Daily Digest News – February 22, 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:

Changes To Expect From The Office In 2021

Last year was a time of massive transformation, and 2021 will be no different as companies take lessons learned over the last several months and apply them to the new future of work.

With vaccines being distributed worldwide, there finally seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. However, while employers and employees will be eager to return to the office in some manner, it won’t happen overnight.

Many people still want flexibility in their work schedule moving forward, which may come in the form of splitting their time between the office and working from home.

With this demand for flexibility, coworking spaces will position themselves to accommodate hybrid work models.

Additionally, the office will take on a new role in how it functions within a company’s operations. Although some people have claimed that the office is dead, it will more likely become a hub for collaboration. Workplace amenities that focus on wellness, teamwork and innovation will become the central focus.

As demand grows for a more hospitable office, real estate leaders will also be forced to reconsider how they outfit their buildings. Understanding how to reconfigure their buildings to accommodate the new needs of tenants will be crucial in 2021.

Along with the alterations to come to building design and amenities, business models will also be changing. Instead of traditional long-term leases, landlords will be more accepting of management agreements.

Through this arrangement, landlords will share profits with operators, who have the responsibility of managing the space. In doing so, the risk revenue losses decreases for all parties.

Credit: Bigstock

CBRE Becomes Largest Shareholder In Industrious

CBRE has acquired a 35% stake in Industrious as the flexible workspace firm prepares for a potential initial public offering this year.

CBRE paid around $200 million in cash for primary and secondary shares and will transfer its own flexible office brand, Hana, to Industrious as part of the deal. The firm also plans on buying an additional 5% stake over the next few weeks

“We are big believers in the flexible workspace arena and see a tremendous opportunity — we have a huge global occupier business and know that more than 80% of them want to be in multi-tenant offices with flex space,” said Bob Sulentic, CEO of CBRE. 

The investment makes CBRE the largest shareholder in Industrious and values the office firm at more than $600 million.

As part of the deal, Sulentic and CBRE’s global chief investment officer Emma Giamartino will join Industrious’ board.

Jamie Hodari, CEO of Industrious, says this deal proves that the company’s efforts to focus on management agreements, similar to hotel brands, has been validated.

“It’s partly why we’ve been able to spend the last year planting while others were pruning,” said Hodari.

Credit: Industrious

Hybrid Working Largely Serves The Privileged

Studies have now indicated that office workers in the U.S. will likely continue to work remotely at least some of the time after the pandemic has ended.

The embrace of remote working has transformed the way employees and employers view workplace arrangements. However, research has also suggested that this flexibility will benefit mostly privileged workers.

In one research paper by Alexander Bick at Arizona State University, Adam Bladin at Virginia Commonwealth University, and Karel Mertens at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, it was revealed that over half of college-educated Americans were expected to work from home after the pandemic.

However, the findings revealed that remote working would most likely come in the form of hybrid arrangements. In fact, 32% of respondents said they expect to work remote part of the time, while 14% said they anticipate full-time remote work arrangements.

Bick’s survey also revealed that those who expect to work from home some of the time in 2022 were largely white, highly educated and received high pay.

Another paper from Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom, and Steven Davis found similar results. According to their research, most respondents said they would like to work from home part of the week, but only the highest paid workers said their employers would give them the ability to.

Prior to the pandemic, working from home was not as segregated as it has become over the past year. While remote workers were traditionally white and had higher pay, the distinction has grown tremendously during the pandemic.

Credit: Bigstock

How The Role Of The Office Is Transforming

New trends are emerging this year for the office industry that derive from the massive changes that occurred last year. 

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    If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that professionals are just as effective working from home as they are in the office. However, this arrangement is not necessarily the ideal long-term solution for all companies.

    In fact, a survey by JLL found that 54% of respondents in Singapore stated that they missed the office and the socialization it comes with while working from home.

    So where will the office fit into this new way of working? For starters, while the workforce will become more distributed, it will also lean on workspaces for more collaborative sessions that can be hard to conduct virtually.

    Because of this, offices will be reconfigured to be more social environments where employees can come in and connect through common goals, team-driven projects and all things collaboration.

    With companies navigating how to balance both in-office and remote working capabilities, the inclusion of flexible spaces will provide them with a cost effective workspace for employees.

    Not only are these spaces cheaper, they are also easy to acquire, come fully furnished and help businesses who may be cutting down on their real estate portfolio.

    Overall, it appears that the future of work will not be as black and white as some analysts may presume. Incorporating both remote arrangements and a physical workspace will be absolutely necessary to create a dynamic and engaged workplace that supports all work styles.

    Credit: Bigstock

    Working Mothers Are At A Disadvantage

    Business leaders have been surprisingly delighted about the benefits of remote working after years of misconceptions about the arrangement. 

    Now, they have been able to see that cost effectiveness that working from home enables, while employees enjoy a healthier work-life balance.

    However, this isn’t the case for all workers, particularly parents. In fact, studies have found that mothers are at gender disadvantage with remote working environments.

    Working moms have reported having to juggle childcare and work responsibilities more than working dads, which has led to more mental health problems like depression and anxiety.

    Many mothers saw school and the workplace as an opportunity to take a breather from their domestic roles, but with many schools and companies still operating virtually, that break is gone. With many of these mothers struggling to balance both of these roles, they are eager to return to the office.

    So employers who want to continue embracing remote working arrangements need to do so with working parents in mind. Understanding how to accommodate the needs of these employees, especially mothers, will be essential to a healthy, fair workplace.

    For instance, employers should allow mothers to have the choice about whether they return to the office or not. This is more than just accommodating personal work preferences — it’s a matter of alleviating the risk for increased mental health problems in the workplace and ensuring that employees are supported on a deeper level.

    Credit: Pexels

    How To Guarantee Success In The Future Of Work

    The global workforce is undergoing major transformations at an accelerated pace. With these changes will be the need for employers to adjust their policies and methods in order to create a workplace that is engaged.

    According to Guibert Englebienne, CTO and co-founder at software development company Globant, there are four ways to ensure that employees can thrive in the future. 

    This includes nurturing strong company culture, supporting the employee experience (EX), creating an adaptive workforce and developing human talent and artificial intelligence.

    The company commissioned a report titled “The Future of Work Requires An Adaptive Workforce” to have a better understanding of what companies need to do to optimize their operations after a tumultuous year.

    The report found that 94% of companies stated that maintaining a healthy company culture is essential to success.

    “Drucker said that culture eats strategy for breakfast, and we agree,” said Englebienne. “But, if it is so important, why do companies usually don’t have a system to manage it? It is left to chance. Every organization has a culture, but it is typically a result of mixed factors; the quality of their leaders, the type of industry, the country where you are located. It is usually not by design.”

    Additionally, the employee experience has come to the forefront of many company’s priorities. The report found that the majority of respondents stated they are shifting their focus on automation and other technologies to improve both the employee and customer experience.

    Making certain that employees are supported on both a professional and personal front is crucial to a healthy workplace.

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