Daily Digest News – June 8, 2021

Daily Digest June 8

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:

UK Think Tank Predicts The Return Of Five Day Work Weeks

The Centre for Cities think tank believes that that traditional five-day work week could become the norm again within two years.

Companies have turned to hybrid working arrangements that blend the home and office as part of their post-pandemic strategies. However, analysts are predicting a pivot back to pre-pandemic structures.

“I expect we will see three or four days a week in the office as the UK recovers,” said Paul Swinney, director of policy and research at Centre for Cities. “Over the longer term, I’m quite hopeful that we will see people return five days a week.”

Swinney adds that this is mainly because the office offers a collaborative, spontaneous environment that can’t be replicated with a remote workforce.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics, most people did not work from home in 2020. Still, the amount of workers who did more than doubled throughout the pandemic.

While demand for city centre office space is gowing, it is happening at a very slow pace. According to Savills, office takeup across the UK’s six biggest cities has grown since the second quarter of 2020.

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WeWork’s Profitability Seems Far-fetched

Mark Dixon, CEO of IWG, said that WeWork will need a miracle to meet its recovery goals and become profitable.

The statement was made during a conference call this week, where Dixon discussed his own company’s expected dip in profits for this year.

“I mean [WeWork] is talking positive, but the actual numbers all went completely negative,” said Dixon. “If they’re able to achieve it, we, as a company, would be very happy, because it will mean we will achieve it as well.”

Although WeWork has been working to cut its massive cash burn, it still lost $2.06 billion during the first quarter of this year. However, the company is still planning to go public by merging with a special purpose acquisition company.

IWG reported over a $879 million loss during the first quarter of the year, which is a significant dip from the $167 million in profit it had during the same time last year.

The company also told investors that it is anticipating profits for this year to be “well below” 2020 levels due to new strains of Covid-19 and continued lockdowns.

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Tenants Desire More Flexibility In Their Leases

Tenants have started adding coworking spaces to their leases as part of their strategy to get workers back into the office.

For example, North American Properties is in the midst of a $400 million redevelopment of the Colony Square complex in Midtown Atlanta. The tower will include 940,000 square feet of office space.

As companies navigate how to utilize their real estate moving forward, many have turned to flexible offices to better accommodate employees and keep them satisfied.

Another example includes Cooper Carry, which has removed 25% of its workstations in its Atlanta office at One Ninety One Peachtree Tower and added flexible work environments instead.

Instead of on-site fitness facilities and other lavish building amenities, workers really desire hospitable services and flexible space.

“Most people who are coming into the office are coming in for a meeting for one to two hours,” Amanda Wing, principal at architecture firm Smallwood. “They don’t want to have to go back to their office on the 15th floor to get that heads-down time that they had when they were at their home previously. So having those breakout spots is even going to become more crucial.”

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The Vital Role Of CIOs For The Future Workplace

Chief information officers are expected to play a huge role as the global workforce ponders the return of the office. 

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    Whether companies decide to bring workers back into the workplace or not, one thing that is certain is that these organizations will need to reevaluate how their offices will be outfitted in the future. That’s where the CIO comes in.

    The CIO serves as an IT and business leader, whose expertise can be utilized to have a better understanding of workers’ needs and behaviors. From there, they can apply what is beneficial to both employees and the company’s transition to a more hybrid future.

    But what exactly does a CIO need in order to make this shift as seamless as possible?

    For starters, they will need to embrace flexibility. While some employees want to work from home now, they may desire the office in the future, or vice versa. Whatever their needs may be, it’s essential for the organization to remain agile in order to help employees find the best work arrangement that suits their needs at any given time.

    Additionally, CIOs need to focus on the assumption that many of their team members will be working remotely at least some of the time. With this knowledge, they need to design a digital workplace that makes it easy for employees to log on, collaborate, communicate and be productive no matter where they are.

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    Could Workers Return To The Workplace By Labor Day?

    A new survey from the Partnership for New York City has found that 62% of companies predict that their workers will return to the office in September.

    This is an increase of 17 percentage points compared to a survey from March. However, the report also finds that 1 in 3 Manhattan professionals will not be returning to the workplace. Additionally, 62% of those who will be back will only do so for three days each week.

    The survey states that the ramped up distribution of vaccines is leading employers to feel more confident about bringing workers back to the office. In fact, almost half of New York state’s population has received both doses of the vaccine so far.

    Still, companies realize that there will still need to be adjustments to the post-pandemic workplace, starting with hybrid policies. The survey found that 71% of employers will adopt a rotating office schedule, and of those using a hybrid model 62% will require workers to be in the office three days a week.

    However, many workers still do not have the desire to return to the office by September. In fact, another survey revealed that 39% of respondents said they would think about quitting their job if they did not have remote work options in the future.

    Credit: Canva

    How The Purpose Of The Office Has Been Altered

    The purpose of the office has totally evolved in the past year. Instead of being a place for people to put their heads down and focus on individual work, it’s become an environment about collaboration and making connections with colleagues.

    This means that office experts need to have a better understanding of what building users need, and how exactly to provide the best experience possible so the workspace becomes a place people actually want to commute to.

    “The inconvenient truth for the office market now is that things like high quality lighting and air conditioning are just entry level merits for today’s office,” said Tanya Lambert, senior asset manager at AXA Investment Managers’ alternatives investment business, AXA IM Alts. “Premium fixtures and fittings alone are not good enough, and most importantly we really need to understand who our customer is.”

    Moving forward, office design will need to use a customer-first approach and in this case, employees are the customers. The best way to accomplish this is to incorporate bespoke spaces for departments that help nurture interaction with workers.

    “You don’t want to be coming into the office locking yourself away doing emails or back-to-back video conference calls,” said Stuart Davie, head of corporate real estate in Australia for HSBC bank. “The office must be used as a vehicle for human interaction that also helps promote the culture you want to build for your organisation.

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