21.04.2022Creating the human-centred workplace and city

Thursday, 24 March was a special afternoon for Committee for Melbourne members who joined us for our first 2022 face to face event, at the amazing new WeWork space in Exhibition Street.

The sun was shining, the streets were busy and opening night of the blockbuster musical Hamilton was in full swing across the road. It was great to be back in the city, discussing the future of our city and the concept of the new workplace.

The shared space at WeWork was the perfect setting for our expert panel to unpack how physical changes to the office environment, along with a vibrant central city, is facilitating effective hybrid working models and a desire to return to the workplace.

Facilitated by the Committee’s Director, Engagement, Clive Dwyer, we reflected on the need for a more humanistic focus as outlined by our expert panel which included Evodia Alaterou (Hassell), Katrina McKenzie (City of Melbourne), Balder Tol (WeWork), and Caitlin Guilfoyle (PwC), who provided a fascinating keynote address on the ‘Future of Work’.

The various industrial revolutions such as manufacturing, the introduction of electricity, the evolution of computing and internet, the introduction of machine-based learning, have demonstrated change, but it has never been at the pace we have seen over the last two years.

The pandemic has delivered a profound pace of change and going forward, the traditional office is no longer just a place of work but a place of people. Two years of remote, technology-enabled working has revolutionised workplace behaviour and employees’ expectations around working conditions.

We are also coming to terms with not only the work from office and home, but a range of other workspaces (the third workspaces) that are changing our businesses and employee lifestyles.

Caitlin Guilfoyle from PwC, who specialises in workplace transformation, provided a data driven presentation of our new approach to work and the new balance of power between the employer and employee. As the notion of workplace is being reset in every company, the importance of fostering wellbeing and upskilling has become paramount.

The panel explored the notion of ‘place’ in our business community. Evodia Alaterou from architecture practice Hassell emphasised the power of great strategy and design, to heighten organisational performance and build a strong culture.

Bader Tol shared his latest findings from WeWork across the Asia Pacific region, and in particular how the four WeWork locations in Melbourne, have become a part of the city’s ecosystem, creating collaboration hubs that are efficient, flexible and inspiring.

The discussion then focused on the importance of Melbourne as the ‘Central Experience District’ and Katrina McKenzie outlined the City of Melbourne’s current and future plans for central city activation, nurturing a vibrant economy to work, live, study, visit and invest in.

The conversation was passionate and if we embrace the change we have had thrust upon us, we can look forward to a vibrant new Melbourne.

As event hosts, WeWork are offering Committee members to get 50% off your first WeWork On Demand booking. Simply download the WeWork On Demand app and enter the promo code CFMOD50 at checkout. This offer is valid until 21 May 2022, and terms and conditions apply.

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