Daily Digest News – February 19, 2021


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Here’s what you need to know today:

Architects View On The Future Of The Office

Retail and outdoor recreation organization REI’s headquarters was once viewed as an adult summer camp-esque nostalgic oasis.

The eight-acre campus featured fire pits, rooftop terraces, skylights and one-of-a-kind landscaping that melded both nature and an office environment.

However, before REI could move in, it announced it would be selling the space in Bellevue, Washington and transitioning to remote working arrangements at the beginning of the pandemic.

This has been the trend for many companies. While some have announced remote working policies for the foreseeable future, many argue that there is still a need for the office to accommodate collaboration and social interaction.

For instance, architecture practice Salon Alper Derinbogaz revealed its new “pandemic-resistant” design for Istanbul’s Yıldız Technical University.

The space includes outdoor areas and landscape, fluid meeting areas, pop-up meeting spaces for collaborative work and more to create an agile workspace.

Another topic of discussion in the new normal has been the migration to suburban and secondary cities. Places like New York City and San Francisco are notoriously expensive, which has driven many people to areas with a lower cost of living and more open space.

All of these changes in workplace norms point to one certainty: the office will never look the way it once did. For instance, architects at Weiss/Manfredi believe that boundaries of the office will be widened unlike ever before as people embrace telecommuting abilities.

At Wolfgang & Hite, experts believe that office design will need to address the heightened climate crisis. This means better managing rising temperature within the office, while accommodating the evolving needs of workers.

Credit: Canva

Newmark Sees Opportunity In Knotel Acquisition

In wake of the news that Newmark Group will acquire Knotel, some may wonder whether this makes the commercial real estate group a competitor to its own clients.

However, CEO Barry Gosin believes that this move will create more opportunities for the company’s landlords and clients.

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    New York-based flex office firm Knotel had been facing numerous struggles prior to the pandemic. Its inability to pay rent at several locations left it facing several lawsuits, and subsequently led the firm to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this month.

    Now that Newmark will acquire Knotel, some wondered if this deal would create a conflict of interest with its landlords and other flexible office operators that use Newmark as a broker.

    Gosin stated that this move could actually be beneficial for all parties involved. However, he stated it was too early to confirm whether Knotel would be a long-term hold for them, or if Newmark will exit once the company stabilizes.

    During the fourth quarter of 2020, Newmark’s earnings fell by 34.3% compared to the year prior, accompanied by a 45% dip in revenues from leases.

    Credit: Knotel

    The Office Is Here To Stay

    While many people have written off the office as being a necessary part of the future of work, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

    It’s true that the global workforce has readily adopted virtual tools like Zoom and Slack to stay productive throughout the pandemic. 

    However, these changes don’t eliminate the need for the office. Believing so dismisses an inherent need humans have: connection.

    Remote working has proven to carry numerous benefits, such as increased productivity, a better work-life balance and no commute. Still, the employee experience and lack of socialization has hindered the longevity of this arrangement.

    That’s why leaders have modified their commitment to the employee experience by trying to celebrate humanity in the distributed workplace. 

    By rewarding and acknowledging an employee’s accomplishments and encouraging them to care for their wellbeing, the workplace can once again become a place of community.

    In the meantime, the office will still be around, especially as part of the growing popularity of hybrid arrangements. 

    Instead of serving as a hub for all workers every day of the work week, it will be reconfigured to support collaborative meetings and brainstorming sessions.

    With a hybrid approach, the workplace can still enjoy the benefits and perks of a remote position, while still making meaningful connections with their colleagues a few days each week.

    Credit: Bigstock
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