PLASTARC, a New York-based work and place design consultancy, will appear at the 2023 CoreNet Global Summit, held this weekend, October 27-30, in Denver, Colorado. The firm’s founder, Melissa Marsh, will contribute to a discussion about successful hybrid workplace strategies in the financial industry, and culture’s indispensable but often overlooked role in this evolutionary process. Marsh will be joined by Krista Lauridsen, Associate Vice President of People Places & Spaces at ATB Financial, and Stephanie Steele, Vice President of Corporate Real Estate at LPL Financial.
By reframing the workplace as a cultural hub that can use hybrid work to thrive, a few companies are pioneering new ways to foster creativity, community, and productivity both in and outside of their central offices. While some institutions in the financial industry are still defining their relationship to hybrid work, with some leaders insisting that remote work will never be a major part of their workplace, others are deciding to forge ahead by investing in technologies that support remote work and designing offices that encourage in-person collaboration.
ATB Financial and LPL Financial have both opted to forgo the mandate-driven approach taken by other companies in the financial sector. Instead, they’ve taken future-of-work approaches that reflect their unique corporate identities. ATB is a regional bank located in Alberta, Canada that started in 1938 as one Treasury Branch and has become the largest regional financial institution in Alberta. With Wealth, Business, and Retail arms in over 280 locations, ATB, and its 5,300 team members are transforming people’s understanding of what banking can, and should, make possible. LPL is a leader in the wealth management market with a commitment to the advisor-mediated model that provides freedom for advisors and enterprise leaders to choose the business model, services, and technology that allow them to run a thriving business. LPL serves nearly 22,000 financial advisors across the US – their customer focus and people-centric business proposition is also expressed in their culture and workplace design.
Since 2021, both organizations have collaborated with PLASTARC to evaluate their respective workplaces and implement new strategies that serve their specific business contexts. And while these processes have been characterized by an expected trial-and-error, both companies are now enjoying significant returns in workplace cultures that have deepened their commitments to growth, trust, and innovation.
Using discovery methods like visioning workshops and leadership interviews, research campaigns serve to identify which workplace strategies can optimize culture, productivity, and engagement across the board. In its work with a variety of clients spanning numerous sectors, PLASTARC has demonstrated how a personality-driven approach can inform workplace strategies that serve every worker, rather than a select few, by seamlessly integrating space, policy, and technology.
Once developed, those strategies are put to the test through pilot programs, which use quantitative and qualitative feedback loops to test flexible work models in real-time and assess how to foster a more inclusive and productive office culture in a low-risk, high-reward context. Equipped with the results of a well-designed pilot, businesses have the insights necessary to confidently scale strategies to the portfolio level and usher their entire workforce into a new era of work.
Events such as the CoreNet Global Summit offer an opportunity for organizations to learn from one another and advance employee experience for all. In this case, the trials and tribulations that come with a culture of experimentation don’t have to make evaluation and pilot programs seem intimidating, even for companies intent on returning to exclusively in-person models. Time and time again, a commitment to cultural evolution helps cultivate a workplace in which workers can thrive both personally and professionally. The panel demonstrates this by bringing together two uniquely positioned financial institutions whose pilot programs have informed their adoption of more inclusive hybrid models, and PLASTARC, the workplace consultancy that has helped them identify and tap into the full potential of hybrid work.
About CoreNet Global and PLASTARC:
CoreNet Global is the premier professional organization of corporate real estate. Their summits, in which organizations share their trials, tribulations, and successes in the hybrid workplace movement, are attended by a wide range of real estate stakeholders: operators, managers, brokers, architects, interior designers, facility managers, coworking providers, and the internal real estate teams of Fortune 500 companies. CoreNet Global has chapters in major cities across the US and globally.
PLASTARC is a long-time contributor to CoreNet Global events and chapter programs, most recently speaking in 2019 at the CoreNet Global Summit APAC in Hong Kong, when they were joined by Swiss RE to discuss modern workplace solutions that successfully integrate Activity-Based Working (ABW) models and mobile technologies. PLASTARC also appeared with Comfy at CoreNet APAC in 2018 to speak about user experience and the benefits of using mobile technology to control features of buildings, recording a podcast on the topic. Before that, they published two articles with CoreNet Global: one about the intersection of coworking and corporate workplaces for CoreNet's Leader magazine, drawing on experiences with clients Mozilla and Unity Technologies, and another about their work helping the General Services Administration develop more people-centric workplaces. In 2017, PLASTARC appeared at both CoreNet Seattle and Corenet APAC in Singapore, speaking about innovations in corporate coworking strategy with their client Verizon. From 2013-2015, they engaged with CoreNet Global three times to bring cutting-edge ideas to the broader real estate community: in 2015, they presented at CoreNet LA 2015 with client Mozilla; they appeared with WeWork at CoreNet DC in 2014, and in 2013, they spoke about "fail fast" facilities management and the importance of experimenting with workplace.