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Here’s what you need to know today:
- Remote Working Improves Productivity According To Survey NEW
- How Pay Equality Is Impacted By Flexible Working NEW
- How Remote Working Improves Information Retention NEW
- WeWork Receives New Financing From SoftBank
- Flexible Office Firms Are Seizing New Opportunities
- Tech Workers Are Leaving The Bay Area
Remote Working Improves Productivity According To Survey
A new survey from Boston Consulting Group on employee sentiment reveals that remote and hybrid work arrangements have had a positive impact on productivity.
The article titled “What 12,000 Employees Have to Say About the Future of Remote Work” was conducted across Germany, India and the US, and found that employees will continue to demand flexibility for the foreseeable future.
According to the survey, 75% of workers said that during the first few months of the pandemic, their productivity on individual tasks had improved. However, for collaborative projects, the number was lower with only 51% saying their productivity improved.
“It turns out that social connectivity is a critical element of what enables us to be productive when collaborating in the workplace,” said Debbie Lovich, a BCG managing director and senior partner. “So, for any company looking to adapt to new virtual or hybrid virtual/onsite workplaces, promoting virtual social connectivity between colleagues is going to be critical.”
Even more, 60% of employees said that they want some form of flexibility in where and when they work. This will likely lead to employers looking to integrate new systems and technologies to make hybrid or remote working a more seamless process.
How Pay Equality Is Impacted By Flexible Working
According to the Global Workforce Revolution report published by Remote, nearly half of UK workers believe that pay and benefits should be dependent upon an employees’ ability.
Additionally, the report found that 21% of respondents believe that pay and benefits should be based upon both a workers’ location and their ability. These findings indicate that remote and flexible working has raised problems around pay equality.
The workplace benefits most wanted by remote workers include pension schemes, home office allowance and healthcare options.
Even more, 70% of respondents said that they would be more loyal to their employer and work at least one year longer if they were able to work remotely.
The report also revealed that workplace culture is essential to hiring and retaining top talent and workers over the age of 55 said that trust was the most important factor.
How Remote Working Improves Information Retention
The ongoing pandemic has undoubtedly altered the way team members work together. With countless distractions happening from home, focusing on team work can become much more difficult.
However, some aspects of working from home have made learning easier in that we are able to “space” our learning abilities. For instance, the AGES (attention, generation, emotions and spacing) learning model by David Rock from the Neuroleadership Institute has revealed the impact that the downtime between learning and reviewing, or spacing, has on our retention.
Remote working allows us to take advantage of this process as we have the ability to time between learning and reviewing sessions to improve our long-term memory.
Ideally, spacing takes into account sleeping and how important it is for retaining information in the long-term. According to research from the Neuroleadership Institute, sleeping offers the most optimal environment for new processes to be stored in the long-term.
For those in the workplace, the end goal should be optimizing new information and being able to apply it in the long-run. The research suggests that in order to properly process new information, it should be revisited at least three times — the first within a few days, the second within a few weeks and the last in a few months.
Although remote working hurts socialization and interactions with colleagues, companies can take advantage of the opportunities that come with memory retention and upskilling workers for the long-term.
WeWork Receives New Financing From SoftBank
SoftBank has committed $1.1 billion in new financing to WeWork, in addition to the $10 billion the conglomerate has already invested into the coworking firm over the past few years.
According to WeWork’s Chief Financial Officer Kimberly Ross, the company’s revenue for the second quarter of 2020 saw a 9% increase from the prior year at $882 million. In the first quarter, WeWork took in $1.1 billion in revenue.
The financing is situated as senior secured debt and the company will have a year to access the financing.
Just one year ago, WeWork filed to move forward with an initial public offering, however things quickly went downhill and led to the company restructuring most of its internal operations.
The company has since been taking numerous cost-cutting efforts, such as selling off its non-core businesses and acquisitions, as well as laying off employees.
Now, in the wake of the ongoing pandemic, the coworking industry as a whole is navigating how to service wary members while keeping them safe. However, a recent JLL report predicts that the slowdown in demand for flexible office space is short-term.
“Although freelancers are more likely to shed coworking space as the COVID-19 outbreak stalls business, 67% of CRE decision makers are increasing workplace mobility programs and incorporating flexible space as a central element of their agile work strategies,” the report found.
Flexible Office Firms Are Seizing New Opportunities
Despite the pandemic bringing a cloud of uncertainty to the flexible office industry, some major operators are rising to the occasion and looking to capitalize on new opportunities.
For instance, IWG took over 30,000 square feet of office space in Hong Kong that was previously leased by another operator.
“The operators which came into this challenging period in a strong financial position with well-established businesses, limited vacancy and favourable underlying real estate deals are able to look at two main routes to expansion: either taking over space from another operator and or acquiring the businesses of struggling competitors,” said Ben Munn, managing director of flexible space at JLL.
While this is mostly the case for large, established operators, smaller companies are seizing new opportunities as well. For example, hotel operators have started marketing their rooms as day offices for workers who need a place to work distraction-free outside of their homes.
Munn added that flexible and agile space will be essential for companies who are looking to conserve cash and decrease their own real estate liabilities. Demand for these flexible workspaces is expected to increase, so operators need to be prepared to accommodate this growth.
“Landlords that respond to the customer’s needs for flexibility, cost certainty, and all-inclusive workplace product and service propositions will win out,” said Munn.
Tech Workers Are Leaving The Bay Area
Discussions about migrating outside of the technology hub of the San Francisco Bay Area have been ongoing for years now, and it looks like it may finally be happening.
Now that companies have started allowing employees to work from anywhere, many are taking advantage of this opportunity.
For instance, Justin Thompson, who works for a data analytics firm, and his wife recently decided to move out of their apartment in the Bay Area and relocate to a three-bedroom house in Phoenix.
Just last month, Alphabet Inc. said employees will not be coming back to the office until at least the summer of 2021. Facebook also said that its employees could do the same, and expects to have a substantially remote workforce in the next few years
According to a survey conducted in mid-May of 371 Bay Area tech workers, 42% would relocate to a less expensive city if they were working remotely. Additionally, another survey from July by workplace discussion platform company Blind found that 15% of respondents had left the area since the start of the pandemic.
Although it is too early to determine the actual amount of tech workers leaving the Bay Area, it has started impacting real estate prices. For the first time in years, rents have started dropping since Zillow started tracking the city in 2014.
“The majority of techies in the Bay Area are not about to move out, but it is a significant enough minority that it’s moving the market,” said Anthemos Georgiades, Zumper CEO.