Here’s the Latest WE:Brief – WE keep you in the know – May!


The report provides employer data about the impact of the pandemic on six different types of pandemic-related workplace practices including testing and contact tracing, vaccination, employee wellbeing, pandemic response and preparedness, financial impact and the future of work.

This report from ASU, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the World Economic Forum couldn’t be more timely. I can’t do it justice here so be sure to download the full report but here’s a sneak peak:

– 68% of employers are doing some kind of Covid-19 employee testing

– 60% will require vaccination cards before an employee returns to the office

– 77% say employee mental health and well-being are a top priority

– 58% will be doing contract tracing

– Burnout and engagement are both up 51% 

– 45% plan to reduce their real estate footprint


Organizations mainly consider the potential for cost savings for their postpandemic location strategy. HR leaders can, however, inject talent considerations into location decisions by using key labor market data.

When Gartner speak, c-suites listen and right now they are advising the 72% of CFOs who expect to reduce their office footprint to put cost savings in the back seat. 

“Talent-first strategies will drive long-term business resilience and competitive advantage,” says John Mattox, Senior Principal, Advisory, Gartner.


The pandemic forced many Americans into a mass social experiment: working from home (WFH). Now, economists like Steve Davis are measuring the immediate and long-term impact of this massive shift. […]

Steve Davis, Distinguished Scholar at the Becker Friedman Institute has conducted some of the most robust research on working from home during the pandemic and the lasting impact it is likely to have on society. His work predicts:

– 22% of work will be performed at home after the pandemic

– Spending in major cities will decline by 5-10%

– WFH had the potential to raise productivity by 2.4%


“…while agreeing to implement a hybrid return-to-office strategy is a great first step, it is just that—a first step. The immediate next steps are perhaps the most complicated and involve legal policies, tax ramifications, and the complicated web of sourcing and paying for home-office setups.”

Until now, many organizations have been flying under the radar on the tax and labor law implications of working across city/state/country lines but that’s not going to work in this new world of work. I’ll be writing more about this in the coming weeks, but if your organization hasn’t considered the following, it’s they do:

– In some states, less than a day’s presence by a single employee can trigger tax compliance issues.

– An individual whose employer is in a different state than where they are working may owe taxes in two states and the employer may be responsible for withholding in both. This is true even if the employee did not set foot in the employer’s state during the tax year.  

– An employer is responsible for compliance with all the laws of the state in which an employee works. This includes regulations around minimum wages, overtime, break times, parental leave, unemployment, home office expense reimbursement, and more.

Read the full article here:


“There are also issues like payroll deductions for employees working in different provinces, different tax rates and employment standards laws …”

Tax and employment laws have failed to keep pace with our global and mobile workforce. Employers that are new to remote work and even some that have been doing it ‘under the radar’ need to be aware of, among other things, the risks of non-compliance with city, county, state/province, and country:

– Employer and employee income tax and withholding laws

– Insurance requirements

– Entity registration regulations

– Labor laws

– Intellectual property protections

– Union and Work Council implications

“Simply put, asynchronous communication is when you send a message without expecting an immediate response. For example, you send an email. I open and respond to the email several hours later. In contrast, synchronous communication is when you send a message and the recipient processes the information and responds immediately.”

It’s time to take a lesson from companies that are fully remote. One of the most important is: synchronous communication should be the exception, not the rule. 

The author, the CEO of Doist, an all-remote company, argues that synchronous communications:


-Lead to interruptions

-Prioritizes being connected over being productive

-Creates unnecessary stress

-Leads to lower quality discussions and suboptimal solutions


This is one of the best articles I’ve read on the why and how of making the shift to asynchronous communications. I’ve personally tried this and can attest that it works!


This is the look Waldo gives me when I tell him there are no more treats. Of course, there are always more. That’s kind of how I felt about this WE:Brief so here’s some great stuff we just couldn’t leave on the cutting-room floor.

Employers feel cultural connection requires facetime

68% of employers feel people need to be in the office 3 or more days a week to maintain culture (NYT)


Location-based pay adjustment

Many employers anticipate making compensation adjustments when their people move to less expensive areas. A San Francisco-based software engineer would be looking at a 25% reduction in pay if they moved to another city (Glassdoor)


Hybrid Workplace Playbooks are emerging:



Slack’s Future Forum


Remote Work Playbooks

Gitlab’s 2021 Remote Work Playbook

Playbook round-up


Global Workplace Survey Data

HOK Global Return to Work Amid Covid-19 Survey

AON HR Pulse Survey Results by Country and Industry – Amazing resource! Data is customizable!


And don’t miss these:

Deloitte Tech Trends

Ranstad’s Work Monitor



“Colliers partners with clients around the world to align their place strategies with their business objectives by focusing on the evolving elements of Work, Place and People.”

“What the workplace will be is dependent on what work will be.  There is a lot of noise out there and some answers are still not clear.  But by focusing on how a company will work in the future, location and workplace decisions become obvious.  What is most exciting about this are the nuances we have never had to think about like how remote people are developed and promoted, how a distributed work program can contribute to diversity and inclusion, how to emphasize and make room for the social aspects of work and how to create equitable experiences for remote and in-office workers.”


For more information, contact Keith Perske, Head of Workplace Advisory, Colliers International.


WORKTECH21 Global is the virtual forum for all those involved in the future of work and the workplace as well as real estate, technology and innovation.

Use this link for a special discount for WE members.


Become an Official Member of WE! “Changing the world, one workplace at a time.” Workplace Evolutionaries (WE) is the world’s largest, multi-disciplinary global community of practice focused on Workplace innovation. WE are committed to the evolution, exploration and transformation of the workplace.”

Two Ways to Join WE! 

1)  IFMA + WE (International Facility Management Association + Workplace Evolutionaries) for current IFMA Members

With your IFMA Membership, you can join WE for only US $99/year. The fee will be prorated based on your IFMA join date. You can add WE through your MyIFMA account or by calling Member Services at 1-713-623-4362!


  • NEW! Retired Members: Join IFMA for just $100 and add WE for $10/year 
  • NEW! Student Members of IFMA get a free WE membership 

2) WE (only) Membership 

 You can now join the Workplace Evolutionaries (WE) Community of Practice directly: Join WE Only where you register and create an account.


You can join WE and receive all the WE membership benefits but still get access to IFMA content. This membership targets multi-disciplinary leaders (HR, IT,  Workplace) who are deeply interested in workplace management and the impact on human performance in the workplace. Total annual WE (only) Membership is US $318/year.


If you have any questions about WE membership or the signup process, contact the WE Administrator at or the WE Membership Chair: Angela Dettore at

Attitudes towards working from home have changed substantially since the start of the pandemic. This column discusses the findings from a survey of 5,000 working adults in the UK in January and February 2021…”

Brand new data from robust U.K. study shows remarkably similar trends to what we’re seeing in the U.S.:

• 52% of workforce is working from home

• About 20% want to work full-time in the office, 20% want to work full-time at home. 40% want a 2-3 day/week 

• 78% say they are equally (49%) or more productive at home

Based on the results of their study and others showing increased vacancies and reduced office construction, the article concludes the hybrid model is here to stay.


According to respondents at fully operational companies, the most significant changes they’ve made since returning are executing a larger share of their work virtually, accelerating the adoption of digital technologies, and serving a larger share of customers through digital channels. 

Yes. I am a data junkie, but this McKinsey report goes where others have not dared go before. 

– 46% or respondents see norms for remote work more resembling since-Covid19 experience; only 13% see a primary or complete return to the pre-crisis model

– Relative to business travel, the numbers along similar lines are 36% and 19% respectively

– Use of office space: 41% and 20% respectively

Lots more in the full article.



A third of workers in a new survey say they would turn down an offer for an in-office job. How that changes the recruiting calculus for those hiring—and those looking.

The headline says it all. Before the pandemic most job candidates would have been nervous bringing up the question of working remotely in an interview. That genie’s out of the bottle. Employers need to think about how they’re going to answer the question that will be asked more frequently now.


The Partnership for New York City surveyed major employers between February 24 and March 8 to project how long Manhattan’s one million office workers will continue to work remotely. 

Key findings:

– Only 10% of Manhattan office workers are back in the office; 45% expected by September

– 51% of Manhattan’s real estate industry employees are back; 82% expected to by September

– Other industries expect about half back by September

– Employees of smaller companies are returning faster—20% of those with less than 500 employees compared to only 8% of those with over 1,000

– 22% of employers will require a full-time return to office, 66% will go hybrid-remote, 9% can work remotely forever

– 57% of companies say business travel will only return at the 25%-50% level


While middle managers tend to align with the C-Suite, upper managers are often more resistant.

This HBR article explains why organizational change is so hard. Four personas are used to categorize senior and middle managers relative to their change mindset: Business Operators, who readily tow the c-suite line; People Champions, who may resist change if they feel it is not in the best interest of their people; Change Resistors, the 20% of senior managers and 14% of middle managers who doggedly cling to the way things used to be, and The Disaffected, the 12-13% of managers who lacks confidence in leadership and probably won’t be happy no matter what they do.

The authors advise that leaders should:

– Anticipate the challenges they will face with each persona

– Customize how they communicate with resistors

– And bring them into the planning and execution of the change process.


“These activities often feel implicitly mandatory.”

A study just out from the University of Sydney confirms what many of us have known for years. Not everyone likes virtual (or for that matter real-life) happy hours or team building events. In fact, this new research suggests they can even have a negative effect on your team. Rather than forced fun, the full study suggests pairing colleagues who are essential to success, and having them engage in a structured conversation aimed at building trust. In the experiment, the team used the “36 questions that lead to love.” There’s a more thorough, and un-gated, description of the study here.


Over 60 participants (including FM & RE managers, A&D professionals, as well as HR & IT leaders) have taken the program in the past year. Here’s what they are saying:


“I took the Introduction to Workplace Management webinar and came to the conclusion that this program would benefit my career and professional advancement.  So, I signed up for all the sessions and have shared with my NYC Chapter how valuable I am finding both the content and the interactive learning experience.’” Annette Vega, IFMA NYC Chapter President


Click here for a pdf with details about the course contents.


The next sessions begin in June 2021. Space is limited. Click here to learn more and register.  Have Questions? Email

Upcoming WEbinars
Date: Thursday, May 20, 2021
Time: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT
WE Hub Global Events
4:00 AM – 6:00 AM   WE HUB UK: Fiona McLean

Fiona McLean is the General Manager of The Pierhouse Hotel, an award-winning small boutique seafood hotel on the west coast of Scotland. 


06/15/2021 – 06/16/2021
9:00 AM – 3:30 PM   Friends of WE: WORKTECH 21 Global Edition Virtual Event

WORKTECH21 Global is the virtual forum for all those involved in the future of work and the workplace as well as real estate, technology and innovation.


11:00 AM – 12:30 PM   WSL 1-01: An Introduction to Workplace Management

The workplace experience is becoming increasingly important to ‘c’ suite leaders in their quest to hire, inspire and maximise the performance of the best talent. In this module we define the modern workplace, set out the new discipline of ‘Workplace Management’ and explore the core concepts and capabilities needed to manage the modern workplace ‘experience’.



There are 21 Award categories to choose from!

Don’t miss this chance to strut your innovative stuff to the people who need to see it!


THANK YOU to our GREAT WE sponsors! Your generous support makes our Community, Programs and Events possible. 


To learn more about sponsorship, contact Susan Spiers. Download the WE sponsorship benefits summary for further details.