Daily Digest News – October 5, 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:

Office Usage Will Never Be The Same

Research from the Institute of Directors unsurprisingly expects the ongoing pandemic to transform office use, as well as remote and flexible working adoption.

The survey found that 74% of respondents said their firms are keeping their increased levels of flexible working.

Additionally, half of respondents said their company would be reducing their long-term use of workspaces, with four in ten stating that working from home was a more effective work environment.

However, the IoD warned that increased remote working arrangements could raise questions over an employers’ responsibilities for staff. That is why the government needs to play a bigger role in helping small and medium-sized companies as they adapt to working from home in the long run.

This can include SME tax incentives, improved leadership and management training that focus on operating remotely, lowering employment costs and more.

“Remote working has been one of the most tangible impacts of coronavirus on the economy. For many, it could be here to stay,” said Roger Barker, Director of Policy at the IoD. “Working from home doesn’t work for everyone, and directors must be alive to the downsides. Managing teams remotely can prove far from straightforward, and directors must make sure they are going out of their way to support employees’ mental wellbeing.”

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How To Truly Prepare For The Future Of Work

Companies may think they are prepared for the inevitable transformation of the future of work, but leaders are still lacking the fundamental methods of ensuring that both their business and employees are prepared.

While adopting technologies and flexibility are part of this new way of working, it will take leadership, guidance and employee feedback to optimize your company’s operations.

A survey from staffing firm Robert Half has found that 64% of workers favor job-hopping, which is likely due to workers constantly seeking for better management and compensation. So in order for a company to attract and retain their top talent, leaders need to have a clearer view of what workers need from their workplace.

Additionally, companies who lack diversity are at high risk of falling behind their competitors. Not only does having a diverse workforce offer a competitive edge, it also provides businesses with a larger range of skills and ideas that can make for a truly innovative workplace.

Honing in on company culture is also crucial to a healthy work atmosphere, but allowing it to evolve unconsciously can be detrimental. Work culture is a direct reflection of your company. If it is not a place that actively works towards attracting and retaining top talent and promoting customer loyalty, there could be problems.

Lastly, freelancers have become a significant portion of the workforce. By embracing these independent workers, companies can reduce labor costs. In fact, businesses can save up to 30% of costs by hiring an independent contractor, freelancer digital marketer or other similar professionals according to Businessweek Magazine.

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Practicing Mindfulness At Work Is Essential

Mindfulness is the practice of staying focused and present without passing judgement and has proven to be an essential tool for today’s workforce.

According to a study from the Kaiser family Foundation, 40% of Americans have experienced mental health issues due to the pandemic, which can have a direct impact on your quality of work. Even more, poor mental health can easily lead to other chronic health problems, such as heart and brain disease.

However, research has proven that boosting mindfulness at work can help alleviate these stress levels, as well as improve decision-making skills and wellbeing. 

So how can leaders encourage workers to use mindfulness and other wellness practices?

Over the past few years, there have been an influx of meditation, workout and yoga apps that were created for those who wanted to implement more wellness into their everyday lives. Using such apps, such as Headspace and Calm, are great tools to help guide workers through the new stresses they may be experiencing.

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Many notable companies like Nike and Peloton also offer on-demand virtual classes that make it easy to maintain physical health at home.

While many people believe that meditation is not for them, research has found that even short spurts of practicing mindfulness can help increase productivity and improve focus. It can be helpful to even schedule blocks of silence throughout the day in order to find time to breathe and feel rejuvenated to finish out the work day on a high note.

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India’s Office Leasing Tumbles In Major Cities

JLL India has revealed that net leasing of office space has fallen 50% across seven major cities in the country, including Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. This comes as many coworking operators and corporations continue to hit pause on their expansion plans due to the ongoing pandemic.

The findings revealed that from January to September of this year, leasing dropped by 47% from 32.7 million square feet to 17.3 million square feet compared to the year prior.

“India’s office market witnessed a net absorption of 5.4 million square feet in quarter ending September 2020 (Q3), an increase of 64% versus quarter ending June 2020 (Q2),” the firm said in a statement.

The statement added the reason behind the restrained absorption levels was due to office space consolidation and new optimization strategies from corporate occupiers. This led vacancy to grow from 13.1% in the second quarter of 2020 to 13.5% in the third quarter.

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Remote Workers Wary Of Monitoring Technology

A new poll commissioned by the Prospect Union has found that two-third of workers are uncomfortable using remote working-related technology, such as keystroke and camera monitoring.

Even more, the research found that 80% of workers would be uncomfortable with camera monitoring, while 74% said they would be uncomfortable with electronic tracking through wearables.

Additionally, nearly half of respondents said that monitoring software in their remote work positions could damage their relationship with their manager.

However, the findings revealed that more consultation could alleviate any apprehension towards such technology. 32% of workers said they would be more comfortable with it if worker representatives were there to guide them through the implementation of this technology.

“Employers are beginning to think about how their workplace will operate in the future, including a far greater prevalence of blended working and exclusive working from home,” said Mike Clancy, general secretary at Prospect. “As the new reality takes hold we will see more and more debates about the use of technology to monitor workers – the evidence suggests the workforce are simply not ready for it.”

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The Role Of Managers In A Remote Workforce

Over 60% of US economic activity comes from people who are working from home according to the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

Many companies have readily adjusted to this style of working while maintaining work culture and productivity. However, some managers have not educated themselves on how to properly conduct a remote workforce.

For instance, as meetings continue to take place over video conferencing software, workers increasingly turn their webcams off. As a manager, you should keep yours on when possible to encourage workers to do the same. This can help maintain healthy connections while working remotely.

Additionally, managers should schedule casual check-ins with employees. Without the ability to pop into a colleague’s office for a quick chat, leaders need to set aside time for virtual check-ins to establish a better line of communication.

Although it seems that employees may have become well-adjusted to juggling both work and home responsibilities, facing multiple stressors at once can lead to burnout. That is why employers need to embrace flexibility in order for workers to have a better handle on their daily projects and home responsibilities.

One of the most important strategies for managers moving forward is practicing empathy. Every worker is experiencing a “new normal” that can mean various things, so make it clear that employees are supported and show leniency during these unprecedented times.

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