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WeWork’s Next Move
Last year, The We Company filed its highly anticipated initial public offering for its coworking company WeWork. At the time, there was much investor concern over the firm’s corporate governance structure, which led the company to restructure its operations and receive a bailout from SoftBank.
When the pandemic hit, the company was further shaken to its core. With millions of people shifting to working from home, large vacancies plagued the firm.
However, CEO Sandeep Mathrani says that companies have started looking into taking out workspace that accommodates new physical distancing requirements.
“In an ironic way, Covid actually brought to the forefront the value of flexibility. We were very quickly able to de-densify our common areas, our lounges, our office space,” said Mathrani. “We were very quickly able to do deals with companies.”
Now, the company is offering two weeks of free All Access as an incentive to bring members back into the office or renew their leases. According to Mathrani, financial institutions have approached the company to use All Access and pay for 200 passes, allowing workers to work from any WeWork location in New York.
Additionally, the company has launched another product called On Demand, which allows professionals to rent an office hourly, daily or weekly without a membership.
The company will also be transforming some of its spaces in its “We for Education” program that helps de-densify schools and offers a new place for students to work.
Why Virtual Communication Is Essential For Business Longevity
One of the biggest challenges businesses have faced in their sudden transition to remote working arrangements has been consistent communication with workers. Virtual communication will remain an essential tool in operating with a distributed workforce, but utilizing it appropriately can make or break a company.
Using virtual tools has helped enhance transparent communication internally and externally. Resources such as Zoom and Slack have created a stronger, more direct connection between employees and leadership, while also providing them a look into their home lives.
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Additionally, businesses have been able to readily adapt to external circumstances to continue operating as efficiently as possible. This means conducting video conferencing meetings instead of in-person ones, enabling collaborative chat tools and more.
Working remotely can be a challenging adjustment, particularly for those doing it for the first time. However, with the right support and virtual tool integration, a door of possibilities can be opened for the future of the workforce. This includes adopting more flexibility, boosting collaboration and productivity, as well as creating a more inclusive work environment.
Despite the obstacles that companies large and small have faced over the past several months, many will emerge stronger than ever and be equipped with the tools to stay resilient in the future.
Addressing Concerns About Returning To The Office
According to a survey from Get Working, a product by software firm Foko Retail, 40% of Canadian business leaders believe their employees want to return to the workplace.
Additionally, 37% of respondents said they expect their employees to be back in their physical offices by the first half of 2021. On the other hand, 79% said that flexibility will be integrated in their company’s operations.
“We know businesses will transition to flexible working permanently and that the use of workspace needs to be properly documented for contact tracing purposes. We also know there is a need to remotely test employees before they even enter the office,” said Marc Gingras, CEO of Foko Retail. “The question is how do companies manage capacity, contact tracing, and health and safety in a meaningful way that supports the needs of workers and employers alike.”
The research found that 79% of respondents have expressed anxiety about coming back into the workplace. According to the survey, convincing employees that it is safe to return to work and implementing physical distancing were the most difficult procedures to accomplish.
Overall, it is clear that business leaders need to prioritize the health and safety of workers before bringing them back into the workplace, as well as clearly communicate how they will actually do so. This should include discouraging those who are sick from coming in, promoting distancing and sanitation practices and modifying the workplace that makes it easier for employees or clients to limit exposure.
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