruption in the industry, specifically on the transition that’s currently taking place from ‘ownership’ to ‘access’ and from ‘product’ to ‘service’. Where loyalty is diminishing, organisations have to create more flexible occupancy strategies. As with most things, those who are adaptable will thrive as the workplace ‘experience’ changes.

The other hot topic is workplace wellbeing. Nancy Hey, a policy professional and coach, talked us through the factors behind wellbeing in workplaces and provided evidence suggesting workplace wellbeing can drive public wellbeing. With supporting business cases, she discussed factors contributing to the creation of a more ‘human’ workplace and how it can improve wellbeing. The collection of ‘Big Data’ is beginning to help us measure the importance of pleasure and purpose at work, the key influencers that can affect happiness and, ultimately, performance.

Continuing on the theme of human needs, Lucy Adams, CEO of Disruptive HR, spoke about how we need to think like a retailer to create employee experience. By changing our perceptions and our behaviours we can increase brand loyalty and feel more ‘human’ at work. Technology and HR need to come together to better service employee wellbeing in the workplace. And to do this, the workplace needs to better support ‘human’ skills such as creativity, sociability and hospitality.

The key quote of the day was made by Anthony Slumbers, summarising that “exponential technology requires exponential humanity.” As technology continues to advance, workplaces will need to invest and sufficiently encourage the ‘human’ side of the workplace to create balance. – which is where he coined the term ‘imaginarium’ - a place where people do ‘human things’.

Thanks to the IWFM for a great day, and thanks to the speakers for all the food for thought. For more information visit the IWFM website.