Daily Digest News – October 13, 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.

Here’s what you need to know today:

Manchester Welcomes Pop-up Workspace

Managed workspace firm Department has opened a pop-up workplace in Manchester’s Spinningfields area free of charge during its debut week.

Situated at coworking space XYZ Social, the workspace aims to accommodate workers to come back to the office for free in return for sharing their experience on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram, tagging @DepartmentUK_ and adding the hashtag #DoWorkBeSocial.

Its “pay as you post” launch offers working and meeting facilities, while abiding by safety and distancing measures. In addition to a workplace, the space offers unlimited coffee and tea, WiFi, bike storage, showers and food service options.

“Department’s workspaces are founded on the principles of work, wellness and social, to enable a better work-life balance,” said Anthony Powell, managing director at Department. “The Department pop-up at XYZ Social is intended to support freelancers, small business owners and employees who may be struggling with the isolation of working from home. It also allows those that cannot currently work from the office, and don’t have the necessary set-up at home, to deliver their best work.”

Philadelphia Welcomes First Healthcare Coworking Space

Philadelphia-based MedCoShare has launched the city’s first coworking space geared towards independent healthcare practitioners.

Ronak Vyas launched the startup to provide a workspace for healthcare practitioners outside of large hospitals. 

“If you are a smaller practice, you may be getting more space than you actually need because there just isn’t an alternative,” said Ronak. “You either give in to the landlord’s demands and pay for the larger space or you work for a larger practice or a hospital system.”

MedCoShare offers the perfect solution for healthcare professionals who want to start their own practice, without being tied down to long-term, expensive leases, particularly in big cities.

The first MedCoShare, located in Fishtown, offers eight clinical exam rooms, as well as two offices with basic medical supplies for clinical professionals such as therapists, primary care physicians and surgeons.

The company operates on a pay-as-you-go membership model, where healthcare professionals can sign up for month-to-month payments. Ronak added that this allows members to only pay for the space they need.

For instance, if a member needs just one room one day a week, MedCoShare offers a plan to accommodate that.

“Wherever the practitioner is in their business, we can adjust our inventory to suit their needs,” said Ronak.

Will The Transition To Remote Working Stick?

Companies large and small made the shift to remote working somewhat seamlessly, and are now considering where this work arrangement fits in the long-term.

Notable organizations, including Microsoft and Facebook, have already committed to expanding their flexible work policies for at least the next year and in certain cases, indefinitely.

However, some have taken note of the downfalls this work arrangement has on workplace culture and mental health. For instance, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer canceled the company’s work-from-home program, citing that the best decisions came from impromptu meetings that cannot be replicated when operating remotely.

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Mayer is not the only business leader to question a fully remote workforce. Others have considered the specifics of transitioning to working from home, such as whether salaries should be adjusted and if it is the responsibility of companies to subsidize rent or mortgage costs for distributed workers.

“People will need a dedicated workspace at home and it seems fair that employers would cover that additional cost, as well as that of work-level internet access and other work-related needs that were previously part of the office environment,” said Josh McHugh, CEO of Attention Span Media.

Still, the adoption of remote working has become inevitable worldwide. Morgan Stanley recently predicted that office tenants in Asia will give up between 3% and 9% of office space over the next three years.

Coworking Models Are Undergoing Major Revisions

Proworking has emerged as coworking’s more flexible, safer sibling. Now that health protocols are at the front of everybody’s minds, it is essential for coworking operators to adjust their offerings that make collaborating in shared, flexible offices secure.

According to Anish Michael, CEO of Firmspace, his company had recently started catering to industries that valued privacy in the workspaces, making it simple to accommodate distancing standards of our current world.

“The major change we are incorporating in all our locations, not just the new ones, is spatial awareness and sanitization,” said Michael. “Our priority is the health and well-being of members. Social distancing in our office design is crucial and we’ve taken steps to mitigate risks in shared spaces.”

This includes limiting the amount of seating at tables, lowering capacity in conference rooms and using day porters to consistently disinfect high-touch areas.

Additionally, Firmspace has implemented soundproof walls to make the workspace feel more like a private office, rather than a noisy shared environment.

Michael added that the pandemic has actually solidified demand for private office spaces, leaving operators to reevaluate their target customer base, design and membership policies.

“By offering flexible membership and reviewing office space needs for our members on a case-by-case basis, members can have a new sense of ownership, relief and control over their office during the economic downturn,” said Michael.

Fostering Workplace Culture In A Remote Environment

The sense of togetherness at the beginning of the pandemic was echoed across the country as society officially stepped into the “new normal.”

Although employee engagement was high in the first few months, enthusiasm started to erode as loneliness and isolation became the more common theme in remote working positions.

As a result, work culture has taken a hit without face-to-face interactions. Now, companies have attempted to use virtual events, lik Zoom happy hours, to keep workers connected and nurture community.

“We’ve had to get more creative with how to keep collaboration and engagement high,” said Joe DeCosmo, chief technology officer and chief analytics officer at Enova. “We don’t have the great perks in the office available to use, but the culture is still the same — team members are super-empowered to manage their time and do their work, and we encourage innovation and creativity.”

For instance, Enova has kept their employees engaged through resource groups that cater to employees of color and women. Virtual meetups are used to discuss ongoing issues and other related topics that would organically be discussed during lunches in order to help keep teams connected.

Additionally, the company hosts light-hearted gatherings such as virtual karaoke, trivia, book clubs and more.

“We’re trying to replicate hallway conversations, because we’re not having them,” said Jim Kruger, Enova’s chief marketing officer. “We’re trying to introduce people from different functions to create a more collaborative environment.”

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