Daily Digest News – May 10, 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:

Secondary Cities Are Leading Office Space Demand

Research from The Instant Group finds that office occupiers have a new set of demands when it comes to office space, which is driving the average size of workspaces down by 29%.

The findings also revealed that Phoenix led the U.S. in increased workstation rates by 39%, with Nashville, Denver and Austin following behind. Demand also rose by 22% in Denver and 20% in Austin.

However, cities with the largest drops in cost-per-desk were New York City by -29%, Washington, D.C. by -23%, Boston by -22% and Los Angeles by -18%. Demand in San Francisco fell by 9% and by 8% in Chicago. 

Despite larger cities seeing an overall fall in office interest, the suburbs that surround these areas saw demand grow tremendously, with Harrison, New York seeing a 200% spike in demand.

“The pandemic made agile workspace a requirement for major landlords and corporations alike moving forward, and we saw that play out almost immediately in the numbers,” said Joe Brady, CEO Americas, The Instant Group. “In secondary cities and suburban markets where people flocked to hunker down during Covid-19, we saw parallel demand for agility as companies and operators rushed to adjust. We expect this, together with landlords becoming involved in the industry by partnering with providers or going it alone, to drive the industry’s next growth phase.”

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Atlanta Real Estate Firm Announces Flex Office Brand

The Atlanta-based subsidiary of Bridge Investment Group, Bridge Commercial Real Estate, will roll out an in-house flexible coworking operation across five locations.

The initial expansion for the program, coined Abridge, will include 158,000 square feet of flex office space in five metro areas, which will be geared towards large companies looking for suburban offices.

This program is expected to grow to 1 million square feet across Bridge’s national portfolio, which currently has over 14 million square feet across 15 states.

“What we’re trying to do is solve for enterprise users who are trying to protect their own brand, but have some of the same needs that coworking has solutions for,” said Jeff Shaw, CEO of Bridge Commercial.

Abridge’s Atlanta locations will feature 20,000 square feet of space at two of the company’s properties in Buckhead and in the Cumberland/Galleria market.

The firm will also open Abridge locations in the suburbs of Dallas, Miami, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C.

“If you look at the behavior of cycles and you look at the last couple of cycles in Atlanta, whenever you’re seeing uncertainty, businesses tend to want to be safe,” said Shaw. “They want to minimize risk.”

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Addressing Remote Working Fatigue

A JLL survey from April of last year found that people wanted to work from home at least two days each week. However, when asked the same question in March of 2021, more respondents said they would prefer to work 1.5 days from home.

This trend indicates that remote working fatigue may be setting in for many. While 48% of respondents said they were more productive at home than in the office last year, that number fell to 37% this year.

However, 88% still said they would prefer to choose their hours, and 80% stated they would prefer a hybrid work arrangement in the future.

The sentiment among employees has clearly shifted as companies prepare to bring some workers back into the office. JLL suggests that schedules should still be agile, but in-person environments need to focus on collaboration, brainstorming and an innovative atmosphere that sparks creativity.

On the other hand, some employees will want a quieter space for focused work. That is why companies will need to receive feedback from their staff in order to accommodate varying needs.

“While the notion of hybrid work is great in theory, putting it into practice is no small task,” said Cynthia Kantor, chief product officer of corporate solutions at JLL. “But the companies that can keep employees engaged and committed are going to win the war for talent.”

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How To Ask For An Annual Workcation

Companies are ramping up their wellness initiatives beyond on-site yoga classes and ergonomic furniture. Now, many are looking to adopt an annual remote work period.

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    While remote working has become increasingly popular with the workforce, companies are expected to transition to hybrid work policies that combine both in-person and at-home arrangements in the near future.

    Although this allows for more wiggle room in schedules, this defeats the perks of a “workcation” that people have come to love in the past year. Workcations allow people to continue working wherever they want, whether it be their homes or the beach. 

    However, the new annual remote work concept could take over, especially during peak seasons like summer and school holidays.

    “Many leading indicator companies — like Spotify, Twitter, Square, Unilever, Atlassian — have said their employees can forever work from home,” said Lynne Cazaly, a workplace specialist and author of “Agile-ish: How to Create a Culture of Agility”.

    To make this shift, workers will need to take a few aspects into consideration, including the industry they are in and getting their higher-ups on board.

    So how can employees get an annual period for remote work at their place of employment? For starters, don’t hesitate to start inquiring about it now since most companies are still transitioning to post-pandemic work policies.

    Additionally, reviewing company policy and speaking with an HR representative can help determine if there are any existing policies that could impact adopting an annual period for remote working.

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    Transactions In Miami’s Office Market Are Growing

    According to recent data from CommercialEdge, sales within the office sector have remained stagnant, but Miami and Phoenix have become outliers.

    The analysis found that both markets saw year-on-year growth in both transaction volume and price per square foot. In Miami, this increase was largely contributed by Blackstone’s $230 million Florida expansion that occurred in March.

    Blackstone’s deals included a Class A 330,000 square, two-asset purchase from Shorenstein Properties in Miami’s CBD. This featured the 202,438 square feet 2 MiamiCentral and the 131,000 square feet 3 MiamiCentral LEED buildings.

    During the first quarter of 2021, Miami saw $395 million in office transactions, which is nearly six times more than the same period in 2020. 

    The largest office property to change hands in Fort Lauderdale was the over 180,000 square foot, Class B asset on 1250 E. Hallandale Beach Boulevard. Montreal-based Soliman Corporation purchased the building for $16.5 million.

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    Nurturing Employee Health And Wellness

    It’s no longer a surprise that employee engagement and productivity have been directly linked to health and wellbeing. Despite this being common knowledge, only one in six employees have stated feeling supported in their workplace.

    The health of employees has never been more important, especially with restrictions being loosened and companies experimenting with new work arrangements. So what can business leaders do to ensure that they are supporting their employees during this unsettling period?

    Asynchronous communication will be crucial. Instead of relying on back-to-back video conferencing calls, employees should be able to adopt the best practices for communication to help avoid fatigue or burnout.

    This coincides with incorporating more daily flexibility into work schedules. Doing so allows employees to reap the benefits of asynchronous working, while also giving them more structure to their workday.

    Additionally, eliminating the view that working longer hours allows means more productivity can improve the overall wellbeing of employees. Overworking can lead to presenteeism, which leads down the slippery slope of burnout.

    Lastly, providing specific tools and resources to all employees can help support them during troubling times. Organizations that offer easy access to health and wellness resources send the message that they want employees to be happy and healthy, and that they will be there to help them when needed.

    This can include mental health training for managers, leaders being open about their own personal struggles and being empathetic to different experiences employees may be dealing with.

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