Daily Digest News – June 7, 2021

Daily Digest June 7

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:

Apple Employees Disapprove Of New Work Policies

Employees of Apple have written a formal letter to express their displeasure with the company’s new work policy that would require them to return to the office three days each week starting in September.

According to the letter, staffers claim they would prefer a more flexible approach that provides more room for remote working positions. 

Just a few days ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook had sent a note to employees stating they would be required to return to the office on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in the fall. Workers could also work remotely for up to two weeks each year contingent on manager approval.

“We would like to take the opportunity to communicate a growing concern among our colleagues,” the letter reads. “That Apple’s remote/location-flexible work policy, and the communication around it, have already forced some of our colleagues to quit. Without the inclusivity that flexibility brings, many of us feel we have to choose between either a combination of our families, our well-being, and being empowered to do our best work, or being a part of Apple.”

Apple’s approach to hybrid working is more liberal than its previous policies that discouraged remote working arrangements altogether, but is certainly more conservatve than its fellow tech giants like Twitter and Facebook which allow employees to work remotely for as long as they want.

Credit: Unsplash

IWG Anticipates Decreased Profits For 2021

IWG has revealed that new variants of Covid and continued lockdowns in some areas will likely push their profits below 2020 levels.

Last year, IWG reported a loss of £620 million after lockdowns left many people working from home.

While the company has also seen recovery in certain U.S. markets, occupancy levels were still lower than anticipated due to the extended impact of the pandemic and the increase of new variants in certain areas.

“Accordingly, this will delay the anticipated recovery in our business and, given the operational gearing of the group, is expected to have a significant impact on the group’s results for 2021,” IWG said.

Moving forward, IWG is focusing its efforts to accommodate the increase of hybrid work policies as companies begin merging in-person and remote working arrangements. 

In fact, the company stated it was seeing “unprecedented demand” for their flexible work options. For instance, IWG recently signed a deal with London-based bank Standard Chartered allowing its 95,000 employees to have access to the company’s 3,300 offices worldwide.

Credit: IWG

Thinking Beyond The Flex Space

A new report conducted by Verantix reveals that there are major disparities between the flexible office services demanded by occupiers, and those that are actually offered by building owners.

Commissioned by essensys, the study found that only 13% of tenants felt that their landlords were equipped with the appropriate tools to meet their needs.

The most glaring disparity was the lack of digital infrastructure. The research showed that just one-third of respondents felt “fully satisfied” by the data security they were offered in flexible spaces. This was largely due to flex spaces not prioritizing security in the first place.

“They need to think about the whole hierarchy of security needs — everything from physical access to network security to digital security,” said James Shannon, chief product and technology officer at essensys. “Within a flexible area of the landlord’s building or in a traditional space, not only should the experience be consistent in terms of how I log into the network and how I access the space, but it also needs to be just as secure. It’s really important that landlords check the boxes that enterprise customers are demanding.”

In addition to secure connectivity and digital infrastructure, tenants want ease too. Having access to seamless booking options, touchless access, connections with local eateries and more can greatly improve the flexible workspace experience.

All of these requirements make it clear that landlords need to think beyond the four walls of their flex space — they need to think about the environment beyond their own building.

Credit: Unsplash

Demand For Flexibility Bodes Well For Coworking Industry

The increasing demand for temporary office space is likely to lead companies to adopt more hybrid or flexible workspaces.

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    According to Ryan Timpani, managing director at JLL who serves as a leasing agent for WeWork in the Phoenix area, many companies have been slowly making real estate decisions and turning to coworking in order to accommodate increased demand for flexibility.

    Timpani added that companies that are entering new markets typically do so by renting out short-term space before committing to a long-term, permanent lease. For example, Phoenix has seen an increase in new market requirements as companies transition to secondary cities.

    This is also aiding companies who are adopting hybrid arrangements moving forward, allowing employees the option to work both in an office and from home throughout the week.

    “Companies are maybe not comfortable committing to a long-term lease, but they are trying to be opportunistic and want to have a physical presence,” said Timpani.

    However, the Phoenix office market is also experiencing an influx of sublease space, which compete with coworking options. But as vaccines continue to be distributed, activity has picked up over the last few months.

    Credit: Bigstock

    Eliminating The Possibility Of Burnout In The Future

    A poll conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of Bloomberg News found that 39% of 1,000 U.S. adults would consider quitting their job if their employer did not adopt any type of remote working arrangement in the future.

    The past year revealed what a truly healthy work day looks like, and the work-life balance employees could finally achieve. Using this experience, incorporating flexibility in work arrangements could improve mental health and decrease the symptoms of burnout.

    Yu Tse Heng, a management researcher at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, identifies three symptoms of burnout: exhaustion, cynical detachment and reduced efficacy.

    Pre-pandemic office life contributed to this through lengthy commutes, poor company culture and in-office distractions that made workers feel less productive.

    Although there were multiple challenges working during the pandemic, the inclusion of remote work allowed workers to benefit “from more flexibility and autonomy in determining how their work day is structured” according to Heng.

    “For example, employees could take short breaks or a power nap during the day when they felt exhausted,” said Heng.

    However, returning to the office may increase or decrease burnout depending on the worker. That is why it is essential for companies to identify burnout in employees, and understand how to improve the workplace in a way that could alleviate this issue.

    Credit: Canva

    Building The Optimal Digital Headquarters

    Prior to 2020, the ideal workplace may have been a fully-equipped, one-stop-shop for all your needs. Whether it was an on-site gym or a stocked pantry, the idea of essentially having a home in your office was once highly sought after.

    However, the idea of the future of work in 2021 paints a different picture. Now, the workplace seems to be about distributed teams, flexibility and freedom from the constraints of the office.

    This does not necessarily mean the office is obsolete, but it does indicate that there is a growing desire for a digital workplace.

    Moving towards a digital workforce means employers will need to have a solid foundation before deep-diving into this modern way of operating. This will include the need for technological infrastructure that makes working together when apart possible.

    Having a single place for employees to virtually go to is ideal in this scenario. Whether a manager is holding a team meeting, or an employee is having connectivity issues, companies need to think through every single aspect of work that can be easily accessed in one location.

    Instead of using a variety of tools, such as separate apps for chatting and file-sharing, companies need to create a digital headquarters for everything. 

    This will require three steps: organizing a collaboration hub for each team and department, implementing guidelines for where announcements and meetings belong and then creating frictionless integration between the digital headquarters and all other digital tools.

    Credit: Canva
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