Free-range or factory-farmed? A key question for workplace

In our latest roundup, we report on a dialogue between three of Britain’s workplace pioneers - what they share is a belief in a diverse, people-first workplace driven by great design

With WORKTECH’s professional live conference series paused due to the coronavirus pandemic, we continue to reach out to our 10,000-plus Academy members, WORKTECH attendees, speakers, partners and sponsors through our weekly WORKTECH Wednesday Briefing, which shares new ideas, conversations and perspectives with our global network. Our latest edition is posted 13 May 2020.

A walk in the park

Every week our WORKTECH Webinars feature leading experts in the field in conversation on the key topics of the day. In our second WORKTECH Webinar, hosted on 7 May, WORKTECH chairman Philip Ross interviewed Sir Stuart Lipton, the leading property developer behind Broadgate, Stockley Park, Chiswick Park and 22 Bishopsgate, and his long-time collaborator Despina Katsikakis, Head of Occupier Business performance at Cushman & Wakefield. The pair spoke at WORKTECH London 2018.

Two of the most influential figures in office property shared a range of experiences related to the post-Covid-19 future of work. Lipton outlines his progressive plans for 22 Bishopsgate in the City of London, mused over whether more outdoor working in the park was the way forward, and asked: ‘Do we want to be free-range or factory-farmed?’ Katsikakis described how her company has just moved more than a million Chinese office workers back into their buildings, considering everything from protective equipment and transport infrastructure to the sequencing of lifts to ensure a safe return. On the pandemic, Lipton firmly believes that we will prevail: ‘As a developer you have to be a perpetual optimist,’ he says. View the webinar in full here.

The path from crisis

The next WORKTECH Webinar, scheduled for Thursday 14 May, will feature WORKTECH director Jeremy Myerson, Helen Hamlyn Professor of Design at the Royal College of Art, in conversation with Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA. Former head of the No 10 Policy Unit under Prime Minister Tony Blair, Matthew Taylor chaired a UK Government review of modern work practices and the gig economy – this led to the Taylor Report, Good Work, in 2017. A well-known writer, speaker, broadcaster on the future of work, Taylor will explore ‘the path from crisis’. Sign up for this WORKTECH Webinar here.

Treat virus like an insurgency

The WORKTECH Webinar on 30 April featuring US Army General Stanley McChrystal, who developed new leadership methods to command forces against insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan, was the subject of an article in Forbes magazine. This picked up on the General’s comment that Governments around the world ‘need to fight the virus like it is an insurgency’. Read Roger Trapp’s commentary in Forbes here.

Conversation with a vibe manager

Alongside our WORKTECH Webinars, we are continuing with our WORKTECH Kitchen Conversations, showcasing informal dialogues with personalities and experts from around our network. In the latest WORKTECH Kitchen Conversation, WORKTECH chairman Philip Ross shares a virtual cuppa with regular WORKTECH speaker Kelly Robinson, the leading workplace designer behind Soundcloud, Airbnb and Headspace. Robinson was appointed the world’s first ‘vibe manager’ and built the world’s first cry rooms. She describes how a concern for people and planetary health form part of the same holistic philosophy. View the Kitchen Conversation here.

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