With worldwide travel bans, mandatory quarantines and corporate travel restrictions still in place, the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) has decided to present its annual World Workplace Conference and Expo virtually, Dec. 9-10, 2020. IFMA plans to provide an affordable, full conference experience in a format that’s not only familiar, but for many, preferable during the pandemic. The two-day online event will feature five hours of programming and activities each day. IFMA is currently collaborating with exhibitors and speakers to build an exceptional agenda comparable in educational and networking value to the live event.
Like many event organizers this year, IFMA has had to adapt quickly, creatively and responsibly to continuously changing conditions presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite efforts to relocate the conference to a self-contained facility with health and safety protocols imposed, travel restrictions that are in effect through the end of the year have prevented many professionals, exhibitors, sponsors and speakers from attending.
“Knowing that our professional community was eager to reconnect in a ‘normal’ environment, we held out hope that a live event was possible; but with existing unknowns and standing company and regional travel bans, we determined that going virtual opens World Workplace to a global audience, providing the best possible experience for everyone who wants to attend our flagship conference,” said IFMA Chair Peter Ankerstjerne.
Other members of IFMA’s board of directors are based in Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, India and the United States. As the largest international association for facility management professionals, IFMA supports more than 23,000 members in over 100 countries.
“We couldn’t be certain that our chair or other board members would be able to attend in person, which is not an ideal situation for our biggest event of the year,” IFMA President and COO Don Gilpin. “World Workplace is also the setting for introducing our new Class of IFMA Fellows and presenting our Awards of Excellence recipients. Our team is working on virtual options to ensure that these distinguished individuals and groups are properly recognized.”
IFMA has already brought three of its annual events to online audiences this year, including a highly successful virtual World Workplace Europe, which was organized and presented just two months after the in-person event was cancelled due to growing coronavirus concerns.
“We’re excited about bringing World Workplace to a virtual platform,” said IFMA Director, Conferences and Events Ann Loayza, CMP. “This is THE industry learning and networking event of the year! We didn’t want anyone to miss out on hearing our amazing keynote speakers – disruption strategist Shawn Kanungo and explorers Céline and Fabien Cousteau; benefitting from essential insights from the world’s leading FM and workplace experts; or connecting with peers and providers for support in uncertain times.”