Friday 09th October 2020 The Attendee Experience With Our Hopin Virtual Conference

Ahead of our Workplace Trends: Success in Uncertain Times virtual conference (15 October 2020) on the Hopin Platform, one of our founders, Maggie Procopi, recorded this short orientation video as a show-round for attendees. 

Transcription

Hello, welcome to this orientation for Workplace Trends: Success in Uncertain Times, which takes place here on the Hopin virtual event platform, on Thursday 15 October.

I’m Maggie Procopi, one of the founders of Workplace Trends and I manage the conferences on a day to day basis.

We want all our delegates to get the most out of the conference day itself, so we thought it would be useful to have this opportunity for you to have a quick look around and to make sure your tech works with the system.

First off I need to tell you that Hopin is largely a brilliant platform, but it only works really well with Chrome or Firefox. Other browsers might give you problems. If you still have issues even using Chrome or Firefox, try logging out and back in again, or even restarting your computer (turn it off and on again).

A couple of times we’ve also noticed using Zoom earlier in the day might affect your computer’s settings so that the Hopin audio or video doesn’t work, but restarting a pc or laptop usually does the trick.

So moving on, Hopin is really laid out just like a conference venue, with a main stage, sessions (or break out rooms), expo booths, and a reception area.

Main stage is where I am now, and where our speakers will present from. After each presentation we’ll all move to a Session, the link for everyone will pop up automatically, and this is where we’ll run our Q&As. Audience members can post questions either in the chat box to the right of the screen, or they can request for their video to be added to the session and they can speak direct to the speaker and the chair or moderator.

During breaks there’ll be a few different sessions for you to join as well, so you can meet and chat to other delegates. Attendees can also create their own sessions and invite colleagues and friends to join them there – a bit like a water cooler area.

There’s the option within all sessions to be a voyeur – to just watch and listen, or you can join in fully with your own video camera and microphone which are on your computers.

Expo Booths are like exhibition stands. Most of ours will be running a short into video about the organisation themselves and you can chat or leave messages for the company to get back to you. Some of them also have special offers on so they’re definitely worth a look.

There’s also a networking feature, the link’s towards the bottom of the menu on the left. This is a bit like speed dating, conference style. It randomly pairs you with another attendee for a short time, 3-5 minutes, so you can say hi, get to know each other a little, and connect with them on social channels or with your business details.

On the right of your screen you should be able to see another column with chat, polls and people links.

The chat function is great, everyone can post here, either about the event in general, or specific to whatever session, presentation or expo booth they’re in.

Polls is where we ask attendees to let us know their opinions – these will pop us at any time during the day, often during a presentation in response to a speaker’s particular question.

The People tab is really important and a great feature we were so pleased to find on Hopin – It’s where you can see who else is attending. You can view their profile (so it’s important you set yours up early on – you can do that before the event). You can also everyone’s social links and connect with them there, invite them to video call, or just leave a chat message for them.

So that’s a quick show-round of what you can expect at the conference. Please take a few minutes to explore the features now. There might not be much going on just at the moment but you’ll be able to get a feel for how things will be on the conference day.

All the programme details for the conference are on our website, workplace trends.co.uk – but we’re covering themes around home and agile working, health and safety law, case studies (in particular from HSBC who based in the East, have a wealth of experience in handling business during a pandemic crisis), the future of real estate and the office market, wellbeing and mental health in general, FM, and the role of managing change in our current environment.

This is all set against a backdrop of the challenges posed by Covid 19.

So I hope this introduction was useful.

If you don’t have your ticket for the conference yet just search ‘Workplace Trends Conference Hopin’ and the link should come up for you.

Thank you very much for watching, and myself and our speakers, sponsors and exhibitors are looking forward to seeing you soon!

Stay Safe and Well.

Tuesday 12th May 2020 Workplace Design – Recollection not Revolution

Guest post by Nigel Oseland, Workplace Unlimited

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson made his rather ambiguous announcement last Sunday on his Covid-19 exit strategy. There have been plenty of previous posts from the workplace industry anticipating the announcement and how redesigning the office is the solution. But I firmly believe that we already have the answers, and have had them for some time, but have repeatedly chosen to ignore them. I recommend we start by recollecting and (re)introducing tried and tested best practice in the workplace before we push a design revolution. 

Let us just remind ourselves of those long forgotten best practice design principles which workplace strategists have been recommending for at least two decades:

1. Occupational density

For years in the UK we have been chasing density, the space provision per person in the office, in the name of space and cost efficiency. For example, the BCO’s Occupier Density Study published in 2009 found an average of 11.8m2 per desk, across the whole building NIA, compared to 9.6m2 per desk in the 2018 study. The 2.2m2 difference may not seem like a lot but it is equivalent to losing almost one workstation with associated circulation per occupant (or two industry standard desk surfaces). Sadly, UK legislation on workspace requirements does not help – the minimum is approximately 4.6m2 per person (assuming the 11m3 minimum and a standard 2.4m floor to ceiling height). These low standards allow densities to be chased and best practice ignored. It is well documented that in the animal kingdom, overpopulation often leads to disease – nature’s way of addressing the balance. High density impacts temperature, air quality and noise along with accessibility and egress. A return to lower density offices which support performance and health is long overdue. 

2. Desk Size

To meet the higher densities, desk sizes have reduced. I recall my 2 x 1m desk at my first architectural practice, providing me with a clear 2m between those sitting adjacent to or opposite me. The current UK industry norm is 1400mm wide desks, and I have worked with efficiency-zealous clients insisting that 1m wide desks provide sufficient space! These smaller desks result in more noise distraction, infringement of personal space (see Hall’s Proxemic Framework) and higher likelihood of cross-infection. Simply put, stop manufacturing and installing smaller and smaller desks. 

3. Partitioning

There are some similarities in designing workspaces to prevent noise distraction and cross-infection. Distance helps reduce noise, and infection. Semi-partitioning (not necessarily walls) also helps, as do desk screens that are sufficiently high enough to cover the mouth but not reduce the line of sight (approximately 1300-1400mm), but there has been an ongoing trend for low or no desk screens and minimal partitions. I am neither an advocate of private offices nor fully open plan workspaces. Office layout is not a simple dichotomy of open versus closed but a scale with an optimal layout that I refer to as the landscaped office, borrowed from Bürolandschaft. The landscaped office is predominantly open plan but with zoned and semi-partitioned spaces broken up by storage, bookshelves, planting, acoustic screens and alternative work-settings such as quiet pods, focus rooms, meeting areas and social spaces. Reintroduce zoning and partitioning in the workspace.

4. Indoor air quality (IAQ)

From a design perspective, temperature, noise and air quality are the most common causes of dissatisfaction and loss of performance in the office. In the past, the level of fresh air intake in mechanically ventilated offices was reduced, and the stale air recirculated, to minimise energy costs – outdoor air will need filtering and heating or cooling thus using more energy. This practice was partly responsible for Sick Building Syndrome and the transmission of other diseases. Fresh air rates and treatment will need readdressing in the post Covid-19 workplace.

5. Agile Working

Many workplace strategists are advocates of agile/flexible/smart/ remote/activity-based working and have been promoting the benefits since the early 90s, see one of my early reports. Benefits have been proven to include: increased performance, reduced absenteeism, enhanced cross-selling, increased attraction and reduced attrition, and business continuity as less disruptions due to travel issues or viruses. Empower people to work when and where they are most productive, including occasionally working from home. 

– Home Working

UK Government’s guidance recommends working from home, a very sensible approach that is fundamental to a good agile working environment. Now that most office workers, and their managers, have experienced working from home, the uptake is likely to be higher than previously.

If the workforce are allowed to work from home for say two days per week and the time in and out the office is well managed, then the number of desks required will reduce by up to 40%.

However, do remember it is the employers’ responsibility to provide a safe workplace for their employees, so there will be additional costs in providing the workforce with the right technology, equipment and furniture to work effectively from home. I have already spotted unscrupulous “no win, no fee” law firms offering to represent those who have had a fall when working from home.

The new office is likely to be a more blended environment mixing the physical with the virtual, so that those in or out of the office can seamlessly work together. 

– Desk-Sharing

Using agile working to help reduce the density and number of desks is likely to mean that desk-sharing (hot-desking) in some form is required. It is unlikely that hot-desking will be carried out the way it currently is with people grabbing desks as they become vacant. It is more likely that a shared desk is obtained and used throughout the duration of the day followed by a deep clean overnight that allows the desk to be used safely by a colleague the next day. The service level agreements of cleaning contracts will need to be revisited with more regular desk cleaning.

Also worth considering in the short-term, if 40% of the desk chairs in an office are simply removed, perhaps every other desk chair, then the overall workspace density will be reduced, and the occupants will have more buffer space. Alternatively, alternate desks could be marked or coloured up to indicate days that they may be used.

6. Shift Working

The Government’s guidance also suggest shift working (technically a type of flexible working). This is a less popular alternative to home working. In theory, the workforce could work two or even three 8-hour shifts in one day and assuming they can travel to the office the density the number of occupants, and corresponding density, could be reduced by a half or two-thirds. Again, in the short-term alternate desk chairs could be removed or desk marked up to indicate the fays they may be used.

The issue of travel is fundamental and a tricky one that needs resolving. There is little point in designing for social distancing in the post Covid-19 office if staff are first travelling to work on crowded trains and the underground. Note, train carriages are approximately 60m2 thus accommodating just 15 people with 2m separation. Furthermore, many people work in high-rise buildings, where the wait times for lifts are already agonising at peak hours, so access to upper floors will be a challenge if there is only one or two people allowed per lift car. Maybe in the long-term we will see the rise of the low-rise building or perhaps the reintroduction of paternoster lifts. Travel to and from work is a priority but agile working, with home working, is the more obvious solution in the short-term.   

The above design solutions will only work if the right behaviours are in place alongside good leadership.

Humans are creatures of habit and unless continuously reminded or rewarded will revert to previous behaviours. For example, consider how behaviours quickly returned to “normal” after similar, admittedly less contagious, viruses such as SARS and MERS.

Also, my personal observation, is that basic hygiene such as hand-washing and social distancing has not continued with the same vigour as at the start of the pandemic. As a psychologist, I draw on basic theory to explain why new behaviours are not sustained.

For example, Operant Conditioning helped clarify why behaviours that result in reward, or the avoidance of unpleasantness or punishment, are more likely to be repeated. One issue with Covid-19 is that the negative consequences are not immediate and so the “distance” from the required behaviour change makes it less sustainable. Consider the Stanford marshmallow experiment in which a child was offered a choice between one small but immediate reward (a marshmallow or pretzel), or two small rewards if they waited for 15 minutes. It was found that those with lower education were more likely to take the immediate reward rather than wait. Furthermore, in terms of everyday health threats, 60% of those suffering a heart attack return to smoking, despite the clear benefits of quitting.

Behaviour change requires continuous reinforcement, but Covid-19 is a more like a one-off incident, so repeat communications with reminders and short-term rewards will be required to sustain new behaviours. The design solutions above and recently proposed by the workplace community will at least act as reminder and nudge behaviours, but I am not convinced that the required behaviours will stick beyond a novelty period.

In terms of leadership, trusting and empowering staff to occasionally work from home is a clear pre-cursor to adopting agile working. In the majority of my projects, it is middle management that object the most to working from home. Many prefer their staff to be to hand and take the easy route of managing performance by time in the office rather than by agreed deliverables.

More importantly, right now we need to cease the practice of presenteeism, where staff feel obliged to turn up to the office even when ill, and actively discourage staff from returning until fully restored back to good health. Our new-found skills with on-line meetings, supported by an investment in technology, will help staff connected when not in the office. In the long-term blended physical/virtual working environments will help sustain such practice.

In Conclusion

Workplace design can help us overcome infection from viruses but, rather than reinvent the workplace, we need to first recollect and adopt those best practices that have been repeatedly ignored.

There are some relatively easy low-cost short-term solutions, such as continuing home working and reducing desk densities by removing seats up marking up desks. Long-term design solutions will help nudge and sustain the required behaviours going forward. There are likely to be associated up-costs due to new technology, increased cleaning regimes and reduced space density, but consider it a form of medical insurance.

Right now ongoing clear and sensible communication and leadership, based on the management and design principals listed above, is essential.


Guest post by Nigel Oseland, Workplace Unlimited
Nigel is a workplace strategist, change manager, environmental psychologist, researcher, international speaker and author. He draws on his psychology background and his own research to advise occupiers on how to redefine their workstyles and rethink their workplace to create working environments that enhance individual and organisational performance and deliver maximum value. Nigel is a co-founder of Workplace Trends.


Sunday 10th May 2020 The Case for Active Travel

Guest post by Maggie Procopi, Workplace Trends

Yesterday (Saturday 9 May 2020) U.K. transport secretary Grant Shapps announced what he called a “once in a generation” £2 billion plan to boost cycling and walking both during and after the lockdown.

Upmost in his mind must be the need for workers to return to their offices amid an already crowded transport system.

It’s somewhat sad that it takes a global pandemic to force this level of investment, but I hope organisations will embrace the opportunities presented.

Workplace Trends covered Active Travel in a recent Climate Change and the Workplace event earlier this year. The session took the form of a panel discussion, with Q&A from the audience.

Many delegates, like myself, had reservations around, for example, cycling safety and travelling longer distances, all of which were reassuringly dealt with by our panel – Neil Webster, Cyclo Consulting, Megan Sharkey, University of Westminster, Ben Knowles, PedalMe and Andrew Brown, Just Ride the Bike (moderator).


Guest post by Maggie Procopi, Workplace Trends
Maggie is a co-founder of the Workplace Trends series of conferences. Based in the UK, Workplace Trends, along with their international partners, run ground-breaking events for workplace professionals who want be at the forefront of work and workplace new thinking. We examine up-coming trends and best practice which enable people and their places of work to be happy, healthy and productive.


Monday 04th May 2020 Thoughts on Covid-19: Things Have Changed

Guest post by Ian Baker, Head of Workplace Consulting, EMCOR UK

“People are crazy and times are strange,
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range,
I used to care, but things have changed.”

(Bob Dylan – Things Have Changed, 2000)

Just before this current situation got ‘very real’ I read that when we look back on major events, either in our personal lives or in the wider world (like a global pandemic) that we identify life as ‘before’ and ‘after’ with our views being different on either side. It gave me something positive to hold on to, knowing that change will be coming and that when we’re free to leave our homes and return to the workplace many people’s views of those workplaces and what they mean to us will have shifted. 

I think the extent and direction of this shifted view will depend on the amount of time social distancing lasts (6 weeks and counting!), the generation that we belong to and our working patterns ‘before’ this situation arose.

Six weeks in and some form of change is now even more likely. How and where it takes place though is still very debatable. The workplace profession is always quick to respond with ideas, solutions and the occasional statement of fact, but one thing is certain – one size never fits all and there will be as many different ‘new normals’ as there were ‘normals’ beforehand.

I’ve always believed that ‘People’ are at the heart of any workplace, but at the time of writing I want to be more specific – I think we should be focussing our attention on ‘relationships’. When we eventually find ourselves in the ‘after’ post Covid-19, the organisations that seek to create better relationships with their employees will reap the rewards that great partnerships inevitably bring; providing spaces for increasing collaboration, encouraging flexibility, focussing on wellbeing and mental health. 

Workplaces which demonstrate the value and importance of relationships outside of work will likely gain more ground. When we emerge from our homes, rubbing our eyes in the sunlight, we’ll look to see how our organisations will merge our new ‘working from home lives’ (where we have discovered new ways of working and re-discovered things that really matter to us) with a return to whatever our ‘new normals’ will eventually be. 

This future should not be written by headlines, it should be written by the individuals whose views will have been altered by this seismic event, organisations should grasp this opportunity to evaluate what all this means to them, gather information for analysis and then make evidence-based decisions for change. 

We have the chance to make lives better by organising work and workplaces differently. We should be taking stock now to ensure we don’t rush back to do the same things we did before, the things we didn’t like about work. It’s our responsibility to make the “after” a better one and perhaps if we grasp the opportunity, we’ll come out of this with a happy ending.

With thanks for this guest post to:

Ian Baker, Head of Workplace Consulting for leading facilities management company EMCOR UK.


 

Thursday 30th April 2020 Workplace Design Challenges Post COVID-19

Guest post by Francisco Vazquez, 3g Smart Group and Workplace Trends Iberia

COVID-19 has not only put our healthcare system in tension, but has also come to question the traditional model of face-to-face work that exists in most companies. The pandemic we are experiencing has made telework the new normal for millions of people and it is foreseeable that it will gain relevance in the future.

The growing adoption of telework by many organizations in recent days has shown howtechnology can promote another way of working more committed to reconciliation and the environment, and more adequate to respond to crises like the one we are facing. 

Before the current health crisis, flexible work, which includes teleworking as one of its tools, was a reality in many organizations and was being implemented in others, which has allowed them to be fully operational remotely. Other companies are now facing and understanding the possibilities of remote working. It is clear to me that this crisis will accelerate the implementation of the flexible working models (including telework) and will become the new normal…. but it won’t be exactly the same!!! We will have to take into consideration additional aspects related to what we have learnt from this situation, such as social distancing, personal hygiene, disinfection, and ventilation, ….

The adoption of flexible working models must necessarily be reflected, in turn, in an evolution of space design towards what we know as flexible offices. Flexible offices have given the design solutions to this new ways of working, where, up until this crisis, the focus was set on having spaces to collaborate, social interactions and learning areas. But also to ensure meeting the company’s strategy in terms of sustainability, well-being, talent retention, flexibility, inclusion and, of course, the productivity and efficiency of the organization. New aspects like social distancing will have a big impact on how the offices will be designed, specially for meeting rooms or the traditional benches, that aimed at maximizing the number of positions. 

Space ratios, that were coming down 20-30% when we implemented flexible office space, will probably increase back after this crisis. 

In addition, sanitary aspects related to future pandemic will have an impact in how common areas of the buildings are designed, like access, lifts lobbies and the lift in itself. Also, the mechanical installation of buildings will be redesigned to meet new standards, for example ventilation and facility management services will change accordingly,  mainly in all issues related to disinfectants and cleaning.    

  • Flexible working models will extend rapidly in all the organisations. 
  • Workplace design will need to give response to new challenges like keeping the recommended social distance. Workplace space ratios may rise back up. 
  • Buildings must adapt to pandemic prevention requirements. 

With thanks for this guest post to:

Francisco Vazquez, 3g Smart Group and Workplace Trends Iberia.


 

Wednesday 22nd April 2020 The role of workplace in organisational recovery

Guest post by Tim Oldman, Leesman

In late February I was swapping messages with a friend in Switzerland. I had a new client project brewing in the city where she lives so I’d have a good excuse to be there in the next few weeks. That meant she and I had an excuse for dinner and wine. I even said in the message, that Covid wouldn’t get in the way. I was wrong.

Covid-19 has caught us all out. And what scares anyone who cares to think about it is that we still don’t understand it. So as much as anxieties might be lessened by the idea we’ll be out the other side in another few months, we truly don’t know. We guessed Covid-19 wrong and I’m guessing most will guess the post-Covid future of workplace wrong. Why? Just a few examples:

  • Governments will not remove social distancing; they will have to progressively relax social distancing. So, some of us may be working from home through Spring, Summer, Autumn and well into Winter.
  • But governments cannot indefinitely fund worker retention schemes, so business leaders will equally be pressurised to get business back to normal and for huge numbers, that means workers working back in offices.
  • The same business leaders are coming around to the idea of larger numbers than they previously thought being able to work from home.
  • But they are making those judgements sat in their nice studies or garden offices with little or no real knowledge of what many of their employees are coping with in a home work setting.
  • And what is safe for those workers returning to offices? Not just in terms of workplace density but also commuter transport density or lunch time sandwich bar density? Can cities work as worker destinations with hazard tape separating us all by 6-feet?
  • For every client who says they will need to capitulate to financial pressure and reduce their real estate footprint, as many have told me they may have to add space in order to return to 1:1 desk allocation as employer and employee awareness of surface cleanliness maxes out.
  • I used to retreat home once or twice a week for concentrative work. But now we’re all using Zoom or Teams to buzz each other all the **** time and I feel bound to engage in order to keep social and organisational connectivity up, the enforced home isolation is killing my focus and concentration.

So, before we second guess the future of workplace let’s take proper stock of what role workplace will need to play in organisational recovery. Let’s do so properly cognisant of the likely economic uncertainty, the likely long tail of social distancing and the certain heightened public awareness of cleanliness.

And lets also get a deep understanding of how home working is actually working for all layers of employee across all functions. Then at least when the longstanding advocates of dispersed working start suggesting they’d been right all along and the office is facing certain extinction, we can test their claims with battle front evidence of our home working fight back against Covid.


With thanks for this guest post to Tim Oldman, Leesman.
As the Founder of Leesman, Tim sought to offer the property market the first truly independent, unified and standardized pre and post occupancy evaluation tool.  The Leesman Index is now the largest independent workplace effectiveness database containing over a quarter of a million employee responses.
Read more from Leesman with the first of their Memos from the Future.


Tim will be taking part in our online event this Thursday 14 May, What will be the “new normal” for the workplace in 2021? Also taking part are Arjun Kaicker, Nigel Oseland and Kerstin Sailer.


 

Monday 20th April 2020 Thoughts on Covid-19: The path to workplace emancipation, well-being and profit.

Guest post by Craig Knight, Identity Reaization

“I might have known,” said Eeyore. “After all, one can’t complain. I have my friends. Somebody spoke to me only yesterday. And was it last week or the week before that Rabbit bumped into me and said ‘Bother!’. The Social Round. Always something going on.”

(A.A.Milne)

There are rather a lot of people doing somewhat better than Eeyore.  They are having quite a good Coronavirus, feeling secretly pleased with themselves and just a little guilty about things.  After all, we are meant to be in a state of hardship; furloughed at best, probably angst ridden and missing our business colleagues.

Now

All the same, it’s quite pleasant starting work in your dressing gown; slurping tea and crunching toast, dropping crumbs on your laptop. You can break for Pop Master at 10.30 with an early lunch if you feel peckish.  The kids are glad to see you and your partner; well, what did GBS say about the maximum of temptation combined with the maximum of opportunity? And you still finish all your work in time to sit in front of The Crown of an evening.

It isn’t that way for many people of course, but science is completely on the side of Douglas MacGregor’s Theory Y, in-so-much-as people respond to being allowed to do things their way.  Tom Postmes explains that if you give people the resources to do the job, trust them to do it right and the autonomy to do it their way, the results will be terrific.  Since 2003, my own work has shown that staff in their own space, when allowed to develop their own solutions, always come up with the most productive result, leaving trained managers and consultants floundering in their wake.

Then

So will there be a sea-change when the world emerges from its odd hibernation; now that Zoom is more than a song by Fat Larry’s Band and flexible working includes an afternoon nap followed by the determined purge of the inbox?  Are we going to see a post-industrial working world of proper grown-ups, for the first time?  Where the office is used as it should be; as a hub for information, socialising and resource gathering; as a welcoming base, a home from home?  An office where staff arrive at times that allow them to do the job to their best abilities, taking holidays when they wish, changing their working environment to fit with their requirements?  This is no soft option by the way; nobody is saying “reduce targets”.

Or, will we instead revert to the bleeding edge of flexible and agile managerial practice, developed as recently as the mid-18th century by Josiah Wedgwood. Will we rebuild the glittering principles of lean, introduced by the same man and honed to its precise modern standards by Frederick Taylor in the Victorian era?  Or shall we just infantilize the workforce instead and give them pool tables, ping-pong bats and slides to play with.  Biophilia, Six Sigma, and using populist psychometrics to inform office design, are all symptoms of the same nasty/nice continuum, where managers just look to buttress their control and untested heuristics through the manipulation of ‘experts’. And here is the entire list of peer-reviewed scientific articles that says this is a good idea.  Ready?

References 

 

That’s the lot.

Return or redemption

Only business schools and business practice – supported by case-studies from within the, seemingly impermeable, business bubble – argue that the blunt and inexpert edge of current, and ever recycled, best practice cuts it.  Science, in short, thinks it’s rubbish.  So maybe, just maybe, we can start to treat workers like the grown-ups they really are.  Science likes that and there is overwhelming evidence that it works.  

If I am honest, I don’t think we will.  We will probably slide back into gobble-de-gook, feelgood accreditations and back slapping awards, all of which butter corporate egos but are otherwise, essentially useless.  It is a safe bet that managers will once more belt themselves into the pilot’s chair and paper over the windscreen with spreadsheets that misguide them and their colleagues towards the usual wrong variables (first two stops ‘error’ and ‘waste’ anybody?).

However, there are now tantalizing chinks of light that shine, almost illicitly, from behind some of the curtains of the coronavirus lockdown.  Their tempting beams illuminating the path to workplace emancipation, well-being and profit.  

Please, follow them; we may never have this chance again.


With thanks for this guest post to:

Craig Knight, Founding Director of Identity Realization