Since the start of the pandemic, operators started incorporating new technologies and designs in order to accommodate new expectations. For instance, many of these operators invested into HVAC systems to improve air quality, as well as sanitation systems to keep occupants safe and healthy.
Now, as the threat of the pandemic begins to slightly subside, users are looking for new accommodations focused on getting people back into the office.
For instance, Sarah McCann, real estate strategy associate at architecture and workplace strategy consulting firm Vocon, said that the company is seeing tenant-driven changes to coworking space clients. She added that these operators are eager to make changes in part due to the growing amount of sublease space.
Some of the specific demands that McCann noted was a need for more meeting spaces, as well as technology that makes the office run more efficiently.
Additionally, operators are looking to incorporate more hospitality into their spaces to create a more user-friendly experience. Although this idea didn’t derive from the pandemic, the past year has accelerated the desire for it.
Colorado Residents Need Not Apply
Companies have finally accepted that remote working will be part of future operations and are allowing employees to work from wherever they want — with one exception.
Colorado recently passed a law that requires companies to disclose their employees expected salary or pay range, including remote positions.
“The rule’s aim is to narrow gender wage gaps and provide greater pay transparency for employees,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
This has caused organizations offering remote positions to tell Colorado residents they do not need to apply. For instance, a recent job listing at Johnson & Johnson stated that flexible arrangements are available dependent on company approval, except in Colorado.
Abiding by these regulations are costly and an invasion of privacy for employees, according to some companies. Companies also worry that this rule could cause internal conflict among the organization.
Although the intention of the rule was to create a more equitable workforce, it appears to be having an adverse effect.
“Every human action has both intended and unintended consequences,” said economist Antony Davies and political scientist James Harrigan. “Human beings react to every rule, regulation, and order governments impose, and their reactions result in outcomes that can be quite different than the outcomes lawmakers intended.”
Google Rolls Out Tool For Remote Work Requests
This week, Google rolled out a new tool, called the Work Location Tool, that allows employees to request office changes or apply for remote work positions.
If employees request to be transferred to a new market, their pay could be adjusted depending on the region. This would almost guarantee a pay cut for employees working in large cities like San Francisco. The tool also shows employees an estimate of how their salaries would be impacted.
Last month, Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed that the company planned for 20% of the organization to work remotely full-time, 20% to work from a Google office other than their assigned one and the other 60% working from their normal office campus throughout the week.
“With our new hybrid workplace, more employees are considering where they live and how they work,” A Google spokeswoman said in a statement. “To better equip people with the information they need to explore their options, we’ve built a tool that will allow all employees to request to move to a new location, or go remote.”
Japanese Leaders Endorse A Four Day Work Week
Leaders in Japan are hoping to encourage managers to provide their employees with more flexibility in their schedules, specifically endorsing the adoption of a four day work week.
These recommendations were part of the Japanese government’s annual economy policy guidelines, which were finalized by the cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga last week.
Other suggestions include more flexible work hours and remote working arrangements that have been found to benefit the workforce.
The campaign cited that a four day work week would help those with children or serving as caretakers for their family members achieve a healthier work-life balance.
While having an extra day off could potentially push people to take on another job, the government’s intentions are for people to use this time to spend money and boost the economy.
“During the pandemic, companies have shifted to new ways of operating and they are seeing a gradual increase in productivity,” said Martin Schulz, chief policy economist for Fujitsu Ltd.’s Global Market Intelligence Unit. “Companies are having their employees work from home or remotely, at satellite offices or at their customers’ locations, which can be far more convenient and productive for many.”
Cities With More Remote Jobs See Slow Office Rebound
According to the VTS Office Demand Index, among the top cities with the highest number of remote jobs were Seattle, Boston and San Francisco, which saw their levels of office demand drop 39%, 42% and 46% from their 2018 to 2019 average.
Those with fewer remote-friendly jobs such as Chicago, New York and Los Angeles saw their numbers down 14%, 15% and 24% from their pre-pandemic levels.
However, Washington D.C. remained an outlier, having a decent amount of remote jobs and a higher recovery rate.
Although office space demand had increased by 173% in the first four months of 2021, it dipped by 8.5% from April to May. Still, demand remains five times higher than its low in May 2020.
“The pandemic didn’t just change the way we work, it changed the way we live. Many workers have found value in remote or hybrid work and may be reluctant to go back to the way life was pre-pandemic,” said Nick Romito, CEO of VTS. “In cities with higher rates of fully-remote jobs, hiring and retaining talent means employers will need to provide choices and flexibility – including fully-remote and fully in-office.”
New Cryptocurrency-enabled Coworking Space To Open In Florida
After coworking space Neoware Studio shut down its Oviedo Mall location earlier this month, the leaders behind the firm are planning to open a cryptocurrency-enabled coworking space and coffee shop this year.
Located in another Oviedo Mall storefront, CoffeeWorks aims to serve mall patrons and local businesses, while also demonstrating its patent-pending blockchain protocol.
The company hopes to open by September, but may operate a CoffeeWorks kiosk while renovations are ongoing.
The leaders already have experience within the coworking and technology industries, but are searching for a “coffee expert” to help the cafe side of the business.
“As most entrepreneurs do, with hard times comes pivotal changes,” said Caesar Medel, CEO of Neoware. “This transition to CoffeeWorks represents out refinements of what we learned about the coworking world post-pandemic.”
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.