Daily Digest News – July 21, 2020

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Here’s what you need to know today:

Employees Are Readily Embracing Remote Work

A new report from Citrix has found that “Zoom-mania” is not going anywhere as millions of workers all over the world adjust to remote working.

The necessary transition companies have had to make over the past few months has opened up a world of possibilities. Now, those who were hesitant to explore flexible work arrangements in the past have become more inclined to adopt these policies in the future. 

However, there are still obstacles that a distributed workforce must overcome to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible. This includes issues of cybersecurity and mental health issues caused by isolation.

The report found that seven in ten UK workers felt that being equipped with the proper technology could allow them to be more productive when working from home. Additionally, employees say the collaboration made through video calls is essential to their mental health as it connects them to their colleagues.

“This huge rupture in the business landscape is likely to bring forward the emergence of a truly hybrid working environment. IT teams and business leaders must make sure this is as seamless, secure and adaptable as possible,” said Darren Fields, Vice President of Networking EMEA at Citrix. “In this new, sometimes unusual situation, some people have a hard time drawing a clear line between their business and private lives. This is completely understandable, especially when both occur within the same room, or even at the same table.”

Maintaining Work Friendships When Working From Home

After working in close proximity with one another for 40 hours a week, workers inevitably created close bonds. But as companies continue operating remotely, those work friendships may become harder to maintain.

“A lot of my work … is sending out emails, writing up docs, and there’s nothing glamorous or particularly exciting about these individual tasks that make up my day,” said one Bay Area tech marketer. “What makes it a lot more enjoyable is being able to hang out with people … as I’m firing off these emails.”

In a 2018 survey from Olivet Nazarene University, 82% of respondents said they had at least one work friend and 30% said they had a work best friend. Additionally, research from Gallup has found that having a close work friend correlates with fulfillment, productivity and job loyalty. But working from home can lead to feelings of isolation, which has been found to hinder productivity.

Now, those close work friends are turning to FaceTime and other similar communication tools, but with increased responsibilities from both work and home life, it has become harder for many to stay connected.

According to social psychologist Evelyn R. Carter, maintaining long-distance, remote friendships is dependent upon both parties to make an extra effort to communicate since quick watercooler chats could be a thing of the past.

Why Are Working Women Suffering From Increased Stress?

According to Pink Ladder’s ‘Remote Working And Its Impact On Women Professionals’ survey, women suffer from something referred to as ‘Double Burden Syndrome.’

The survey was conducted across various cities in India and found that 4 in 10 women are experiencing high levels of anxiety and stress in remote working positions.

With entire families staying home more often, women are often left with the burden of household chores while balancing work responsibilities, hence the “double burden.” Now, the weekend is spent on ensuring that dinner is prepared and dealing with other household tasks.

The study has found that 67% of managers are trying to be more mindful and offer flexible scheduling for parents, but 33% of them are not.

Additionally, over 50% of female workers are lacking motivation, which could be hindering their performance levels. Working from home without the proper resources often leads to increased distractions and hurts even the most diligent of employees.

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Women are also less likely to be taken seriously or have a voice in the workplace for fear of not seeming as capable as their male counterparts. With the stress of simply trying not to get laid off, it becomes more difficult for women to speak up about the issues they are dealing with in the workplace.

Employers can play a significant role in ensuring that their female workers can manage their stress and remain satisfied by offering professional help, and reach out when employees may be experiencing heightened stress.

Knotel Looks To Raise $100 Million

Serviced office provider Knotel is looking to raise up to $100 million as it faces high vacancy rates around the world.

One source says that the round coordinated by a European company could cut Knotel’s reported valuation of $1.6 billion in half.

Amol Sarva, founder and CEO of Knotel, declined to confirm these reports and said that “there is still one more financing before the company is fully profitable and growing in a way that is potentially a public company.”

The past few months have been bumpy for the New York-based company as it was forced to lay off half of its employees in March right before the inevitable economic downturn.

“Looking at how the U.S. government was behaving, I could not draw any confidence,” said Sarva. “It was pretty clear that it was going to be a lot worse of a problem than it should have been.”

During the second quarter of 2020, Knotel’s revenue fell by 20% to around $59 million, but Sarva adds that this is still double last year’s second quarter. He also expects that the company will become profitable by the first quarter of 2021.

“The flexible workspace and coworking industry was born to help companies unlock agile real estate strategies, so COVID-19 has amplified the inherent advantages of this sector,” said Francesco De Camilli, the head of flexible workspace consulting at Colliers International. “As companies return to the workplace and occupiers begin transacting again, flexible workspace will account for a higher share of workspace transactions than before.”

Trends that have impacted the future of work include flexibility and digitalization shaping how, when and where we work. This means that along the way, professionals should be ready to learn new skills and experiences to prepare for the inevitable changes the workplace will undergo.

Some of the lesser known paths the talent and job market are taking include temporary or part-time employment, knowledge and talent-based positions, the importance of networking and a decrease of hierarchies.

Additionally, digitization has taken over many menial and redundant tasks. This has allowed employees to upskill their own talents and work alongside these technologies.

Diversity of gender, age, race and location will also shape the workplace as companies come to realize truly how valuable having a diverse workforce is to a company’s bottom line.

Communications technology will also encourage more companies to operate virtually and remotely. This coincides with the adoption of more flexibility in the future, which has been found to improve employee satisfaction and productivity.

Overall, the trajectory of the workplace will include an environment that values the employee experience, as well as the relationship between humans and technology.

OYO Reveals Transition To Hybrid Arrangement

Hospitality company OYO has revealed that it will be transitioning to a hybrid workspace model indefinitely, allowing workers to either work from wherever best suits them.

“Our workforce is divided into three categories, corporate employees, capability functions and field staff,” said Dinesh Ramamurthi, Chief Human Resources Officer. “While the field staff is already stepping out and attending office following all the health and safety protocols, our corporate employees and capability functions are also fully operational, and are opting for a combination of work from home and working from flexible coworking spaces solutions.”

OYO is one of many companies that have pivoted to a more flexible work arrangement over the past few months in wake of the ongoing pandemic. 

Companies making this transition are now looking to offload their office space in an effort to cut costs.

A Knight Frank report found that office leasing transactions in the first half of 2020 fell by 37% year-on-year to 17.2 million square feet, which is the biggest drop in a decade.

According to Anuj Puri, Chairman of ANAROCK Property Consultants, hybrid workspace models are the ideal solution to the future of workspaces as it provides the benefits of both remote working and in-person collaborative opportunities.

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