As 2021 kicks off, employees continue to work remotely as offices across the world remain closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, while employers may have had their hesitations and concerns about productivity, the rapid shift to remote work caused by the pandemic has been successful according to an overwhelming majority of both employers (83%) and employees (71%), reports PwC. It’s also predicted that a hybrid model of working in office and remotely will be popular post-pandemic as employers embrace employees’ continued preference for workplace flexibility.
With this in mind, Schneider Electric will offer thousands of its U.S. employees a more flexible working experience, thanks to a new partnership with Upflex Inc. The partnership was sourced by Colliers, which will work with both companies to provide Schneider Electric’s employees with access to Upflex workspaces.
Schneider Electric will transition to a more flexible workspace option with Desk Memberships and Upflex’s Hub and Spoke model. This solution will allow Schneider Electric to maintain a centralized, dedicated office space in its key markets and also grant an initial portion of its 10,000 plus U.S. employees access to Upflex’s network of 2,139 U.S. coworking spaces. Upflex and Schneider Electric are also exploring a collaboration that will allow Upflex clients the opportunity to utilize Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure solutions that create smart offices — optimizing space use, reducing facility costs, and improving the comfort and employee experience.
“For the Schneider Electric team, this partnership will not only help our employees be more flexible and productive, but will also offer well-designed and well equipped modern office spaces to host meetings, team events, and more,” said Karen McClellan, Director of Real Estate at Schneider Electric. “Colliers brought us the perfect opportunity with Upflex because they understand our commitment to sustainability, and being able to reduce the number of physical office spaces and convert to more flexible coworking solutions furthers that commitment.”
“We’ve worked with Schneider Electric for a while and have become accustomed to both the needs of their business and employees. We knew the flexibility that Upflex offers would be a great value-add to Schneider Electric,” said Scott Moore, Vice President of Account Management, Corporate Solutions at Colliers International. “We’re excited to continue and grow our work with both Schneider Electric and Upflex to bring flexible working options to the Schneider Electric team.”
According to data from Colliers, U.S. office absorption fell from 46.5 MSF in 2019 to -86.8 MSF in 2020, the lowest annual total on record to date, signifying a notable lack in tenant demand as the workforce continues to operate remotely. Additionally, roughly one in 10 young adults have moved because of the pandemic, signaling a shift in the population and indicating that companies will accommodate remote employees long term.
“Commercial real estate has been one of the most hard hit industries during the pandemic as companies and its employees rethink where they’re based. Schneider Electric choosing Upflex to outfit its workplace flexibility strategy in the U.S. speaks to this growing necessity for both flexibility and convenience,” said Christophe Garnier, Co-founder and CEO at Upflex. “Beyond office space, Upflex’s data on how team members are truly utilizing their workspaces will ensure Schneider has the opportunity to continue evolving their workplaces to the benefit of their employees.”
In May 2020, Upflex launched Safe Spaces™, a program designed to help businesses of all sizes safely ramp up operations as COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns are lifted. Coworking locations in Upflex’s vast network that are certified as “safe” agree to comply with CDC or World Health Organization guidelines. In addition, Safe Space™ partners practice a stringent list of health and safety practices to keep the coworking community safe, including rules on social distancing, personal hygiene, PPE, cleaning and disinfecting, incident reporting, food and beverage, and engineering controls.
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