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IFMA's WE HUB in Columbus Holds Inaugural Event

In 2011, after IFMA launched the book “Work on the Move,” interest and momentum surrounding workplace issues began to accelerate. Topics like design, cross-sector trends, mobility in the workplace, performance metrics, communication, and more were the focus of increased interest along with deep debate and discussion. 

This momentum lead IFMA International to host the Workplace Strategy Summit at Cornell University in the fall of 2012. There, global workplace leaders along with more than 170 attendees came together to review effective workplace strategies, and to discuss the evidence needed to back up these practices. Those in attendance knew immediately from this gathering and conversation that the timing for a significant Workplace Community had arrived.

And thus WE (or Workplace Evolutionaries) was born.

To date, HUBs – or local chapters – exist throughout the U.S. including Chicago, New York, Portland, St. Louis, California, and more.  International HUBs are located in Finland, Sweden, Hong Kong, Vienna, the U.K., and more. 

The new WE Columbus HUB held its inaugural event Wednesday, July 25, 2018, at M+A Architects in the Grandview Yard in order to bring revolutionary ideas to Ohio, connecting various sectors in the workplace to help stimulate workplace innovation. 

The introductory event focused on technology and the latest trends in conference rooms, huddle spaces, and throughout the workplace.  More than two dozen attendees – some members of the Central Ohio IFMA Chapter already – took part in the “plug-and-play” event.

“Evolutionaries are people who help make change happen—people who lead systems, companies, industries, communities and nations through transformative change,” says the WE website.  “You often find Evolutionaries hidden inside organizations, they’re opinion leaders who make things happen even though their role may be on the periphery. But there are times when they need to be empowered and more central. Because of a sea change in the workplace, WE believe that time is now.”

Of course, effective communication is key to workplace success.  And today, technology plays a big role in connecting people around the country and around the world.  With the help of Michael Young of Radiant Technology, attendees at the inaugural July event were able to explore ways technology enhances communication and collaboration in the workplace.  Those in attendance were given a “Passport” to assist in their exploration, aiding in the navigation throughout four different spaces inside the M+A Architects’ offices. 

First, the groups began their “journey” in a huddle room where small, intimate conversations and meetings occur.  It’s a great place to connect, share and collaborate. Not all meetings require a big conference room, so the huddle room is designed for small groups of two to three employees to share their ideas.  Young explained the various technologies available including wireless video displays, audio devices, personal devices, and camera capability.  Key, according to Young, is keeping the technology simple so that it can be easily accessible and useful to all employees.  If technology is too complicated, it will not be utilized – and thus communication and collaboration compromised.

Next, the group was taken to a conference room setting where the use of technology increased – but should still remain simple, said Young.  In addition, good audio is imperative in a conference room setting because of its size.  “An environment like this is too big for simple audio technology that just involves a speaker phone… If you don’t have good audio in a room of this size, you are going to have a bad experience,” said Young.  He demonstrated a number of different audio and video technologies – all wireless.

The group then moved on down the hall to another collaborative space inside the M+A Architects’ offices, this time to experience digital signage and to discuss its benefits in the workplace.  Digital displays advertise corporate messages, safety alerts, key performance indicators, and visually delivers data in a real-time message to customers and employees.  These messages allow employees to collaborate, inspire them to increase goals, and more.  In other words, along with helping with the day-to-day operations of a facility, digital signage informs, influences and empowers decisions.  “Taylor it to what you want,” said Young.  “And be sure its interactive.”

Finally, attendees ended their “journey” in another large conference room where Yong discussed scheduling panels.  Intuitive scheduling panels can display when meetings are underway, when rooms are in use, sense when an employee walks into the room in order to turn on lights and technology, and can connect and track meetings for the most efficient use of space. 

While the WE event began with some light refreshments and plenty of networking, it ended in the same fashion – along with a number of drawings for some “cool swag” donated by sponsors. 

Due to the tremendous response to WE over the past few years, IFMA has officially made WE a Community within the International organization.  A yearly membership with WE is only $55 for Central Ohio IFMA Chapter members. 

For more information and to join, visit www.we.ifma.org