Unworking: London conference set to explore the theory and practice of new ideas

The Unworking conference returns for a second year to focus on technological innovations and personal wellbeing in the workplace

The Unworking conference will be held on 4-5 June at two different locations in London: day one will take place at Meta’s HQ in King’s Cross, whilst day two will travel south to the Ministry in Borough. Inspired by the book ‘Unworking: The Reinvention of the Modern Office,’ written by WORKTECH Academy co-founders Jeremy Myerson and Phillip Ross, the two-day event will analyse aspects of work we must unlearn to pave the way for transformational workplace practices.

London is a city that shows signs of continued growth, and appears to have an ability to rebound from whatever challenges it faces. WORKTECH Academy’s first Trend Report of 2024 uncovers that the flexible space market in London is making a strong recovery, and inward investment is being maintained at pre-pandemic levels. The Unworking conference will further consider London’s role in elevating the future of work.

Day one: technological innovations at the fore

The first day of the Unworking conference will take place on Tuesday, 4 June at the Meta office in King’s Cross. In a setting designed to promote sustainability goals and enhance the local biodiversity of the area, the conference will set out to explore the future of smart buildings and technologies.

Meta HQ is the biggest office building in the King’s Cross estate, covering 39,500 square metres. Over 3,900 square metres of this space is dedicated to landscaped roof gardens and terraces, with the 10th and 11th floors of the building offering uninterrupted views across London. The terraces, containing biodiverse and bee-friendly planting, encourage the space to be multifunctional: a practical workspace, but also a place to relax and recharge.

Expert speakers and industry leaders at this event will explore the new digital technologies transforming work, as well as delving into smart and sustainable workplace futures. The Meta HQ, with its host of bespoke technology, will act as an ideal setting in which to explore these themes. Meta makes use of its in-house teams in order to create a highly personalised technology experience for its employees including a high-level wayfinding system that allows easy navigation through the space using touch screens positioned throughout the building, and a technology vending machine on each floor to ensure staff can obtain the tech they need.

The audience will hear from speakers including author and consultant Julia Hobsbawm, Robert Cookson – the Meta VP of Real Estate and Facilities in the Americas, EMEA and APAC, and the Managing Director at Citi, Rob Garlick. On the agenda will be talks exploring the trajectory of AI and its future potential, as well as an exploration into changes to city centres as hybrid working and commuter patterns shift the landscape.

Day two: an accent on experience

Day two of the Unworking conference will take place the following day, on Wednesday 5 June. The setting for the day will be The Ministry in Borough, a former Victorian factory turned contemporary coworking space with a host of amenities. The versatile space is a fitting setting for the theme of day two, which will look at workplace experience and personal wellbeing.

The Ministry, set just around the corner from the original south London club the Ministry of Sound, seeks to embody a new approach to workplace experience. The spacious reception, accompanied by a well-lit bar, becomes a social hub of meetings and catchups, then can transform into an event space – hosting live music groups, or even comedy nights – in the evenings.

In total, the Ministry boasts nine indoor and outdoor spaces that are fully Wi-Fi enabled and available to hire for a wide array of events. As a nod to the creative industries, it homes a content studio – a bookable space utilised by creatives to make podcasts, function as a photography studio, or write. There is an outside terrace area, equipped with heaters and a pizza oven, as well as a host of different sized meeting rooms, lounges with private booths, a cinema screening room and a gym.

The second day of the Unworking conference will feature talks focused on purpose driven productivity and human-centred excellence. The Ministry, in its capacity as an amenity driven space, is an ideal setting in which to delve into concepts for elevating employee experience. The audience will hear from a host of speakers including Rhian Windridge, Google Real Estate Strategy, Catriona Rowbotham, Founder and Creative Director of Catriona Rowbotham Garden Design, and Sean Tolram, Mindfulness Programme Delivery Manager at HSBC, as they explore strategies for creating healthy, connected workspaces.

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