Unworking: London conference explores what we need to relearn

WORKTECH’s Unworking conference is set to analyse what habits we should unlearn in the workplace and what innovations will transform working practices in years to come

With speakers from the worlds of academia, architecture, smart technology and workplace experience, WORKTECH’s inaugural Unworking Conference is set to highlight the changes and innovations that will impact how we will work in the coming years.

Hosted by Arcadis and Accenture at their Fenchurch Street offices in London on 14-15 June 2023, attendees to the event will have the opportunity to gain real-world insights from leading experts in the workplace field.

The Unworking Conference is loosely modelled on the themes of Unworking: The Reinvention of the Modern Office, written by WORKTECH co-founders Jeremy Myerson and Philip Ross.

Here are four key sessions to look out for:

Dynamics of Urban Change

Professor Ricky Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies and Director of LSE Cities at the London School of Economics, will share his expertise as an urbanist in his keynote address. Having been architectural advisor to the Mayor of London and director of the Venice Architecture Biennale, Professor Burdett’s in-depth understanding of urban architecture has been shaping how we understand cities for decades. In this talk on the dynamics of urban change, he will highlight how different cities are changing and adapting, and the impact of these transformations on wellbeing, work dynamics and cultural cohesion.

Future of London

This panel discussion will take a wider look at London and the changes that are shaping the city. With businesses and employees juggling new needs, ESG target playing an even more crucial role in office development and new technologies reshaping how we collect data and envision the city, this deep dive into the future of London will analyse how the urban environment is being reshaped. Professor Jeremy Myerson, Director of WORKTECH Academy, will be joined by Professor Ricky Burdett from LSE, Professor Tim Stonor, Managing Director of Space Syntax and Sir Stuart Lipton, Partner at Lipton Roger Developments.

Four-day week?

Joe Ryle, Campaign Director for 4 Day Week, will be giving an overview of the evidence that a four-day working week is the foundation of the future workplace. With the results of a highly successful  pilot in the UK recently released, Ryle will take his audience through the successes and the bumps in the road for the participating companies. The four-day week has been a hot topic in the last few years. Campaigners such as Ryle argue for better work-life balance while their critics suggest that adopting a four-day week would make companies less competitive in the global marketplace. Attendees will get a chance to make up their own minds about whether the four-day week really is the future.

What workers want

Naomi Sakamoto, Studio Director and European Technology Practice Lead at Gensler, will be asking the question ‘What do workers want?’, cutting through the fog created by corporate statements and office return mandates. Using data from Gensler’s recent survey of UK office workers, Sakamoto will share data-driven insights that will shape the future of the office as we know it.

Gensler’s research reveals that office workers want quiet space to focus in the office, as well as time for socialising, making a diverse portfolio of spaces critical to creating a successful and appealing office space. To understand how the office of the future will function we need to know what is and isn’t working for employees right now – this will help to fine-tune workspaces to meet the needs of employees better. This talk will give attendees the tools to do this analysis and make changes to their workspaces for the better.

Find out more about the Unworking Conference and purchase tickets here.

The Unworking Conference follows on from success for the Unworking publication in The Business Book Awards 2023, which were announced on 16 May 2023. Unworking: The Reinvention of the Modern Office was Highly Commended in the Work and Life category of the hotly contested awards.

The judges said of the title: ‘Unworking takes the reader on a journey through the changing philosophies and fashions in office design from the conception of the office 100 years ago to today, to remote working and into the future – with the global pandemic bringing our attendance in the office to an abrupt halt and triggering a complete re-evaluation of the purpose of the workplace.’

Jeremy Myerson collected the award on behalf of the co-authors.

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