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Executive Spotlight: Elham Shirazi, E-planning

Posted: 05/27/2021
Category: Member Spotlight

E-planning is about identifying telecommunications alternatives to traveling.  The best examples are teleworking and virtual learning that have become very visible and practical in the past year.  

What are you and your organization seeking to achieve?

E-planning provides consulting services to private, public and non-profit organizations to manage hybrid work environments, where there is flexibility in location (home, office, or shared services), time and geography.

How did you get to where you are today?

I was kicked out of many people’s office when I talked about teleworking in the 80’s and 90’s.  They simply thought I was crazy to assume that people could work without supervision and independently.  I was patient and persistent.

How have you seen the TDM industry change?

Teleworking is finally an acceptable way of working and the pandemic has proven that it can be productive.  However, the challenges arisen as a result of full-time teleworking have made it difficult to make decisions in maintaining the flexibility in the future.  According to Mckinsey, 68% of employers have not made decisions about the return to work and only 11% have communicated their plans to the employees.  We must cross this bridge and educated employers on hybrid programs (2 to 3 days on site or remote).    

Where do you see the industry going in the next 10 years? 

I see teleworking and hoteling becoming the future very quickly.  We will look back in 10 years and realize that we made a big mistake for decades by not allowing employees to telework at least some of the time.  

What brought you to ACT? What has been the most memorable part of your involvement in ACT?

I don’t remember a time in my career that I did nor participate in ACT.  My involvement has always been steady, and I have been a member since the late 80s.  I really enjoyed being the chair of the Telework Council.  It allowed ACT and I to keep telework visible until the relevance became apparent as a result of the pandemic.

What keeps you motivated?

I get a lot of energy from my colleagues and clients.  Their enthusiasm is catchy and I love problem-solving.

What has been the most fulfilling moment in your career?

This past 15 months have allowed me to grow extensively and push the limits further.  Despite challenges of isolation, over working and mental health that the pandemic version of teleworking has caused with everyone working, living, learning under one roof, I think there are great solutions that can make teleworking a positive experience.

What is a great piece of advice you have received? Have you put it to use?

“Tenacity pays off.” I have waited for years to see teleworking take center stage.  It pays off to have a  vision but not be blind.

Any additional thoughts to share?
Thank you.

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