Gensler’s Hoskins and Cohen talk about the post-pandemic office

April 29, 2021, 10:30 AM UTC

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Good morning.

I caught up yesterday with Diane Hoskins and Andy Cohen, co-CEOs of the design and architecture firm Gensler. They are dealing with hundreds of clients these days trying to figure out the post-pandemic office. 

“We are seeing that collaboration has dropped off 40%” during the pandemic, Cohen told me. “People just aren’t collaborating as much. They are missing the interaction.” But employees also want flexibility to decide when they go to the office, and executing on the vision of a hybrid workplace is no simple task.  Particularly challenging is having some people in the room and others on Zoom. “People really need to feel they are in the room when they are zooming in.”

Equally important, says Hoskins, is an increased focus on climate. “The climate conversation has been made very acute by what we’ve just been through. It really has become a virtual circle…the investor side, the developer side, the tenant, the architect, are all starting to be in synch. It’s a transformative moment.”

Transformation also was a recurrent theme in yesterday’s sessions at Fortune Brainstorm Health. “The tempo of drug development has changed as a result of the lessons of the pandemic,” Amgen CEO Bob Bradway told the virtual gathering. “There is no reason we can’t replicate (the vaccine experience) with some of these other large diseases that we talk about – like heart attack and stroke.” Mayo Clinic CEO Gianrico Farrugia said the pandemic “has given health care organizations the confidence that they can tolerate change more than we thought they could.” And change is now an imperative. “We have to transform health care. We can’t be satisfied with simply making things better.”

One area in particular that needs transformation: mental health. “I call it post traumatic COVID disorder,” said CVS CEO Karen Lynch. “44% of people are concerned about their mental well-being…There will be continued stress, anxiety and depression as a result of the pandemic. I think we are going to see a long and lingering impact of mental health problems.”

More news below…including the rising number of countries imposing travel bans to and from India because of the COVID outbreak there.

Alan Murray


Vaccinating kids

The CEO of BioNTech, the German company whose vaccine Pfizer is making and distributing, has predicted European authorization for kids' vaccines as soon as June. The first move would be green-lighting vaccines for 12-to-15-year-olds, then moving down to younger ages a few months later. U.S. authorities have only been talking about the first approvals arriving in the fall. Fortune

Indian travel

Countries including Italy, Germany and Singapore have banned flights to and from India, due to the horrific COVID situation there (on which note, read this Arundhati Roy piece on what she calls the government's "crime against humanity".) The U.S. has also told its citizens to get out, pronto. The problem isn't just how endemic COVID has become in India, but also the Indian variant that countries do not want to see imported. Fortune

Chip crisis

How bad is the global semiconductor shortage? Ask Honda, BMW and Ford, which all cut production and/or earnings forecasts over the issue, in the space of 12 hours. Or Apple, which warned that supply constraints are knocking iPad and Mac sales. Or Samsung (both a maker and consumer of chips), which is talking about a revenue slide. Fortune

Verizon assets

Verizon is reportedly considering a sale of its media assets, such as Yahoo and AOL, perhaps to a private-equity outfit like Apollo Global Management. The deal would likely be in the region of $4 billion to $5 billion. Reminder: Verizon paid over $9 billion for Yahoo and AOL. Wall Street Journal


State success

With 55% of U.S. adults having now received a vaccine, here's a state-by-state breakdown showing regional variation in uptake. Fortune

Peak food

The U.S. and other developed countries are close to "peak food" but people aren't being fed equitably, Sensei Ag CEO Sonia Lo said at Fortune Brainstorm Health yesterday. As Gro Intelligence CEO Sara Menker added, climate change and the pandemic are also fueling inflation in food prices, affecting low-income communities in particular. Fortune

More Brainstorm Health

A couple more nuggets from our virtual conference this week: Gilead's Remdesivir is now being used to treat half of hospitalized COVID patients in the U.S.; and last year there were fewer African American men applying to medical school and being accepted than there were 10 or 15 years ago, suggesting there's a long way to go before true equity is achieved in the field.

Bitcoin barrier

Bitcoin needs to clear the $57,000-ish barrier again soon, or it could be in for a period of volatility. That's according to technical indicators, which currently how that bitcoin is trading below its 50-day moving average. Price at the time of writing: $54,600. Fortune

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

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