Daily Digest News – January 12, 2021

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 To Advance The Workplace Of The Future

Remote working has undoubtedly become a staple in today’s workforce. However, the mass migration to this working arrangement over the last several months has led to a major disruption of the commercial real estate industry.

Now, businesses are opting for more flexible lease terms rather than long-term commitments, and seeking space that focuses on wellness and user experience.

Beyond flexible workspaces, companies are also looking towards a more “liquid workforce” that relies on freelancers and contractual talent. This, along with the growth of flexible office operators, are coming together to create a work atmosphere that is fully agile.

So how can landlords do to reimagine their post-pandemic workspaces of the future to meet the evolving demands of the workforce?

Welcoming input from stakeholders is a good place to start. Having multiple perspectives on what can and won’t work will help create a more fluid system in which offices can be configured to meet varying needs of occupants.

While landlords typically focus on construction and leasing out their offices, they should consider how the structure of their space can enable employees to do their best work.

Management services also need to be digitized to create a more user-friendly experience. Using Proptech tools that allow users to easily access information, pay fees or book a space makes for a more seamless experience.

Overall, suppliers of office space need to shift their focus on how to promote a healthy work atmosphere that reflects the values and needs of its users.

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The Risk Of Burnout Could Hurt Companies

A survey from Blind has found that 68% of workers are experiencing more feelings of being burnt out now than before the pandemic.

Even more, 29% stated that their relationship with their boss was worse than when they started working remotely.

Although remote working has been found to carry several benefits, it has some major downsides as well. Once a worker goes down this path of blurred lines between work and personal life, they may start to experience burnout.

A study from Mercer found that poor mental health is now as much of a risk as smoking. Knowing this, companies must address this health crisis accordingly.

One way to nurture employees during this difficult time is to give them the opportunity to connect with their colleagues. Although coming into the traditional office may still be out of the question, offering them a place to work in a flexible office may be a safe solution.

The flexible office offers more than just a place to work; they often host workshops, happy hours and most importantly, a community.

Employers can also address this issue by listening to what their employees need and try to accommodate them as best as possible. For instance, some workers may not have access to decent internet connection or a dedicated workspace at home, which can make completing tasks stressful.

Providing them an office or a stipend to spruce up their home environment not only helps employees perform better, but it shows that they are being heard and cared for by their company.

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Transforming Workspace Design For The Future

Furniture company Steelcase’s research of over 32,000 employees offered major insight into what shifts organizations need to undergo to improve the employees experience.

The analysis found that the top concerns of 73% of U.S. workers was air quality and following safety protocols. 

With the threat of COVID-19 continuing to ravage across the country, buildings need to augment their space to decrease density, install air filtration systems and create a physical division to limit potential spread.

Additionally, productivity and variety of workspace continues to be a priority for employees. For 12% of respondents, productivity fell when working from home. 

This is largely due to the fact that remote working makes it more difficult to connect and collaborate with colleagues, so creating an office space that supports both collaborative and individual work will be crucial.

The survey found that the top two reasons workers want to come back to the office is to connect with their peers and feel a sense of purpose.

This coincides with the desire to be surrounded by an inclusive work community. Having a supportive community not only feels good, but it can have a direct positive impact on business outcomes, engagement levels and innovation.

While the office is still here to stay, fixed architecture and furnishings should not be the theme of the workspace. Instead, organizations need to adopt flexible work policies to allow employees have a say in how, when and where they work.

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How DevOps Teams Are Adapting To The New Normal

Remote working became the hero of the last several months as billions of people retreated into their homes due to the ongoing pandemic.

While this was one seen as a temporary solution to the health crisis, companies have noted that this arrangement has come with numerous benefits.

The shift to remote working has penetrated several industries, but its impact on DevOps has been quite significant.

The DevOps world is no stranger to remote working, particularly as it relies on the cloud to build work environments.

The main goal of DevOps is to create a seamless workflow that helps boost development with fast feedback loops.

Simply put, the software development industry requires immense creativity, as well as trial and error. However, this process also heavily relies on collaboration from team members. 

According to Sharmin Jassal, Director of New York-based Datadog, said “in processes like incident management, a capstone of DevOps, teammates need to work together efficiently, yet effectively, in order to solve business-impacting problems. Engineering teams need to work together to respond to incidents. The goal is to ensure that wherever teams are, they can easily share context and collaborate together.”

And that is where remote working poses a problem. It can be difficult to collaborate with a distributed workforce, but with the proper tools and infrastructure in place, these teams can better coordinate their operations.

This means creating a digital atmosphere that makes communicating and collaborating seamless, as well as secure.

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How To Boost The Resiliency Of The Workforce

Hoping to put the struggles and challenges of 2020 behind us, the global workforce is clearly eager for a more promising 2021.

As the world has grown more resilient to obstacles, professionals have come to terms with two trends that are here to stay: remote and hybrid working models and worker stress.

According to Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom, the new remote working economy accounted for two-thirds of U.S. economic activity. His research with the Atlanta Federal Reserve and the University of Chicago, found that the amount of people working from home is only going to grow post-pandemic from 5% to nearly 20%.

Even more, workplace stress is expected to persist in the new year. The 2021 State of Stress Report from well-being management solution firm Grokker, revealed that the majority of U.S. workers see no end in sight to their stress.

So how can employers do a better job of creating a resilient workforce this year? For starters, they should prioritize the health and wellness of employees

Making sure that workers have the tools and resources to perform their best no matter where they are working from will be essential. This could be in the form of investing in new programs to better value the needs of workers.

Additionally, leaders need to be transparent and open about the potential for more disruptions in the future. Luckily, companies have new insight and tools to anticipate any challenges they could face in the future, and being open about it to employees will make them feel more aware and prepared.

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Seamlessly Transitioning To A Four-day Work Week

Companies have been experimenting with varying degrees of flexible work policies for several years now, but the pandemic has forced businesses to settle on the best solution possible.

This has led many to look into the concept of a four-day work week, which has slowly become more popular in recent years.

For instance, Spain is working on a national shift to a four-day or 32-hour work week after the idea was proposed by Vice President Pablo Iglesias late last year.

However, some are not keen on this idea and believe it would cause productivity to dwindle and costs to skyrocket.

Still, those who have had experience with this arrangement have largely found that it carries more benefits than downsides, such as the ability to attract and retain talent, increase employee satisfaction, boost productivity and actually save businesses money.

So how can companies begin to make the transition to a four-day week without dealing with the organizational headache?

The most important step is to start slow. For instance, Unilever and Microsoft tested this arrangement in only certain portions of the company to ensure a seamless shift.

Additionally, training line managers to have an understanding of the benefits of this arrangement, as well as letting them be part of the decision-making process, will be crucial.

Not only should managers be engaged, but staff should be as well. Since everyone has varying ways of working, it is important for employees to express how they think productivity and wellbeing can be improved.

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