Daily Digest News – November 9, 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:

IWG Plc To Manage Major City Office In Birmingham, UK

Mailbox REIT Plc, which owns one of the largest commercial properties in Birmingham (UK), is set to conclude a management agreement with IWG Plc.

The agreement will see IWG manage 50,000 sq ft at The Mailbox, a Grade A mixed-use retail and office building in the heart of the city. It will be run under IWG’s Spaces brand.

Mailbox REIT is a single asset real estate investment trust, which will be the first company to list on the International Property Securities Exchange (IPSX). The REIT’s prospectus contained an initial 5% dividend target and management believes this can be “incrementally increased to 7% and beyond within the medium-term”, following the agreement with IWG.

Credit: Proactive

87% Of Employees Want More Choice Over Where And How They Work

Workforce of the Future is a Cisco commissioned survey of 10,000 office-based employees across Europe, the Middle East and Russia.

As part of the survey, office-based employees were asked for their expectations of employers from 2021 onwards. The results show that employees want greater control over where and how they work, which is set to challenge cultural norms around the workplace.

Only 5% of those surveyed worked from home before the lockdown, but now, 87% want more choice over how and when they use the office space – including a hybrid approach to in-office and remote work.

Looking ahead, the survey shows:

  • Employees want increased autonomy (63%) while 61% want to keep hold of faster decision-making.
  • Two thirds (66%) now have a greater appreciation of the benefits and challenges of working from home, following the past 6 months.
  • Employees are able to better balance life around work, with 56% incorporating more exercise into their daily routine.
  • In a similar spirit, 58% want to continue travelling less and use that time more productively.
  • 65% agree that one of the big positives to come from lockdown is proof that employees don’t need to be in the same room to collaborate effectively.
Credit: Bigstock

Flexible Space “Simplicity” Helps Small Firms Adapt

Every business has been impacted by the pandemic.

Many small and medium enterprises in particular are battling to navigate the current situation, yet one factor that is helping them to adapt to the unprecedented events of 2020 is their choice of office space.

The simplicity and agility of flexible workspaces is helping SMEs to adapt, and enabling them to integrate greater agility into their own business models in order to become stronger.

It is also accelerating a shift in the perception of the office from that of a static product to a dynamic service.

Credit: Unsplash

UK Flex Office Stats Are In, And They’re Not As Bad As Expected

A report by Instant Offices found that, despite a dramatic drop in footfall to just 18% of 2019 levels, companies stuck to their contracts and continued to pay for their flexible office space.

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The Instant Group’s UK Flex Market Review found that the number of companies that have moved out is relatively low, with 16% of flex office clients serving notice in the second quarter of this year.

Contracted occupancy in UK flexible spaces fell from 78% in April to 67% in August — which again, wasn’t as low as expected.

This offers positive news for the UK’s flexible space sector, particularly as the nation has just entered a second, month-long lockdown, and suggests that while workers are once again being told to stay at home, the future looks bright for those that can weather the storm.

Credit: Bigstock

Like It Or Not, Real Estate Is Set For A Transformation

With COVID-19 cases in the U.S. rising sharply, there are plenty of challenges to come as businesses race to cut costs and stay afloat.

This is set to trigger mass changes in commercial real estate.

Among them, a long-term shift to at least some remote work is expected, most likely on a hybrid basis with a mix of home and in-office work. This will place greater pressure on office demand, as companies may need access to less space; it may also elevate lease renewal risk and/or reduce rental rates.

Landlords will be forced to retrofit to accommodate changes in the way we utilize office space. Buildings that can adapt to health and safety requirements, such as physical distancing, will be in demand — while older buildings that cannot accommodate certain requirements without attracting costly alterations may struggle, or become obsolete.

There may also be a shift in the retail sector away from physical brick-and-mortar stores toward e-commerce. This has been happening already; COVID-19 has accelerated the trend with many stores placing greater focus on online sales out of necessity.

Will it become a buyers’ market? Tenants across multiple industries may find themselves with the opportunity to negotiate lower rents with friendlier lease terms, thus creating cash flow volatility and long-term value decline for non-core property owners.

Credit: Canva

Tech And AI To Play A Major Role In The Future Of Work

What does the future of work really hold? What will the work environment look like in 2035?

A joint study by Citrix, futurist consultancy Oxford Analytica, and business research specialist Coleman Parkes revealed the expectations of over 500 C-Suite leaders and 1,000 employees.

Highlights include:

  • Three-quarters (74 per cent) believe that in fifteen years, artificial intelligence (AI) will significantly speed up the decision-making process and make workers more productive.
  • New jobs will be created, including roles such as: Robot / AI trainer, Virtual reality manager, and Advanced data scientist.
  • Work will be more flexible and fueled by technology. 75 per cent believe that tech platforms will provide instant access to highly specialized, on-demand talent.
  • 57 per cent believe AI has the potential to make the majority of business decisions by 2035 and potentially eliminate the need for traditional senior management teams.
  • “AI-ngels” – digital assistants driven by AI – will draw on personal and workplace data to help employees prioritise their tasks and time and ensure mental and physical wellness.
Credit: Unsplash
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