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Here’s what you need to know today:
- Experts See Optimism For The Future Of Flexible Offices
- Lessons For The Emerging Hybrid Workforce
- The Pandemic May Mark The End Of Old Coworking Models
Experts See Optimism For The Future Of Flexible Offices
A new Colliers International report has revealed that companies are expected to continue allowing their employees to choose where they work this year, with flexible workspaces being part of their operations.
“As occupiers continue to seek a range of geographic locations to solve for a distributed workforce there is a substantial deficit of supply in suburban areas, secondary cities, commuter towns and emerging markets,” reads the Colliers report. “2021 will be the year that non-CBD flexible workspace supply increases dramatically.”
Colliers expects that the increase in supply will come from existing operators, new entrants and even through reconfigured retail and hotel spaces.
However, there is still no one-size-fits-all solution. Meaning flexible office operators, well-established building owners, hotels nor retail spaces will be able to completely solve this demand.
In addition to growing demand for flexibility, technology will also play a significant role in how occupiers create new operational strategies. Platforms such as NeoNomad, Liquid Space and DeskPass will help lead organizations who are planning their return-to-office strategies.
The report added that it could be likely that asset owners may acquire flexible office operators in order to help keep up with demand.
Colliers stated that this year will provide the most accurate insight into how the pandemic has impacted the office industry, and what the long-term effects could look like. Overall, things are slightly looking more optimistic thanks to shifting views on the role of the workplace.
Lessons For The Emerging Hybrid Workforce
Companies have started planning their post-pandemic workplace strategies, and for many that means creating hybrid environments that combine both in-office and remote working.
“In March, we all boarded a coronavirus time machine to the future,” said Jeff Schwartz, founding partner of Deloitte Consulting’s Future of Work practice. “The tools that would have taken five to 10 years to develop and launch took five weeks or even five days. Now as we think about what it means to go back to the office, we can’t use an old map to explore a new world. COVID has not been detour. It was an onramp to a new way of working.”
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One of the biggest takeaways from the past year has been the necessity of flexible work hours. Instead of continuously sacrificing personal lives for the sake of work, professionals have been given a taste of what it means to achieve a healthy work-life balance.
This will likely continue to be part of workplace strategies moving forward and allow employees to have a bigger say about when they work.
Business leaders have also had to make their own changes in how they approach managing a distributed workforce.
Now, instead of making decisions based on their own opinion, reaching out to employees to create the best workplace experience will be essential.
This is particularly important as every worker has their own preference. Working parents may need to work remotely while their kids are learning from home, while others may miss having the socialization of the office.
The Pandemic May Mark The End Of Old Coworking Models
The coworking industry is likely to pivot away from the common long-term lease business model as the pandemic has made it too risky to sustain in today’s economic climate.
According to The Wall Street Journal, coworking firms who operate with this model have been among the hardest hit within the office industry. However, those with lease management agreements with landlords are expected to do better.
Even prior to the pandemic, the sublease model was seen as less favorable. This was particularly highlighted after WeWork’s failed attempt to go public in the fall of 2019.
Now, companies like Industrious who have leaned into the partnership-strategy are prepared to take over abandoned leases from struggling coworking companies like WeWork.
Some operators may take the Knotel route as well. For a while, the New York-based firm was viewed as a more stable version of WeWork. However, after facing mounting lawsuits over unpaid rent, the company recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will be taken over by Newmark.
Still, the growing popularity of the hub-and-spoke model and flexible strategies overall should provide the industry with more opportunities in the near future.Share this article