Daily Digest News – November 10, 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:

Large Firms Are Seeking More Workplace Flexibility

A new report on the future of the workplace by EY and the Urban Land Institute, ‘Future of Work – A Global Real Estate Player’s Point of View’, suggests that large firms will seek out a more flexible office footprint as a result of the pandemic.

The research, which surveyed investors, developers, real estate services firms, architects and workspace operators, concluded that major changes are expected in the office market in the next 3 to 5 years.

The research revealed:

  • 96 percent expect large corporate users to look for a more tailored and flexible office footprint.
  • 66 percent expect flexible lease contracts to become the new normal.
  • More than half (53 per cent) of real estate players expect tenants to reduce their office space.
  • One quarter of respondents anticipate their office space requirements to decrease by more than 20 percent.

Mark Tindale, director at Sydney leasing agency Cadigal, said demand for flexibility from corporate tenants has increased over the past few years, and this will accelerate.

“One part of flexibility is providing access to third spaces including tenant lounges and larger meeting and event facilities,” he said.

Referencing coworking and flexible spaces, he added: “This sort of flexible amenity is greatly valued by tenants who in some cases will lease less space knowing they have easy access to such facilities.”

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Hybrid Vs. Hub And Spoke Work Models

Is hybrid work the right solution to work from home challenges, or is hub and spoke a more productive model going forward?

A study by Barco, which surveyed 1,750 employees around the world via global research panel provider Dynata, found that only 15% of employees want to continue to work from home full-time after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

42% feel that working from home stifles their creativity; 37% miss office social life; and 45% find it easier to work with colleagues in the office.

Hybrid work enables people to split their time between the office and their home. However, it still poses challenges. In particular, a team of mixed home-based and in-office employees is difficult to manage. Plus, it could create divisions between the office crowd and the at-home crowd.

This suggests that a hub and spoke model, which enables people to work in regional office locations close to their homes (but not at home) could be a more constructive solution for the future of work.

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Tips To Make Your WFH Experience More Comfortable

The opportunity to work from home was once a perk. Now, it’s the norm.

However, while some people may favor part-time home-based work, it’s not necessarily the most productive or the healthiest solution long-term.

Under lockdown, people have hastily converted their living rooms or kitchen tables to offices. But being restricted to a small space is challenging, particularly when the furnishings, lighting, and environment is designed for everything but focused work.

With many companies aiming to keep staff working from home for some time, we may see further deterioration of physical and mental health.

Until workers can make use of professional offices, these work from home tips will help make your environment a little more comfortable:

  • Use an ergonomic chair that enables the correct posture and supports your lower and upper back.
  • Use an adjustable height table or a laptop riser to ensure your desk sits at the right height. Your hands should be bent at the elbows and positioned comfortably on both sides.
  • Adjust your screen brightness depending on the lighting in the room. Avoid excessive glare (try not to back onto a window or a light) and use a task light to illuminate your workstation.
  • Isolate your workspace from the rest of the home to avoid noise and distraction. Noise cancelling headphones may help concentration.
  • Take regular short breaks. Stand up, stretch, and walk around the house. Always make time for a lunch break and integrate as much movement into your day as possible.
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How To Manage A Staggered Return To The Office

Should you encourage staff back to the office? If so, when? And how many at a time?

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With experts divided on whether or not staff should return to the office, companies are mulling over these questions and some are choosing to bring staff back in phases.

A staggered return could provide a safer environment by keeping workplace occupancy low and reducing the chance of transmission. This is the recommendation put forward in a report from the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, which advises companies to start by letting 20% of at-home workers back into the office. Start with a few days per week and then expand to five days as testing ramps up.

It recommends 3 key ways for bringing people back and keeping your workforce safer:

  1. Get on the same page: Identify and, if necessary, invest in reliable project management software to keep both your in-office and remote workers collaborating together, efficiently.
  2. Get communicating: A chat app, such as Slack, Hangouts, Glip, or Twist, opens up conversation in an easy online format. Most chat platforms provide other benefits too, such as video calls.
  3. Get videoconferencing: Most teams are now competent with video call software. If you haven’t already setup a company-wide videoconference system, now’s the time to do it. It’s especially important when you have a mix of remote and in-office employees working together.
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No More 9-5? Just 7% Of Workers Want To Return To The Office Full-Time

Would you prefer to work from home permanently, or return to the office as soon as possible?

While research varies from one extreme to the other, it seems the workforce is ultimately split.

New research by Locatee, carried out by YouGov, reveals interesting insights into UK office workers’ attitudes towards productivity, job security, and the prospect of continued WFH during Covid-19 restrictions.

Highlights of the study include:

  • If given the choice, just 7 percent of respondents would return to the office full time, 18 percent would work from home every day, whilst 32 percent would work from home most days.
  • Those with three or more children are the most likely to want to return to the office permanently (11 percent).
  • Why do people want to work from home? 72 percent say ‘comfort’, 50 percent say they feel more productive, and 50 percent feel that time spent commuting is too high.
  • However, remote work isn’t a full-time solution. Just 13 percent of respondents feel they manage or train teams as effectively when working remotely.
  • Job security over the next year is a concern for over a quarter of respondents (28 percent).
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Is Co-Living The Solution To Loneliness During These Challenging Times?

Physical distancing has challenged us to find alternative ways to communicate with each other and stay in touch with loved ones.

One surprising manifestation of this is the robust demand for co-living, which emerged during the pandemic. Far from diminishing demand for co-living, the current situation has heightened it, as people seek community-inspired comfort and support.

Co-living and hospitality expert, Chip Conley, believes investment and development in co-living will continue despite ongoing economic turmoil and travel disruptions.

“For one, the ranks of digital nomads are growing. You could even say they’re going mainstream, as more and more individuals — especially in the wake of COVID-19 — feel compelled to untether themselves from homes, apartments and offices, opting instead to live and work remotely for long periods of time.”

Many of them, says Conley, are set to take advantage of the expanding global network of co-living offerings in some of the world’s most dynamic cities.

As these complex and challenging times force us to rethink how we live and work, Conley believes that co-living will continue to be part of this exciting transformation.

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