Daily Digest News – April 21, 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:

JLL To Help Companies Transition To Hybrid Models

A new survey by Savills reveals that technology firms believe that the future of the workplace will be a hybrid model that allows employees to split their time between the office and their homes.

In fact, 73% of companies said their staff will be in centralized offices three days a week, while 61% also said they are unsure whether the company itself or employees will create the new schedules.

Because of this clear trend, JLL has launched a new service called Experience/Anywhere, allowing the firm to guide office users into fully optimizing new hybrid work models.

The service features two central components: the Program Management Office that helps companies create ideal hybrid work strategies, and The Hub that provides employees with tools and resources needed for this arrangement.

“The shift to the hybrid workplace changes more than the form and function of offices; it also changes how employees experience work,” said Sharad Rastogi, JLL Technologies Chief Product Officer. “… [O]ur clients need to navigate this shift and transform the way organizations foster culture, collaboration and innovation — no matter where work takes place.”

Credit: JLL

Employees Want More Training For Hybrid Working

A nationwide survey by Lane4 and conducted by YouGov has provided insight into how companies should better support their employees as they slowly transition back to the office and others stay remote.

The study showed that 47% of respondents said they did not receive training about the shift to a hybrid environment, or felt that the training they did receive was not adequate.

“Since the pandemic began, managers have had to take on a wider remit, from increased pastoral care to playing a greater role in fostering company culture,” said Adrian Moorhouse, Managing Director at Lane4. “In many cases, managers have been asked to take on responsibilities that they may not have received support in developing the skills for. It’s therefore particularly worrying that so few people think the training they receive is useful for a hybrid working environment.”

As far as skills that workers felt they need with their current work arrangement, 65% said communication was the most important, and this was particularly true of younger workers.

Additionally, motivating employees was seen as highly valuable by 67% of those aged between 18 and 35, compared to the 46% of those 55 and above.

Overall, the research indicated that younger generations see the transition back to the office to be beneficial and make their lives easier. 

“It’s fantastic to see offices and workplaces open up again, but we have to recognise the inherent challenges that this will bring, such as how to ensure fairness across the business with flexible working policies and how to continue to maintain an organisation’s culture,” said Moorhouse.

Credit: Canva

GM’s Workplace Strategy: “Work Appropriately”

General Motors is taking a flexible, agile approach to its return-to-the-office strategy as it attempts to transition its 155,000 global employees back to the workplace.

“Work appropriately,” is the message CEO Mary Barra and other company leaders offered this week, meaning that arrangements will vary depending on each employee and project. This could range from conducting training remotely for factory workers, or allowing salaried employees to permanently work from home or with a hybrid model.

“It is not about a policy or a one-size-fits-all approach,” said Laura Jones, GM’s global talent director. “But truly that evolution of our culture for everyone.”

The company is opting for this approach mainly due to employee feedback after GM conducted several employee preference surveys over the past year.

This messaging echoes a previous decision the company made to simplify its dress code, which Barra created when leading HR, replacing the company’s 10-page dress code with simply: “Dress appropriately.”

Still, the company has provided very few details about how much this ambiguous approach could cut down on office-related expenses, and just how many employees could stay remote.

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    Not only does the company anticipate that this arrangement will help mitigate costs, GM also believes that it will aid in employee recruitment and widen the talent pool. 

    In fact, Cyril George, global talent acquisition director at GM, said the company hired more workers in the U.S. during the first quarter of this year than all of 2020 and 2019 combined, with 20% of the new jobs being fully remote. 

    Credit: Bigstock

    Real Estate Vets Stay Optimistic Despite Growing NYC Vacancies

    There is nearly 7 million square feet of available space across New York City as the real estate industry is still reeling from the ongoing health crisis.

    This, along with the desire to adopt remote working policies, could see even more companies abandoning their office space and cutting down their real estate footprints.

    Even major organizations like JPMorgan Chase, which is the city’s largest single office-space user, are adopting this approach. Just this month, CEO Jamie Dimon said the bank will cut down its commercial footprint, while it also builds a 2.5 million square foot headquarters tower.

    However, some industry analysts are bullish that the office market will rebound, despite the massive vacancies caused by Covid-19. 

    “We’ve been here before,” said Douglas Durst, real estate developer. “People projected the end of office market. Some people were giving up space, but they came back.”

    In fact, Durst said that tenant interest is growing and that he is in the process of leasing space and other negotiations.

    While it’s clear that real estate experts have a tendency to be optimistic, Jim Costello, senior VP of Real Capital Analytics, believes that there is benefit to both remote working and in-person attendance.

    Credit: Canva

    Smaller Cities Hope To Entice Remote Workers

    Over one-third of the U.S. workforce is still working remotely, but as vaccinations become available to everyone aged 16 and over, the post-pandemic era slowly being ushered in.

    According to Upwork, as people continue to work remotely, more Americans could migrate to smaller towns and suburbs, reshaping the economic development of these areas.

    Major cities have long been the hub for large corporations, with regions enticing these companies by offering tax incentives. However, this model may not be feasible anymore.

    Now that employees are receiving more workplace options, it’s becoming evident that many professionals could choose mid-sized cities over expensive metro areas.

    For example, a Microsoft survey of 30,000 workers found that 46% said they would likely move now that they can work remotely. While this doesn’t necessary mean that cities will see a mass exodus, it does mean that other regions will see a boost.

    Aside from cost of living, workers also cite quality of life improvement (crime, commuting, amenities, etc.) as a reason to leave major cities. 

    Some of these smaller cities, such as Rochester and Buffalo, New York, have positioned themselves as up-and-coming towns that offer the same amenities of big cities in an effort to win over the younger generation of workers.

    Other cities have started offering incentives for workers to relocate, such as student loan repayment. For instance remote workers can receive $10,000 to move to Tulsa, Oklahoma for at least one year.

    Credit: Canva

    WeWork To Start Accepting Cryptocurrency

    WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani has announced that the company will start accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment for its workspaces.

    The coworking firm revealed that customers can use this currency, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, to pay for their memberships. The operator will then use the cryptocurrency to pay its landlords when necessary.

    “WeWork has always been at the forefront of innovative technologies, finding new ways to support our members,” said Mathrani. “It only makes sense for us to expand on the optionality we provide by adding cryptocurrency as an accepted form of payment for our members.”

    Cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase will be the first member to use this method of payment, with WeWork processing the funds using BitPay. 

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