During the months of September and October, four editions of WORKTECH 2018 Latam were held, with overwhelming success! More than 1000 people attended this prestigious series of conferences, in which professionals of different areas offered a fresh and inspiring look on the corporate environment and the design of workspaces.
These conferences have been successfully held for more than 15 years around the world and, with the support of Contract Workplaces, they have come to Latin America and are here to stay. During 2018, they were held in the capital cities of Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Ecuador where, to a full house and with notable international speakers, WORKTECH 2018 Latam dealt with topics such as: Emerging Technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Human-Centred Workplaces, Neuroarchitecture and High-Performance Culture, amongst others.
“WORKTECH is the only forum studying the convergence of the worlds of technology, real estate, facility management, new work trends and workspaces, all within a context that brings together decision-makers for a unique day of learning and networking,” states Víctor Feingold, CEO of Contract Workplaces.
For his part, the creator and founder of these conferences at a global level, Philip Ross, ensures that “the idea behind Worktech is to think of technology, people and place as a whole, since that is what the future of work is all about.”
Integrating technology into the physical space, along with wellbeing, control and customisation of the environment, will be some of the axes allowing companies to be more efficient and to attract and retain the best talents of the 21st century.
“Work environments will become a confluence of social media and physical spaces”, claimed Ross, who brought to the table the debate on technology and its impact on the ways of working and of establishing relationships within the workplace: “As new technologies are developed, the expectation for being constantly connected grows. This has driven a transformation towards a streamlined and flexible working style: people no longer need to be chained to a desk to work. Technology can help each user find the available working space that best fits their working style.”
Regarding this approach, Matías Romo, CEO of ST GO LAB Inc., developed clear examples of how the different technology platforms will become more and more involved in our everyday working life and will simplify all kinds of tasks. When faced with the question of whether human beings will ever be replaced by machines, Romo stated that both will keep complementing each other to generate solutions tailored to the needs of the market.
Rodrigo Astiazarán, General Manager of Microsoft Uruguay, and Wilson Pais, Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft Chile, discussed the skills required by today's labour market and the ways in which modern work spaces help to boost and develop them in this context of digital transformation.
The Director of Workplace HOK, Kay Sargent, also reflected on the integration of emerging technologies in workspaces and she added the commitment of people to companies as an added value, apart from the best performance and highest productivity in their tasks.
“Another important factor to take into consideration is the work flexibility people now have thanks to digital technology,” stated Juan Carlos Cisneros, General Manager of Microsoft Ecuador.
For her part, Eva Rimbau Gilabert, professor and researcher of people management at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, submitted scientific evidence supporting the positive impact of digital technology on workers, but she also mentioned negative effects and suggested possible solutions to them.
During the Santiago de Chile edition, there was a fruitful discussion panel to deal with these topics, made up of Tomás Sánchez, Director of Accenture Digital Chile and board member of ASECH (Entrepreneurship Association of Chile), and Gabriel Gurovich, President of Cuponatic Latam, during which the audience was invited to participate.
The humanised office
With technology, the growth of urban concentration and generational turnover as the main drivers of this transformation process, the office of the future will become the heart of social interactions and collaboration, with a focus on the empowerment of people to decide how, where and when to work.
On this subject, Louis Lhoest, Managing Partner of Veldhoen + Company International, focused on the fact that: “the humanisation of the office is the future to actually boost individual skills”. He introduced the concept of activity-based working, which formulates the need for having different places for each activity developing in the office since—according to the specialist— “implementing this strategy may result in an increase of productivity of up to 40%.”
Along the same lines as Lhoest, architect Víctor Feingold, CEO of Contract Workplaces, stated that “the office of the future will be much more humanised, absolutely flexible and a powerhouse of creativity. The work space will become a meeting place, a space for collaboration, where the best ideas and the innovation needed to survive in an ever-changing world will come into existence.”
Eduardo Oppenheimer, Expansion Manager of Globant, spoke about the importance of team interaction in workspaces and the comforts which need to be offered so that all employees can freely express their creativity and make a difference. Guzmán de Yarza Blache, Academic Director of the master’s degree in Strategic Design of Spaces at the IE School of Architecture and Design, gave seven principles that result in building innovative, productive and healthy environments focused on individual wellbeing.
In a highly competitive global market that has a heterogeneous workforce equipped with professional education, values and very diverse skills, companies need to treat their employees as unique individuals to attract and retain the best.
According to Santiago Fernández Escobar, the founder and CEO of Acros Training—a consultancy firm specialised in coaching—, “A high-performance culture is characterised by employee productivity, particularly by the creation of a context where people do much more than the average, more than what they are required to do. Productivity should arise from the desire and the belief that it is necessary to work to offer the best possible version of oneself, not just complying with rules.” To get increase productivity, it is essential to have a work environment in line with the concepts of “wellbeing and comfort.”
Feingold stated that “the office should be a more natural environment that promotes employee health and wellbeing, since it is impossible to improve productivity in a place that makes employees sick.” Lastly, he also highlighted the importance of flexibility: “If a space does not offer the chance to adapt and evolve with the business, it will thwart all possibilities of growth.”
When looking at solving complex problems, the founder and Director of MINDS GARAGE, Hernán Kigel, referred to the need to change the perspective through multidisciplinary and heterogeneous teams, while he explored the concept of design thinking through the work methodology practiced by the medical team in TV series “House, M.D.”
“Culture is the set of beliefs and actions that a person thinks they need to have to belong to an organisation,” said Rafael Hermida, Country Manager of Mercado Libre Uruguay. “This is why it is essential to create solid values at an organisational level to drive its proper operation based on the commitment and identification of its collaborators,” he concluded.
To watch the full talks, go to:
WORKTECH LATAM 2019
Next year, the WORKTECH Latam series will take place in: Buenos Aires, Bogotá, Mexico City, Lima, Santiago de Chile and Quito. Ideas and sponsorships may already be submitted. If you want to be a part of the future of work, contact us! firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on social media to hear all the latest news.