Bookmarks Issue 38

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Welcome back to Collective Bookmarks. This week’s newsletter is a 5 minute read and is sponsored by HQO, the world’s leading workplace experience platform.

Last week the world learned that WeWork is likely to enter bankruptcy and to us it rather feels like the end of an era. A lot can be said of the ups and downs of WeWork. However, the company has made an unmistakable impact on the world of workplace. It may not have invented co-working, but it definitely helped popularize it and for all the negative things that could be said about it’s work culture – slews of incredible humans worked there and after leaving started many incredible companies or went on to lead change in the industry.

It will be fascinating to see what fills the void that WeWork would leave but also to see how the space of co-working continues to evolve. It’s far from dead and interesting new models / products are being created every day.

As always, if you have feedback or questions please reach out. Let’s Dive In.

Three Things You Should Know

From The World of Work and Place

1. The Biden Administration Encourages Building Conversions

As reported by ABC, the Biden administration is launching a multi-agency initiative aimed at converting empty office buildings into housing units to address the national shortage of affordable housing and utilize vacant office spaces. The effort involves the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, the General Services Administration, and the Office of Management and Budget. Billions of federal dollars will be made available to support these conversions.

Key aspects of the initiative include encouraging the creation of affordable housing near transportation hubs, with over $35 billion in lending capacity provided for below-market rate loans to finance construction and office conversions near transit centers. The Department of Transportation is making it easier for transit agencies to transfer unused properties for affordable housing development and is promoting private developer involvement with negotiated percentages of affordable housing units. The General Services Administration will identify surplus federal properties for similar development.

The White House is also releasing a guidebook with over 20 federal programs from six agencies, offering low-interest loans, loan guarantees, grants, and tax incentives for developers to support these conversions. The move aims to revitalize downtown areas, reduce housing costs, and address the changing work patterns accelerated by the pandemic.

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What We Think:  This is the kind of effort we can definitely get behind. With hybrid schedules becoming the norm and many teams reducing their real estate footprints, it’s likely that there will continue to be a surplus of office spaces over the next 10 years. However, we have a long term housing shortage and with offices sitting vacant – conversion makes a lot of sense. It’s great to see both local and federal governments working to solve this issue in a sensible way.

2. The Shifting Tectonic Plates of Hybrid Working

In a recent article Andrew Mawson of AWA discusses the ongoing debate between workers and leaders over returning to the office after the Covid-19 pandemic. While many leaders want to go back to the traditional office setup, employees have come to appreciate the flexibility of remote work. Productivity has actually increased for many during this period. Mawson suggests that both leaders and employees need to adapt to this changing landscape, with leaders fostering more supportive and trusting workplaces, and employees taking on new responsibilities to make hybrid work successful. He notes that the tension between these two approaches is compared to tectonic plates clashing, and the hope is that a balance will be found over time.

woman browsing on the internet

3. Three Ways to Prepare For the Future of Work

In this recent HBR article the authors discuss the challenges and uncertainties in the future of work, focusing on three key areas: the future of workers, the future of working, and the future of work itself. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a reevaluation of the role of work in people’s lives and a demand for more inclusivity and flexibility in the workplace. Remote and hybrid working is here to stay, but it brings with it questions about policies and the impact of digitalization and AI on jobs.

They note that leaders must also consider the evolving socio-economic landscape and shifting values and aspirations of employees and society. Some leaders are redefining their organization’s purpose to align with societal needs and diverse expectations. To navigate this complexity, they note that leaders should adopt collective leadership, involving stakeholders at all levels, expanding collective insight, and providing emotional support to address uncertainty.

According to the authors the future of work requires collective effort within organizations to shape a new sense of normal that embraces ambiguity and ongoing uncertainty as we adapt to the changing world of work.

MacBook Pro, white ceramic mug,and black smartphone on table

What We Think: Adaptation is definitely in the air. As noted in this article and the one before it – there’s going to be a need to settle into the right setup and find the balance of the needs of employees and the needs of the business to make the future of work – work. It may take some industries more time to get there than others.

Together with
 an image showing people working with the overlaid text "exclusive preview: introducing HQO's REX intelligence"

HqO converges data, technology, and the customer to transform and optimize the complete end-user experience of physical space through a powerful suite of applications and services.

And today –  we are excited to offer The Collective community an exclusive sneak peek at our next-to-launch product, Intelligence.

Intelligence is the ultimate real estate and analytics engine that delivers the first and only industry standard for assessing and benchmarking workplace performance.  With Intelligence, you can:

  • Access global real estate insights gathered from 1.3+ million employees and 8,000+ workplaces, powered by the trusted methodology of Leesman, an HqO company. 
  • Gain location-specific insights by deploying Intelligence across your portfolio.

To learn more, speak with one of our experts.

One Big Thing

“The truth is that both leaders and workers need to learn new tricks and bend a little.”Andrew Mawson AWA

Someone You Should Know

In the world of Work and Place

Samantha Low is a global tenant real estate advisor at Cushman & Wakefield based in San Francisco.  She earned a degree in Architectural Electrical Engineering from KU. She began her career as an electrical engineer with Flack & Kurtz in San Francisco. Among other complex projects, she helped design the power system for the Philadelphia Eagles Stadium. Recognizing the importance of project management, she shifted her career and spent 8 years managing major tenant improvement projects for Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Co.

Sam’s passion for “getting it right” made for a natural evolution from construction to tenant advisory. She saw, firsthand, how so few tenants had the knowledge to properly navigate design, budget and construction.

Today, Sam and her partners are focused exclusively on delivering their tenant customers better outcomes, in less time, using smarter technology. They call this practice, TenantSee.

TenantSee is a distinctly different approach to tenant real estate. It centers on providing the customer with a bespoke team of subject matter experts, synchronized and delivered to the project from day one. TenantSee is expressed through cutting-edge technology that simplifies the process, making it smarter and faster while yielding better outcomes. It is one place for the customer to see and manage all data related to its real estate project.

Sam lives in San Francisco with her husband and two daughters. When not tirelessly supporting her children, Sam can easily spend an entire day at the museum, finding opportunities to volunteer or binge-watch Game of Thrones.

That’s It For This Week

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