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11 Virtual And In-Person Workplace Conferences To Attend This Year

by Tiffany Bloodworth Rivers on January 14, 2021
Workplace Innovator Podcast

Workplace conferences and exhibitions are some of the best places for leaders to get inspiration and network with others. While we’re all eager to return to in-person events, many organizers have managed to create online conferences that are almost as engaging. And we should begin to see the return of onsite conferences later this year.

Here are eleven workplace conferences you should consider signing up for in 2021.

Workplace conferences for technology leaders

IT professionals have had to navigate unprecedented challenges when it comes to equipping their remote workforce, moving digital transformation initiatives forward, and managing cybersecurity. 

These workplace conferences offer a unique opportunity to dive deep into digital workplace strategies and technologies.

CIO’s Future of Work Summit

February 16–18, 2021 (Virtual)

The first in IDG Communications’ 2021 summit series, CIO’s Future of Work Summit is a virtual event focused on exploring solutions for adapting to what it calls “The Borderless Workplace”.

Over the course of three days, senior tech leaders across various industries will share big-picture strategies and granular tactics for adapting to the challenges of the evolving business landscape.

You’ll learn which technologies and strategies are best suited for managing a modern digital workplace, what you can do to improve employee satisfaction while maintaining high productivity, and how employers are addressing the difficulties associated with maintaining work-life balance in a post-2020 world.

The Future of Work Summit will feature over 100 hours of valuable content in the form of live keynote presentations, roundtable discussions, breakout sessions, on-demand recordings, and more.

(If you can’t make the February session, there will be another Future of Work Summit September 21–23.)

Enterprise Connect

September 27–29, 2021 (Orlando, FL + Virtual)

This year’s Enterprise Connect will be a hybrid event, offering the option to enjoy full programming onsite at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando or watch live sessions online. Both in-person and online attendees will have access to all conference activities, including keynotes, presentations from industry experts, and networking opportunities.

To help personalize your experience, you can choose from one of these nine tracks:

  1. Unified Communications
  2. Contact Center & Customer Experience
  3. Team Collaboration
  4. Strategic Leadership
  5. Cloud Communications
  6. Video Collaboration & A/V 
  7. Management & Security
  8. Practical AI
  9. Embedded Communications & APIs

While the format of the 2021 event will be new, the mission of Enterprise Connect remains the same as it has for the past 30 years: to help you optimize your investments in communications and collaboration systems, services, apps, and networks.

Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo®

October 18–21, 2021 (Orlando, FL)

Dubbed “The World’s Most Important Gathering of CIOs and IT Executives”, the Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo is designed to be a one-stop-shop for knowledge sharing among IT professionals, based on three pillars: business, technology, and inspiration.

You’ll connect with Gartner experts to explore how to leverage data, workplace analytics, and artificial intelligence to bring value to your organization. You’ll learn how to modernize your legacy systems and upgrade your technology infrastructure to make it more agile.

And you’ll discuss the elements of digital transformation and understand how to implement new initiatives in your workplace. (Hint: it starts with your culture.)

Though the more detailed program schedule is still being developed, you can browse the agenda for the 2020 virtual Symposium/Xpo to get a better idea of the topics.

Workplace conferences for facility management leaders

Facilities leaders are instrumental in managing a safe return to work with new office designs, flexible seating arrangements, cleaning and sanitization protocols, and more. Although many have yet to reopen, they are already envisioning how their future office will look. 

Discover what other FM professionals are doing to make their workplaces a destination where employees will be eager to return. 

Workplace Futures 2021

February 23, 2021 (Virtual)

If you’re not U.K.-based, you may not have had the opportunity to attend the Workplace Futures Conference since it’s usually held in London. This year, the event is 100% virtual, so you can participate from anywhere in the world.

The theme for Workplaces Futures 2021 is “2021: Impact, Challenges & Opportunities'', and it focuses on the vital role facility managers have in reopening the workplace following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Presentations will explore what facilities leaders must do to ensure the health, safety, and productivity of employees not only in the traditional workplace but also remote workspaces. You’ll learn strategies for supporting initiatives related to occupant experience, employee wellbeing, and sustainability — all of which must be top priorities for your post-pandemic workplace.

Workplace Innovator Podcast

IFMA’s Facility Fusion Conference and Expo - Virtual Edition

April 21–22, 2021 (Virtual)

Whether you’re new to facility management or you’re an FM veteran, Facility Fusion, hosted by the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), has plenty to offer.

The event has a threefold focus: developing leadership skills, providing opportunities for career advancement, and building professional networks.

At the virtual edition of Facility Fusion, you’ll connect with other facilities professionals and industry experts from all over the world to swap ideas, share expertise, and compare strategies. You’ll learn the latest industry trends and standards and discover best practices for creating a work environment that maximizes operational efficiency and employee productivity.

Plus, you’ll be able to easily communicate with vendors of IFMA-approved products and services and discuss how these solutions can benefit your organization specifically. At the end of the expo, you’ll have the tools and insight you need to become indispensable to your employer.

IFMA’s World Workplace

October 20–22, 2021 (Anaheim, CA)

Also hosted by IFMA, World Workplace stands as the original comprehensive professional development and networking event for the facilities industry.

Centered around the idea that collaboration and community are at the heart of effective facility management, World Workplace has promoted idea-sharing and information exchange among professionals in facility management and related fields for 40 years.

Similar to Facility Fusion, workplace professionals at all stages of their careers can benefit from attending World Workplace with sessions on topics like:

  • Leveraging data analytics to manage property more efficiently and cost-effectively
  • Integrating new and legacy technologies for better visibility and control
  • Improving soft skills, such as communication and problem-solving

This year’s World Workplace is set to take place at the Anaheim Convention Center, but you can expect to see a hybrid approach that includes virtual elements as well.

You can also take a look at some of our top highlights from last  year's World Workplace as you look forward to what's coming in 2021.

Workplace conferences for corporate real estate leaders

Corporate real estate leaders are facing difficult decisions to consolidate, put expansion plans on hold, or forego new lease agreements. To succeed in the future, they will need technology that gives them real-time insights into space utilization and costs for every building in their portfolio. 

They'll also need to take advantage of flexible office space strategies and optimize the tenant experience. These upcoming conferences can help. 

MIT World Real Estate Forum

May 17–18, 2021 (Virtual)

Hosted by the MIT Center for Real Estate, the MIT World Real Estate Forum offers attendees the chance to connect with corporate real estate (CRE) leaders, MIT faculty and researchers, developers, investors, and technologists from more than 25 different countries in a single setting to discuss topics impacting global real estate.

You’ll also get the unique opportunity to hear about MIT’s latest research on real estate technology and innovation from MIT’s distinguished researchers themselves.

To support the virtual event, the hosts are spreading the conference over multiple days and are giving attendees on-demand access to recorded content. You have the option to register for the full conference or individual days, whichever best suits your schedule.

2021 BOMA International Conference & Expo

July 18–21, 2021 (Boston, MA)

The BOMA International Conference & Expo is where the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) community establishes the foundation for all forthcoming standards and strategies.

Attendees receive the most up-to-date industry knowledge on market trends and upcoming regulatory changes as well as the latest best practices for improving efficiency while supporting occupant health and safety.

One of the biggest benefits of attending the BOMA International Conference & Expo is being able to connect with colleagues in person and enjoy networking with other members of the community face-to-face. You’ll discover key insights and tactical knowledge to help future-proof your portfolio, optimize the performance of your properties, and outshine your competition. You’ll also learn how to strengthen your professional connections and foster positive relationships with stakeholders and clients.

Realcomm | IBcon Commercial Real Estate Conference and Expo

October 26–29, 2021 (Virtual) | October 28–29, 2021 (Aurora, CO)

Realcomm is taking a slightly different approach to hybrid events than other hosts on this list.

Rather than hosting an in-person event that is simultaneously accessible virtually, the IBcon Commercial Real Estate Conference and Expo is split into two separate events, one onsite and one online, which will occur sequentially. Attendees can choose to attend only the virtual component, only the in-person event, or both.

The conference will feature networking events, roundtable discussions, and over 100 presentations led by more than 125 experts from around the world about topics related to high-performance smart building ecosystems, such as building automation systems, the Internet of Things (IoT), and digital transformation.

There will also be a special focus on the impact of COVID-19 on intelligent buildings, including thermal technology, health screening, and sanitation.

Workplace conferences for HR professionals

Human resources managers are critical players in facilitating a safe return to work and promoting an engaging employee experience once that happens. They will also face the unique challenge of bridging the gap between team members in the office and those working from home.

Creating a cohesive company culture that transcends beyond the walls of the office is another important priority.

These conferences offer valuable discussions about the best ways to do this.

WorkVision 2021

April 19-21 (Amelia Island, Fla.)

WorkVision, hosted by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) brings together a diverse group of experienced HR leaders for discussions about the future of remote work, strategies for improving employee engagement, and more.

You’ll hear from speakers at Morgan Stanley, Accenture, Harvard Business School, and more during this two-day event.

Gartner ReimagineHR Conference

Nov. 8-10 (San Diego, Calif.)

Last year’s Gartner ReimagineHR Conference focused on how to manage the changing relationship between employees and employers. It’s a topic that continues to evolve as more employees work remotely and have unprecedented access to information.

That means HR and business leaders need to do more to improve trust in the workplace, redesign jobs, and deliver more value to their organizations.

While this year’s agenda is still in progress, the conference is essential for HR professionals who want to improve their organization and further their careers.

Workplace conferences help expand your network and offer great opportunities to grow as a professional and person. Make it a priority to attend at least one virtual conference and one in person if you can to give yourself the opportunity to reconnect with your peers.

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