The pandemic and subsequent recession have caused more changes than we might ever have considered implementing in the workplace at once. There was the initial reactionary transformation to WFH, impact on employer liability, shutting down entire functions and offboarding teams of workers. Now, we have been afforded a pause as workplaces remain largely remote, enabling us to deliberate on how we might do things differently.

Backdrop. The workforce solutions providers in the industry have also had the opportunity to pause, and shift priorities. I have seen some creative approaches from vendors seeking to help the enterprise address new challenges, build strategies for business continuity and plan for the new world of work. Strategies like keeping relationships with large numbers of workers that were furloughed and getting them back to work when the need arises.

Game plans around efficiencies, productivity and better workforce planning, such as what roles need to be on-site and what ones can remain remote. Blueprints around how to keep track of statement-of-work contract workers who may have had access to your sites or systems. This industry has definitely stepped up and given us cause to listen, prepare for more change, and collaborate both with the enterprise and their competitors. And through this process, the ecosystem is continually learning.

Learning & development. Typically, industry conferences would be the place where enterprises would learn of major industry innovation — from Apple’s WWDC to Microsoft Ignite to E3 Expo for gamers. From the contingent workforce management professionals, SIA’s annual CWS Summit has been the place to learn more about the latest workforce solution strategies. Moving to a virtual platform for 2020, its purpose remains to Inform, Connect and Elevate the workforce solutions ecosystem. This event, held Sept 15-16, will enable you to reach out to providers virtually and learn more about how you can use this pause as a way to provide more value to your organization.

The CWS Summit virtual event enables you to participate in discussion threads and chat with peers and providers in a nonthreatening virtual manner. If you were uncomfortable walking up to a booth in person to ask questions about the products and services, you will be able to visit sponsors’ virtual booths, download interesting and valuable content, text chat and, if you choose, video chat with them to learn more. If sponsors have pre-scheduled topical meetings and demos, you can simply request an invitation to be included in those sessions.

New reality, new approach. Meanwhile, you can tune in to live-streaming sessions to gather more of the latest strategies adapting to these changing times in the auditorium, which will feature live Q&A sessions. All of the content in the auditorium will remain accessible for 30 days so you will have the chance to see and listen to all of the rich content delivered at the event.

Don’t let the thought of the premier networking event of the year being virtual put you in a passenger seat when it comes to hearing about ways to deal with our new reality. Use the event actively during Sept. 15 and 16 to gather your high-level knowledge and come back during the 30-day access period to engage further with the sponsors and dig deeper into subjects you need to adapt your program.