Daily Digest News – February 4, 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:

Industrious To Take Over Competitors’ Space

Industrious will take over at least seven coworking spaces that have struggled to stay afloat throughout the pandemic.

Many coworking operators have been forced to give up space or file for bankruptcy over the last year. However, Industrious’ model of signing management contracts to operate spaces for landlords, rather than leases, has allowed it to maintain some resiliency.

The coworking spaces the company plans to take over by June 30 are located across Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C.

Of the seven workspaces it is taking over, at least five are WeWork locations.

“We added more than 1 million square feet of new space last year, and some of those locations included pre-built spaces where another flex operator didn’t work out,” said Jamie Hodari, CEO of Industrious. “We’re proud to partner with landlords to improve outcomes for their spaces when there’s a good fit, and it’s clear there are increasingly more opportunities to do just that.”

So far, WeWork has revealed it will be giving up multiple locations in Washington D.C., as well as closing down spaces in New York City.

It will also be giving up space in Chicago, Los Angeles and the Bay Area, but has not specified which locations would close.

Credit: Industrious

Working From Anywhere Still Requires Offices

Although there is a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel due to vaccines being distributed, 2021 will still mostly be a year of accommodating remote and flexible work arrangements.

However, the last year has taught many that while working from home can be ideal, it still comes with its own set of challenges such as distractions and limited workplace amenities.

While the emerging idea of “working from anywhere” would undoubtedly have its own obstacles too, it doesn’t necessarily mean getting rid of a work environment altogether.

In fact, workers actually want a physical workspace to come into that is equipped with everything they need, from connectivity to a fully-stocked coffee cart.

More people are seeking well-equipped managed spaces that offer flexible, short-term leases. Ideally, this would range from daily office rentals up to six-month or annual leases. 

Some hotels have even jumped on this bandwagon to meet the demand by transforming their suites and offering them as daily offices, while providing users with access to the hotel’s other amenities.

Coworking companies have also adjusted their memberships in order to accommodate this need, with some offering on-demand access to their locations.

These offices are also prepared to meet the growing demand for professionals who are migrating to new cities and suburbs that want a private office closer to their homes.

Credit: Canva

The Expected Downfall Of Knotel

Last week, flexible workspace firm Knotel sent out a notice to its New York City tenants telling them they needed to vacate the offices and that the company would no longer be responsible for the locations after January 29.

Just a few days later, the company filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

Knotel was once seen as the up-and-coming, more polished rival to WeWork with a global footprint of nearly 5 million square feet.

However, the company’s issues have been bubbling up to the surface for several months now.

Knotel had propped itself up as an alternative to WeWork in the midst of the coworking firm’s tumultuous attempt to go public at the end of 2019.

But in reality, the two companies shared many similarities. Both spent frivolously, lacked profitability and were committed to millions of square feet on long-term leases.

Additionally, cofounder and CEO Amol Sarva’s self-confidence also became a source of friction amongst landlords and clients.

By March 2020, despite Sarva insisting that the company was on the path to profitability, the firm was forced to lay off or furlough half of its staff.

Over the summer, Sarva said the company would raise $100 million to help keep the company afloat, but the funding never happened.

In addition to the lack of funding, Knotel was facing numerous lawsuits from landlords claiming that the company stopped paying rents and refused to pay off other debts.

This brings us to now. In its announcement that it filed for bankruptcy, Knotel indicated it would try to be selling its business to Newmark.

Credit: Knotel

Technology Is Driving Innovation In Commercial Real Estate

Commercial real estate once lagged behind most other industries when it came to technology adoption, but the pandemic has accelerated its use of these advancements that could expand its performance to new levels.

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“Efficient use of space and reliability are two areas that are definitely influencing technology,” said Tony Clark, SVP of technology and innovation at Colliers International. “Another key theme I’m seeing is an increased focus on ease-of-use tools. CRE as a business has found ways to continue to function and support employees and customers through remote-work utilities.”

After the industry settled into the reality of operating through a pandemic, companies began modernizing their processes in terms of accounting, valuations, management and remote service provisioning.

Additionally, adopting a hybrid shift schedule, limiting in-person meetings and upgrading remote working capabilities became a necessity.

Machine learning has been a great resource for automating commercial real estate by monitoring performance and detecting when maintenance may be necessary.

Even more, technology has the ability to track occupancy and space usage in order to keep users safe within a building, improve areas that get the most use and decrease energy usage.

Landlords have also embraced using technology for showings through 3D property walkthroughs, 4K resolution photos, detailed floor plans and interactive maps.

“Expect more video and instant collaboration products,” said Clark. “Anything that can be digitalized will be, especially with innovations like Wi-Fi 6 and 5G that deliver real-time speeds.”

Credit: Bigstock

Subsiding Anxieties About Returning To The Office

Businesses have been forced to reimagine the office and emphasize the importance of safety and health within the workplace.

This means more than adding hand sanitizer and keeping desks at a distance — it also means nurturing employees who are experiencing their own unique physical and mental struggles.

The shift in how we work was also accomplished by a transition in how we live. Parents had to juggle homeschooling with their work responsibilities, as well as learn new technology skills.

As we enter the next phase of the future of work, employers need to continue building on the resiliency of workers by supporting them as they also continue to grow and evolve in the midst of new working conditions.

Businesses themselves will need to be flexible throughout this process. Using data can help employers have a better understanding of what empowers workers and what hinders them.

Organizations also need to create a work environment that clearly prioritizes the wellbeing of employees.

In order to bring employees back into the workplace, it is essential to know where their readiness and health stands. Using surveys, businesses can make informed decisions about who should come back and who may need to continue working from home.

Employees will also want to know that the office is safe to return to. Incorporating barriers, air filtration systems, touchless technology and more can help assure them that they will be safe when they come back.

Credit: Bigstock

New JLL Partnership Aims To Support Post-pandemic Workplace

JLL and occupancy management software company GoSpace AI are teaming up to help companies properly plan and executive new post-pandemic, hybrid workplace strategies.

The partnership aims to help companies with occupancy planning, management offering and space optimization to make configuring new workspaces much easier.

“We’re excited to have JLL as our primary sales and delivery partner for medium and large enterprises, combining GoSpace AI capabilities with JLL’s industry-leading occupancy planning and management solutions, to tackle the challenges occupancy planners face in today’s continuously shifting environment,” said Bruce Davison, CEO of GoSpace AI.

JLL will use GoSpace’s Artificially Intelligent Dynamic Resource Allocation (AIDRA) engine to help meet real-time demand for office needs.

It will also integrate employee-facing reservation management capabilities so users can request different space assignments on any given day. This aims to help employees collaborate seamlessly and give occupancy planners an easy way to manage how many people are in an area.

Using this technology, leaders can collect data and use it to reconfigure spaces as necessary, as well as cut down on energy usage.

“The pandemic has accelerated the demand for enhanced technology solutions in the workplace,” said Cynthia Kantor, Chief Product Officer, JLL Corporate Solutions. “By staying agile in the ever-evolving, post-pandemic environment, we can reimagine a workplace that enhances human performance, improves space utilization and remains resilient.”

Credit: JLL
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