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Here’s what you need to know today:
- Office Leasing Could Rebound In 2021 NEW
- Working Near Home Allows The Best Of Both Worlds NEW
- Wellness Programs Are Crucial To The Workplace NEW
- What To Expect From The Future Of Work In 2021
- Keeping Up With The Readily Evolving Workforce
- The Era Of Loneliness
Office Leasing Could Rebound In 2021
India’s commercial real estate office market saw record leasing last year with 42 million square feet, but 2020 has left the industry struggling to stay afloat.
As people retreat into their homes for the time being, net absorption is expected to stay at 25 million square feet as opposed to the average 30-31 million square feet of the last decade.
However, some experts are anticipating a comeback next year, potentially back up to the 30-31 million square foot average.
This uptick in office leasing is expected to happen next spring, likely due to the fact that this is the estimated period when the general population will have access to a COVID-19 vaccine.
In the meantime, coworking is expected to gain more traction as organizations look to adopt more flexible, distributed work arrangements in the future.
“Future of coworking will be bright. Today a lot of companies and enterprises want flexibility,” said Ramesh Nair, Country Head and CEO at JLL India. “Lot of corporates don’t want to make capital expenditure on office interiors and they are increasingly opting for coworking spaces. The future is going to be very good for coworking players.”
Working Near Home Allows The Best Of Both Worlds
How we once perceived the office has been turned on its head since millions of people have transitioned to remote working positions over the last several months.
Now, companies like financial services firm Standard Chartered are allowing over half of their 85,000 employees to choose their workspace, including a “work near home” option.
This particular choice is one that is anticipated to grow worldwide. Working near home allows employees who don’t have the best office resources in their home, but also enjoy the lack of commute, to have a fully-furnished flexible office or coworking space to come into during the work week.
In fact, a survey found that 84% of employees who lived over two hours away from their typical workplace said they have had a good experience working from home compared to the 56% that live 15 minutes away.
While it could be assumed that it would be easier to just get rid of offices altogether, workers still need socialization and camaraderie. Research has actually found that employees are clocking in more hours when working from home as they struggle to shut off at the end of the day. This takes a toll on the mental and physical health of workers.
That is why adopting these flexible offices closer to their homes can be beneficial in more ways than one. Companies are able to rent them out on a monthly basis, which aids in cutting down their real estate expenses, and employees are able to enjoy a sense of community.
Wellness Programs Are Crucial To The Workplace
A healthy workforce has become a top priority for many companies in the past few years. Now, neutral-toned cubicles have been ditched for workspaces that allow employees more creativity and agility.
Not only is this transformation of the office more aesthetically pleasing, research has found design to have a direct impact on employees’ mental health and productivity levels.
This has led companies to reevaluate their wellness strategies to ensure the wellbeing of their employees.
While amenities and well-designed workstations are important factors when creating a fully-engaged workforce, offering flexibility is also essential. In fact, Capital One’s annual Work Environment Survey found that 83% of employees said it is important to have physical spaces and programs that nurture mental health, while 85% said wellness benefits were vital when looking for a new job.
Having these policies isn’t just beneficial for employees — businesses who successfully value their workers’ mental health typically see increased productivity and better output.
However, wellness programs are not all built the same. While some organizations outsource their benefits from other providers, Stefanie Spurlin, vice president of Workplace Solutions at Capital One, believes that companies need to emphasize the importance of building well-thought-out strategies that focus on culture.
“It’s really about focusing on your company’s culture and the holistic employee experience, considering things like employees’ wants and needs, the physical space, and amenities,” said Spurlin. “What are the benefits that will enrich employees’ lives, acknowledging their roles as both workers and people?”
What To Expect From The Future Of Work In 2021
Research from Zenbusiness has revealed that 70% of small businesses in the U.S. have at least one employee working from home.
With this comes an understanding that the workforce in 2021 will not be the same as it was in 2019 and even early 2020.
So what can we anticipate for the future of work next year?
For starters, companies will need to put more emphasis on employee health and wellness, which is a critical factor to a productive workforce.
This means learning how to build a better connection with employees, identifying when they are experiencing mental stress and providing them the help and resources to address it.
Additionally, with many employees experiencing remote working arrangements for the first time this year, it is clear that they will want some form of flexibility in the future.
“Today’s forced telework experience provides an opportunity for workers to prove if they can maintain their productivity and responsiveness from home, and an opportunity for employers to learn what type of work can be done remotely, and what is still difficult or impossible,” said Rachel Greszler, a Heritage Foundation labor expert.
Along with the increase in flexibility will be a spike in contract and temporary employees. This helps companies cut costs by not having to commit to long-term benefits packages for workers.
While this could hurt permanent work prospects, it could also provide increased wages that take the place of benefits.
Keeping Up With The Readily Evolving Workforce
The mass digital transformation that completely evolved the workforce has led business leaders to reevaluate their short and long-term goals.
Now that the way we collaborate, communicate and engage has changed for good, how can companies continue to adapt to this transformation while keeping their employees satisfied?
Leaders should emphasize an adaptable and agile workforce, which means offering a physical and remote workspace. This keeps employees connected, while also prioritizing their safety and health.
The foundation of society has been shaken to its core, and this has unsurprisingly led to increased mental and physical health issues. Offering employees an environment that helps them to nurture their health and provides them resources can improve workplace operations overall.
Adopting collaborative tools is also essential to keeping employees engaged, particularly with a distributed workforce. Doing so allows workers to see what colleagues are working on in real-time, and contribute in a seamless way.
A culture of empathy will be necessary moving forward as employees from various backgrounds face their own unique challenges. Organizations that build a culture that highlights transparency, trust and empathy will automatically see improved communication and output.
The digital transformation has led to the unintended upskilling of employees’ technology abilities. Now, business leaders can build off these new skills to help employees become future-resilient. Even more, knowing their employer is investing into expanding their knowledge can improve their job satisfaction.
The Era Of Loneliness
As people made the swift transition to remote working, reports of increased mental health issues due to loneliness grew.
According to anonymous professional network Blind, over half of workers said they felt lonely when working from home, and research has indicated that loneliness leads to decreased satisfaction.
“The trends shaping how we work — increasing use of technology, more telecommuting and the always-on work culture — are leaving Americans more stressed, less rested, spending more time on social media and less time with friends and family,” said David Cordani, CEO of global health services firm Cigna. “For the business community, it is resulting in less engagement, less productivity and lower retention levels.”
Even prior to the pandemic, loneliness was becoming a growing problem. A pre-pandemic survey from Cigna found that 80% of Gen Z employees felt lonely at work, compared to 71% of millennials and 50% of baby boomers.
Not only has isolation largely hindered employees’ mental health, but many have either been furloughed, laid off or even lost family members due to COVID-19. This trauma is lingering as the holidays approach, which are known for leading to increased mental health issues.
That is why companies should make an effort to offer an empathetic ear during these times, and let employees know that they are being heard and understood.
Offering employees access to tools and resources is a great way to help workers nurture their mental health. Doing so also shows workers that their needs are prioritized and can lead to improved job satisfaction.