Daily Digest News – February 25, 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:

Adam Neumann And SoftBank Approach Settlement Deal

Former WeWork CEO Adam Neumann will reportedly leave the company’s board for at least one year as part of a settlement deal with the coworking firm’s owner SoftBank.

The legal battle between the two companies has been ongoing after SoftBank walked away from a $3 billion tender offer intended to be part of WeWork’s bailout package. That’s when Neumann filed a lawsuit against the Japanese conglomerate.

Once the year is up, Neumann could once again request to attend meetings as an observer. However, he would not get a vote, but he could designate someone else to take his place contingent upon SoftBank’s approval.

Additionally, the settlement would provide Neumann with $50 million to cover legal fees, as well as a $50 million payout. SoftBank would also extend a $430 million loan to Neumann by five years.

Neumann will also receive around $500 million from SoftBank buying shares from early WeWork investors, which is about half of what it agreed to in the original bailout deal.

Credit: Bigstock

ROOM And Industrious Partner To Offer Workspace Galleries

Booth manufacturer ROOM and flexible office firm Industrious have partnered up to offer adaptable work solutions to accommodate the new future of work.

ROOM’s new “Workspace Galleries” are being showcased at various Industrious locations, providing members a new environment for the work needs.

The gallery features phone booths for individual work sessions, meeting rooms with built-in video conference capabilities, as well as Room Sense, which is a proprietary analytics dashboard that provides companies with real-time data on how the space is being used and density levels.

The first gallery opened in Chicago at Industrious’ 52,000 square foot location in Willis Tower. On certain days, the public can schedule an appointment to tour the coworking space and use the gallery.

Credit: ROOM + Industrious

What The Future Of Work Won’t Involve

The future won’t exactly be a return to normalcy, but it also won’t look like 2020. The changes industries have undergone over the past year will still remain prevalent far into the future, particular in terms of the workplace.

While it is still unclear which aspects the global workforce will carry moving forward, we can predict what the future of work won’t look like.

Although many companies have recently shifted to a fully remote workforce, employees have expressed the desire to come back into the office for socialization and mental health benefits.

That’s why it is likely that organizations will lean into a more hybrid approach moving forward, allowing employees a chance to work both from home and in the office.

Additionally, while discussions about diversity and inclusion came to the forefront in 2020, the conversation is here to stay and will not be addressed simply by making donations. Long-term commitments and investments will be necessary to instill real change.

“Now, more than ever, it is about considering the diversity dimension in every business decision,” said John Renfro,  former CHRO of Disney and HP. “How is it valuable for product, for design? How can diversity help you compete and win in the marketplace?” 

Politics was once seen as a topic to avoid in the workplace, but ignoring the reality of our polarized society is no longer feasible.

Companies need to understand that the line between personal identity and work identity are blurred, and it is the responsibility of business leaders to understand and listen to their employees point of view.

Credit: Unsplash

Should Companies Require Staff To Receive The COVID-19 Vaccine?

With vaccines soon to be available to the general public, companies are facing the issue of whether to require all staff members to get vaccinated.

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According to The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers have the right in most cases to require the vaccine or proof of vaccination. However, research suggests that employers may look to encourage staff to get the vaccine instead of requiring it.

In fact, the Society for Human Resource Management revealed that 61% of companies in the U.S. will encourage vaccines instead of require them. 

So what should business leaders and employers consider when deciding what their vaccination policy should be?

Some companies have offered incentives for employees to get vaccinated. For instance, Dollar General announced it would offer its employees four hours of pay for simply getting the vaccine. 

Making the process of getting the vaccine as easy as possible will be key to encouraging employees. This can be done by connecting employees to a vaccine distribution site, or paying for the vaccine if necessary.

Staff who may have legal exemptions will likely need to be accommodated with an isolated workspace and continue using face masks to prevent any potential risks.

Credit: Bigstock

How AI Can Facilitate Innovation

Prior to the pandemic, remote working’s benefits seemingly outweighed its downsides. However, with little to no work alternatives outside of our homes, employees have increasingly lacked innovation and become fatigued or distracted.

That is why so many employees are eager to return to the office. Many have expressed missing the camaraderie and creativity that comes with bouncing ideas off of colleagues.

In an office setting, this innovation happens in moments when employees get a chance to collaborate during impromptu sessions. But until it’s safe to return to the office, employees need to find more unique ways to facilitate these random interactions.

Luckily, there is another solution that could help boost innovation within a distributed workplace: artificial intelligence.

AI’s algorithm has the ability to take action in ways that haven’t been tried before, which can actually produce one-of-a-kind, innovative results.

Companies can use AI to develop matching methods, similar to seeing recommendations on Netflix, based on an employees’ email, Google searches and other similar data.

AI has the ability to take this information, have an understanding of what employees are working on and create digital introductions in a way that may not have happened otherwise.

Credit: Bigstock

Leasing From Life Science Firms More Than Doubled In 2020

A new CBRE report found that the life sciences sector more than doubled its leasing in New York City between 2019 and 2020, marking its highest level in almost a decade.

According to the report, life sciences companies took up 155,925 square feet around New York, most of which was in Manhattan, marking the largest amount since 2011. This is compared to the 56% dip that overall office leasing saw last year, indicating that the industry is pandemic-proof.

“It wasn’t one big company taking that space,” said Steve Purpura, head of CBRE’s life sciences division. “It was newer companies taking that space, and those companies grow quickly.”

At the beginning of 2020, there were 42 life sciences tenants. That number grew to 59 by the end of the year.

With the pandemic growing the need for therapeutics and vaccines, the industry managed to have a great year compared to other industries, such as hospitality and retail.

Funding from VC firms totaled $907 million in New York City last year, which is its highest annual amount ever according to the report. 

While the life sciences market was slowly growing pre-pandemic, it was being held back by a  lack of lab space in New York City.

Now, the amount of space in the city for labs stood at 1.68 million square feet by the end of last year, with CBRE predicting that number to grow to 4.21 million square feet by 2025.

Credit: Canva
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