I am beginning the last leg of an extended travel set, bound for Philadelphia and IFMA’s WorldWorkplace 2013. The week’s schedule is packed full of Board, committee, reception and educational events; to be topped off by Friday evening’s Awards of Excellence dinner. Okay, there may be a few speeches in there too. This is one of the week’s I most look forward to each year because it is a chance to network with friends, learn about the best going on in our profession, and contribute in some small way.
My personal focus on the educational side is going to be on the evolving workplace. Several of the sessions will address this trend and its projected future. If you have been reading this blog long then you know it is an area of interest for me, in part because it is influencing capital project planning and in part because it is influencing architecture, both interests of mine. While generally a fan of the overall concepts I see and hear discussed I do have a concern that the trend towards an open office “benching” seat model is affecting the ability of those who do primarily cognitive work. Organizations should be especially attuned to the need to private space in a proportion that supports their real work and office culture. Multiple independent surveys are already indicating that the pendulum may have swung too far. Even younger generation workers are raising the issue, and that says something to me.
WorldWorkplace is also a time to reconnect with old friends and make new connections. The networking opportunities at these events (and IFMA in general) are key to personal growth and career development. I know, that sounds so obvious it doesn’t need mentioning. I believe, however, that IFMA is the single most important thing I’ve done to benefit my career, and it has paid large dividends. It is about the people in IFMA. They are approachable, knowledgeable, and willing. If you have not taken advantage of opportunities to get to know them then you have missed what I believe is the most important element. But that can change today. Get involved, get connected, get going!
I will be tweeting from many of the events and sessions throughout the week. You can follow me @fmandbeyond via #WW2013 or at LinkedIn.