In June, the conversation on the office and its future use shifted to not just discuss the merits of hybrid work, but also the particulars…
Tech giants have the tendency to lead the way these days when it comes to jumping on trends and defining the way forward, and they have not disappointed in the hybrid work discussion, each delivering their “response” to the hybrid work question mark in very on-brand fashion.
Microsoft revealed a very technical, tool-oriented approach to enabling the hybrid model, complete with a guide for business leaders that is quite heavy on processes and, you guessed it, existing Microsoft tools.
Google, on the other hand, not surprisingly seemed to adopt a rather user-experience centered opinion on the matter, which it will look to translate to their buildings and collaboration tools in very adaptive, experimental and experiential ways.
Not to be outdone, Apple was also quite present in the discussion, albeit in slightly more controversial fashion, with a large group of employees publishing a complaint letter in response to the Los Altos giant’s new policy regarding remote work. It would seem that Apple’s top-down, design-first, user later approach wasn’t so effective this time, with its own workforce writing a passionate, detailed and quite insightful rebuke. But at least they’re being talked about, as always.
Elsewhere, the particulars of hybrid work continue to elicit opinions and predictions. Art Markman from the Harvard Business Review wrote a larger picture view on why going back to the office may not only represent a benefit to the employer, but offer as well its rewards to the employees, albeit in a less immediate manner than those of remote and flexible work.
Globe Street explored the implications of hybrid for CRE, both for occupiers (tenants and users) and landlords, with interesting connections between those. For example, they offered this refreshing view: “Tenants can decrease their square footage, as many hope to do, and achieve cost-savings. Landlords who accommodate these decreases build strong relationships that translate into future renewals and even expansions. Landlords can also buy back and re-lease the space, or even launch a co-working facility in newly vacated space.” A vision that would see occupiers and landlords possibly mutually benefit from the optimizations of the office space.
There are also next-step considerations, such as how to ensure that hybrid work improves fairness, inclusivity, and diversity. While the old, traditional full-time office wasn’t necessarily always fair, there are further pitfalls to the hybrid model including the “availability heuristic” which biases opportunities towards those who are more frequently physically available.
“Whilst keeping people safe is of course paramount, recognizing the complex social dynamics of organizations—and the part the physical environment plays—will be a key factor in ensuring fairer workplaces that better harness talent and potential,” says David D’Souza, director of membership at the U.K.’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in this Forbes piece on desk politics. There, too, technology could provide a helping hand.
- Microsoft reveals changes to enable hybrid work (cnbc.com)
- What the Apple employees’ complaint letter got right about hybrid — Quartz at Work (qz.com)
- Why You May Actually Want to Go Back to the Office (hbr.org)
- Google’s answer to the problems of open plan offices? Inflatable walls – The Verge
- How to Make the Hybrid Model Work | GlobeSt
- Why Your Post-Covid Desk Assignment Could Make Or Break Your Career (forbes.com)
Locatee in the news:
Zurich, 3 May 2021: New research conducted by Locatee – the workspace occupancy and analytics solution, has found that employee wellbeing is the top priority for CRE managers over the next 5 years. The research details the opinions of corporate real estate managers (CREMs) from across Europe, outlining the changes they have seen during the pandemic, and how their businesses will adapt for the future. It follows research conducted in the US earlier this year by Locatee which showed US organisations were failing to adapt to post-pandemic realities.
- European Corporate Real Estate (CRE) managers are leading the charge towards progressive office models, with employee wellbeing and health the most important focus
- Over half of CRE managers plan to or are in the process of moving towards flexible working models
- 70% of the firms surveyed are planning to or have already implemented office redesigns to accommodate the shift towards hybrid work
- Despite progressive changes, 50% lack the data to effectively determine next steps
Europe sets 5-year goals firmly around employee wellbeing
Responding to employees’ needs and attracting new talent are clear priorities when it comes to re-shaping workspaces. 88% of respondents feel that employee wellbeing and satisfaction is a critical factor in shaping workspace configuration over the next two years.
59% of executives flag an increased need to focus on talent attraction and retention. This ties in with growing demand from employees for flexible working options post-pandemic.
For businesses, the past year has revolved around performance, cost management, and business resiliency. CRE managers have taken on additional responsibilities for managing occupational health and safety in the workplace, with 98% of those surveyed stating they expect their role to change to encompass this over the next five years.
Flexible working, flexible workspaces
When it comes to new models of working, 90% of respondents highlighted employees’ increased desire to work flexibly as a ‘very significant’ or ‘significant’ challenge over the next five years. The shift from full time office attendance to a hybrid model has led many CRE managers to reassess the space optimization and efficiency of their current portfolio. As a result, 70% of the firms surveyed are planning to or have already implemented office redesigns to accommodate the shift towards hybrid work.
The majority (74%) of European CRE managers are already utilizing a progressive flexible workspace strategy, in contrast to the US where 60% of office space is assigned. This preference is set to continue growing, with 90% of European firms planning to move to hot-desking, co-working and activity-based configurations in the next two years, compared to just 38% of American firms.
European CREMs falling behind US peers’ data collection
Whilst the majority (88%) of respondents surveyed feel that employee wellbeing and satisfaction is an important factor in shaping workplace configuration over the next two years, most lack the data to do so. Despite employee satisfaction ranking as a key business outcome, only 57% of EU firms use this metric as part of workspace performance measurement.
Despite European CRE managers advocating a more progressive and responsive approach to workspace strategies, US companies currently outperform Europe in all areas of data collection. European CRE managers are also severely lacking in footfall data collection, with just 59% measuring how people are utilizing and moving through space.
82% of European CRE respondents cite a lack of access to accurate data as a significant hurdle to achieving business initiatives, including improving employee satisfaction. However, the research also revealed that 29% of executives plan to decrease data collection in wellbeing areas over the next two years, revealing a misalignment between the CRE and executive functions within global corporate multinationals.
Thomas Kessler, CEO and co-founder at Locatee comments:
“The pandemic has caused many businesses to reassess their CRE priorities, and we’re seeing an increased importance placed on employees’ wellbeing and satisfaction. s. This has been driven by skyrocketing demand for flexible working models, and our research shows that European CRE managers are leading the charge in creating spaces which are fit for purpose both physically and mentally.
However, a lack of data will create real challenges for CRE managers in Europe when it comes to implementing these progressive strategies and initiatives. As society continues to move towards a fully integrated hybrid working model, companies will need to ensure that their CRE teams have access to comprehensive data in order to future-proof the office for years to come.”
The full report can be found here:
Locatee is the leading workplace analytics solution that transforms complex data into space utilization insights. Developed with a deep understanding of the corporate real estate challenges facing the modern world of work, Locatee empowers workplace leaders to make decisions about their business buildings with confidence.
Locatee’s solution utilizes existing WiFi and ethernet networks to measure office occupancy and can be used to answer questions such as whether to downsize, if it’s the right time to terminate a lease, or to help restructure spaces to create places where people love to work
To gain an up-to-date insight into evolving workspace configurations and the role of CRE managers entwined in this process, Locatee commissioned the independent research firm Verdantix to undertake independent, anonymized phone interviews with 51 executives in real estate, workplace, and facilities management roles based in Europe.
This report follows on from a previous study conducted with executives in the US, with relevant comparisons made throughout. Respondents spanned five industry sectors in four different regions and worked for firms with typically more than 10,000 employees globally.
Zurich, 22 March 2021
Locatee – the workspace occupancy and analytics provider that recently expanded in the US – has been recognized as one of the 20 most innovative companies in the construction and real estate industry in Switzerland. The PropTech Academy and PropTech Switzerland compiled the ranking with the aim to uncover and recognize the most impressive companies working in the Swiss PropTech sector.
The assessment was based on 12 unique categories and around 100 criteria. The innovation ranking is intended to help bring innovation to the fore as an important factor for corporate success.
2020 was a pivotal year for Locatee – with the pressures of the pandemic making us reassess what and how we should use our workplaces for. As a result, Locatee has seen a huge increase in demand for its workplace analytics solution that provides organizations with the data and insight to make intelligent decisions about the layout, structure and optimization of office spaces. Locatee has gone from strength to strength since the announcement of its Series A last year, having tripled its revenue and recently announced an expansion in the US market in February.
Thomas Kessler, CEO and co-founder at Locatee comments:
“Over the last year, the team at Locatee have been working exceptionally hard as organizations around the world reacted to the pandemic. We’ve been with them every step of the way to ensure they have the data they need to assess the occupancy and safety of their workplaces. This recognition is due to the team’s hard work, and we’re humbled to be recognized as one of Switzerland’s most innovative companies in the PropTech sector.”
The full list of companies can be found here:
Zurich, February 11, 2021 – Locatee, the leading SaaS provider for Workplace Analytics, receives a loan guarantee of three million Swiss francs from the Swiss Technology Fund. The Technology Fund provides loan guarantees to Swiss companies that enable novel products for sustainable reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
“We are very pleased to receive the support of the Swiss Technology Fund. With our analyses of the actual use of office space, we enable companies to sustainably protect the environment,” explains Thomas Kessler, CEO and co-founder of Locatee. “The optimization potential for our customers is huge: space savings are a key lever for reducing emissions. But the data can also be used for further optimization to protect the environment.”
To exploit the full potential of a data collection, Locatee collects the relevant data – anonymously and without the use of additional hardware – and prepares it visually. Corporate real estate managers with the challenge of making large office spaces as efficient as possible while benefiting employees can use Locatee to optimize their office space. This includes more sensible air-conditioning of the rooms, avoiding food waste in canteens or optimized cleaning processes. These are all already practical use cases that help save emissions. Ideally, companies can even use Locatee to reschedule entire new construction projects, save on construction costs and materials, and preserve green spaces.
In addition to sustainability and the responsible use of resources, Locatee is also following the ongoing debate about different workplace models, and here, too, it emphasizes the importance of a solid data basis: “Especially in times when workplace models such as remote work are becoming firmly established alongside traditional office work, it is more important than ever to gain insights into one’s own office usage and utilization,” explains Thomas Kessler. “We want to work with corporate real estate managers and decision makers to shape the future of working and make it more environmentally friendly!”
About the Technology Fund
The Technology Fund is a climate policy instrument of the federal government. The strategic responsibility for the implementation of the Technology Fund lies with the Federal Office for the Environment FOEN, Climate Division.
- Only 57% of respondents feel they are as productive working remotely
- Just 13% can manage and train teams as effectively
- 31% would accept a cash incentive of £10 or less per day to return to the office
- 28% are concerned about job security over the next year
- 56% don’t understand the recent three-tier government lockdown system
UK office workers want to continue working remotely after Covid-19 restrictions lift, despite admitting their productivity is significantly reduced, according to new research released today by Locatee – the workspace occupancy and analytics provider. Commissioned by YouGov, the research provides insight into UK office workers’ attitudes towards productivity, job security, and the prospect of further Covid-19 restrictions.
Low enthusiasm for office working
According to Locatee’s research, if given the choice, just 7% of respondents would opt to return to the office full time. Almost one in five (18%) would choose to work from home every day, whilst a third (32%) would opt to work from home most days. Those with three or more children are the most likely to want to return to the office permanently (11%), whilst men are more keen than women to return (49% vs 44%).
Comforts of home working
Asked to identify the key reasons for working from home, 72% of respondents flagged ‘comfort’, whilst 50% stated they feel more productive. For a third (32%), fear of contracting Coronavirus in the office is still a significant concern. Half (50%) feel the time spent commuting is too high, while a quarter (25%) enjoy time away from colleagues.
Negative impact on productivity
Despite remote working proving popular, there is a negative impact on productivity. Only 57% feel the standard of their work is equal to or higher than it was when based in an office. Just 13% of respondents feel they manage or train teams as effectively when working remotely. Creativity and brainstorming are also hindered – only a quarter (26%) feel they can execute as effectively remotely.
Cash incentives are a key motivator in getting reluctant workers back into offices. Almost a third (31%) would be willing to accept an extra £10 or less per day to return (an additional £2,540 per annum per employee). A further 37% would accept between £20 and £30 additional pay per day (up to £7,620 per annum per employee). Increased holiday allowance is the second most popular motivator to return (38%), followed by more desk space (23%) and better technology such as laptops and mobiles (22%). A quarter (25%) of respondents state that no incentive would encourage them to work more frequently from the office.
Concerns over job security
Job security over the next year is a concern for over a quarter of respondents (28%). Londoners are the most worried about holding onto their job (37%), followed by those in the Midlands (32%) and the East (26%). 73% of women feel secure in their jobs, compared to 70% of men. 45-54 year olds are the age group most concerned about losing their job (35%), compared to 23% of 25-34 year olds.
Confusion over ‘three-tier’ system
The recent ‘three-tier’ lockdown system imposed by the UK government has proved confusing and difficult to understand. Well less than half (40%) feel they could confidently explain the system to a friend, whilst the majority (56%) feel ‘not confident’. Only 34% of all respondents aged 18 – 24 years olds feel could explain the restrictions.
Reactions to extending lockdown
When asked to consider a scenario where the UK was still under the current lockdown measures in six months (April 2021), over a third (37%) would feel disappointed. (41% male vs 33% female). Regionally, those in London and Scotland would be most disappointed (42%), along with those with three or more children (46%). Over a quarter (26%) of those polled feel ‘neutral’ at the prospect, while 18% feel calm.
Lockdown weight gain
Weight gain during lockdown is an issue for more than half (53%) of respondents, with females more likely to feel they’ve put on weight than males (57% vs 50%). 60% of separated or divorced respondents feel they’ve gained weight, compared to 50% of those married.
Thomas Kessler – CEO and co-founder at Locatee – comments:
“The research shows us there’s a clear appetite for UK office workers to retain the option of remote working after restrictions lift. However the issue of reduced productivity needs consideration: it’s worrying that only 13% of managers can effectively lead teams remotely.
Requirements for UK office space will undergo a significant shift over the next year, with fewer workers needing a full-time desk. This creates an opportunity for companies to take a data-driven approach to workspace planning, and create an optimal office environment which both serves employees’ needs, and saves on unnecessary real-estate costs. Companies which optimise their workplace early-on stand to save significant amounts, and effective planning should therefore be a key priority.”
About the research
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 4373 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 22nd – 25th October 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
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Being a Corporate Real Estate Manager in 2020 is more difficult than it ever has been. Faced with so much disruption and unprecedented developments, where do workplace leaders even begin to find their bearings?
This Workplace Leader’s Handbook is designed to guide you through the transformation coming to the workplace.
Within its pages, you’ll find answers to questions such as:
- What will the roles and responsibilities of the workplace leader look like in the near future?
- Given all the things taking place now, what will be the new topics of interest that determine CREM success?
- What are the up-and-coming tools that all workplace leaders should familiarise themselves with?
With insights from key workplace leaders and industry research conducted by Memoori, this handbook has the tips and guidance you need to land on the right side of the disruption currently shaking and shaping the world of work.
ZÜRICH, SWITZERLAND—Locatee, the workplace analytics solution that provides office occupancy and utilisation intelligence, announced today that effective immediately, its employees can work from home if they choose to do so forever.
“What we’ve seen over the past several months is the world’s largest remote working experiment,” says Thomas Kessler, co-founder and CEO of Locatee. “Although COVID-19 has presented many disruptive challenges, this is one we’ve managed to overcome. We’re certain that by giving our team the choice and freedom to choose their workplace— whether it’s in the office or at home—we’ll not only stay productive, but we’ll be improving overall employee well-being.”
Driving the company mission and culture
“Results from our internal staff survey revealed both a real desire and a beneficial impact of working from home on the lives of team members,” explains Charlotte Maurin, Locatee’s HR Manager. “Our core mission at Locatee has always been to create environments where people love to work: these environments don’t necessarily need to be represented by a physical space anchored to an office building.”
The company does not plan to reduce any office space and will maintain the current size of its headquarters for its staff members who wish to continue working from the office on a regular basis. “One thing we’ve learned during this time is that the office will not lose its relevance—it will take on a more purposeful significance, one that is more human-centric, more collaborative. We’re not becoming a fully remote company: our physical office in Zürich remains an essential part of creating interactions and shaping our team culture,” says Kessler.
Building business-critical products and services
As the company continues to develop its product and services for organisations looking to measure the occupancy and utilisation of their own real estate portfolios, it expects an even more pressing demand from workplace leaders and corporate real estate for its products and services. “During this time, leaders and managers need to measure and understand the changes and fluctuations that are taking place within their office buildings. We want to help them navigate through these challenges. We’re motivated, determined, and our journey feels more meaningful than ever before.”
Locatee is the leading workplace analytics solution that transforms data into space utilisation insight. Developed with a strong focus and a deep understanding of the corporate real estate challenges facing the modern world of work, Locatee empowers workplace leaders to make decisions about their business buildings with confidence.
+41 43 508 51 23
+41 43 508 51 23
If 2020 is forcing you to pivot your real estate strategy, you’re definitely not alone. We are currently witnessing the world’s largest remote working experiment.
The mid-to-long-term impact of COVID-19 will lead to unexpected challenges in the world of corporate real estate as well as some important questions.
- How can corporate real estate leaders bring their workforce back to offices safely?
- How much office space will companies need in a post-pandemic world of work?
- How can facilities managers monitor their workplace utilisation in a compliant way?
To help you navigate through these uncertain times, we’ve created the COVID-19 Corporate Real Estate Handbook.
Containing the insight, data, as well as many tips and tricks pertaining specifically to adapting to the challenges presented by remote work and social distancing, Locatee’s playbook makes sure you’re not left unprepared.
We are happy to announced that we have secured $4 million in Series A funding, secured from San Francisco based FYRFLY Venture Partners and Zurich based Tomahawk VC. This funding enables us to grow strategically, placing a high priority on bringing the right talent and expertise onboard in order to become the global leader in the smart building market.
Philipp Stauffer, Co-Founder and Managing Director at FYRFLY Venture Partners, states “Locatee’s vision to transform how space is used will ultimately elevate the quality of life for employees and can also contribute significantly to sustainable development goals. A quantitative approach to space optimization and productivity holds both significant top- and bottom- line potential for large global organizations.”
The software solutions MeteoViva Climate and Locatee are being employed in the datacentre Zofingen of Post Real Estate Management and Services. In this first-time collaboration, Locatee data have been embedded in MeteoViva Climate.
MeteoViva Climate is the future of facility management: forward-thinking, self-learning, with over 3.5 million operating hours of experience in buildings worldwide. The model-based Smart Data solution achieves an optimised indoor climate while simultaneously significantly reducing operating and energy costs as well as carbon emissions.
To significantly reduce costs without risking quality losses but increasing employee satisfaction and productivity constitutes the pivotal challenge for the Facility Management of Post Real Estate Management and Services. By combining both solutions, the needs of employees can be addressed even more effectively.
How it works
- The existing occupancy data compiled by Locatee are used by MeteoViva Climate in order to create detailed indoor climate forecasts
- The data is imported via API
- Daily and weekly profiles can be created based on historical data
Benefits for Corporate Real Estate and Facilities Management Teams
The use of Smart Data solutions allows for data-based decisions which facilitate the reduction of resource requirements and thus make it possible to actively save costs. Simultaneously, the reduction of carbon emissions and energy consumption contributes to the sustainability of the building. Employees benefit from an ideal indoor climate, which can be continuously adapted to current requirements, thus significantly increasing satisfaction and reducing the number of sick leaves. In addition, increased comfort has a positive impact on productivity.
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