Daily Digest News – May 13, 2021

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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:


Creating A Kid-friendly Coworking Space

Balancing homeschooling with newfound remote working positions has proved to be a challenge for many working parents in the past year.

For some, this meant seeking kid-friendly coworking spaces to help balance their responsibilities. But what can operators do to modify their space and policies to better accommodate the parents?

To start, firms should distribute the workspace in a way that makes it easy for visitors with small children to occupy the area. Then, creating kid-friendly spaces categorized into age groups can help provide more catered childcare options based on their needs.

For instance, have separate spaces designated for toddlers (1 to 3 years old), preschoolers (3 to 5 years old) and school-age children over 6 years old. 

Companies should also onboard professionals to help take care of the children, around one babysitter per five children.

Probably most importantly, ensure the space is safe and healthy for everyone. This allows parents to focus on their work without worrying about their children being secure in the workspace.

Creating a safe, kid-friendly coworking space means ensuring no strangers enter the space, installing security cameras that can allow parents to monitor their children from their phones and keeping the space as sanitary as possible.

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Digital Nomads Have Become A Commodity For Countries

The rise of digital nomads has become more evident in the era of Covid-19. Despite travel plummeting for well over a year, countries across the world have started targeting these traveling professionals.

As parts of the world enter the post-pandemic era, countries are working around the clock to bring in these highly skilled remote workers, who have quickly become a hot commodity.

Many digital nomads have managed to build their careers online, allowing them to work from any multi-colored villa their heart desires. Some choose areas with low tax rates, others find locations with the best coffee shops and Wi-Fi.

For example, Harvard graduate Nuseir Yassin purchased a camera and one-way plane ticket after quitting his engineering job at Venmo. He then started a Facebook page Nas Daily, where he posts short videos from new locations each day for the next 1,000 days.

Yassin’s story echoes that of many other digital nomads. While the past year forced the community to take a pause, various areas of the world have been preparing to better suit this group.

As restrictions in parts of the world begin to loosen, areas that rely on tourism have created digital nomad visa programs that allow these professionals to work from a nation for at least one year.

Estonia, which has one of the most technologically advanced governments in the world, was one of the first to roll out this type of program. It’s visa allows visitors working for an overseas employer to live in the country for up to 12 months. 

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How WeWork’s CEO Really Views Remote Working

At The Wall Street Journal’s Future of Everything Festival, Sandeep Mathrani’s comments about workers who do not want to come into the office post-pandemic made waves across the internet.

“Those who are uberly engaged with the company want to go to the office two-thirds of the time, at least,” said Mathrani, CEO of WeWork. “Those who are least engaged are very comfortable working from home.”

Despite research indicating that employees working remotely can be just as engaged as their in-office counterparts, Mathrani added that those who come into the office are happier. 

“The bigger issue is do you come to work five days a week or do you come to work three days a week?” said Mathrani.

Although the pandemic has definitely highlighted the downsides of remote working, such as isolation and a fully-equipped office, it still stands that analysis has shown that many professionals have spoken highly of remote working arrangements. 

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IBM CEO Anticipates Most Staffers To Choose Hybrid Work

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna revealed that he anticipates 80% of IBM’s workforce will choose a hybrid model in the future, allowing them to spend two or three days in the office each week.

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The other 10% to 20% of IBM’s 350,000 staffers will work completely remote and never come back to the office.

However, Krishna added that plans should not be concrete for another two or three months as returning to work will look different across the world.

“As we have seen, if you’re a global company, the rate of the pandemic, when you look at certain countries in South America and certain countries in Asia, it shows that this thing is going to come back and back,” said Krishna. “You’ve got to be aware of the context, as the pandemic is sort of rolling its way across the globe, which unfortunately, I think is going to be with us for another year.”

IBM is one of many other big companies that have committed to hybrid working, including Citigroup, Ford, Google, Microsoft and Slack.

Along with this transition, Krishna said the firm will be reducing its office space by “tens of millions” of square feet. 

Employees will be offered flexibility about where they work, but Krishan believes 30% to 40% of staff members will choose to return to the office five days a week.

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The State Of Manhattan’s Office Market

Gregg Rothkin, executive vice president at CBRE, believes that the commercial real estate market in New York could see a very slow rebound.

Over the past few weeks, CBRE’s 200 Park Avenue office has been seeing an uptick in activity as vaccination rollout makes reentry into society safer.

“There’s more people in the city. More people are walking around,” said Rothki. “We’re starting to see an uptick in tours and we’re starting to see an uptick in proposals, so brokers are getting their tenants out there.”

For Manhattan in particular, there are a few notable things to expect in the coming months from the market.

For instance, leasing velocity remains low. Last year saw the lowest leasing activity in 20 years with just 12.6 million square feet. During the first quarter of 2021, 2.9 million square feet was leased, which was 54% less than the quarterly average. However, he anticipates a slow uptick in velocity as companies become more comfortable with returning to the office.

Additionally, more space is being added onto the market than being taken up by tenants. Rothkin added that there has been around 26 million square feet of negative net absorption in the last 14 months. Availability is also at its highest since 1994 at 17.8%.

This trend has coincided with net effective rents falling.

“The net effective rents have decreased by 23% since the year-end 2019, so that’s to say that free rent and the [tenant improvements] have skyrocketed,” said Rothkin.

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First Quarter Data Finds That Leasing Remains Slow In London

First quarter leasing data from Cushman & Wakefield has found that there is currently 19.1 million square feet of space available in London. Of that amount, 7 million are controlled by tenants that are trying to reduce their real estate footprint.

This is a 9% increase compared to the previous quarter, which means that 7% of all space for rent is controlled by tenants.

While vacancy rates reached its highest rate since 2013 at 6.8%, it is still lower than the peak of 7.8% that occurred during the financial crisis of 2008.

In the first quarter, leasing activity stayed well below the average. Although the 1.28 million square feet of deals that occurred during the quarter was 117% higher than the fourth quarter of 2020, it still fell much lower than the five-year average of first quarter deals.

“Whilst sentiment seems to be gradually improving, we anticipate the next three to six months to be characterised by low take-up volumes and the potential for further increases in tenant supply,” Cushman said in its report. “Forecasts suggest that leasing volumes will remain below long-term average levels, although the second half of 2021 should see an uptick in activity.”

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