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Here’s what you need to know today:
- IWG Signs Biggest Deal To Date
- How Business Leaders View The Future Of Working
- Security Lessons For The Future Of Work
- How Hera Hub Has Thrived During Tumultuous Times
- WeWork Announces New Initiative To Support Women-led Firms
- Developers Addressing Need For Wellness-focused Design
IWG Signs Biggest Deal To Date
IWG has signed a deal with Japanese telecommunications group Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, which indicates that the desire for hybrid working arrangements is on the uprise.
The deal will provide NTT’s 300,000 employees with access to IWG offices all over the world, marking its biggest customer to date.
The three-year deal will allow NTT staff to choose from over 3,300 offices owned by IWG.
Many flexible office companies have positioned themselves to be the middle ground between at-home and in-office working, allowing professionals to have an alternative workspace.
“One of the lasting legacies of the pandemic will be the ability to work in different ways, in different places, and more companies will have distributed workforces empowering their teams to work closer to or from home,” said Mark Dixon, CEO of IWG.
According to Mark La Neve, chief executive of NTT Global Sourcing, the deal would help employees maintain some of the perks of working from home, such as shorter commute times and reducing the company’s carbon footprint. It will also continue to have some offices within its network.
Prior to this new agreement, IWG signed another deal with Standard Chartered that provides the bank’s 95,000 staffers access to its offices for a 12-month trial.
How Business Leaders View The Future Of Working
The idea of working in the office is becoming more attainable as vaccines continue to be rolled out across the country. However, it is unlikely that we will return to full normalcy any time soon.
While many companies have actually embraced the remote working trend of the past year, it is clear that not all agree with this model. Still, a recent survey from Growmotely found that 61% of respondents would prefer a fully remote work environment.
For example, Spotify recently announced it would transition to a permanent flexible work policy with its Work From Anywhere initiative. This allows its employees to choose how they want to work, including in an office, remotely or in a coworking space in which they would cover the costs for.
“This is an opportunity to scrap the idea that big cities are the only places where meaningful work can happen because we know firsthand that isn’t true,” said Travis Robinson, the head of diversity, inclusion and belonging at Spotify.
At Twitter, CEO Jack Dorsey told employees they would work from home forever last May. Prior to the pandemic, Twitter was already on a path to shifting to a permanent remote working policy but the past year’s events accelerated it.
On the other hand, Goldman Sachs’ CEO of investment bank David Solomon said that remote working policies are not ideal for the company and that “it’s not a new normal.”
He added that remote work culture clashes with the “collaborative apprenticeship culture” of the financial sector.
Security Lessons For The Future Of Work
The pandemic had a significant impact on IT processes, transforming the security dynamic unlike ever before. With companies shifting to remote working, relying on cloud services and e-commerce, cyberattacks have become increasingly reoccurring.
Nearly overnight, employees were forced to use their own devices and home networks to get their work done, and IT departments had to quickly navigate how to protect their data.
As we turn the corner on the pandemic and make way for a more hybrid workplace, there are many lessons learned that can apply to the future of work moving forward.
For starters, companies have realized they need to expand their security infrastructures to enhance the protections of remote workers.
“Moving into a remote work environment has meant a change in focus from macro-level security to micro-level extensions of platforms and adoption of new ways of extending a secure environment to remote workers,” said Mark Liggett, CEO of Liggett Consulting.
Cloud-based security has also become essential as companies embrace cloud technology.
According to Andrew Hewitt, an analyst at Forrester Research, cloud-based security like zero-trust network access and cloud desktops will become a more permanent solution moving forward.
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Collaboration apps will also need to be revamped. Heavy reliance on video conferencing tools such as Zoom in the past year revealed that these companies did not have a totally secure infrastructure.
“The market demand for security forced change to these systems to [become] a safe and secure way to communicate,” said Liggett.
How Hera Hub Has Thrived During Tumultuous Times
The coworking industry was slammed in 2020, with leasing for flexible office space plummeting 45% year-over-year in the U.S. during the second quarter.
Female coworking firms have also been victim to this fallout. For instance, Seattle-based operator The Riveter closed all nine of its locations in May 2020. The Wing also closed its doors in October 2020 due to the lockdown and reports about racial and LGBTQIA+ discrimination.
However, San Diego based company Hera Hub has not only managed to stay afloat over the past year, but has also thrived.
After its founding in San Diego in 2011, Hera Hub used a collaborative licensing model with building owners instead of a traditional lease to expand its locations. This strategy allowed it to open new spaces in Washington D.C.
Now, through partnership with CommonGrounds Workplaces, HeraHub will open three new locations in San Jose, Salt Lake City and Minneapolis.
According to founder Felena Hanson, she invested her own money, then took a small amount of angel financing two years into starting the company. She added one of the key secrets to the company’s success is that it is focused on the business aspect, rather than being a social club.
“We’ve supported more than 13,000 entrepreneurs in the launch or growth of their business,” said Hanson. “It is so rewarding to bring someone in who is brand new in business and really help them from day one. We help them build the foundation of their business, find the mentoring and resources they need and have an opportunity to see them flourish.”
WeWork Announces New Initiative To Support Women-led Firms
WeWork and the Women’s Global Empowerment Fund have teamed up to provide 100 U.S.-based women-led companies free access to WeWork All Access for one-year.
The partnership will allow up to 10 company employees to gain one-year of complimentary access to WeWork’s many spaces.
Additionally, an additional 63 women-led companies in Latin America can gain the same perk, or a dedicated office space for one year.
“Women are natural leaders, in business, in their communities and political life,” said Karen Sugar, the founder and director of the Women’s Global Empowerment Fund.
The program, coined Women For Tomorrow, is expected to provide around a $5 million value to these companies, including workspaces, mentoring and various other perks.
Applications for the initiative will start being accepted on March 16, 2021.
Developers Addressing Need For Wellness-focused Design
Developers have had to pivot their strategies in order to accommodate new demands from clients over workspace design and amenities.
The past year has altered how people view the office and the employee experience within the office. With this comes the need for a more wellness-oriented design that not only focuses on air quality, but also incorporates green spaces, collaborative areas, private offices, access to outdoor spaces and more.
For instance, Dallas-based developer De La Vega Development had to change their plans for mixed-use project The Central after the pandemic hit.
“On the ground plane, we already had quite a bit of open space with the park and we already had patios [in the designs],” said Artemio De La Vega, CEO of De La Vega Development. “But with the second floor, the top floor and some of the floors in between, we’ve added more terraces and more open space with an emphasis on having these terraces become private gardens that connect with the public garden downstairs — that being the park.”
In addition to this health-focused shift, De La Vega added that the firm is also incorporating more natural materials like wood and natural lighting.
Another project, the Two Legacy West office tower, has been meeting with architect Gensler to find a healthy balance between collaborative workspaces and outdoor areas equipped with Wi-Fi.Share this article