Last week, we shared a story on the sudden decline of coworking “giant” WeWork. In case you haven’t had a chance to read it yet (I highly recommend it as it sheds some serious light on the topic) the TLDR gist of the story is that the company has very quickly declined from a $47 billion company to an $8 billion one. That said, their drop in value has resulted in a need to offload assets, such as a variety of coworking companies it recently purchased – some as recent as this year.
Despite the company’s obvious failures, according to a recent coworking survey by Clutch, WeWork is still pretty popular. When surveyed against 5 other possible choices, the company took the top spot, with 39% of respondents said they work from a WeWork location.
But watch out WeWork! In the same poll, 36% of people (only 3% less than WeWork) are opting for local spaces for their coworking needs. So what does this mean for the coworking landscape in 2020? Clutch found some really interesting data that may give us some clues into what the future of coworking may look like.
Our first trend is that coworking spaces are seemingly favored by business who prefer to be involved in their local community and offer community-based perks. This is something that niche spaces, like Enterprise Coworking, owned by Focus Property Group in Denver, Colorado, are capitalizing on.
Andrew Schuh, a marketing specialist at Focus Property Group, says that local Denver businesses tend to be drawn to their coworking space and that “being local and involved in local events and forming partnerships with local businesses has really helped us. We have a local touch that WeWork doesn’t have.”
But are other local businesses and employees around the globe following suit? We’ve found that whether or not you’re with a company or single employee, the decision to go with a larger space, vs. a smaller, local space, really comes down to a couple things: the size and type of company you work for and your company’s policy on remote working.
For example, if you are a freelancer and you do not have a dedicated space to work in, assuming you have the amount of work that warrants a coworking membership, logic would say that you may want to go with a larger space like WeWork – one with more amenities (which we’ll discuss later in the story). However, being a freelancer also means that you’re probably the one paying for the space, so both actual need and budget can be very real concerns. These concerns may force you in the direction of a local company, vs. a large company like WeWork.
On the other hand, if you are part of an organization that pays for, or subsidizes your remote workspace (lucky you!), you may very well have the means to go with a larger space like WeWork.
Another trend that certainly plays a role in the 2020 landscape is in relation to company policy. It’s important to mention that many, but not all, larger companies have restrictions when it comes to remote working. Some businesses may completely disallow remote working, while others may only offer the ability to work out of the office a few days a week.
Clutch goes on to point out that if a company has more than 100 employees, it’s more likely that their employees visit their coworking space the majority of the week. They found that 53% of employees from larger companies spend 5 or more days per week at their remote office of choice.
In the same vein, Clutch found that if a company has less than 10 employees, only 29% of employees spend the majority of their time at their coworking office. This likely correlates somewhat with what we mentioned before: smaller companies are less likely to prioritize private office expenses, typically based on budget, need, and policy. It can certainly also have something to do with the job you’re in and whether or not the position supports remote work.
Schuh says “The majority of members use the space most days, but there are the smaller businesses that come in fewer days per week…our larger members are definitely here full-time, though.”
Now, another trend that may have an impact on the future of coworking is in relation to plans and contracts. Larger companies tend to stick with coworking spaces for at least a year. We speculate the reasons are both growth-related and budget-related. In a small company, month-to-month is often a great option as it offers flexibility. However, medium and larger companies frequently go with annual plans, which may be subsidized and offer a stable work environment for their employees.
For instance, TrustPilot, a well known review-gathering service and platform, is Enterprise Coworking’s largest member, with 72 out of 800 employees working at the Denver space. All Denver-area employees exclusively work out of Enterprise as it offers them both stability and flexibility. The company has a suite-plan (vs. a desk membership), meaning they can work anywhere they’d like in the office. They also recently signed a 5-year contract with the space, saying that they have no plans to move, even as they grow.
Contracts such as these support small to mid-sized businesses who are on the right track, growth-wise, and are looking to increase their footprint long-term.
The final trend we’ll discuss today is all about amenities. Coworking spaces aren’t just for working. They’re for playing, too!
Many coworking offices come with a wide array of services and perks. Clutch found that 39% of coworking spaces have recreation rooms, for example (Enterprise being included in that statistic). Game rooms like these can have a direct impact on job satisfaction and productivity, which can prevent burnout. Enterprise’s recreational room, for instance, provides pingpong tables, shuffleboard, and Xbox access and helps to reduce daily work-related stresses for many employees. Actually, according to Clutch, about 60% of coworking employees are more relaxed at home since they started working at a coworking office.
Office Assistant, Holly Emmons, attests to this by saying “Our team loves pingpong…people take breaks from their busy days to destress for a few minutes and get away from their desks, so it is great having these types of spaces throughout the building.”
Another amenity that’s taking the industry by storm is wellness programs, and it’s no wonder why. After all, having healthier customers means more activity in the coworking space (more frequent visits, consistent payments, less cancellations, etc.), which means more revenue for the coworking space.
So, what does all this mean for coworking in 2020? With larger companies committing themselves to specific services, we predict that the coworking model will continue to be near and dear to both businesses and employees in the future. In this competitive market, it’s highly likely that many spaces will also continue bring in new tactics and amenities to rival giants and small businesses-alike.
So, without further adieu, let the coworking space wars begin!
Age discrimination lawsuits are coming due to the pandemic – don’t add to the mess
(BUSINESS NEWS) Age discrimination is spreading despite intentions to help, and employers need to know how to proceed in this unprecedented era.
A 2015 survey found that 75% of older workers found age an obstacle in job hunting. COVID-19 made the situation much worse.
Not only do older workers deal with discrimination, but they are at a higher risk of developing serious complications from the virus. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, older workers were hit the hardest by job loss during the pandemic, which is unusual during a recession. As offices reopen, employers need to be careful to avoid age discrimination in rehiring.
Lawyers expect age discrimination lawsuits to increase.
Last September, Harris Meyer published an article in the ABA Journal that predicted a “flood of age discrimination lawsuits” from the pandemic. Employers who have good intentions by keeping older employees out of the workplace to protect their health are still guilty of age discrimination.
What can employers do to avoid age discrimination?
It may be fine line between making sure you don’t discriminate based on age while offering ADA accommodations. The first thing employers should do is to know what laws apply based on their location. Some states exempt employees over 65 from returning to the workplace out of safety fears, meaning that those employees can still get unemployment. Other states are cutting benefits if employees don’t return to work, regardless of age.
There are some jurisdictions that have passed legislation about which workers have the right to be recalled. Next, review your own policies and agreements with laid off and terminated employees. You may want to consult legal counsel to make sure you’re covering your bases.
As you rehire, whether you’re bringing back former employees or hiring new team members, do not make hiring decisions based on age. Keep good documentation about your decisions to terminate certain employees. If you are citing poor performance, make sure to have a record of that. Don’t terminate older employees who have bigger salaries just because of lower sales. Monitor your words (and that of your hiring team) to avoid bias in hiring and firing.
Provide accommodations or not?
According to the SHRM, “Workers age 40 and older are protected from bias by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; however, that law doesn’t require employers to make accommodations for safety concerns.”
Still, employers can provide flexibility for workers, but it largely depends on the type of job. Reaching an accommodation for an office worker will be much easier than accommodating a sanitation worker.
Employers should assume that workers aged 40 and older can return to work. When the need for help is raised by the employee, enter negotiations for accommodations. Don’t initiate the conversation, and absolutely avoid any references to age.
Know that the environment may change as the pandemic continues to affect workers.
Be thoughtful about your hiring practices moving forward to avoid costly litigation from age discrimination.
Missing office culture while working remotely? This tool tries to recreate it
(BUSINESS NEWS) This startup just released new software to help you reproduce the best parts of in-person office interactions while you work from home.
Are you over working from home? Feeling disconnected from your co-workers? Well look no further: The startup Loop Team just released a tool that reproduces the office culture experience virtually.
“We’ve looked at a lot of the interactions that happen when you’re physically in an office — the visual communication, the background conversations, the hallway chatter,” said Loop Team’s founder and CEO Raj Singh in an interview with TechCrunch. “[W]e built an experience that effectively is a virtual office. And so it tries to represent the best parts of what a physical office experience might be like, but in a virtual form.”
Singh’s company, founded pre-COVID, is posed as a solution to feeling “out of the loop” while working remotely. During the pandemic, where virtually all of us are working from home, this technology is needed more than ever.
How it works is by essentially recreating an office experience on a virtual platform. Somewhere between Zoom and Slack with some added features, Loop Team lets you know who’s free to chat, who’s in meetings, and allows you to have private discussions using audio, video, and screen share. It’s ideal for working on projects together.
Loop’s layout is unique in the sense that it is designed to show you conversations in a clear, direct way – exposing relevant items and hiding the rest. Also, employees who miss meetings have the ability to review what they missed, making it perfect for companies that hire across time zones.
The platform was made available December 1st free of charge, but Singh is hoping to introduce a paid version next year. Pricing will likely reflect team size and should remain free for teams of 10 or less.
I’m a big fan of software that allows you to feel closer and more connected to your co-workers. Do I think anything will ever compare to a true, in-person office experience? Definitely not. That being said, I value this kind of progress, especially since I don’t think office culture en mass will make a return any time soon, regardless of vaccinations.
What’s DMT and why are techies and entrepreneurs secretly taking the drug?
(BUSINESS) The tech world and entrepreneur world are quietly taking a psychadellic in increasing numbers – they make a compelling case, but it’s not without risks.
Move over tortured artists and festival-goers, psychedelics aren’t just for you anymore. An increasing number of professionals in Silicon Valley swear by “microdosing” psychedelic substances such as lysergic acid diethylamide(LSD) in efforts to heighten creativity and drive innovative efforts.
This probably isn’t a shock to anyone following trends in tech and startups, particularly the glorification of the 8-trillion hour workweek (#hustle). But business owners, entrepreneurs, and technologists are also turning to other hallucinogens to awaken higher levels of consciousness in hopes of influencing favorable business results.
Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is growing in popularity as business leaders and creatives flock to Peru or mastermind retreats to ingest the drug. It exists in the human body as well as other animals and plants. In his book DMT: The Spirit Molecule, Dr. Rick Strassman says “this ‘spirit’ molecule provides our consciousness access to the most amazing and unexpected visions, thoughts and feelings. It throws open the door to worlds beyond our imagination.”
The substance is commonly synthesized in a lab and smoked, with short-lived effects (between five to 45 minutes, however, some say it lasts for hours).
Traditionally, however, it is extracted from various Amazonian plant species and snuffed or consumed as a tea (called ayahuasca or yage). The effects of DMT when consumed in this manner can last as long as ten hours. Entrepreneurs are attracted to the “ayahuasca experience” for its touted ability to provide clarity, vision and inventiveness.
Physical effects are said to include an increase in blood pressure and a raised heart rate. Users report gastrointestinal effects when taken orally, commonly referred to as the “purge.” The purging can include vomiting or diarrhea, which makes for interesting conversation at the next company whiteboarding session.
Users are subject to dizziness, difficulty regulating body temperature, and muscular incoordination. Users also risk seizures, respiratory failure, or falling into a coma.
DMT can interfere with medications or foods, a reason why many indigenous tribes that work with it also follow specific dietary guidelines prior to ingestion. Not paying attention to diet or prescription medication prior to consuming ayahuasca or DMT can lead to the opposite of the intended effect, potentially even causing trauma or death.
So why the hell are people putting themselves through this ordeal?
Many claim profound mental effects, often experiencing a transformative occurrence that provides clarity and healing. Auditory and visual hallucinations are common, with reports of geometric shapes and sharp, bold colors. Many report intense out-of-body experiences, an altered sense of time and space or ego dissolution (“ego death”).
Studies have indicated long-term effects in people who use DMT. Some report a reduction in symptoms of depression or anxiety.
Subjects in an observational study showed significant reductions in stress after participating in an ayahuasca ceremony, with effects lasting through the 4-week follow-up period.
Subjects also showed improvements in convergent thinking that were still evident at the 4-week follow up. People who consume DMT generally chronicle improvements in their overall satisfaction of life, and claim they are more mindful and aware after the experience.
It’s important to note that dying from ayahuasca is rarely reported, but that doesn’t rule out the risk. It’s also illegal in the states, explaining why groups flock to Peru to visit licensed ayahuasca retreats or why technologists buy DMT on the dark web to avoid detection.
For those considering a DMT journey (and we don’t recommend it based on the illegal nature and health risks), it’s critical to gain a full understanding of the potential risks prior to consumption.
For more reading:
- A full (and long) history of DMT
- The documented effects of DMT
- What it’s like to take DMT (according to users)
This story was first published here in June, 2019.
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