Workplace leaders’ magical wishes and workplace challenges (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of the blog series where we review the magical wishes of guests on Season 1 of The Workplace Leader podcast.  Click here for Part 1 where we discussed magically solving inefficiencies of the job function itself, the future of corporate real estate, and conquering functional obsolescence along with climate change.

In this half of the two-part series, we’ve chosen our favorite magical discussions on such workplace challenges as: 


  • Achieving equity and diversity in the workplace 
  • And winning the battle of recruitment and retention of talent


Workplace leaders share magical wishes to solve challenges in workplace diversity and…

Achieve equity across the workplace experience 


A number of podcast guests wanted to magically ease the challenges in the workplace that come with transitioning to the future of work.  Their desire was to improve the employee experience no matter where employees are working.  Global Head of Real Estate & Facilities Projects at SAP, Peter Baumann (Episode 3 on corporate real estate strategy), wished he could magically take away his colleagues’ fears and desires to remain within their comfort zones.  So that there would be one less challenge when embracing the “new normal” workplace. 

Former Design Strategy Director for Latin America at Gensler, Jose Luis Sanchez-Concha Ibarra (Episode 10 on workplace design), and Rob Blair, Senior Workplace Manager EMEA at Sprinklr (Episode 14 on workplace strategy) were both concerned about creating an equitable employee experience.  As the future of work is increasingly concerned with challenges in workplace diversity.  Jose, wanted to explore how to optimize hybrid meetings for both the in-office worker and the remote worker.  Rob wished for the Sprinklr employees to have a shared experience.  “How do we level the playing field for everyone to have this kind of inclusive experience? Wherever they are in the world?  Everyone’s workplace is going to be different.  That’s how we see the future of work.  How do we keep them connected to the company culture despite being so geographically dispersed?  And how do we make that a seamless and frictionless experience?”  


“When it comes the moment when you’ll have half of the team in the room and the other half sitting in different parts of the city.  I wonder how technology is going to help us to solve that.  [I wonder] if we need to change the design, the shape, the furniture of the meeting rooms to make it more immersive in terms of both virtual and physical.  Hybrid meetings.  I think this is one of the greatest challenges in the workplace for the future.”  

–Jose Luis Sanchez-Concha Ibarra former Design Strategy Director for Latin America at Gensler, Episode 10


Innovation Manager at Vodafone, Marta Lima (Episode 13 on employee well-being), struggled to choose just one magical wish, but in line with Jose, Marta’s top wish was to bridge the gap between employees.  Those working in-office and those working remotely.  For her, this meant how do you bring the benefits of working remotely to the in-office experience and vice versa?  


“…remotely you have more diversity, you can tap into a bigger talent pool, but you’re missing out on all the social serendipity and organic encounters.  Same flexibility [of remote work] with all the benefits of meeting your colleagues in the office.” 

–Marta Lima, Innovation Manager at Vodafone, Episode 13


Another way of embracing the increasingly hybrid work landscape is to shift your mindset about what’s most important to achieve company goals.  Nicola Millard, Principal Innovation Partner at BT (Episode 19 on future workplaces) shared that her future of work magical wish was to “focus on the work rather than the place or the time.  We need to focus on good work as well.”  Our time spent in lockdown has proven that the home office comes with its unique set of challenges, and so perhaps everyone would not choose to work from home every day.  But we also know that good work can still be accomplished even when you’re not in the office and face-to-face with colleagues.  



Workplace leaders share magical wishes to offer CRE solutions that address the workplace challenges to…

Win the battle of recruitment and retention of talent


Our guests dove deep into the root causes of declining employee performance by addressing emerging concerns made a high priority by the pandemic.  Employee health, safety, wellness, and satisfaction have become the keys. Both to the recruitment and retention of employees fighting back against company mandates to return to the office and business as usual.  The disease with regard to health and safety is apparent. However, beyond that, many employees have experienced the benefits of working from home for a year and a half. And to part with these advantages threatens to cause a serious decline in employee wellness and productivity.  Employees are fighting for the flexibility to work both in the office and from home when it suits them. So, workplace leaders are having to develop strategies that respond to these demands.


Liz Burow had the magical wish of quantifying the workplace (Part 1) so that workplace leaders could “focus on the greater good of all employees and not on one group’s or one leader’s specific need or demand simply because they have seniority or tenure.  The latter drags innovation down.”  And in the same vein of how the employee experience impacts performance metrics, Global Diversity & Inclusion Lead at Danone, Putri Realita, (Episode 20 on workplace culture) wished for a magical solution to removing bias from people’s mindsets & how to measure behavioural change.



Brittney Van Matre, former Director of Workplace Strategy and Operations at Nike (Episode 21 on employee experience) wanted to magically remove the stigma around employee mental health and for diversity to truly be embraced.  Additionally, Brittney had the overarching desire that the corporate workplace becomes a place of positive personal change for each individual. 


“I want people to come to work fully as themselves and be totally celebrated in that.  Whether that’s like things they want to do, projects they want to work on, a person that they wanna be.  Like if you’re a transgender and you wanna show up as a male one day and a female the next day–f****g awesome!  You know, just stuff like that.  Also, your race.  What you got going on at home.  I want all this to be cool, you know.  And the workplace right now–it’s not cool.  I want the corporate world to stand up for something new.  And really be the face of change across the planet.  That it’s not just a place that you work, but a place that you become a better person.  It already is a place of personal change, but oftentimes in a negative way.”

–Brittney Van Matre, former Director of Workplace Strategy and Operations at Nike (Episode 21)


Turning to recruitment, Head of Real Estate EMEA at Philips, Roel Stroeken (Episode 5 on how to improve employee experience), wanted a crystal ball to show him where future talent pools would be located as an insight for adjusting footprint strategy.  Roel believes Philips is already quite good at this. But feels being able to anticipate geographical shifts ten years into the future would really be an asset for every large company operating globally.  Especially for companies like his transitioning away from blue-collar, manufacturing people to workers skilled in health care solutions software.

Conclusion for workplace leaders’ magical wishes about workplace challenges

This brings our review of Season 1’s magical wishes to an end.  Join us for more engaging and insightful conversations about the workplace, corporate real estate, and facilities management on The Workplace Leader podcast and our blog.  Being a leader in workplace analytics, we enjoy connecting with professionals in the industry. And we are glad to be leading the conversation on finding solutions that create workplaces people need, use, and love.

About the author

Lauren Dreifuss

Lauren Dreifuss

Research Analyst & Trend Scout

Lauren is our Research Analyst & Trend Scout at Locatee. She holds an MSRE from the University of San Diego, is a published author on office space trends in the ICSC Journal, and a former student journalist for MIPIM.

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