IWG has revealed it would raise £300 million in a convertible bond issue in an effort to help pay for acquisitions and other business dealings.
The firm is anticipating a spike in demand for flexible offices as companies reevaluate their workspace needs after the pandemic.
IWG hopes to invest in “brands, centres, services and technologies” to keep up with new growth initiatives and the growing need for flexibility in the workplace. This includes a UK acquisition, as well as other deals in Europe that could cost over £300 million in cash.
“The net proceeds from the issue of the bonds will provide IWG with the additional financial flexibility to capitalise on these opportunities and also retain a strong financial position in the current market environment,” the company said. “The issue of the bonds will also diversify the company’s sources of funding as well as further strengthen IWG’s liquidity position and maturity profile and reduce its weighted average cost of capital.”
A shareholder meeting will take place in late December to seek approval from shareholders.
Prioritizing The Employee Workplace Experience
Although there have been countless challenges to emerge as a result of the pandemic, one bright side is the acceleration of technology integration that could lead to more diversity and inclusion within the workplace.
But the pandemic is not permanent, so how can companies take the lessons learned during this trying year and apply them to improve the workforce in the future?
First, adaptability and agility will become a crucial skill for employees in the future. This lesson goes beyond the workplace with some educational institutions revamping their curriculums to be more relevant to the future of work.
Employees and leaders who are able to work with teams without knowing the team will be essential to navigating the future of work. Emotional intelligence, flexibility and critical thinking skills will be some of the more sought-after skills for both employees and employers.
Companies will also be more inclined to hire gig workers as this portion of the workforce continues to grow. Many gig professionals are highly-talented and experienced, which can provide organizations with a healthy perspective on a short-term basis.
Additionally, business leaders are now expected to better support the work-life balance of their employees. As the last several months have altered our everyday lives, for better and for worse, leaders need to lead with a heavy dose of empathy and understanding.
Doing so encourages employee engagement, satisfaction, autonomy and improved culture — something that can be difficult to maintain when operating remotely.
How Technology Could Improve Workplace Culture
2020 may be viewed as one of the most prominent years for technology adoption and advancement as it has become absolutely essential for millions of companies to continue operations.
Although misconceptions claim that technology divides us and amplifies the generation gap, it has actually brought the world closer together as we all navigate a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.
Now, the emergence of HealthTech, InsuranceTech, PropTech and others are redefining how we accomplish everyday tasks.
One of the more significant changes to our society is the amount of people who have been forced to work from home. Although this was once a temporary solution to keep employees safe, many are finding that they prefer this work arrangement.
However, there has been a downside to working from home. Several employees have expressed not having proper connectivity, home office supplies or struggling to balance their work and parental responsibilities with children attending school virtually.
Without supporting workers from various backgrounds and experiences, companies could see a dip in productivity and employee satisfaction.
Overall, it is up to business leaders to have the plans in place that ensure the wellbeing of their employees is supported. Listening to what they require in order to make the best of their challenging situation will be crucial.
Lawsuits Against Knotel Continue To Pile Up
New York-based flexible office provider Knotel is seeing an increasing amount of eviction threats as more vendors file lawsuits to seek the millions in unpaid rent.
So far, Knotel’s landlords have over a dozen claims against the company, which is in the midst of massive layoffs and walking back on its real estate footprint.
This has led to two evictions derived from lawsuits against Knotel, including PRD Realty Corp. who has taken the steps to remove Knotel from its 38 East 29th Street building after claiming the office firm owed nearly $50,000 in unpaid rent and taxes.
In October, Justin Management filed to kick Knotel out of its 115 West 30th Street building, claiming that Knotel owed upwards of $153,000.
But the largest lawsuit came from an entity controlled by Claudio Del Vecchio, owner of Brooks Brothers, seeking a staggering $3 million from Knotel for its office above the company’s flagship location.
Knotel is facing 21 lawsuits in the New York State Supreme Court equating to $10 million in damages.
Like many other flexible workspace operators, Knotel was once a beloved up-and-coming flexible workplace organization thrown through a loop by the pandemic.
According to a survey from consulting firm Willis Towers of 344 employers, six in 10 employees are working from home, while a quarter are working from anywhere.
Additionally, employers are anticipating that over half of their employees will work from home through the first quarter of 2021, while 24% will work from anywhere.
This has left organizations to map out long-term workplace policies as employees are growing to expect some form of flexibility in the future.
“While most employers are providing flexible work arrangements for safety reasons today, employers also recognize that offering remote or flextime arrangements can play a significant role in retaining talent and keeping workers engaged and productive even after we move beyond this pandemic,” said Ravin Jesuthasan, managing director at Willis Towers Watson.
This has also led companies to consider new pay models as flexible work becomes standard across organizations. For instance, 18% of employers are setting pay levels by identifying the market value of an employee and considering their geographical location.
However, six in 10 employers said they will continue to pay their remote workers the same as their in-office counterparts regardless of where they are.
Of the over 2,100 UK workers surveyed, 28% said they are still not offered any form of flexible working, a slight 5% increase from the previous year.
Remote working is the most common work option at the moment and 51% of employees are offered it. However, only 22% are offered flexi-time, which is the second most common work option.
Remote and flexible working has been proven to improve productivity and employee satisfaction, so why aren’t these options more available to workers?
In fact, losing flexibility is one of the biggest fears of returning to the office for workers.
“The pandemic has shown that a more flexible way of working is possible and productive, and many people are reluctant to give that up. It’s often the first thing candidates ask us about when applying for jobs,” said David Morel, CEO of Tiger Recruitment. “Employers who continue to resist a move to more flexible ways of working may find themselves at a serious disadvantage, unable to attract and retain the best talent for their business.”
Aayat is an editor for the Daily Digest based in Lexington, Kentucky. She has worked with local coworking spaces since August of 2017 and enjoys taking her firsthand knowledge to write about the fascinating, constantly evolving world of flexible workspaces.