Buy Now, Pay Later Versus Credit Cards: What You Should Know

CEO and Founder of Plinqit, the only savings app of its kind that pays users for learning about finance and savings. Between inflation, rising interest rates and other economic uncertainties, many Americans are concerned about their personal finances. These concerns impact their financial decisions. For some, this means relying on buy now, pay later (BNPL) products. In fact, a new survey from Credit Karma revealed that nearly 60% of consumer respondents said inflation is driving them to use BNPL products for items they need.

The survey also revealed that 13% of BNPL users surveyed rely on the service to pay for items at the supermarket, 18% are using it at warehouse stores and 17% are using it at discount stores. These stats indicate consumers are using BNPL services to pay for food and other household necessities.

Overall, BNPL usage has grown rapidly in recent years, and the BNPL market is expected to hit $3268.2 billion by 2030. It is more important than ever for consumers to understand how these products work so they can make informed financial decisions, especially in the current economic environment. Whether they opt to use BNPL or not, consumers need to know the risks, the difference between BNPL and traditional credit products, as well as the pros and cons of each, and the potential implications of using BNPL when it comes to their financial goals.

If It’s Available, Why Not?

Just as you would with any credit product, look out for overuse of BNPL. Most Americans believe they can handle one BNPL installment, but what happens when one installment turns into three? Juggling multiple BNPL payments makes it easy to overextend your budget and potentially lose track of payment due dates, resulting in a cycle of debt that’s hard to get out of.

If a person fails to pay their BNPL payment, their debt can be sent to collections, which can seriously damage their credit score. In fact, according to a Credit Karma survey of Americans who have used BNPL, 38% reported they have missed at least one payment. Of those, another 72% saw a decrease in their credit score afterward.

Additionally, BNPL is different from other forms of financing because BNPL providers currently do not review consumers’ other outstanding debts. This makes it difficult to understand whether a consumer can take on more debt. Consumers must also expect the unexpected. What if an unexpected expense comes up? Will this impact their ability to make payments toward their BNPL debt and other debts?

BNPL Versus Credit Cards—What’s Better?

BNPL is gaining popularity as an alternative to credit cards, particularly among younger consumers. Many younger adults fear getting into debt, so they avoid using credit cards for purchases and instead reach for the tech-friendly BNPL solution. Both methods come with their own pros and cons, and consumers should weigh the benefits and risks of each before blindly making purchases.

Due to the increase in online shopping during the Covid-19 pandemic coupled with the demand for convenience, many consumers started using BNPL services. Popular BNPL providers like Afterpay, Affirm and Klarna have little to no interest and no hard credit check. Some options carry no fees, essentially making it free financing for the customer. However, if a customer misses a payment, it can affect their credit score and there can be substantial fees for late payments.

Also, some BNPL providers do not currently report positive payment history to the major credit bureaus, which means consumers cannot build their credit score like they could by making on-time payments for a credit card.

On the other hand, credit cards can be used almost anywhere and are more versatile for things like groceries and gas. Credit cards also build credit history and offer rewards and points that can be used on travel and cash back. However, carrying a balance over to the next month can incur a significant amount of interest, making it even harder to pay off the new balance.

BNPL’s Implications For Financial Goals

No matter what a consumer’s financial goals are—whether it’s early retirement or buying a home or car—taking on debt has implications for those goals. When deciding between BNPL financing and other forms of credit, it is best for consumers to consider how the line of credit will impact their ability to save.

Do they need to build up their credit score in the long term to buy a house? If so, a credit card might be best. Do they need to make a necessary purchase now and pay it off over time without impacting their credit score? If so, BNPL may be a good choice.

It is also important to consider economic changes that can impact budgets and financial well-being. While the economy is still in recovery from the pandemic, inflation continues and the cost of everyday goods remains at record highs. Consumers should avoid overextending their budgets and steer clear of financing that may hurt their credit score and send them deeper into debt.

The Role Of Community Financial Institutions

For individuals considering alternative financing options, it’s worthwhile to leverage the resources at their bank or credit union to make an informed decision. Financial institutions are well equipped to educate consumers on the benefits and risks of BNPL, as they can accurately assess these financing solutions and determine whether they will help or hinder a consumer from achieving their goals.

The appeal of BNPL is clear, thanks to its convenient enrollment process and widespread availability. These services have become common among online retailers, and apps such as Afterpay and Affirm are quickly becoming household names. While these financing options appeal to many, individuals should be aware of the implications of using BNPL, and they need to look no further than their community financial institution for guidance.

With the help of their local bank or credit union, consumers can become more financially literate so they can weigh the pros and cons of BNPL versus traditional credit products. This will ensure consumers make smart financial decisions and take the right steps to create a positive financial future.

CEO and Founder of Plinqit, the only savings app of its kind that pays users for learning about finance and savings. Read Kathleen Craig’s full executive profile here.

Source: Buy Now, Pay Later Versus Credit Cards: What You Should Know

Critics by movi

Buy now, pay later is a type of short-term financing. These point-of-sale installment loans are offered by a number of companies, including Movi

BNPL can be used at a variety of major retailers, which differ from plan to plan. Some credit card companies, also offer installment payment arrangements for eligible cardholders. Each buy now, pay later plan is unique to its provider, but generally they share a few things in common.

For example, BNPL loans typically require an upfront deposit payment representing a portion, such as 25%, of the purchase amount. After that, the remaining balance must be paid off in installments over a period of a few weeks or a few months. Some BNPL services set the total number of payments at four, while others allow borrowers to select their own payment schedule.

In terms of cost, buy now, pay later plans often charge no interest and no fees, with the exception of late fees for missed payments.

Just over half, 51%, of Americans used a buy now, pay later service at least once during the coronavirus pandemic. Among the most commonly purchased items were clothing, furniture, appliances, electronics, housewares, and cosmetics.

How Credit Cards Differ

Like buy now, pay later loans, credit cards can be used at retailers. But they can also be used to buy gasoline, make utility bill payments, and for other kinds of expenses. If the cardholder pays their balance in full each month, they won’t owe any interest. Otherwise, their balance will accrue interest at the card’s annual percentage rate (APR).

Credit cards may also charge fees, including:

  • An annual fee
  • Balance transfer fees
  • Cash advance fees
  • Foreign transaction fees
  • Late payment fees

A credit card is an example of revolving credit. With this type of credit agreement, you have a set credit limit that you can borrow against. As you make purchases with a credit card, your available credit is reduced by that amount. When you make a payment, that frees up your available credit.

Buy Now, Pay Later vs. Credit Cards: Which Is Better?

Buy now, pay later plans and credit cards are both options to consider when making purchases online or in stores. But each has some advantages and disadvantages.

Buy Now, Pay Later Pros

  • Convenience: You can apply online and be approved almost instantly
  • Get approved without a hard credit check, which can lower your credit score
  • Pay off purchases in installments, typically with no interest charges
  • Choose a payment frequency that fits your budget (at some BNPL providers)

Buy Now, Pay Later Cons

  • Since you don’t have to pay in full right away, it’s easy to overspend
  • Payment plans aren’t always interest-free
  • Missing a payment or being late with one could hurt your credit score
  • Not all retailers accept buy now, pay later

Credit Card Pros

  • Can be used at a wider array of retailers and for other purposes
  • Pay off purchases over time at your own pace, without fixed installment payments
  • Potential to earn cash back, miles, or points on purchases
  • Cards may offer other perks, such as travel and rental car insurance

Credit Card Cons

  • Interest charges can add up quickly if you carry a balance from month to month
  • A hard credit check is typically required to qualify
  • Late payments can be damaging to your credit score
  • Credit cards can charge numerous fees, which add to your overall cost

How to Choose a Buy Now, Pay Later Plan

When comparing buy now, pay later plans, pay particular attention to:

  • Which retailers accept it
  • Initial deposit requirements
  • Number of installment payments required
  • Interest charges, if any
  • Fees, if any
  • Limitations or exclusions on purchases
  • Credit check requirements
  • Shipping policies
  • Refund and return policies

Also, consider how a buy now, pay later agreement might affect your credit. While many BNPL companies only perform a soft credit check to approve shoppers for loans, your credit score could still suffer if you’re late in making a payment and the company reports it to a credit bureau.

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What The Joy of Dolphins Can Teach Us About Climate Solutions

On one of those beautiful, cloudless days the Bahamas are famous for, photographer Doc White and his wife, Ceci, dove into the Atlantic Ocean with an assignment to photograph marine mammals. What they considered a routine expedition soon turned into a moment they’ll cherish forever.

As they swam in the crystalline sea, they noticed a pod of spotted dolphins. Awestruck, they longed for a closer look but respectfully kept their distance. Then, something magical happened: The dolphins approached. They made a calm retreat, only to come swimming back moments later. This went on for almost an hour. “I’ve spent a lot of time in the water, and I had never seen that before,” says White.

The pair yearned for that dreamlike moment of physical connection, but resolved to hold out their hands and let the animals decide what to do. “Sure enough, they came up and started nestling against us!” White says, still excited by the memory years later. “Each dolphin acted a bit differently. Some would come very close and touch us; others, while obviously curious, would still keep their distance.”

White had always considered himself an ardent environmentalist and devoted advocate for marine life, but that delightful experience deepened his commitment to protect the natural world. He thinks that if those creatures can exhibit curiosity, playfulness, and joy, they must have other feelings as well — perhaps even an awareness of how the world they share with us is changing.

While we must be careful in viewing animal behavior through the lens of human experiences and anthropomorphic terms, scientists have used simple observations and rigorous testing to assess dolphin behavior. More often than not, their results show that the charismatic creatures exhibit what we’d recognize as joy.

Witnessing that has had a profound impact on White and others. Their close encounters with marine mammals have led them to believe that any solution to the climate crisis must include rethinking our relationship to the natural world. A long history of exploitation and extraction has given many people the idea that we live in a world apart from nature. But if dolphins can, like us, feel joy and other emotions, perhaps we are more connected to them than we realize.

And if that is true, perhaps the experiences and perspectives of the animals with which we share this planet should inspire and inform our climate work. “If you fall in love with a place or an animal and what it gives you,” says White, “then you owe it to that animal to share it with others.”

The secret lives of dolphins

A compelling body of research suggests that dolphins and other animals — dogs, chimpanzees, and elephants being perhaps the most mesmerizing examples — feel a range of sentiments long considered unique to humans, including joy, sadness, empathy, and compassion.  Of course, it doesn’t take a PhD in biology to know dogs are capable of unbridled happiness — anyone who’s watched one catch a Frisbee can see that.

Discerning emotions in cetaceans is a harder task, one Janet Mann, a biologist and psychologist at Georgetown University, relishes. Mann has long been fascinated by animal behavior and human interaction. She began her career studying primates but, intrigued by their complexity, shifted her focus to dolphins. “With dolphins, there’s a challenge of wondering what is going on in their heads because they don’t have facial expressions,” she says. “We have important dissimilarities, as well as important similarities.”

One of those similarities is remarkable intelligence. Dolphins recognize themselves when looking in a mirror. They can use echolocation to identify an object, then choose a matching object from an assortment of items. They possess sophisticated language skills, understand sentence syntax, and recognize the difference between direct and indirect objects. After homo sapiens, dolphins have the largest brains in relation to their body size. “Their brains developed to that size around 30 million years ago, and our brains only started getting bigger around 1.8 million years ago,” Mann says.

And like humans, dolphins are individual beings with distinct personalities. “When people say, ‘What are dolphins like?’ I’m like, ‘Well, what are humans like?’ It’s tough to give a general answer,” Mann says.” If you look at a crowd, you may observe a general behavior. But if you look at one specific person, you see something entirely different. That’s how we’ve come to study dolphins: as individuals.”

While it’s true many animals express what could be considered joy, dolphins and other cetaceans are perhaps the most relatable example because they are just so much, well, fun. Hard indeed is the heart that can’t see joy in their leaping from the water and crashing with a splash. These friendly creatures have been known to glide through the water among surfers, race alongside boats, and chirp or leap beside canoes. 

Elizabeth Henderson, a marine bioacoustic specialist at the Naval Information Warfare Center in San Diego, has seen the animals show compassion and even love. “Sometimes nursing females will adopt calves who have lost their mothers,” she says. “Females will babysit calves at the surface while their mothers forage. In matrilineal societies, such as killer whales, prey is often shared among a pod.” Few who recall the story of Tahlequah, the orca who carried her stillborn calf for 17 days as she swam 1,000 miles through Puget Sound in 2018, doubt she was expressing something akin to grief.

Observations supporting the idea that animals possess rich inner lives have helped spark an idea among a growing number of scientists: Instead of analyzing problems based on how we as humans see them, perhaps we ought to view them from another angle. Opening the lens to consider the perspectives of creatures that rely primarily on sound, or smell, or texture to make their way in the world may lead to new solutions to our most vexing problems, says Kelly Jaakkola, director of research at the Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Key, Florida.

The question, she says, isn’t, “How smart are animals?” but rather, “How are animals smart” — and what can they teach us? Dolphins are grappling with the myriad effects of their habitats getting warmer and more acidic, and they are showing signs of stress. The animals have been recognized as a sentinel species whose health and well-being provides key data for monitoring oceanic health. Fossil records have long shown evolutionary resilience and adaptation to environmental shifts brought by ice ages and other epochal events. But given the speed with which the climate is changing, such adaptations may no longer be possible.

‘We cannot just take, take, take’

Beyond the realms of biology and behavior, these marine species have long captured the hearts and minds of human observers. The ancient Greeks regularly depicted dolphins in their art, music, and stories. They believed the creatures danced to the natural rhythm of the earth, referring to them as philomousoi, which means “music lovers.” Bacchylides often wove tales of dolphins into his work, with humans leaping into the sea and resurfacing joyously riding dolphins.

Poet, climate activist, and 2021 Grist 50 honoree Craig Perez, who was born and raised in Guam, frequently intertwines his experiences with the cetaceans into his work, which includes a poem about Tahlequah’s loss. He believes that the sense of connection he feels to them and the creativity it sparks is vital to becoming a better, more conscious activist and, in turn, creating a better world.

“In many Pacific cultures, animals are seen as kin, gods, spirit guides, emblems, and nourishment, so they are treated with respect and reverence,” Perez says. “I have been lucky to swim and bond with many marine mammals. More recently, my writing has turned to issues of environmental justice and climate activism, because I became more conscious of how much our ecologies have changed for the worse.”

The shifting climate, coupled with the ongoing legacy of colonialism, has placed coastline communities and island nations on the front lines of this global crisis. They grapple with coral bleaching, diminishing fish stocks, and increasingly frequent storms even as they watch a rising sea reclaim the land they call home. genesis3-2-2-1

“Growing up on an island gives you a deep sense of connection to the natural world, to species, and to the ocean itself,” says Cliff Kapono, a professional surfer and chemist who lives in Hilo, Hawaii. “It also instills a sense of resource management. You begin to have this concept that we cannot just take, take, take from this place.”

Kapono has never doubted that we are fundamentally linked to nature, that it is as much a part of us as we are of it. His work as a scientist has only reinforced that belief. One of the first studies he participated in while earning his doctorate in chemistry required extracting a molecule from coral tissue.

As it turns out, the same substance is found within the human heart and lungs. From the heart of the ocean to the heart beating within each of us, we are, he says, truly connected to the world around us, and to the creatures with which we share it.

By:

Source: What the joy of dolphins can teach us about climate solutions – Fix | Fix

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Bitcoin Is Losing Favor On Darknet Markets

You may ask why it matters to you or the average Bitcoin enthusiast. (You’re presumably an excellent, law abiding citizen — good for you, but that is irrelevant.) Allow me to explain.

The Silk Road

The first major milestone of bitcoin was to be accepted as a form of money. This happened with small obscure merchants at the early stages, but as the word spread, bitcoin found itself as the “official” currency of the darknet, and allowed the creation of a market called “Silk Road.”

Silk Road was a revolutionary online marketplace. Merchants from all around the world could transact from the comfort of their own home, whenever they wanted, and could sell (and customers could buy) whatever they wanted, all with a new form of uncensorable, decentralized and easy-to-use form of money: bitcoin

Bitcoin’s adoption depended on markets like Silk Road to pioneer, and what was special about Silk Road is that it was an almost completely free (as in freedom) market. Free markets are excellent for adoption because they don’t require bureaucracy, permits, regulations or any other form of permission to run. The less permission required, the better a market can function. Therefore, there is more adoption, more merchants and more bitcoin use.

Without markets like Silk Road, bitcoin’s adoption is at risk, and the network is not as efficient as it could be. The importance of Silk Road in Bitcoin’s history is, without a doubt, massive since it pioneered bitcoin’s use as a medium of exchange, and still remains the biggest bitcoin goods and services marketplace in history.

Now that you have a decent idea on why such markets are so important, I’ll do my best to explain why bitcoin is not used there anymore.

The Concept Of Fungibility And Why It Matters

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, fungible means “being something (such as money or a commodity) of such a nature that one part or quantity may be replaced by another equal part or quantity in paying a debt or settling an account.” This is untrue of bitcoin.

Each coin has its own history, and that history may be accounted for when a user tries to use his coins. That history could also lead to the user getting in trouble when using/holding coins that were used in a criminal manner, for example drug trade or an exchange hack.

In darknet markets, privacy is of high importance. Sellers and buyers want to protect their privacy in order to guarantee their safety when transacting. Law enforcement is not too kind to these types of markets and constantly monitors the websites and merchants for privacy leaks.

By default, bitcoin has weak privacy, and therefore is not fungible. Data and metadata from the Bitcoin timechain can be linked together with off-chain data to form solid evidence against a defendant in court. There have been cases that relied on bitcoin’s lack of privacy as conclusive evidence of what the government sees as “wrong-doing.” Naturally, darknet markets were looking for solutions.

Should Bitcoin developers add privacy via hard fork or would a soft fork be sufficient? Should privacy be on the application level rather than on the protocol level?

The truth is that most people, especially the administrators and merchants of darknet markets, do not care. They just want privacy. That’s one of the reasons bitcoin is losing darknet market share to other cryptocurrencies that have figured this out already.Does one bitcoin always equal one bitcoin?

tumblers

Competition

Unlike other sectors, there is a lot of competition in darknet markets, especially when it comes to methods of transacting. Markets rise and fall and so do the payment methods used in them. Prior to 2015, bitcoin used to hold most of the market share in darknet markets, followed only by fiat currency.

After the fall of many markets and their vendors because of bitcoin’s privacy flaws and bad operational security, the use of bitcoin was starting to drop. Other cryptocurrencies, like monero, started to emerge on darknet markets because they better fit the use case. They had something that bitcoin does not, privacy by default.

In retrospect, bitcoin’s focus on being a store of value overlapped with the development of the required privacy for darknet market use.

Enhancing Bitcoin’s Privacy

Still, there are many attempts at enhancing bitcoin’s privacy, and I’ll do my best to list the most prominent of them:

Tumblers

Custodial tumblers were an early solution to bitcoin’s lack of privacy. There will usually be a centralized server that gathers bitcoin from customers and dispenses them randomly to unlink the customer from the bitcoin they sent.

Those have multiple flaws and massive third-party risks, and they are also often honeypots set up by law enforcement to catch dirty bitcoin and surveil on users.

There’s also tumbling with services that are not aware of it: This is a long process where the user will mix their bitcoin with other users’ bitcoin by sending funds to exchanges, online casinos and other sites that hold a large amount of bitcoin. This has the same flaws as custodial mixers.

CoinJoin

A CoinJoin is a collaborative transaction that combines users’ coins in order to create a large anonymity set for them. This increases the privacy of all participants.This is by far the most effective method for privacy on Bitcoin and has been used heavily on darknet markets as well as outside of them.

This one is a very important tool in the tech stack of a Bitcoiner, and I encourage you to learn about it and use it. There are also “fake” CoinJoins who leverage heuristics to confuse on-chain analysis into believing a transaction made by only one person is actually an elaborate CoinJoin.

Stealth Addresses

Bitcoin stealth addresses, prominently BIP47, introduced a way to have a stealth, reusable address that only discloses the real address of the user when a notification transaction was made.

This creates a new Bitcoin address for each user you connect with to ensure privacy. This was never widely used in darknet markets, but it’s decent tech nonetheless and a personal favorite of mine.

The Lightning Network

The Lightning Network is a Bitcoin Layer 2 with a focus on providing fast, cheap and arguably private payments with instant settlement. Currently, the privacy on Lightning is great for senders, partially solving Bitcoin’s fungibility issue on-chain.

Unfortunately, Lightning has privacy flaws when it comes to receiving money. For instance, the receiver needs to provide his “channel point” when creating an invoice. A channel point is the UTXO on the blockchain that is used to back the channel with on-chain bitcoin; that means that the sender can view the receiver’s on-chain transaction history.alpari3-768x185-1-1-1-1

Merchants, especially in environments such as darknet markets are looking for simplicity, something that Lightning doesn’t currently provide. Arguably, the reasons above are why Lightning is not currently integrated into any darknet market. There’s also a concern with the complications that come with running a Lightning node as a merchant.

There is some room for optimism though, as there are currently teams that are working on enhancing both the receiver’s and sender’s privacy, as well as the user experience issues mentioned above. This could potentially make it much more attractive to darknet markets in the future.

What Can We Do To Fix This?

I can not stress enough how important it is that we have decent privacy on Bitcoin that everyone can take advantage of. The solution is within Bitcoin’s culture and community. There are app-level privacy upgrades that can be standardized to improve overall privacy on the network.

CoinJoins of all sorts, stealth address solutions like silent payments and BIP47, and encouraging users to run their own node and use non-custodial and open-source software where they can.

When transacting, make sure it’s peer-to-peer and not through an exchange or other intermediary. Never use a custodial wallet — you can not ensure your privacy if you count on a third party to take care of it for you. Also, when acquiring bitcoin make sure to use a non-KYC (know-your-customer) exchange. Otherwise, your data and privacy could be at risk.

My advice is to do your own research and make sure to take every precaution when using bitcoin to ensure your own privacy.

The more people that use bitcoin privately, the better privacy everyone gets, and the more likely it is that bitcoin will emerge again as the prominent currency of the darknet markets, and consequently of other markets too. This is a guest post by Wildsnow. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.Wildsnow

Source: Bitcoin Is Losing Favor On Darknet Markets – Bitcoin Magazine – Bitcoin News, Articles and Expert Insights

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What Does a Hybrid Office Look Like? This Company Has 5 Ideas

Like many companies, manufacturing technology firm Augury ditched its New York City office during the pandemic. With few people coming in, and most work able to be done remotely, paying rent on an empty office was a waste. But the need for an office didn’t go away completely, and now the company is fitting out a new space in the city. As it does, it’s fundamentally rethinking how the space will work by looking at who will actually be using it.

To help guide the new design, the company surveyed its teams to understand how different departments expected to use the space, especially in a more hybrid work mode. “When we were talking about that, we started asking what kind of people will be there?” says Tiffany Millar, Augury’s workplace experience director.

The people who’d be using the office, the company realized, fit into a few distinct categories—locals coming in semi-regularly, for example, or foreign-based workers visiting only rarely. Head counts might range from 20 people to 80, depending on the day, with different types of workers needing different spaces. “At a high level, we broke it down into five personas,” says Millar.

Home Away From Home

The first persona is what Augury calls Home Away From Home, or people who live in the tristate area who may come into the office once or more per week, even if most of their work can still be done remotely. “These were the people that essentially wanted to get out of their tiny New York apartments, or maybe it’s really loud because the kids are home,” says Millar. “It’s about getting away and going into the office,” Millar says.

The spaces designed for the Home Away From persona focus on the social side of work—a nice kitchen area, coffee machines, high-top tables where employees can work but also chat with people they may only see in person every few weeks. “It had a lot to more do with hospitality,” says Millar.

Time Traveler

There’s also the Time Traveler persona, or employees who are based in Europe and fly in for meetings but need a bit of a time-zone adjustment. The office includes space to store luggage, and even rooms where the jet-lagged can take a nap after landing early in the morning. “While they might not need a conference room at 5 in the morning, they definitely need a place to store their luggage or take a nap,” Millar says.

Hero Visitor

Another persona is the Hero Visitor, which Millar envisions as investors, board members, and potential clients who may visit quarterly. Spaces designed with this person in mind focus on creating a comfortable and fun environment while also showcasing some of Augury’s technology, which is used to monitor and perform diagnostics on industrial devices. The HVAC system in Augury’s new office will have its technology on display for Hero Visitors to see.

On-Site and Fresh Blood

More work-focused personas are On-Site and Fresh Blood—remote workers and new recruits who may be coming to the office for annual meetings or for the first time since being onboarded. The innovation economy—a reason to be optimistic. Creating global solutions that beget great economic opportunities requires a higher purpose

For remote workers in the On-Site category, conference rooms and breakout spaces are being designed into the office to enable easier in-person collaboration after months of working on projects only remotely.

For the Fresh Blood persona—mostly new hires and people being recruited—the design prioritizes way-finding and clear signage. “That space has everything to do with making sure things are easy to find,” says Millar. “It’s very overwhelming when you’re hired remotely and you go to the office for the first time.”

5 Personas, 1 Space

Each persona has influenced different parts of the office, which will have two floors. Millar says there’s no space that’s dedicated to one persona only, but rather that each will tend to use some sections of the office more than others. Instead of designing the space with one main user in mind, like Augury’s old office, the new office will include these persona-focused design elements to make it adaptable to whomever happens to be in the office on any given day.

While the end result may not look all that different from other pandemic-era office redesigns, it does suggest a new way of rethinking these spaces to better reflect how office work has so thoroughly changed. It’s an evolving concept, and one that the company is creating as it prepares to move into the space early next year.

“There used to be a very clear blueprint of how to build out an office. Post-COVID in a hybrid model, I would say that’s failing,” she says, noting that the 9-to-5, Monday-through-Friday office is no longer relevant to the way companies like Augury work. “Knowing who exists in your space, and understanding the gaps and the holes will help you create a solution before the friction starts to happen.”

The personas that Augury is using to guide its design may ultimately change, Millar acknowledges. She says it will be important to track how the spaces are being used, and by whom, to determine whether the design is meeting the changing needs of the different types of people using the office. The five personas Augury has designed around in 2022 may be completely different a year from now.

“I think we’re at the foundation of using personas,” Millar says. “Next comes issues of human behavior, and we’ll see whether we were right.”

By Nate Berg

Source: What does a hybrid office look like? This company has 5 ideas

Enter the Hybrid Workplace

Evidence is starting to emerge that workplaces that adopt a hybrid model early are most likely to thrive. In fact, a recent ONS Survey showed that 85% of UK working individuals favoured a hybrid approach of both home and office working. Similarly in the USA, 52% of US workers preferred a mix of both. And it’s not just a passive sentiment.

The number of searches for jobs offering remote working has increased threefold in 2021 in comparison to the year before. On a more local level, London tube passenger numbers are regularly around 60% of pre-pandemic levels. That includes the 25% boost since the lifting of restrictions on the 19th of January 2022.

What has changed for employees following the unprecedented disruption of the global pandemic is the way the working population consider work-life balance, well-being, and flexible working. Business owners and directors consequently need to address these concerns and make the appropriate changes to their office design and layout to accommodate hybrid working. This is one trend that’s likely to stay.

While the hybrid office is by no means a new concept, the Covid-19 pandemic has given fuel to it. It has changed the dynamic to one where employees move seamlessly between home and office work environments. But it also requires a different set of solutions and ideas, some of which include:

  • Wi-fi enabled spaces for connecting with staff working from home
  • Technology to book meeting rooms and private spaces
  • Configurable office furniture that is easy to move around
  • A combination of team-working collaborative spaces alongside private spaces

Hybrid design typically involves the reconfiguration of existing office space and furniture to create more collaborative and flexible workspaces. The key principle of hybrid design is to create spaces that transcend physical and social barriers. But that doesn’t necessarily mean less space. A communications agency we worked with in London reduced their number of desks from 200 to 100 while retaining their existing space. What they achieved was creative desk layouts and breakout areas for increased flexibility and dynamic working that allowed for collaborative engagement.

The space also included a new booking system that provided the client with a feature-rich cloud-based booking of workspaces and meeting areas. Similarly, Adtrak, a digital marketing agency in Nottingham, reduced its number of desks from 120 to 70 while retaining around 100 staff. The space was essentially reconfigured to include hot-desking areas, social areas, and meeting rooms designed for videoconferencing with remote working staff.

By: k2space

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