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Neil and Simon wear silent disco headphones, dressed for work, they are at the Watercooler vent on the 23rd April.

The theme was ‘purpose’

    At Clan Alchemy we talk about the need for leaders and innovators to seek new knowledge and experiences outside their usual interests (you might call this the comfort zone) Last week Neil Sykes and I did exactly that by attending The Watercooler & The Office 2024.
    This was a brilliant event. The organisers had curated two days for insights, innovations, trends and new services for workplace and workforce, and whilst this was perfect for “People teams” all manner of people chose to attend.
    We met wellbeing service providers – forget free fruit on a Friday, or monthly free yoga, these folks help businesses provide meaningful and customisable wellbeing packages for their people and we were impressed by BHN Rewards and Benenden Health We also had a great chat with NOOK , who build a variety of workspace ‘pods’ for neurodiverse colleagues to enjoy quiet spaces (and somewhere for confidential phone conversations).
    We were fortunate to see the talk on “The future of culture” presented by Sophia Nicholls and Hafsa Aziz Culture consultants working with SMRS.
    Together they helped us to imagine a world in 10 years time, where AI has assisted recruitment and ‘role crafting’ for those entering the workplace, where ‘Gen Z’, the true digital natives will be 50% of the workplace and what that means for workplace values, behaviours, and purpose. The insights around the different behaviours of ‘baby boomers’, ‘Millennials’ and ‘Gen Z’ were astounding and the full impacts are likely to include organisations being held accountable for their actions by their workforce – in real time.
    What do a boat racing performance athlete and a Covid ward senior physician have in common? We found out from Pip Hare Ocean Racing in their presentation “Achieving high performance in difficult circumstances – without compromising wellbeing”. It turns out that even alone in the middle of the ocean, the principle of “triage” and prioritisation can restore calm and focus when overwhelm threatens to undermine progress in the race. Both speakers shared the importance of debriefing and taking stock (which reminded us of the “improve” in the Six I’s of of innovation model)
    Our day closed with a cracking talk (in silent disco style) by Simone Fenton-Jarvis BSc MBA FIWFM who talked about Hybrid working, and what people need from a workplace (hint – it isn’t free fruit and yoga) here she outlined the importance of meaningful connections, of congruent and aligned business culture – and a common sense of purpose. The value of ‘intergenerational’ and neurodiverse teams shone through. Simone left us with “The future of work is human, powered by technology (likely AI), underpinned by data (measure what matters) and connected by purpose.
    We are a business with a purpose, that talks about purpose! If you’d like to hear more about what we learned, get in touch with me or book a meeting with Neil.