September: WorkplaceBytes

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Welcome to the September 2021 edition of WorkplaceBytes, a monthly post for workplace & property professionals where we curate the best bits of data analysis, industry news and commentary.

SEPT 2021

Patience wears thin for vaccine holdouts as Biden announces a mandate for two thirds of American workers

“We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and the refusal has cost all of us” , explained President Biden.

With vaccination rates at a standstill and the US reporting an average of 151,500 new cases per day, President Biden has taken aim at the confusing patchwork of state-based legislation around Covid-19 and the workplace, outlining a new plan to neutralize vaccine hold outs and get the economy moving again (safely).

Get vaccinated or you can’t come to work.

It’s now a requirement for all federal employees and contractors (approx 4 million employees) to get a COVID vaccine.

Biden is also pushing for the US Department of Labor to issue a rule that will require employers with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccines or require weekly testing. It’s estimated this will impact over 80 million workers in the private sector.

The argument? Having unvaccinated people in the workplace is a health and safety issue and employers are legally responsible for protecting vaccinated workers.

The new workplace roadmap was announced as reports emerge of rising workplace conflicts between vaccinated and unvaccinated workers.

“The tension between vaccinated and unvaccinated colleagues is a key issue behind the slowing rate of large-scale office returns,”  said Anthony Mingione, an employment lawyer and partner in the New York office of law firm Blank Rome.

Vaccine mandates coming to offices.png

In limbo: Will delays in returning to office cement remote working preferences?

With Delta surging it’s not surprising that a slew of major US companies (including the likes of Apple Inc., Amazon Inc., Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc., Microsoft Corp and Wells Fargo) have announced that they’re delaying their return to office plans (again) with many unlikely to return to the office until next year.

But what’s the impact of this ‘long term limbo’ on employees?

Nicholas Bloom, professor of economics at Stanford University notes; “ In two years many will have cemented working habits that they prefer, and workarounds to meet and network where needed – making the office seemingly redundant. If there’s no reason to go back, why bother? As time goes by, Big Tech workers will become increasingly comfortable and focused on extensive working from home.” 

This Future of Work Exchange article outlines six reasons why the business world might ‘never be going back to normal’.

Work from home limbo.png

The ‘Great Resignation’ bites

Around the world, workers are quitting their jobs in record numbers and bosses are still scrambling to figure out how to keep them.

  • In the UK, job vacancies soared to an all-time surpassing one million for the first time.

  • In the US, four million people quit their jobs in April – a 20-year high – followed by a record ten million jobs being available by the end of June.

  • In Germany, more than a third of all companies are reporting a dearth of skilled workers.

  • A Microsoft study has found that 41 per cent of the global workforce is considering leaving their employer this year.

“In the past six months the friction to move has been completely eroded. Someone can finish at a company on a Friday evening, have a new laptop delivered, and start a new job on Monday morning without leaving home” explains John Goulding, CEO and founder of employee communication platform Workvivo.

Retention is the new fight for bosses, and it’s one that’s being waged digitally.

“You have to support your staff and make them feel valued,” explains Greg Keller, chief technology officer at cloud-based IT platform JumpCloud. “If you don’t, you’re not just competing with every company in commuting distance to retain that employee, you have to compete with potentially every company in the world.”

If you want employees back in the office you have to nail the basics

Breakfast, candy floss, cool corporate swag, free beer or £1,000?

These are just some of the incentives being offered to entice workers back to their desks in London.

But do perks like this actually work?

A recent Hassell survey of 2300 office workers put this question to the test.

Participants were presented with a long list of features, ranging from doggy daycare to more greenspace, and asked to pick their top five.

One of the most striking features of these results is that a lot of the high-end, nice-to-have amenities were the least popular. We tend to think of things like on-site childcare, a personal concierge and makers spaces as being incredible workplace perks – and they are – but they’re not things that people generally prioritize.

The two most wanted perks were free lunch and a shorter commute. Right behind them were a whole host of practical considerations, with people selecting options like more space to focus, more space to collaborate, and better meeting facilities.

The takeaway? You’ve got to nail the basics.

Research: Top Performing Companies are more likely to increase their real estate footprint post-COVID 

Despite employees’ continued preference for flexibility and the ability to work remotely, the workplace remains the preferred location for the majority of work activities according to a new Gensler study of 2000+ U.S. business leaders.

Leaders at top-performing companies see the office as a place for social interaction, as well as for other activities, including mentorship, deep concentration, and focus work. These companies continue to purchase more Class A office space, are focusing less on condensing their footprint and more on improving the quality of the space and the variety of experiences for their people.

The research finds that approximately 44% of top-performing companies expect to increase real estate needs post-COVID, vs. just 11% of unranked companies.

The inside scoop! Things our customers say they wish they’d known BEFORE installing workplace sensors

Considering installing sensors but don’t know what the deployment process entails?

Tune into our Q&A webcast with XY Sense Head of Customer Success, Shivaun Ryan for a step-by-step briefing on everything you need to know and plan for when implementing and installing sensors in your workplace.

We’ll walk through the five step process we use when engaging clients and discuss some common mistakes to avoid when planning your own sensor implementation.

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