Daily Digest News – July 20, 2020

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Industrious Reveals New Partnership With Williamsburg Hotel

Industrious is partnering up with Williamsburg-based independent hotel Wythe Hotel to offer private offices for up to four people each day.

“We’re trying to get back to practicing hospitality under somewhat difficult circumstances where gathering humans together is the wrong thing for any of us to be doing right now,” said Peter Lawrence, owners of Wythe Hotel. “So this is a way we can offer a really safe experience and have people come and utilize the hotel and give them some hospitality.”

Through the end of August, rooms are available for rent from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. starting at $200 for one person, $250 for three people or $275 for four. The deal includes free coffee, snacks, a New York Times subscriptions and smart TV.

Jamie Hodari, CEO of Industrious, said that the partnership aims to allow New Yorkers to have a workspace closer to home and not worry about long commutes. He added that there has been increased interest in localized, private offices over the past few months.

“The thing that employees want and need more than anything else is choice: choice of when to go to the office and when not to; choice of when to go to work; choice of whether to do heads-down work without being distracted; choice of how to use their time,” said Hodari. “That matters much more than marble lobbies and fancy roof decks and at this moment, that’s really accelerated.”


The Various Ways To Work From Home

Jobs are often defined by how their workspace functions. Whether it’s a traditional office, a distributed workforce or a hybrid of the two, it is clear the way we perceive the workplace is transforming at rapid speed.

The pace at which companies started adopting more flexible policies has been relatively slow, but the pandemic forced this change seemingly overnight. Now, millions of employees are working from home and it seems that telecommuting will become the preferred choice for several companies moving forward.

According to a New Global Workplace Study, four out of five employees would want to work from home at least one day a week after the pandemic has ended. With workplace wellness becoming essential now more than ever, it makes sense that employees would want to have the ability to continue remote working. 

This has been an incoming trend for years now, with Millennials in particular seeking jobs that value flexibility and a healthy work-life balance over most qualities of a workplace.

Working remotely offers generally three options for employees: home offices, coffee shops or coworking spaces.

Working from home is traditionally the top choice for these workers as it eliminates the need to commute, provides complete flexibility for when and how they do work and allows for more opportunities to tend to personal responsibilities as well.

However, working from home is not for everyone. Many find this arrangement to be distracting or even hinder work-life balance as many do not know how to “switch off” at the end of the day.


Coworking Firm And University Of Arizona Team Up

India coworking company 91springboard and the University of Arizona, Tucson, have announced a partnership to offer courses to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as working professionals. 

The program will be done virtually and offer over 40 undergraduate and 20 graduate courses covering topics such as engineering, computer technology, humanities, business management, and many more. 

“What’s interesting about this partnership is the width of courses available and its unique format,” said V Shantakumar, senior strategy advisor for 91springboard. “Unlike other online courses where the lectures are pre-recorded, these courses are extremely interactive. Students can talk to their professors and peers one-on-one and and get counselling and guidance.”

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Scholarships are available and students also have the chance to choose flexible transfer credit and customized degree path programs.


Coworking Space Offers Perfect Solution For Hair Professionals

Prior to the pandemic, Brisbane-based coworking company Freedom Suites provided those in the hair and beauty industries their own secure, distanced workspace. What they didn’t know is that they had already future-proofed their business.

Harry Dever, retail leasing manager for Colliers International, negotiated a deal with the company to take up space in Stones Corner nearly one year ago. 

“I think this could be converted into the healthcare industry quite easily,” said Dever. “Whether it be doctors, specialists or allied health practitioners, they are always looking for flexible workspaces or private consulting rooms outside of the hospital.”

Dever added that small businesses could look into this model as they search for cost-cutting solutions during these uncertain times.

Riley Buchanan, a hairdresser for two decades, said that as the world changed in the blink of an eye, he reflected on his career and decided to open his own salon space in Freedom Suites.

Not only did this help him kickstart his first business, he also was able to collaborate with like-minded workers who helped spur inspiration and creativity.

“Not being in competition for sales and clients, because you are running your own show, I think makes us all genuinely get along and creates a larger sense of community,” said Buchanan.


What Is The Best Way To Return To The Workplace?

Offices all over the world have stayed vacant for months as companies adjusted to working from home. Now, companies are evaluating how to operate their workspaces moving forward.

“In some ways, this virus is a workplace virus, it’s an office virus,” said Amol Sarva, co-founder and CEO of serviced office provider Knotel. “This is one of the few things that ever happened that shut every office in the world down.”

This has led some of the world’s biggest companies to offer remote working policies indefinitely, some of which include Twitter and Square.

However, those who do return to offices may find that them even more appealing. Workspaces have generally become based in collaboration, which usually means open-plan layouts with little privacy. 

While this type of office has its own perks, it is not realistic for the post-pandemic workplace. Workers who may have not enjoyed the lack of privacy may be breathing a collective sigh of relief.

Cushman & Wakefield have already created their own concept to bring employees back into the office with its “6 Feet Office” that features signage for one-way foot traffic, reminders to physically distance, and partitions to protect workers.

With these extreme, but absolutely necessary changes, Sarva believes that the open office plan will be over after this. However, it’ll take more than spaced out desks to bring employees back into the office. Companies will need to look at research to fully determine what kinds of strategies will keep workspaces as safe as possible.


The Perception Of The Workplace Will Never Be The Same

The workplace will never be the same as society reels from the cultural and societal impact of the pandemic. However, this is not the first disruption to impact the commercial real estate industry.

Still, the standout difference with this transformation is how the workplace is perceived. It is no longer an office to get things done; now, workers are concerned about their wellbeing, how they collaborate with their coworkers and the amount of flexibility they will be receiving.

Remote working has allowed colleagues to understand each other on a deeper level as they get a look into their home life through video calls. Although in-person interaction is limited nowadays, these types of connections are vital to supporting workplace culture.

But employers are still finding ways to bring workers back into the office, and with that comes the need for connecting with one another on a more personal level. It is essential for business leaders to learn what employees need to navigate these unprecedented times, and that could mean adopting more flexible work arrangements.

Offering the ability to work in-office and at home can help accommodate the preferences of workers at any time, keeping them satisfied and allowing them to maintain a high-level of productivity.

Although working from home has countless benefits, the perks of an office should not be underestimated. Humans have an innate need for social connection with colleagues, and that can be difficult to replicate virtually.

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