Toronto event tackles the workplace issues that go unnoticed

New and innovative ways of thinking to address key challenges came to the forefront of the straight-talking WORKTECH Toronto conference 2023

Transformation, innovation and changing the system were all on the table at the WORKTECH Toronto conference this year. Taking place at Sun Life on 24 October 2023, the event offered tours of Pinterest and Cisco’s offices, introducing attendees to their spectacular Canadian headquarters. This was followed by an action-packed conference which aimed to tackle the issues within the workplace that go unnoticed as well as introducing new and innovative ways of thinking to tackle them.

Here’s a sample of the speakers at WORKTECH Toronto:

Going beyond tech

Why would a tech integration company want to suggest that the solution to poor-quality hybrid meetings isn’t new technology? Well, that’s because they’ve got a different angle on the problem.  In a session titled ‘Beyond Tech and Space: Exploring the Human Elements of the Hybrid Experience’, Dirk Propfe, President and CEO of Canadian firm ET Group, set the record straight on hybrid meetings.

Instead of tech and space design, Propfe looked towards social interaction and organisational paradigms to explain why so many companies struggle to create real connection between hybrid teams. Tackling this issue means thinking more deeply than current models allow and developing new expectations and behaviours which create a more sustainable, healthy hybrid experience. Read more here.

Working shorter but harder

In this session Joe O’Connor, director and co-founder of the Work Time Reduction Centre of Excellence, asked whether the answer to current disruption lies with a shorter working week? Discussing the relationship between AI, remote working and time and work reduction, he posed new ideas for how we might operate in the future – looking towards a productivity-centred model rather than one obsessed with time-management.

This was followed by a panel, with experts including Jay Goldman, co-founder of Sensei Labs, Charlotte Mason, vice president of organization effectiveness and future workforce at TD Bank, and Professor John Trougakos from the University of Toronto, all discussing the shorter working week and how it might be able to contribute to a better working environment. Thinking through how fewer hours might lead to happier employees with a better work-life balance, the session was as compelling as it was thought-provoking, delving into innovative strategies, flexible work arrangements and cultural shifts that prioritise wellbeing while maintaining productivity.

Sex, drugs and tech-enabled buildings

What do sex, drugs and great smart building technology have in common? According to Elizabeth Nelson, co-founder and head of research & innovation, Smart Building Certification, it’s all about thinking differently about the needs of employees. From invention of the typewriter as an aid for the blind to attempts to track office behaviour accidentally capturing amorous relations between employees, Nelson was unafraid to address unusual and challenging topics in her efforts to make the workplace a more supportive, sustainable and healthier place.

Upcycled work

Creating workplaces that benefit the environment also benefit employees, giving them a boost in health and wellbeing. That was the perspective from interior designer Julia Easto and Hugo Lafrance, director of sustainability at Lemay, who kick-started their session with exciting case studies from converted warehouses and eco-parks to offices designed to mimic plant life. From adaptive reuse to upcycling, they argued that we can be bolder in our engagement with sustainability whilst also boosting performance and creating spaces that make employees happier, healthier and more engaged.

Find out more about WORKTECH Toronto 2023 here.

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