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Here’s what you need to know today:
- Firstbase Closes $13 Million Funding Round
- L.A.’s Office Market Recovery Could Take Years
- Google Continues To Rethink The Role Of Office Space
Firstbase Closes $13 Million Funding Round
Remote working has transformed the landscape of the workplace indefinitely. Millions of people have a desire to continue working remotely, and with this, the need for remote-specific resources and tools have skyrocketed.
Firstbase is aiming to do just that. The company, which recently announced it closed a $13 million Series A funding round, has been working to improve the lives of remote workers after its own experience with transitioning to remote working in 2018.
Chris Herd, cofounder and CEO of Firstbase, admitted that this shift was not easy and getting workers the technology they needed, as well as receiving it back, proved to be a challenge.
In late 2019, the once fintech-focused firm pivoted its product and in March of 2020, the company had a waitlist of 600 companies.
Firstbase’s product features a software service that helps companies track and manage their hardware assets that are used by remote workers. It also provides hardware that comes pre-installed with software and helps employees receive IT support. Customers are able to use either each product alone, or purchase both software and hardware offerings.
L.A.’s Office Market Recovery Could Take Years
During the first quarter of 2021, Los Angeles saw its highest vacancy rate since the beginning of the pandemic, according to a recent report from CBRE.
Although vaccinations are being widely distributed and the city is seeing a slight rollback of pandemic-related restrictions, it could be years before the market fully recovers.
CBRE’s MarketView report found that, despite increased touring activity, the increase of remote working could delay the office market’s recovery process.
“We believe that office will never be quite what it was prior to the pandemic,” said Bob Sulentic, President and CEO at CBRE in the company’s first-quarter earnings call on Thursday. “We also believe it will be very different than it is today…There will certainly be a hybrid scenario where there’ll be some work from home, some work from flex space and then, of course, some work from offices.”
The report revealed that net absorption grew in the quarter with negative 1.8 million square feet, partly due to Technicolor moving out of 160,000 square feet at Hollywood Media Center, HBO abandoning 115,000 square feet at Colorado Center and American Honda Finance Corp. vacating over 100,000 square feet on Madrona Avenue.
New leases accounted for 1.4 million square feet, and over half of total square footage signed during the first quarter came from lease renewals and extensions.
CBRE is predicting that the Los Angeles office market could begin recovery by 2023, which is 13 quarters from the beginning of the pandemic.
Google Continues To Rethink The Role Of Office Space
Google’s famous humble beginnings were in a Silicon Valley garage, a story that has gone on to inspire hundreds of startups.
Years after its founding, the company moved into a campus called the Googleplex, which would again inspire other companies to rethink what the physical workplace could mean to company culture as a whole.
Once again, Google is redefining the office itself by transitioning to a hybrid work model, allowing employees to continue working from home who don’t want to return to the office full-time.
Additionally, Google is expecting to alter around 10% of their office design in order to accommodate the new needs and desires of the young workforce.
This includes designing what Google is calling “Team Pods” which start as a blank canvas and can be easily adjusted based on the needs of workers. These spaces can be equipped with chairs, desks, and whiteboards and rearranged within hours if necessary.
To better accommodate the blend of remote and office workers, Google is also launching a new meeting room called Campfire. This space will allow in-person attendees to sit in a circle that includes large displays showing the faces of workers who are attending the meeting virtually. Doing so gives the sense that remote workers are fully integrated into meetings.
Across various locations, Google is building outdoor work areas, such Camp Charleston at its Silicon Valley headquarters. The space that once served as a parking lot and lawn area now features a fenced-in mix of grass and wooden decks, large teepees to serve as meeting areas, as well as tennis courts and Wi-Fi.