Written By: Alicia Baertsoen
Workplace environments are changing – are you ready?
On November 20, 2019, IABC hosted The Changing Landscape of Workplace Environments, an event aimed at educating leaders interested in transitioning their company’s online or physical workspaces. From 11:30 am to 1 pm., an exclusive panel of Toronto and London-based industry leaders shared their best practices with attendees at the Stronach Community Centre. The panel included:
• Amanda Fickling, Assistant VP, Marketing and Communications, London Life
• Marcia Mayhew, President and CEO, Mayhew Inc.
• Mona Lam-Deslippe, Owner, MLD Solutions Inc.
• Kristen Ruttgaizer, Director of Human Resources, Igloo Software.
Attendees enjoyed a hot, delicious lunch while networking, as the panel settled in. Among them were London-based human resource professionals, communicators and current public relations and communication students.
The panel shared many key messages, but all eluded to one overarching theme: modern workplaces are not desired, they are expected.
Mona Lam-Deslippe said, “Flexible hours and adaptable workplaces are expected,” after outlining how MLD Solutions Inc. re-vamped their office space three years ago. MLD Solutions Inc. also rearranges their office space every six months and discusses these changes with employees to better understand their sentiments.
Panelists agreed building employee trust correlates with performance.
“Resistance comes from fear,” noted Amanda Fickling. She stressed the importance of involving all employees in the conversation, increasing company transparency and finding ways for the new environment to work for them.
“It comes down to trusting your employees,” said Fickling, “… we are trying to move a little bit more to the work-life integration.”
Allowing employees to work from home, using their own devices and offering flexible hours were just a few of the many suggestions panelists discussed.
Cloud-based centric technology was another hot topic. With employees working remotely, an online meeting place is key.
Marcia Mayhew explained how this works for her employees: “Using the digital platform they share key results, team results and project expectations, which ensures employee accountability.”
Kristen Ruttgaizer called this “tech-stacking,” also known as creating a digital space where all employees can come together and touch-base cross-departmentally.
Change can only be accomplished if it starts from the top. Mayhew noted the executive team must lead the way as the workplace environment changes. Some employees will resist, but it is also important to focus on your champions.
“It’s not generational differences, it’s personality differences. It’s introverts and extroverts and the need for choice,” expressed Mayhew. Ruttgaizer echoed this, explaining how she encourages her champions to keep the conversation going to drive positive change.
IABC would like to thank the event moderator, Bruce Mayhew, and the panelists for such an inspiring event.
Change is coming to organizations in London, Ontario. Will you be driving it?