Daily Digest News – January 27, 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:

WeWork Needs Big Changes To Be Sustainable

Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of WeWork, has been weighing the idea of going public again, less than two years after the company’s failed headline-grabbing IPO.

“My job was to streamline the company and streamline the real estate portfolio so we could go to our path of profitability by Q4 2021,” said Mathrani in an interview with Reuters earlier this month. “We are completely on track.”

Prior to Mathrani taking over the company, WeWork was on the cusp of major fallout after its former CEO and cofounder Adam Neumann’s lavish spending led to massive losses and distrust in the coworking firm.

After the company rid itself of unprofitable locations, acquisitions and unnecessary amenities, it appears to be following the path of profitability.

However, as the entire coworking industry has been faced with the reckoning caused by a once-in-lifetime pandemic.

According to Peter Papadakos, head of European research at property consultant Green Street Partners, flexible spaces will likely not recover until 2023.

The company has somewhat made amends to its losses by laying off employees and cutting down on long-term lease liabilities through lease adjustments.

WeWork will need to do much more to mitigate its risk. For instance, it has purchased some properties which could help eliminate rental exposure. But the company needs an influx of cash to sustain this strategy.

Another way to reduce its risk is entering co-management deals similar to the hospitality industry. Through a profit-sharing agreement, landlords and coworking firms share both the profits and the risks.

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Involving Workers In Big Company Changes

Now that 2020 is over and companies have largely come to realize that the workplace will never be the same, it is time for leaders to involve employees in big policy changes now.

Later in 2021, businesses are anticipated to have more freedom in how they operate without the pressures of government-mandated guidelines.

But what comes next? While there is a glimmer of hope of bringing employees back into the office, this likely won’t happen for at least another several months.

However, employees have expressed both the desire to work from home, as well as in the office. So how can business leaders accommodate these varying needs?

For starters, ask them. Flexibility and choice will be essential moving forward. What do they need from their work arrangement? What would help improve their work atmosphere?

While remote workers prefer the lack of commute, they may need better connectivity at home. Conducting in-depth analysis of employees will be crucial in order to create the best employee experience possible.

This research should go beyond working arrangements. It should also include the importance of optimizing innovation, cybersecurity and any other factor that impacts how the company operates. 

Doing so will keep employees engaged and show them that their opinions are valuable. Companies need to do much more than simply survive — they need to inspire and rejuvenate their employees to excel in the new year.

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Why A Healthy Workplace Is Crucial For The Future

A new report from Silverado Roundtable titled “The Nature of the Post-Pandemic Workplace” suggests that the best way to configure their office space to prioritize collaboration and creativity is through a major redesign.

Although many employees have expressed wanting to continue working remotely in the future, the office will continue to play a vital role in how companies operate.

“The great redesign of the modern American office is underway,” said said Shane Pliska of  interior landscape firm Planterra Corporation. “Designers are working not only with high-tech firms, but traditional corporate clients to create fresh collaborative spaces to motivate and welcome employees on their return.”

With one-third of office workers stating that office design would impact their decision when weighing out job offers, it is clear that a healthy work environment is vital for a successful company.

Companies can ensure that their offices better prioritize the wellbeing of employees by incorporating natural elements and greenery, which have been found to improve mental and physical health.

As the global workforce remains at a crossroads about the future of the physical workplace, designers have the opportunity to progress how businesses view their offices.

“In our experience, a well-designed space with natural elements makes it easier to recruit talented employees and can better provide those employees with a workplace that is energy lifting, instead of energy zapping,” said Edward McDonnell, owner of Botanical Designs.

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    New Coalition To Raise Awareness About Workplace Mental Health

    A new business-led coalition called The Global Business Collaboration for Better Workplace Mental Health is working to raise awareness about the best mental health workplace practices.

    Partners of this collaboration include BHP, Clifford Chance, Deloitte, HSBC, Salesforce and Unilever.

    The collaboration hopes to help companies adopt policies that can help improve employees’ mental health, thus allowing them to thrive in the workplace.

    The last year has been turbulent for all. Millions of people have lost their jobs, loved ones and sense of normalcy in a short amount of time. This has unsurprisingly led to a mental health crisis unlike any other.

    “As we look to rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic, the business community must prioritise and invest in the mental health of all employees—this is not just a business initiative, but a social imperative that will drive positive and long-lasting effects for society,” the CEOs of the companies involved said. 

    The founders have offered companies of all sizes to join the coalition by signing a pledge and commit to deliver plans that foster good mental health within their organizations, promote openness about mental health, take steps to nurture their culture and encourage workers to prioritize their mental health.

    Additionally, leaders are expected to educate their employees about the available tools and support they have access to and be open about progress that the company is making in improving their culture.

    Credit: Bigstock

    Managing Both Remote And On-site Employees

    The last several months has taught companies that remote working is not only a safe work solution in times of crisis, but may also be the preferable choice for workers.

    Thanks to advancements in technology, remote working has opened up the possibilities of what it means to be a contributing member to a company’s productivity. 

    So what does that mean for the future of the business operations? Although some leaders are hoping to bring employees back into the office this year, workers have become adjusted to these new ways of working.

    This is why many companies are adopting a “work from anywhere” approach. In doing so, they hope to attract and retain their top talent, while meeting the varying needs of workers.

    However, this does not mean this is the end of the office. While the commercial real estate market will likely struggle over the next few months, companies will soon see that having a physical workspace as part of their operations will be a necessity.

    Not everyone enjoys the permanent remote working structure and desires to have a desk to work at, as well as make connections with their colleagues.

    That is why business leaders will need to find a balance between both worlds. Learning to manage both on-site and remote employees will be crucial for the future of work.

    The physical office will need to undergo a major update to keep employees safe, while still allowing them to collaborate and connect and now is the time to make the necessary updates.

    Credit: Bigstock

    2021 Could Be The Year Of Artificial Intelligence

    New research from Fountech Solutions has found that 40% of UK businesses are planning to invest into artificial intelligence this year.

    AI has been a valuable tool for companies throughout the pandemic and many firms believe it will continue to help them recover from the last few months.

    Even more, 30% of companies stated they plan to pilot some type of AI tool over the next year.

    Additionally, 41% of businesses have said they will hire new talent to work alongside this new technology. Not only do these tools help improve the employee experience, but it can also benefit customer service relations.

    AI and automation have quickly become a crucial component of company operations and 58% of organizations have said that they will heavily train their workers to better deploy these technologies.

    “2021 looks set to be the year that AI adoption explodes. Indeed, the research shows that, having had a taste of what AI has to offer, many businesses will now be exploring how they can utilise deep tech to empower their employees and better service their customers,” said Ero Georgiades, chief operating officer of Fountech Solutions. “No doubt, we can expect AI to play a major role as businesses look to rebuild and grow in the coming months.”

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