Daily Digest News – October 16, 2020

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Adam Neumann Invests Into Real Estate Startup

Former WeWork CEO has emerged from the shadows to invest in a new residential endeavor.

Adam Neumann, who was forced out of the coworking company last year, has invested $30 million in Alfred Club Inc.

The startup offers apartment buildings featuring concierge staffers and software services for rent payments and maintenance requests. This move reflects Neumann’s previous interest in the residential industry after he started a coliving branch of WeWork called WeLive.

The Neumanns’ family investment office is leading the $42 million round, with the financing including other inventors such as Spark Capital and New Enterprise Associates.

After the coworking firm’s turbulent failure to go public last year, Neumann has stayed relatively quiet. In the meantime, the company has gone on to accept a bailout package from SoftBank, laid off several employees and recently announced it would be changing its name from The We Company back to WeWork.

According to Marcela Sapone, CEO of Alfred, she and Neumann both share a vision of reinventing real estate and hope to build a community within its apartment buildings.

Most Of UK’s Major Cities See Office Prices Drop

FreeOfficeFinder has revealed that the office and coworking industries in UK’s major cities are feeling the pressure due to the effects of the ongoing pandemic. 

The figures, which range from January 1 to September 30, have revealed that almost all major UK cities have seen desk price drops. Of those cities, Manchester saw the smallest drop with just one percent and Edinburgh saw the largest with 13%.

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Edinburgh had not seen a drop in coworking desk prices since the beginning of the year. On the other hand, Leeds saw a 28% dip during this time, with Birmingham following close behind at 21%.

London has seen large drops, as well as some rises. Canary Wharf in particular has seen private desk costs fall by one-third since the beginning of the year. This is largely due to large financial companies not anticipating a mass return to the office.

However, the only central London area that saw a rise was Southwark, which saw an uptick of 16%.

“Given the latest government announcement and the fact many people are still working from home, it is difficult to see any rise in prices until next year,” said Nick Riesal, managing director at FreeOfficeFinder. “Landlords are trying to stimulate the market in a number of ways – including free rent deals until the end of the year and rent-free periods in the event of any lockdowns.”

The Employee Experience Is Essential For Success

Companies have settled into remote working operations, but some organizations are too quick to bring workers back into the office, especially as several states experience an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

The reality is, a second wave is fast approaching and society is feeling pandemic fatigue. However, companies need to make the safety of their workers at the top of their priority lists if they want to retain a healthy, satisfied workforce. 

A recent study from Korn Ferry found that 74% of employees feel that their colleagues will abide by safety guidelines. While this sounds great, the survey also found that 53% of respondents are either somewhat likely or not likely to return to the workplace when they reopen.

What has become abundantly clear is that there is not a one-size-fits all approach to the workplace. People enjoy working from home, but some are struggling to find a balance between home and work responsibilities.

So how do organizations ensure that the employee experience contributes to a fruitful future for the company?

A supportive remote culture is the first step. Business leaders have used the importance of culture in the workplace as a reason to bring workers back to the office.

However, culture can and should still be nurtured remotely, which can be done by showing workers that their input is valued. 

Additionally, 58% of respondents said they were more productive when working from home. This contradicts the misconception that virtual working hinders productivity and proves that employees should have more of a say in how and when they get to work.

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