Daily Digest News – April 1, 2021

Daily Digest April 1

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:

IBM Is The Latest To Announce A Hybrid Work Model

IBM anticipates that 80% of its staff will transition to a hybrid work arrangement post-pandemic.

According to the company’s CEO Arvind Krishna, the majority of employees “will spend at least three days a week, maybe not all eight to 10 hours, but at least some fraction of those three days, in the office.”

This news comes as vaccines continue to be distributed across the U.S. and areas start to loosen their pandemic-related restrictions. Many companies are now trying to find which workplace strategies will be the most sustainable after a year of employees working from home.

According to a report from Zoom, 65% of companies stated they are considering a flexible remote working model.

Krishna added that he could see around 10% to 20% of employees remaining totally remote, but worries about the impact this could have on the company’s culture. However, he added that parents will be allowed to continue working remotely until schools reopen.

In order to accommodate these new changes, Krishna stated that around 70 million square feet of the company’s office space will be closed, but it will keep over half of its current capacity.

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What Europe’s Office Workers Want From The Workplace

According to new research from Targus, European office workers are relatively unprepared to adopt “work from anywhere” models.

The survey found that people want to come into offices again, but also want more flexibility and to be trusted to work from other locations.

Reduced days in the office was ranked as the number one expectation from employees by just less than half of Brits. However, employers have been found as unequipped with the tools to help staff with the necessary tools needed to be productive.

Additionally, around a quarter of British office workers said they were not supplied or given a budget to put towards work from home equipment.

Working from home varied across different households in Europe. In Germany, workers were the most eager to return to the office at 62%, while 59% of workers in France were reluctant to return.

The needs of the workplace also varied across generations, with 60% of British Gen Zers wanting to return to the office, compared to the 51% of 45 to 54-year-holds that didn’t.

Credit: Canva

Google Will Reopen Its Offices In April

Google has announced limited reopening of its U.S. offices this month for employees who want to work in person.

While offices are expected to open in April, Google employees who want work remotely can do so until September. However, those who do decide to work in person will have to follow COVID-related guidelines, such as wearing a face mask, practicing physical distancing, and passing health surveys.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has also said the company will explore the idea of adopting flexible work weeks, allowing employees to work in the office for three days and at home the rest of the time.

This is in line with other major companies preparing to open their offices in the coming months. For example, while Amazon never fully closed its offices and only 10% of its employees come into the physical workplace, the company expects more people to return to the office throughout the summer and early fall.

Credit: Bigstock

Finding Balance In The Hybrid Workplace

Companies are strategizing how to help employees return to the office, or whether they want to bring them back at all.

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Despite previous misconceptions, productivity has actually improved among employees working from home. This has left companies totally reconsidering how to operate in the future when it comes to the workplace.

Some have turned to the idea of merging both the perks of remote working and in-office arrangements. In fact, analysis from McKinsey revealed that most occupations across nine countries would be retaining a combination of the two.

However, this will vary across professions. For instance, occupations in finance, insurance, and IT saw little to no productivity loss when working remotely. On the other hand, roles that include mentoring, coaching and problem-solving are best suited for in-person work.

Having an understanding of what works best for certain employees can help companies strike a healthy balance of work arrangements.

Another factor to consider is what benefits are lost when working in either arrangement. For instance, some employees may value having perspective of how well they are performing.

While video conferencing meetings have somewhat replicated these interactions, physical, informal interactions are truly the best way to communicate strategies and acknowledge the good work of employees. 

Credit: Bigstock

Landlords Prepare For The Future Of Offices

Landlords are preparing for the reality that office usage will look much different as companies slowly bring their employees back to the workplace.

There is still a lot of uncertainty with the post-pandemic office, with organizations wary of making long-term commitments to space.

“The question that a lot of people are asking right now is, ‘Let’s assume we still want to have an office. What is it that is in the office that adds real value?’” said Dean Shapiro, Head of U.S. Developments at Oxford Properties. “I don’t think we’re going to have a real answer to this for some time.”

The most important factors of office buildings should include amenities, health and wellness, as well as more environmentally-conscious tools.

In buildings that don’t offer high-quality products or locations, vacancies are expected to stay high for the time being. For instance, Manhattan’s office availability hit a record high last year, even after the companies in the city began to bring employees back into the office.

Some experts have suggested repositioning older products and bringing them up-to-date to current standards. However, this doesn’t negate buildings that are located in neighborhoods that do not feature the latest real estate developments.

“This is going to be a giant experiment that will last a few years where we see which users get it right and we see the ones that didn’t, maybe didn’t get it right at first adjusting their program,”  said Alexis Michael, Managing Director at Hines. “People are going to have to see what works.”

Credit: Bigstock

Workville Signs Substantial Manhattan Lease

Coworking operator Workville has signed a 60,000 square foot lease in Midtown Manhattan.

The company’s new location will take over the entire 14-story building at 315 West 35th Street, which is owned by cofounders Jacob Aini and Isaac Chetrit. Plans will range from 1,100 square feet to 5,00 square feet.

The firm has said it is seeing an uptick in activity during the first quarter of the year as companies prepare to bring workers back into the office.

“We were already seeing demand for full-floor flex office space pre-pandemic, but demand has accelerated in recent months,” said Sue Bernstock, president of Workville. “Flex workspace options will be more important than ever when teams reunite, so we’re excited to add a larger flex workspace option to the Workville offering.”

Credit: Workville
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