Daily Digest News – June 1, 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:

Google to Welcome Workers Back with Next-Level Workplace Comforts

Huge changes are going on behind closed doors in corporate workplaces around the world.

In London, major tech firms are gearing up for a sweeping return to the office, or at least a part-time return, in the form of reconfigured office layouts, rearranged desks, and fresh technology solutions.

This comes as companies prepare for a hybrid work model, in which the working week is split between remote work and scheduled in-person collaboration.

In King’s Cross, London, Google’s 11-storey ‘groundscraper’ is being adapted. From September 1, staff can expect an indoor basketball court, a rooftop running track, an outdoor workspace overlooking the capital, and team pods – spaces which can be assembled on-the-go with furniture, whiteboards and storage units wheeled in for individual or teamwork.

And of course, it will all be backed by new technology. For example at its Silicon Valley campus, Google has Campfire: a meeting room where in-person attendees sit in a circle, interspersed with large HD displays.

Other pilot schemes include desks which automatically adjust to employee tastes, and personalised temperature settings.

“There isn’t one way people work,” says Grace Lordan, associate professor in behavioural science at London School of Economics. “That’s why open-plan offices have failed: we get distracted too easily. Rather than giving everyone the same workstation, Google is trying out different types of spaces which suit different personality types and modes of thinking – more concentration, more creativity, more collaboration.”

Credit: Bigstock

New Operator Takes Over Denver Coworking Space

A new coworking operator is making a name for itself after taking over a full floor of flexible workspace in downtown Denver, Colorado.

Flex Office – Denver took over after the previous operator, CTRL Collective, ceased managing the space.

Flex owner Chez Dyas, 38, said his company took over the space at Dairy Block on May 6, and signed a new master lease with the landlord.

“I just think it’s going to be one of the great opportunities as people come back into the office,” said Dyas. The space can accommodate around 600 people, and is currently 40-50% occupied.

Dyas is currently making some improvements to the space, including the introduction of a podcast studio for their “substantial” community of podcasters.

Credit: Getty

Landlords Recognize Flexible Space Opportunities, But They Have Some Catching Up To Do

A new report by essensys and Verdantix suggests that workers want flexible space — but landlords aren’t meeting their needs.

In fact, only 13% of occupiers believe that commercial real estate landlords are prepared to meet the new needs of their tenants.

However, 67% of landlords recognize that flexible leases can increase revenue.

But it’s not just about flexible leases. Occupiers also want services, amenities, tech-enabled workspaces and a network of locations.

“Landlords need to provide a variety of lease and term options to tenants across their portfolio,” said Jeremy Bernard, CEO North America at essensys. “The reality, particularly in urban core markets, is that vacancy is at historical highs. Landlords are more likely to lease space on flexible terms than in a traditional model. Some rent even on shorter flexible lease terms is better than zero rent on longer lease terms.”

Bernard notes that landlords need to position their portfolio now for the long-term, to continue serving their tenants’ evolving real estate needs.

Landlords are actively trying to incorporate flexible space into their real estate offerings but, according to the survey, not fast enough. “Landlords that adapt quickly to demand drivers for flexible space will come out on top. Those that don’t adapt will have a lot of catching up to do.”

Credit: Canva

WFH Takes on a New Meaning: Working from Hotels

When it comes to remote work, digital nomads are familiar with working from anywhere, be it home, hotels, or other third place locations. But now office workers, who have spent the past 12+ months working from home, are getting their share of the action.

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    Some are looking to combine their newfound ability to work remotely by accomplishing two things at once: continue business as usual but also enjoy a getaway.

    “Flexibility among workers is definitely one of the pandemic’s silver linings,” said Stephanie Tablada, sales and marketing director for the Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel in Miami, “allowing the work-from-home-ridden the opportunity to travel for longer periods of time, and that’s a prominent tendency we’ve observed amongst our guests for the last year.” 

    The Surfcomber is one hotel that is making the most of the ‘WFH = Work from Hotel’ trend, and is even offering its own worker-friendly bundle including WiFi, coffee, printing, and stationery.

    With over two-thirds of Americans (67%) planning to travel this summer, could this be the opportunity for adventure that desk-bound workers have been waiting for?

    Credit: Bigstock

    Wearable Tech: The Latest Workplace Wellness Accessory

    With wellness in the spotlight more than ever, how can wearable technology help workers improve their overall health and wellness?

    According to JLL, while smart watches and fitness bands are most common in the workplace, other devices are also emerging.

    These include smart patches, which can monitor health indicators such as heart rate variability, blood pressure and posture. Smart goggles and smart helmets are proving beneficial in warehouses and on construction sites, as they can improve safety by tracking vital stats on workers’ physical condition.

    “We invest so much in the healthy, productive workplace – such as sensors measuring occupancy, air quality and movement – yet the most important metric is its impact on individuals,” says Andrew O’Donnell, UK Real Estate and Workplace Director at JLL.

    “Employers are recognising this and seeing wearables as a way to understand whether and how they can improve employee wellness.”

    For physical distancing, some people are opting for Bluetooth-enabled tags or apps that buzz to let people know they’re too close to others.

    And there are plenty of other apps on the market that collect data to help people keep tabs on sleep habits, daily activity levels and other health indicators.

    “Wearables contribute to the big picture on employee experience, enabling a more holistic approach to supporting and driving employee engagement and performance,” says Paul Smith, Chief Strategy Officer at ART Health Solutions. “If a company is serious about improving wellbeing, they need to consider what occurs outside the workplace too.”

    Credit: Canva

    Remote Workers Aren’t Necessarily Eager to Leave City Living

    As some companies adapt to the ‘new normal’ of allowing staff to work from home (or from anywhere), people are realizing that they can potentially move to more rural areas — without the need to commute regularly.

    This triggered the expectation of an exodus from cities, with rippling ramifications.

    Interestingly however, new research from Gensler Research Institute suggests that instead of moving away from cities, some remote workers are actually more likely to move toward them — particularly larger cities, or to cities similar in size to their current home.

    “We found that the people who have that ability to work remotely are 11 percent more likely to want to leave their current city than the people who didn’t have that ability,” said Sofia Song, global cities lead for Gensler. “That ability to work from anywhere has really allowed people to think about where they want to live.”

    What makes a city desirable to live in?

    During the current situation, cities need to have ‘micromobility’ — such as bike-sharing or scooter systems — while cities that are considered too noisy, crowded, congested or losing their cultural heritage are less attractive to residents.

    It also needs to be affordable.

    According to Song, residents want their neighborhoods to feel beautiful, authentic, and to prioritize people over cars. For employment, people want to feel they can advance.

    “With employment opportunities, it’s not just having jobs that are available,” Song said. “It’s the feeling that there’s opportunities for career advancement.”

    Credit: Bigstock
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