Hot Topics from the Worldwide ERC GWS 202One Conference

Here’s some of what you missed:

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – DEI was on everyone’s lips, but I looked around the room and realized we have a really long way to go. Companies are investing time, money, and resources to set on a path to achieve DEI in a meaningful way. But it is not set it and forget it. It will take constant commitment and evolution. Creating a safe space for communicating, listening, learning, and then acting is needed. It’s not just about inviting people to the party, it’s about asking them to dance.

Supply Chain Relationships – There was a lot of discussion around how all parties have stepped up throughout Covid as well as the overheated real estate market and supply chain issues. Creativity, communication, and compassion have gotten us through. We have to understand each other’s pain points and there is more work to be done to carry us through the challenges. Appraisal issues, rising home prices, driver shortages, low real estate and rental inventory, rising costs, commission compression, lack of temporary housing, border restrictions, channel conflict, changing migratory trends, agent talent challenges, immigration issues, tax-related challenges for corporations, transferee hesitancy, homebuyer frustration, constant pressure to innovate and adopt more tech, and inflexible corporate relocation policies are adding stress to the entire process.

Hybrid Work – We haven’t learned enough about the long-term effects of hybrid work yet. But it is here to stay and companies need to figure out what works for them and their employees to attract and retain top talent. Many companies are scrambling to evaluate their policies to make them more relevant and competitive. The war for talent is raging on and the great resignation is putting even more pressure on companies to meet their talent goals.

Keynote Speaker

Greg Lindsey, a journalist, urbanist, futurist, and speaker had some riveting insights as to what might be in store for us and what is already taking shape. Here are some ideas from his talk:

  • The oldest millennials turn 40 this year.

  • People will return and already are returning to the super cities or moving back close to them for easy commutes to them when necessary.

  • Digital nomads often work in coffee shops, co-working spaces, RV’s, or public libraries, relying on devices with wireless internet capabilities like smartphones and mobile hotspots to do their work wherever they want, often in foreign countries. There were 10.9 million digital nomads in 2020 versus 7.3 in 2019. 19 million plan on becoming digital nomads in the next 2-3 years. Employers had better figure out how to track them and support them.  The stealth expat is a very real challenge for companies.

  • Car sharing services, passport apps, digital health records, crypto eWallets, online education, and the prospect of universal Wi-Fi all make it easy to be mobile and work from anywhere with little ties or restrictions. Every day new apps and services are emerging to make our lives easier and more mobile.

  • Co-living and co-working environments are popping up where services come to you or are onsite so you have no need to own a car.

  • Asynchronous open work labs for sharing ideas between companies and coworkers are beginning to appear for collaborative idea-sharing. Do not mistake this for open office floor plans where people are forced to work side by side in noisy spaces with no privacy. They will work at home or wherever they want but will come together to collaborate when needed.

  • Does work from home affect institutional intelligence? Absolutely. If we aren’t working together in a space and gathering knowledge about the organization and passing it on to others to fulfill the organizational purpose, the work becomes more important than the organization. Shorter tenures or temporary workers at companies water down the institutional intelligence.

  • A creator economy is emerging which means more part-time and more gig workers, outsourcing, creative co-ops, work repositories with shared ideas and information and loose deadlines will continue to rise up.

  • Places such as Helsinki and Estonia, and others in the US and all around the world, are offering bonuses and relocation packages to come to their community and country. Tourism and Economic Development Councils are offering temporary citizenship as a service along with digital nomad visas. People don’t have to work there to contribute to the economy, but it can also fulfill the local worker shortage if they come to the community for work.

We are a product of the 60/20/20 rule:

60% where our passport is based

20% our socio-economic situation

20% grit/luck

When we are no longer tethered to our home country or our actual home or office, we will be able to grow and flourish in ways we have never experienced.


If you have never listened to the Ignite speeches at WERC, you should. They are like mini TED Talks. Here are some sound bites:

  • Systems thinking. If we break everything into smaller parts, we can focus on the details with more clarity.

  • Buzz Lightyear doesn’t fly, he is failing gracefully.

  • We all suffer a bit from Imposter Syndrome. We need to give ourselves some credit and trust in what makes us special.

  • But some of the most insightful comments were about what we have all been through in the last 18 months. All of us (especially caregivers, front-line workers, health care workers, and first responders) have compassion fatigue. It is secondary traumatic stress and burnout and extended exhaustion are very real. We need to take care of our own well-being and mental health. We cannot normalize this feeling.

It was wonderful to see old friends and meet new ones. Make sure you pass along all of this great information to your leadership and coworkers. We missed all of you who weren’t there. Our industry is alive and well with renewed vigor and determination.

Urban cores are stronger than ever, even if the real estate types within them are changing.” ~Greg Lindsey

Courtesy of Greg Lindsey

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