Daily Digest News – September 1, 2020

Hand selected flexible workspace news from the most reliable sources to keep you ahead of the pack. We find all the latest news, so you don’t have to. Morning and afternoon updates. Stay in the know.



BizSpace CEO Stepping Down

Gareth Evans is stepping down as CEO of UK-based office provider BizSpace after 15 years. He will be replaced by former Landmark and Regus CEO John Spencer.

“It has been a pleasure to serve as CEO of BizSpace for so many years,” said Evans. “I leave the business in a strong position with an excellent leadership team in place and I would like to thank my colleagues for all their hard work and support.”

Spencer served as CEO of Landmark for four-and-a-half years, as well as UK CEO for Regus from February 2013 to September 2014.

“Businesses are increasingly demanding more flexible, cost-effective and local workspace alternatives, in a trend that is only set to accelerate in the wake of Covid-19,” said Spencer. “I look forward to meeting my colleagues and continuing the important role BizSpace plays, providing the flexible workspace businesses need to prosper.”

(Credit: BizSpace)

Why Remote Working Is Not Sustainable

Discussions about an exodus from the Bay Area have been rampant as major technology companies have vowed to offer remote working options for many employees — some indefinitely.

However, this prediction may be premature as large cities remain a necessity for innovation. In fact, research has indicated that innovation is fostered best in cities with a population of at least 1 million. While larger cities have naturally higher costs of living, this may be offset by increased innovation.

Despite organizations like Amazon opting to build their second headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, technology companies should be careful in deciding their locations based on the “where”, and focus on the “why.”

Startups in particular need to be in a place that is diverse and connected in terms of demographics, perspective, experience, and the larger the city, the more likely that environment will reflect those ideas.

Over the past several months, workers have had limited face-to-face interactions with colleagues as they transition to remote working positions. Although this work arrangement has been found to have numerous benefits, productivity endurance depends on incorporating modern innovations. This may be difficult when all communication is happening virtually.

Humans are naturally social creatures, and Zoom calls cannot truly replace having in-person meetings with colleagues. That is why many workers are eager to come back to the office, but cities need to make a case for why businesses should want to operate in their area.

(Credit: Unsplash)

Why Offices Need Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence has already established itself as a key ingredient to the future of work. This technology has played an essential role in how businesses operate and communicate with employees and customers.

However, some analysts believe the way in which it impacts the office real estate world will be slower, particularly in big cities. Typically, the real estate industry in big cities like London and New York operate by landlords and tenants agreeing on 10 to 15 year leases for lavish buildings. In smaller areas, leases are shorter and better encourage a working relationship between the landlord and tenant for practical spaces.

For Tim Oldman, founder and CEO of workspace management firm Leesman, there is a huge window of opportunity for AI to improve real estate. For employees in particular, the integration of AI will be natural and, as they experience the technology more, will begin to demand more of it.

One example of AI-integrated buildings will be smart buildings. This means the inclusion of 5G, automated sanitation and air conditioning systems, noise level and density monitors and much more. Although the collection of such data may be off-putting to some, many younger workers understand the potential benefit in doing so. As long as a company stays transparent of its usage, employees will likely be on board.

One thing is certain — the ongoing pandemic has accelerated the need for this technology integration. Moving forward, companies that opt for satellite offices as part of their long-term business plans can use AI to make this transition much more seamless.

(Credit: Bigstock)

The New Office Approach That Cuts Costs

Despite many companies waiting to bring employees back into the office, workers are becoming increasingly eager to get out of their homes. A survey from JLL company Big Red Rooster revealed that 94% of employees want the option to come back to the office and would prefer a hybrid of both remote and in-office work arrangements.

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Now, operators are reconsidering how to continue to save money on office space, while offering employees a place to work when they need it. That is where the hub-and-spoke model comes in.

For instance, companies like Deloitte, KPMG and the Bank of Montreal are experimenting with their own hub-and-spoke model that allows them to keep a central office in the center of a city, while also adopting several other workspaces in suburban areas.

“What I’m hearing about hub and spoke is bigger companies offering drive-to destinations for office opportunities for people to gather without having to get on mass transit,” said Byron Carlock, real estate leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “We were already beginning to see an uptick in suburban leasing, mostly for cost reasons, but now we’re also seeing it for access reasons.”

Adam Segal, cofounder of office management software company Cove, has been aiding businesses in reducing their unused office space. The firm worked with global nonprofit Search for Common Good, analyzed its office usage and guided it to a hub-and-spoke approach that helped cut its space by 75%.

Using this approach, companies are able to continue taking advantage of cost-cutting measures, while providing a fully outfitted workplace for employees.

(Credit: Bigstock)

Workers Want To Continue Working From Home

A new report from Cardiff University and the University of Southampton has revealed that nine out of ten employees would like to continue to work from home at least part of the time in the future. 

The ‘Homeworking in the UK: Before and during the 2020 lockdown’ report found that as millions of employees transition to remote working positions, productivity has stayed stable and even improved compared to the six months prior.

The result derived from three online surveys from April, May and June 2020, which consisted between 6,000 and 7,000 respondents. For the June survey, 88% of employees who worked from home said they would like to continue doing so for part of the time and 47% wanting remote working to be a more permanent arrangement.

Additionally, the report found that 41% were able to get as much work done while working at home in June, compared to the six months prior.

“What is particularly striking is that many of those who have worked at home during lockdown would like to continue to work in this way, even when social distancing rules do not require them to,” said Professor Alan Felstead, based at Cardiff University and the Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods. “These people are among the most productive, so preventing them from choosing how they work in the future does not make economic sense. Giving employees flexibility on where they work could be extremely beneficial for companies as they attempt to recover from the impact of Covid-19.”

(Credit: Bigstock)

Creating A Truly Healthy Workplace

The world’s largest work-from-home experiment unexpectedly began earlier this year when millions of companies were forced to transition to a mostly remote workforce due to the ongoing pandemic. Several months in, most obstacles have been overcome and leaders have realized the various benefits of this work arrangement.

Although working from home has its perks, such as no commutes and flexible hours, there are indeed disadvantages. Now, workers are facing issues of isolation, lack of collaboration with colleagues and distractions of being at home. 

In order to find a balance between the two, companies should start adopting a hybrid model that allows employees to choose when and where they work.

While some workers are itching to come back to a physical workplace, this can’t happen without a major design revamp. Now, office operators need to become more conscious of density of the space and enforce distancing rules, as well as sanitation guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

While there has been a decrease in demand for office space due to most employees working from home, this is expected to be offset by companies looking for more office space to accommodate distancing practices.

With this, there is a clear need for emphasizing overall health and wellness in the office. Beyond installing sanitation stations, workspaces should also take into account how improved air ventilation, natural light and materials and having both indoor and outdoor space can improve the productivity and wellness of workers.

(Credit: Bigstock)
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