Bilge Apak welcome speech

Shaking up is a symbol

We use shaking up as a symbol for positive change in the workplace. 

Shaking up is a symbol
Bilge Apak – Giving a welcome speech at the Shake up the Workplace! Unconference

Year 2011, My 5th year as an employee, still a rookie. I am listening to my friend complaining about how she is hired as an assistant for her first role and they would never promote her above anything. First time I felt deep empathy for someone struggling with workplace conditions. Mind you she had a master’s degree and her talent was undermined by her initial title. 

Years over years I have witnessed many complaints and people trying to find a way out of their situation ALONE. A lot of bitterness in their voices. They didn’t feel they belonged nor could not help the situation. They wanted to leave their jobs. They were hit by burn-out or some sort of health issue. They were stuck with managers that weren’t leaders. They were stuck with performance rating systems that used bell curve grading which caused a lack of morale. I would be surprised if some of it didn’t resonate with you or someone you know. At times I was part of this crowd. 

In the year 2020, the first milestone “Shake up the Workplace! Unconference” happened on October 19, 2020, with COVID’s tough conditions but also COVID’s vital warning signs to today’s workplace setup. We used Kunsthaus museum art galleries for breakout sessions to take people out of their boxes and show that the unthinkable can happen. We elevated human brains working about the future while surrounded by million-dollar worth historical art pieces. (Using art galleries for workshops was also first for Kunsthaus Museum, we are grateful for their support.) 

Future of Work Ecosystem, are you part of it?  

We envisioned a Future of Work that is shaped by us, not the fast-paced technology demands on the workforce. We envisioned a strong group of changemakers (shakers as we call) to come together and work on their dream future of work. Because we know that YOU, alone in a workplace may not be getting results even if you scream at the top of your lungs. The change has to come from outside of your bubble. 

Shaking up is a symbol
Attendees in Kunsthaus

Together what we can impact is endless. We can create awareness, we can learn from each other what works better, we can start new research. Best is we can build relationships under the understanding of give and receive. “I give you what you need now and I know you would give me when I need, too”. 

Together, we can change 14-week maternity leave in CH, remove the disparity between paycheques, enable unbiased hiring, and we can become unbossed… The least we can do is we can extend our welcoming approach for positive change. We should all build our own tribes to stand ready for the constant change, the VUCA world, and things like COVID which we didn’t prepare.

The unconference was the foundation of the Future of Work Ecosystem starting in Switzerland. We ensured we have changemakers from government, academia, NGOs, and startups besides corporate and small business employees, at the same table. 

Collaboration in a group like this, it is almost impossible not to produce any positive outcome. 

The Shakers and their commitments

With Shake up the Workplace Unconference, organizations like Microsoft, Kanton Zurich Diversity office, International Coaching Federation, and CISCO are backing the idea of positive change is needed more than ever and they are representing the leaders of tomorrow we aspire. 

I cannot thank enough the people I can call a team. Aleksandra Potrykus Majewska, Reka Deak, Isabel Steinhoff, and Daniel Stoller-Schai. We have lived through our values, we have done thousands of hours of unpaid work to get to you. 

Now it is your turn to take action! What is your commitment to a positive change for the future of work? 

My commitment is to continue fostering the Future of Work ecosystem through the Shake up the Workplace initiative and on a personal level support Switzerland to include more support systems for more women to be in the workforce. 

If you have attended the unconference see our communication emails and where to find our community channel. Our job was to bring you together and give you tools. We count on you! If you haven’t attended but want to be part of the initiative now, get in touch with us here. 

Together we can move the needle towards more empathetic workplaces & the world. Let’s not only complain, let’s commit to taking some actions.