Daily Digest News – March 5, 2021


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Here’s what you need to know today:

The Evolution Of Commercial Real Estate

The commercial real estate industry has been turned on its head over the past year. Even in the years prior to the pandemic, there was already a slow change transforming these businesses.

For instance, suburban areas have started to see a revitalization as people and companies move away from big cities for a lower cost of living and more space. 

In Dallas’ Uptown neighborhood, office rents can reach to $40 or more per square feet, while corporate office space in suburban Richardson is nearly half that at $24.76.

Additionally, developers are changing how they approach new buildings by using more natural products like wood to be more sustainable and eye-catching.

Using such materials is more environmentally friendly, as well as more cost efficient and can have a positive mental health impact on occupants.

The overall renovation of the workplace has been central to the evolving commercial real estate industry. Instead of serving as a place for people to simply work out of, business leaders now have an understanding that the office should be about the employee experience.

This means creating a workplace that focuses on wellness, as well as supports hybrid office models.

Millions of people working remotely in the last year and for the foreseeable future caused a huge uptick in sublease space across the country. While this has been worrisome, some experts believe that there will be a slow rebound as workers return to the office later this year.

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How Leaders Should Support The Mental Health Of Workers

Research from Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) has found that 53% of American adults are experiencing poor mental health due to the stress of the pandemic.

This number, which is up from 32% from March 2020, indicates that business leaders need to do better in terms of supporting their employees during this time.

This means starting with opening discussions about mental health. Allowing employees to express feelings of poor mental health is crucial to a healthy, honest workplace.

“[Mental health] is one of the biggest challenges employees face right now, and as leaders, we must create safe spaces where employees can speak comfortably about where they need help to overcome challenges they are dealing with,” said Alicia Tillman, Global CMO of SAO

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    Many workers have expressed fears of job loss, so it’s essential for business leaders to hear their staff out in order to support them in the workplace.

    Additionally, leaders need to understand how new ways of working may be having an impact on productivity and wellness. 

    For instance, a report found that three in four workers are experiencing digital overload, so encouraging workers to use analog office supplies like notebooks and sticky notes can help workers take a screen break. 

    One of the most important habits to have when working from home is the ability to unplug. Separating work life and home life can be challenging in this arrangement, especially if workers have limited space.

    Encouraging workers to set boundaries for their work day can help eliminate the “always on” feeling that many remote workers experience.

    Credit: Canva

    Office Amenities Need To Focus On The Employee Experience

    Employees returning to the office later this year seems more attainable, and companies should be ready to reconfigure the workspace to accommodate the new future of work.

    “Companies face the reality of having to engage in a different real estate market, where there’s actually a glut of office space,” said Ian Zapata, LEED-AP design director at Gensler. “I think that gives power to people that are renting to demand the type of space that they want.”

    That is why it is essential for landlords and developers to understand what the benefits of working from home are, and try to include some of these amenities in and around their buildings.

    Zapata refers to these amenities as “experience superchargers” and is anticipating that they will become a mainstay in the post-pandemic office.

    The trend of lavish amenities in the office actually began pre-pandemic, but the need for a workplace that supports health and wellness has grown tenfold in the past year.

    However, Zapata adds that there is a distinct difference between a pretty, eye-catching office building and one that is designed with the future of work in mind.

    Amenities that have long been in buildings such as gyms and cafes won’t cut it anymore. Now, leaders need to include services that put the employee experience first. 

    This means prioritizing the three C’s: culture, community and collaboration.

    “It’s spaces that aren’t just pretty to look at, but can be an extension of the workplace, where you can have meetings, you can have collaboration, and you can give employees places to recharge,” said Zapata.

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