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Sept. 30-Oct. 2: World Workplace in Chicago is pandemic-prepared

Building the Future is the theme of the 40th World Workplace Conference & Expo hosted by the International Facility Management Association (IFMA). The Built Environment, Sustainability and the Human Experience are the three factors that will capture the imagination of conference attendees at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

IFMA will be following COVID-19 guidelines from the CDC and the city of Chicago. Facilities managers are uniquely qualified to manage the health and safety of others every day and have been implementing pandemic-proof measures in the workplace for months.

In terms of gathering for a conference during the pandemic, IFMA President & COO Don Gilpin says, ” We are currently evaluating protocols that address the majority of present day health and safety concerns. We want everyone attending World Workplace to feel confident that IFMA has taken all possible protective measures so they can focus on reconnecting with colleagues and benefiting from programming to successfully address current and future facility challenges. That’s IFMA’s calling – our reason for being – to be a source of information, direction, encouragement and support for FMs worldwide, especially in times of crisis.”

IFMA has a broad plan prepared to execute appropriate social distancing measures, but the plan will not be finalized until after IFMA receives the McCormick guidelines and its Events team has carefully worked through and implemented recommendations from the WW task force.

The city of Chicago is providing IFMA with directions. “Our Events team has had several meetings with city representatives from Choose Chicago and McCormick Place, as well as with our contracted hotels,” Gilpin explains. “We continue to work directly with them on what they anticipate any limitations may include, and to get answers to some outstanding questions around the Illinois governor’s comments on re-opening.”

World Workplace always has medical assistance on-site but this year there will be procedures in place in the event of suspected cases of COVID-19.

Food and beverage, always part of the World Workplace networking experience, either will be prepackaged or served by an attendant with disposable containers. Savor, McCormick’s in-house catering, is in the process of redoing menus to accommodate grab-and-go options in place of standard buffets and communal coffee breaks.

Once you register, show attendees will receive advisories through emails, information posted on the website, print outs in attendee bags on site, as well as information updated and posted on the digital show app.

Wearing a mask? Taking a bow?

IFMA will provide masks for attendees. If not mandated by the state, it will be the decision of the attendee to choose to wear a mask or not. Convention Center personnel will be required to wear face coverings if that remains the Illinois state rule. If the Illinois rule changes, IFMA will still require staff to follow the most conservative guidelines put out by the CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health. As of June 1st, IFMA staff and vendors would be required to wear masks in all public areas.We will display signage throughout the convention center addressing social distancing, and will include social guidelines in housekeeping notes at general sessions.

Known for its ribbons to identify if you are a CFM, FMP, CFM Instructor, or boasting your 40th World Workplace, IFMA will have a variety of “greeting” ribbons: elbow bump, polite bow, etc., which attendees can select from a ribbon wall that will be staffed by an attendant.

Social distancing reminders will be abundant and SD guidelines will be part of the housekeeping notes at general sessions.

The World Workplace education program will offer the following topic categories: Communication; Facility Information Management & Technology Management; FM Solutions; Health Care; Leadership & Strategy; Occupancy & Human Factors; Operations & Maintenance; Risk Management; Performance & Quality; Project Management; Sustainability; Young Professionals; and Workplace Evolutionaries.

World Workplace facilitates idea sharing and knowledge exchange between all professionals who support the work environment. Collaboration between all members of the workplace community is key to the profession’s rise as a career of choice. The conference presents an opportunity for IFMA members and others interested in joining IFMA to learn about current workplace challenges, hear from experts and academics, see new products on the expo floor, and network with peers in a variety of settings.

See the list of exhibitors participating on the World Workplace Expo floor.

Visit World Workplace. Registration is open.