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The Five Years in Archi-torture, weren’t that bad after all.

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Written by: Sarah Shehab Salem

Edited & Published by: Mariham Magdy

Have you ever though that what we lack is the “Too much freedom” that chains us? Well, there’s one person that aligns to that but, rather put in a more firmly structured way. Socrates says:

“Too much freedom seems to change into nothing but too much slavery, both for private men and the city. …….I suppose- the greatest and the most savage slavery out of the extreme of freedom.”

-Plato’s Republic

Although, in that essence Socrates was referring to how democracy has actually robbed us of what freedom actually is. And the reason why this notion has resonated in the past 5 and half years of my life is because I studied Architecture as an undergrad. Out of the top five words that pop into anyone’s mind when “Architecture” is mentioned is slavery. “The change from an Architecture slave to a cooperate slave”, our professors said on our last day of my undergraduate program.

Why is slavery most likely associated to work and the corporate realm, because I personally believe that becoming a free man is through having that free mind. This whole thing took a dramatic shift, but it’s true to an extent. We dramatize being chained up in a long chain of organizational structures. To the relief of being a free unemployed architect I’ve decided I’ll start working and make a living, on the bright side nothing will be worse than the countless days of sleep deprivation. However, on my first day of work I was a assigned my “workstation” more of my work 1m by 1m space with absolutely no natural light entry to the space.

I tried to tell myself,” This is not Monday yoga class you can make it through without the natural light” But that was not the issue. The issue is the absence of individualism within each workstation. Yeah, sure you can put up a picture of you with a bunch of your family and friends but that won’t give you the spatial essence of belonging. I’ve never really acknowledged the preferences in the work environments until I went to university and work has become a pure reflection of who you are as a person. And because of that notion, the choice of the work environment has become also on the basis of my own preference as an individual.The five years in Archi-torture, weren’t as bad after all. The reason behind that is that no matter how harsh the work conditions were I’ve always managed to find that margin of belonging to the workplace.

For five years I’ve watched architects come and go through that long hallway of the department. Some come for quick greetings and goodbyes, others for services and facilities while others to claim their spot and work for as long as they’d endure before passing out. Personally, as an architect the studio environment was a place that I’d be in and kind of wait to be inspired. We all wait to be inspired in one way or the other, but surely not in vacuum.  Inspiration is what you make out of yourself in the place and not the other way around, at least what ‘s how I personally view it. Because of that notion I am pushed to imprint myself in so many different ways in whichever place I work in. Having this idea that you have a semi-flexible space that you can physically mold in so many different ways to reflect a sense of territoriality and belonging within the space creates a community for the self that is open to the inspiration of many other on the same terrain.

I’ve always liked it next to the biggest window in the studio, not next to the plotters, I liked it corned in the studio. That says about me as individual. Wanting to be seen but not revealed when being hugged by the two walls of that corner I chose to skosh myself into. I’d have my work pinned to break the barriers of critic for any pass-byer to throw one a comment or two. A brave call for inspiration.

Having to portray myself in the workspace has given me the chance to claim presence in a way that pushes me to have to add more the physical arena, in a way. Have to pin up the work that’s usually scraps of sketches and drafting paper has normalized this idea of “work in progress”. Also, has soften the edges when it came to the concept of open critic from those younger and older. Where the more comments and feedback I’ve received the more the inspiration hit me. Then I’d say are you not at some point ashamed of those scraps of incomplete work, I say well I might be but the more critic I received the more my work has inspired people enough to engage in a cycle of thought, even if it were to before a split of a second.

But on other days I felt like, I want to scramble up my work and never have shed to light in anyway. I’ve had days if not semesters of wanting a room on my own where no one can possibly see me or my work. Days, when I was the hi and bye person budging in and out of the department for the necessity and availability of the resource whether printing or using durable PCs. In the studio environment back in school the individual had the margin of space to create, find and belong to a mirror of themselves in a spatial means

I came to realize that work environments do add up to productivity in a relative sense, It’s a pure mirroring of each and every single individual regardless of the nature of the work. That stands valid in a way that the actual nature of the work does not primarily dictate the work environment preferences. The connections of who we are as individual to the place in correspondence to the work being carried out is the prime indicator of the work environment dynamic. It wasn’t so bad after all.

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Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021 – where balance, resilience and authenticity break the Mental Health Stigma

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Written by: Cinzia Nitti

Globally, 2020 has been a year like no other. Coronavirus pandemic caused a massive business disruption; transformation has been key in supporting employees and catalyzing workplace changes. There was a rush to adapt and reinvent Business Models. Organizations had to rethink and reconsider how they deliver services and strengthen their Organizations through a forward-thinking Digital strategy. To be more agile and responsive in such uncertain times, we need to respond to challenges and adapt quickly to new scenarios by moving from rigid hierarchies to leaner and more flexible structures.

But what about Mental Health at Work, and why is it essential?

What’s the Office of the Future?

Within the Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021, HR Leaders tried to normalize the conversation about Mental Health by putting the topic first, enabling self-care and professional support, raising awareness, and building knowledge around its related issues. Nowadays, personal and work life are more intertwined than ever, so it becomes vital to create balance: the more employees feel free to talk about Mental Health, the more they can prevent struggle and breakout at the Workplace. HR leaders play a crucial role in making an IMPACT by pushing new solutions, promoting work-life balance, redesign workloads, and supporting their Teams.

In this general frame, Irada Aghamaliyeva (MENA Diversity, Inclusiveness & Wellbeing Leader at EY) affirmed: “Workplaces that are inclusive foster enhanced employee wellbeing; employees with high levels of wellbeing are more inclusive”. How can Organizations increase employees’ resilience and embed sustainable Leadership behaviors in the post-covid reality?

Dr. Irada Aghamaliyeva introduced the Mindfulness practice in the Workplace and highlighted its benefits on a large scale: improved wellbeing and resilience on a physical level; positive emotions, self-regulation, empathy and awareness of social dynamics; learning and innovation thanks to the implementation of flexible thinking, intuition and problem-solving processes. So breaking the stigma is possible, starting from personal wellbeing to sustain positive energy and fuel resilience.

About the Power of Empathetic and Authentic Leadership, Dr. Rima Ghose Chowdhury (EVP & Chief Human Resources Officers at Datamatics Global Services) stresses the importance of Leadership roles today. The virtual environment employees are working in, makes them more vulnerable due to a lack of balance between emotional and authenticity traits. Authenticity is the primary factor in effective leadership, regardless of the leadership style. Putting employees first as a strategic priority and hearing their voices to guide strategy; embracing agility to work more effectively in tumultuous time; including a multigenerational work-force: these are the key concepts within Dr. Rima’s motto “Empowering is to enable”. Through motivation and filling emotional support needs, the Empowering Teams Process leads to employees’ safety, esteem, and self-actualization. 

The Wellbeing @ Work Summit delivers strategic direction, advice and inspiration from employers and experts from across the world to help you create a more compassionate corporate culture that delivers results. To know more about the FOW Future of Work Insights platform around the world, click here: https://fowinsights.com/

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The Wellbeing @ Work virtual Summit Middle East returns for its 5th annual event on 22-24 February 2021

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The summit provides an innovative and experiential virtual learning opportunity for our audience of CEOs, benefit and reward business leaders and senior HR professionals. The information and knowledge gained from attending this event allow the opportunity to make strategic wellbeing and mental health decisions within an organization, supporting our mission to create more flourishing and thriving workplaces. Never before has the mental health and wellbeing of your employees been so important. The Wellbeing @ Work Summit includes keynote speeches, panel discussions, workshops, and fireside chats alongside unrivaled networking with leaders across the Middle East using our AI-enabled matchmaking platform. This is far more than a webinar! An engaging 3-day event providing you invaluable insight and tools to create thriving workplaces.

Key Reasons to Attend:

  • An engaging AI-enabled matchmaking platform to make invaluable connections & host virtual meetings up to 2 weeks before the three-day festival
  • Learn how multinational organizations are creating workplaces where employees thrive in the new world
  • Campfire panel discussions informing workplace change & mental health solutions
  • Middle East-based employer case studies providing the secrets to employee wellbeing success
  • International experts bringing best-practice from across the globe
  • Invaluable networking with business leaders from across the Middle East

The Wellbeing @ Work Summit delivers strategic direction, advice and inspiration from employers and experts from across the world to help you create a more compassionate corporate culture that delivers results. The design and implementation of a holistic wellbeing and mental health programme that delivers healthy outcomes and a more productive organization is paramount right now. 

In addition, the results of the extensive Middle East region-wide survey on wellbeing and mental fitness in organizations across the region made in partnership with Cognomie will be presented during the event.

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DECODING FUTURE HR: Global 24 hour virtual event | 19 and 20 January 2021

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DECODING FUTURE HR: Today’s challenges are tomorrow’s trends and opportunities

Global 24 hour virtual event | 19 and 20 January 2021

www.decodinghrevent.com

The world in 2020 has changed to a ‘new normality’ but what’s that ‘new normality’ everybody talks about? Is it here to stay? How is it affecting us in our daily lives in the different versions of ourselves? As a customer, an entrepreneur, a parent, a friend…a worker…

Our job is a key part of our lives and we are indeed living through a fundamental transformation in the way we work. Automation and ‘thinking machines’ are replacing human tasks and jobs, and changing the skills that organisations are looking for in their people. These momentous changes raise huge organisational, talent and other HR challenges. It has become clear that few organisations are likely to revert to pre-pandemic practices even after a vaccine is found.

Decoding Future HR 2021 is bringing you the ideology of how today’s challenges are becoming tomorrow’s trends and opportunities resulting in HR excellence.

Why you should attend:

  • Learn about the trends and best practices shaping future HR
  • Get valuable insights from expert speakers
  • Share ideas and research to help your organisation reach its goals
  • Understand what do employees want in ‘New Normal’
  • Develop new vision for HRBP and Centre of Expertise
  • Identify, integrate and understand stakeholders to create an intentional employee experience
  • Approaches and elements to leadership development.

Some of our confirmed speakers:

  • Tshepo Yvonne Mosadi , Human Resources Director, The HEINEKEN Company
  • Sarah Tabet, Global HR Director/ D&I Leader | Author for “Inclusion Starts with U”, Schneider Electric
  • Wadah Al Turki, Country Talent Manager KSA and Bahrain, IKEA
  • Lesha Chakraborti, Head of HR – EMEA, Travelex
  • Shaban Butt, Director HR & Administration, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Sajjad Parmar, Head of Rewards – APAC, eBay
  • Katey Howard, VP, Talent Management AMESA, Pepsico
  • Chen Fong Tuan, HR & General Affairs Director, Samsung Electronics
  • Prerna Ajmera, Senior Director, HR Experiences and Solutions, Microsoft
  • Václav Koranda, Vice President Human Resources / Member of the Board of Directors, T-System
  • Amy MacGregor, VP Employee Experience, Global HR, Manulife
  • Adwait Kashalkar, People Analytics and Programme Management Leader, APAC, Mastercard

Click here to view all speakers: www.decodinghrevent.com/speakers

At Wisdom we remain positive that ‘normality’ will soon return and that we will be able to physically meet together once again as speakers, delegates and sponsors at our beautiful venues around the world. But meanwhile, life continues and we need to keep in touch and learn from each other. This 24-hour virtual event will be of great benefit and value to your businesses and its continued development during these challenging times. While this virtual event comes at a lesser cost, it provides for now a wider reach into an international audience, with flexibility of access to content as well as allowing you to have the same opportunity as at a face-to-face session for one-to-one business meetings. We look forward to welcoming you in January.

Date and time: 19-20 January 2021Where: Virtual engaging platform
  Further information and bookings: www.decodinghrevent.com        Contact:
marketing@wisdom.events   #WSDM_BI
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