December 8, 2015 — Tracy Wymer, Vice President Workplace, Knoll, joined Sholem Prasow, Insight Management, Philip Ross, UNGROUP, and Sheila Botting, Deloitte, on a panel discussion at WorkTech '15 Toronto. The Toronto conference marked the first WorkTech event to occur in Canada, drawing more than 100 senior professionals from real estate, facilities, technology, executive management, architecture and design sectors.
The December 8 panel discussed themes raised in the Knoll and Unwired joint study, the workplace net.work, released in June 2015. The study examined lessons from organizations around the world and projected workplace trends at the productive intersections of physical real estate, social networks and technology. The Toronto panel began with a presentation by Wymer of the study's findings, followed by a conversation among the panelists surrounding the opportunities and challenges of implementing some of those key findings in the face of organizational inertia.
As has been widely discussed, one of the major net.work lessons is that workplace planning has become increasingly "humane." That is, a people-centered approach to decisionmaking at every level of management, spatial design and real estate development has proven to be critical for success and innovation. Botting, a partner at Deloitte, and Ross, CEO of UNGROUP, both spoke about opportunities in real estate and spatial planning to create the serendipitous social encounters that move thinking in organizations forward.
Also among the panel's topics of discussion was the role of metadata in shaping real estate development decisions. Data collection is increasingly used as a tool to understand the workplace and its usage patterns, and to guide decisionmaking. The group sounded notes of caution surrounding individual privacy, but also spoke of the usefulness of metadata "sentiment analysis" of people's happiness at work.
The Toronto panel was the latest in a series of discussions at WorkTech '15 events around the globe centering around the lessons, projections and implications that the study provoked.