Friday 28th August 2020 Getting the best from our virtual events

Hopefully in 2021 Workplace Trends and other event organisers will be able to run physical conferences again. Most likely they will all be hybrid events, with a mix of virtual and real life experiences – something we’ve been particularly working towards for a few years now. Covid has just accelerated us in this direction.

This is how we found the Hopin virtual event platform. At the beginning of the year I suspect Hopin was jut another small Californian start up. But in the face of the global pandemic the founders were suddenly confronted with an enormous and hungry market, desperate for their product. All credit to them, they’ve done a fantastic job to bring the software forward in such a short space of time.

So both what should have been our spring Workplace Trends Research Summit (now scheduled for 10 September) and our main autumn London conference (taking place on 15 October 2020) are both happening on the Hopin platform.

Ahead of these events we want to make sure our delegates are comfortable with the platform and don’t spend the first half hour of the conferences finding their way around. To this end we’re running some short orientation events, plus I hope the following notes will help outline how the events will work.

In short, the programmers at Hopin have emulated a full conference venue as far as is possible, in an online environment.

After entering the event, attendees are taken to the Reception area – the information hub and equivalent of a venue’s lobby. The other areas in the venue are on the left sidepanel. These include Stage, Networking, Sessions, and Expo.

Which browsers work best?

The latest versions of Chrome or Firefox guarantee the best experience. Brave, Safari, and Microsoft IE or Edge don’t quite have the web tech that’s required.

Note: Sometimes, third-party extensions can affect the experience blocking some of the Hopin interface elements. If this happens Hopin advises to open the event in Incognito mode on Chrome or Private tab on Firefox.

The 5 areas of Hopin

There are five areas in a Hopin event. Each area is flexible and provides live interaction for attendees in different ways.

1. Reception

The Reception area is the welcome page or “lobby” of an event. Here you can quickly find out what’s happening at the event currently: the organizer’s welcome message, sponsors, the schedule, and speakers. The Reception area is also used for announcements, important links, messages, and event updates.

2. Stage

This is a one-to-many interaction area that supports up to 100,000 concurrent viewers. The Stage is great for keynotes, presentations, panels, performances, and fireside chats.

3. Sessions

The Sessions segment of Hopin delivers the best experience for group discussions. In Sessions, you will see virtual roundtables for speakers and attendees to interact. Up to 10 people can participate in a Session with their camera on, with up to 500 people who can watch off-camera and interact via the session chat. This will be where attendees ask questions to the speakers on camera if they wish, or through the chat function, whichever they are comfortable with.

Attendees can also create any number of their own sessions during the live event.

4. Networking

The Networking segment on Hopin is pure engagement and is similar to one-on-one meetings on a FaceTime call. This segment is designed to recreate the “coffee-in-the-lobby” conversations or watercooler chats. The Networking area automates the discovery of new connections. When an attendee participates in the Networking, they are matched with a random attendee and meet for a set time preset by the organizer.

Attendees can click the Connect button during a call to exchange contact information and after the event the newly made contacts will appear at https://hopin.to/account/connectionspage of their individual Profile.

5. Expo

The Expo area is the virtual exhibitor hall with vendor booths.

Every booth will either have a pre-recorded video in it, or a live video session with a vendor representative manning and moderating the booth.

Plus, you can leave your details with the click of a button for vendors to follow up with you later if you wish, and many will also be carrying an event special offer for delegates.

How do people get around at a Hopin event?

Similar to a physical event, the Hopin event experience is self-directed but with wayfinding tools and signs to help people easily get around. Attendees ultimately choose where they want to go.

Chats for everyone

There are multiple chat channels in a Hopin event. Each one serves a different purpose.

  • Event chat — global event chat where all participants can post messages.
  • Stage chat — chat with a Stage-related discussion all attendees have access to.
  • Session chat — each session in Sessions has dedicated chat rooms. Attendees who are off-camera can chat to interact with people on camera and vice-versa.
  • Booth chat — like Sessions, each booth has its own chat for group discussions and interaction.
  • Meeting chat — in Networking, a private 1:1 chat channel is available to the participants.
  • Direct messages — anyone can send messages to an individual at a Hopin event via DMs in the People tab. To send a DM, find the person you wish to chat with in the People tab, click their profile photo, and send a direct message to them.

I hope you like the sound of this platform. I certainly did, having spent many days in early lockdown searching for an online model that would get us this close to an in-person conference experience.

Check out our Workplace Trends Research Summit if you haven’t already got your ticket. Full details are on our website and on Hopin of course as well.

Thanks for reading, stay safe and well.

Best wishes, Maggie

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).

https://youtu.be/saK-HuD2VgQ

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.


Friday 27th March 2020 "In the modern workplace, Friday is the happiest day of the week"

Way back in 2012 we were privileged to welcome Nic Marks to our stage to speak on “How (and why) happiness works as a business model”.

He has since become a TED speaker, and is one of the most sought after presenters in the arena of happiness and productivity at work.

Here’s our recording of his thought-provoking session, even more relevant given the current COVID-19 crisis.

Nic’s Friday Pulse platform measures how people are feeling and systematically collects feedback, providing real-time insights on individuals, teams and organizations as they adapt to new realities.

To help businesses through the crisis, Friday Pulse is now FREE for SMEs for 12 weeks. To find out more and register go to https://www.fridaypulse.com

Stay healthy and happy!

With all best wishes from the Workplace Trends team.

Wednesday 25th March 2020 Design to Adapt: Future Offices within a Circular Economy

We spend one third of our life working, but 60% of people feel lonely at work and 1.2 million office workers suffer from chronic loneliness (chronic loneliness is a harmful as having 15 cigarettes a day!) The problem hurts happiness and productivity, costing employers between £2–3.7 billion every year (that’s in the UK alone!)

The Loneliness Lab

You may remember last summer we asked our followers to take part in online research on Loneliness at Work. The full report is being written up at the moment, but the early results were presented at Workplace Trends London last October by Rachel Edwards (Lendlease) and Nigel Oseland (Workplace Unlimited).

We don’t usually release our conference videos except to registered delegates, but we really wanted to share this trending topic.

If you enjoyed this presentation, take a look at our Workplace Trends Research Spring Summit, coming up on 25 March in London. Virtual and in-person tickets and more information is at https://workplacetrends.co/spring2020/

Wednesday 23rd October 2019 Futures Wall at Workplace Trends London 2019

This is a guest post by our friends at Logovisual, who very kindly installed, hosted and curated our Futures Wall at Workplace Trends London earlier this month.


This year many of the speakers at the Workplace Trends London conference referenced the theme of making the workplace a human centric environment. Whether that’s through physical design; encouraging healthy and sustainable behaviours; engaging employees for change; or recognising the importance of mental as well as physical wellbeing, it all comes back to embracing the basic human trait of being a social animal.

Part of that is the desire and ability to communicate, and this year as a break from convention the conference embraced this by introducing an ‘ideas wall’

Ideas wall

We were delighted to have the opportunity to run what we decided to call a Futures Wall. We invited delegates to post their insights about the future of the workplace, as a basis for a sense making exercise. This was a valuable way of gathering diverse intuitions of what the future holds, picking up “signals from the future” as a counter and complement to the more data and research-based format that the main conference provides. What emerged from the futures wall perhaps signals less of a trend, and more a rapid, dramatic change as a consequence of the present environmental, digital and political emergencies.

Generating the ideas

We invited people attending the conference to drop by and post their ideas about the future of work, in response to the question: what does the workplace look like in 2035?

The idea of collecting input at the conference took some time to get going. Perhaps people were wary of being judged for their contributions. Or perhaps the idea of using magnetic rather than sticky notes on a whiteboard took a little getting used to. The wall certainly generated interest and discussion, and towards the end of the day some of these ideas had made it onto the wall itself. We might have to speak toSimone Leenders at WorkWire for some tips on nudging people into participating!

Insights from the Futures Wall

This was a real time look at what insights people have about their future, stimulated by being at the conference and hearing some lively presentations from people whose job it is to design for the future.

The output gives us intimations of what people want and expect. We could think of us all as being amplifiers of weak signals from the future.

The results are available to download as a pdf file if you’d like to see more detail.

Broadly though, we can see the response to current concerns around climate change, work life balance, remote working and technological change. If we string together the headings of the clusters to form a story, we can interpret it like this:

By 2035, as humanity finally responds to the shattering impact of climate change, our definition of work changes and new possibilities emerge.

Those changed expectations drive structural changes in corporations. As people exercise their freedom to make personal choices, the balance between real and virtual contacts shifts to make work more wholesome.

Workplaces embrace life-long needs and technology is serving people – not the other way around. As people increasingly work in networked co-creative groups, we begin to re-discover the joys of being human.

Making your own interpretation

Our interpretation of the contributions is an optimistic one, to reflect the positive intentions of the conference. If seeing the results has sparked more ideas, just because the event is over doesn’t mean you can’t still add to the discussion.

You can download a free trial copy of the Logovisual Capture Software we used to recreate the Future Wall along with the data file. We’d be delighted if you have a go at adding more ideas and manipulating the clusters, or feel free to use this exercise as a basis for your own ideas session.

About Logovisual

Logovisual are the creators of the ThinkingWall range of whiteboards for thinking, planning and collaboration. We used one of our ThinkingWall Dividers as the wall surface, a double sided magnetic whiteboard on wheels. The magnetic sticky notes are Magnotes, available in a range of shapes, sizes and colours. The methodology we used is called LogoVisual Thinking.

Copyright VanessaChampion.co.uk
Monday 21st October 2019 Podcast : Workplace Trends London 2019 Special
Tuesday 30th July 2019 Podcast : What do people really want at work?

Branding specialist and Spacecraft Podcaster Dan Moscrop recently spent some time talking with workplace expert and psychologist Nigel Oseland. In the podcast they look at what people REALLY want at work; whether open plan is as rubbish as everyone says it is; how to use data to prove design works; and touch on Nigel’s current research projects with Lendlease and Herman Miller.

Towards the end of the podcast Dan and Nigel also kindly give a mention to our Workplace Trends: Towards a new era of work and workplace conference in London on 15 October. They’ll both be attending on the day and would love to pick up the conversation with you there!

Here’s the full podcast, and to hear more from Dan and his other Spacecraft Podcast sessions, subscribe to the feed here.

Monday 15th July 2019 The Auditorium of the Future

At our recent Design and Management of Learning Environments conference, Ian Stickland of Charcoalblue spoke about his work designing and installing auditoriums, not just in learning environments and theatres, but also in workplaces.

Whilst he covered the effects of the digital age in both the design and use of  lecture theatres and presentation spaces, even more interestingly he dwelt too on the why and how of designing spaces that enhance the relationship between the presenter and their audience. So once again the importance of engagement was highlighted as a driving and necessary force in the design of a productive space.

The session also drew on the rich history of theatre, teaching and storytelling spaces to explain the fundamentals of auditorium design. 

We don’t usually release our conference videos except to our delegates, but just on this occasion we really wanted to share this with you!

Filmed and edited by our friends at McLeod Audio Visual.

Check out our up-coming 2019 Workplace Trends events in London on 15 October, and Copenhagen on 19 September.

Tuesday 28th May 2019 Drive Change and Innovate

Mike Kelly, Library Space Development Manager at The University of Manchester Library, attended our Design & Management of Learning Environments Conference in London and subsequently published this blog post on the event.
Here’s the first few paragraphs: read the post in full on the University’s Library Services Blog
“I recently attended the Design and Management of Learning Environments conference, organised by Workplace Trends and sponsored by Herman Miller. After a great journey to Euston Station, made better by a strong coffee and the latest edition of Facilitate Magazine, I was excited to start the day.
I am very familiar with this area of London (Kings Cross, Great Portland Street, Regents Park) but I am always energised by the noise and movement in this vibrant part of the City. As I walked alongside Regents Park, I noticed that the long line of queuing traffic was silent – as if the vehicles were parked. However, on closer inspection, I found that every car was either electric or hybrid (including Teslas, Porches, BMWs). The effect on the surrounding atmosphere was incredible – calm, a feeling of safety and quiet. I presume this move to more electric vehicles in London is being driven by the Low Emission Zone. I wonder when this will roll out across Manchester? From what I experienced in London, I am a staunch supporter.
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The venue for the conference had been changed from the British Library to The Royal College of Physicians. I had no idea what to expect and looked forward to see the building for the first time. It didn’t disappoint. After walking past the beautiful town houses that overlooked Regents Park, I was immediately ‘disrupted’ by an imposing “modernist masterpiece and one of London’s most important post-war buildings”. Wow – this piece of stark architecture, a grade 1 listed building, had been designed by Sir Denys Lasdun to make a statement. I knew it was to be a good day.”
Read more …
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Read the full ‘Drive Change and Innovate’ post on the Library Services Blog here.