It’s been a strange year for industry events. With the pandemic causing so much uncertainty, organisers have had to cancel or postpone conferences and trade shows that have been long-standing fixtures in the built environment calendar.
However, all was not lost. COVID-19 has ushered in a new age of virtual working. With the Omicron variant threat growing, governments are reinstating strict rules to curb its spread, including a new home working directive for British workers. But the prospect of staying at home, switching on the webcam and working with colleagues, customers and associates on Zoom or Teams feels almost natural now. This change has presented event organisers with the opportunity to create a new model that blends the physical and virtual worlds, giving people the option to attend in a way that suits them. It’s a window into the future, especially as the metaverse grows and expands.
Built environment events go virtual
Thankfully, over the past year, Magenta has been able to attend many of these built environment events either in person or virtually, summarising the highlights on our News & Views page. Here are some of our highlights:
In February, i-FM’s annual conference Workplace Futures went digital for the first time given the strict lockdown rules at the beginning of the year. Magenta described how we were blown away by the camaraderie, compassion and friendship shown by the FM community in these awful times.
A month later, our consultant Craig Peters attended World Workplace Europe – once again, a virtual conference – where he listened to the musings of a philosopher billed as a ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Plato’ and heard presenters discuss what the ‘new normal’ meant for the workplace, including the boom in hybrid working.
At the RICS Global Conference, a week-long virtual event, speakers discussed some of the key areas driving the hybrid trend, including technology, evolving real estate solutions and employee wellbeing. The event paid particularly close attention to the role of proptech as a digital transformation tool for future business operations.
By September, however, Magenta was attending events in person again. Our founder Cathy Hayward travelled to London to hear speakers at the annual Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management Conference discuss how the FM industry could emerge stronger from the pandemic as a driver of environmental change and social value.
Check the ‘Sector News’ section of our blog for more built environment event recaps and industry insights.