By Claire West

BIFM, the leading professional body for facilities management, and the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, have today launched The Workplace Conversation — a unique collaborative project exploring the evolution of the working environment and what the future of the workplace looks like.

The project will aim to identify and define the challenges, ideas and opportunities on how work is enabled, both now and in the future, and will explore topics such as the emergence of new technologies, economic forces and flexible working alternatives, and their impact on business performance and the way people work.

The initiative will comprise of a 3-month online conversation which will draw insights, ideas and practical solutions from individuals across a range of countries. Participants will be set specific tasks throughout the duration; the outcome of which will lead to a user-submitted idea, selected by the community, being voted as the best idea to ‘create better workplaces in the future’.

FM and HR professionals, as well as anyone with an interest in the future of the workplace, are invited to participate.

The initiative was announced by BIFM Chief Executive, Gareth Tancred, at the annual Workplace Futures Conference 2015, who urged practitioners to play their important role in helping “shape the future of work” saying: “This collaboration is a unique partnership between two professional communities who already make an important contribution to the way we work. We’ve spent a number of months working with the CIPD, planning and putting the framework in place to deliver this ambitious initiative.

“Whilst there has been plenty written about the changing nature of the workplace, we’re keen to hear from those at the frontline of having to manage the types of changes we’re experiencing, in order to help shape the discussion.

The workplace is a truly universal theme and has an impact on the day-to-day lives of us all. This is a crowd-led initiative and we look forward to seeing a host of great ideas and thoughts contributed from a wide range of FM and HR professionals.”

Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD, said: “If organisations want to achieve better work and better working lives for their people, they must recognise the changing and increasingly flexible nature of the workforce as part of their workplace design.

“Workplaces have incredible potential to both influence and reflect corporate cultures, behaviours and working styles but it takes teams from across the business to create the right kind of workplace.

“The Workplace Conversation is a great opportunity to bring FM and HR professionals together to understand and influence how workplace design can positively affect engagement and productivity while reinforcing corporate values and culture. It’s all about understanding how and where people work well and I look forward to seeing the ideas that are generated through the conversation.”

This project is the first of a number of research initiatives between BIFM and the CIPD which will assess how FM and HR professionals are adapting to the changing nature of work.

Joining the conversation is simple. From today, people can visit to register and post their thoughts and ideas.