Daily Digest News – December 11, 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:

How Working From Home Has Benefited Companies

Prior to the pandemic, only 7% of the workforce has access to flexible offices. But as we continue forward with the world’s largest work from home experiment, employees have been able to prove that they are just as productive outside of the main office.

So how has this transition improved the overall workforce?

For starters, the lack of commutes has decreased work-related stress, while providing workers with more time for themselves. Research has found that commutes have gotten longer over the past decade, with the average commute reaching a record of over 27 minutes in 2018.

By working from home or in a satellite office, employees have been able to use the time they have saved towards their work and personal responsibilities.

Additionally, video conferencing tools have become one of 2020’s unexpected heroes. Thanks to this technology, businesses have been able to keep their colleagues connected when working remotely.

These technologies are anticipated to advance even more in the future, with virtual reality potentially playing a part to make the distributed workplace experience more immersive.

Automation will also continue taking over menial tasks, allowing workers to upskill and expand their knowledge. Companies who invest into training programs for their employees will see improved productivity, engagement and employee satisfaction.

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WeWork Is Verizon’s First Indoor 5G Customer

Companies are realizing the value of allowing employees to choose their workplace. This has led some to look towards faster 5G connections to better accommodate their employees working outside of the office.

This has led Verizon to announce it is working with fiber-optic cable company Corning Inc. to install indoor cell sites, and the first customer will be none other than WeWork.

This process is done by installing small boxes with an antennae that transmits data on Verizon’s millimeter airwaves. Millimeter wave spectrum offers the fastest connection, however, it cannot travel long distances.

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According to Sampath Sowmyanarayan, leader of the global enterprise unit at Verizon Business Group, it is “Wi-Fi on steroids.”

Using 5G not only allows workers to have lightning fast connection, but it can also provide a better layer of security as well. For instance, an employee can walk into a flexible office and log on without jumping through multiple hoops of authentication.

While employees won’t necessarily be working from home permanently, companies have already expressed interest into moving towards a more hybrid model that will involve home, satellite and shared offices.

“Most technologies were made for the consumer, and enterprise came along for the ride,” said Sowmyanarayan. “5G was made for the enterprise, and the consumer is going to come along for the ride.” 

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The Hybrid Work Model Is The Logical Next Step

While the mass migration to remote working came from necessity due to the pandemic, workers have quickly learned to enjoy the benefits of this arrangement. Now, having the flexibility to choose where you work is seen as a job requirement, rather than a perk.

However, this experiment has also highlighted some downsides to working from home, such as feelings of isolation, less engagement and even more stress due to a lack of resources.

So where does that leave companies looking to accommodate the varying needs of their employees?

Regardless of when a company decides to bring their employees back in, it is clear that a fully in-person workforce is far fetched during a pandemic. That is where hybrid working comes in.

The hybrid model combines both in-person and remote working arrangements so employees can enjoy the benefits of working at home and coming into the office parts of the week.

Still, there may be challenges that present itself with this model. For instance, nurturing workplace culture can be difficult to do without in-person collaboration.

Additionally, communication is hard to maintain when some employees are coming together, while others operate remotely.

Cybersecurity also poses a big risk for remote workers. Without the proper tools and training in place, employees working from home are more vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks.

Despite all of the potential cons to this work model, it is still worth noting that hybrid workforces are the most logical way to bring employees back into the office safely and allow employees to maintain the flexibility they’ve had over the last several months.

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