Business Insider

There are over 80,000 videos on YouTube dedicated to showing people the process of assembling furniture from Ikea, and those aren't even the funny ones.

The Swedish retailer is notoriously known for its cost-effective products that appeal to Millennials and people living on tight budgets alike, as well as the grueling task of figuring out how to put the furniture together that always accompanies a purchase. As much as the retailer's products are chic and economical, they're also admittedly kind of a pain. With their latest business decision, the company hopes to combat this issue.

Last month, Ikea announced that they would be purchasing the startup company TaskRabbit and hopes that by the time the merger is complete, Ikea customers would directly be able to hire "Taskers" when they purchase their furniture.

IKEA

The deal is one of mutual benefits for both companies.In a statement released by the company, President and CEO of IKEA Group, Jesper Brodin said, "We will be able to learn from TaskRabbit's digital expertise, while also providing IKEA customers additional ways to access flexible and affordable service solutions to meet the needs of today's customer." Stacey Brown-Philpot, CEO of TaskRabbit agreed, saying "With IKEA Group ownership, TaskRabbit could realize even greater opportunities; increasing earning potential of Taskers and connecting consumers to a wide range of affordable services."

TaskRabbit began 2008 as "an innovative sharing-economy on-demand platform," where users are connected with "Taskers" to help them complete a wide array of projects, from home improvement to housekeeping to yes, moving and putting together your furniture, which is a highly-demanded task in New York City. The service was grossed around $50 million since its inception.

TaskRabbit services have already been implemented in Ikea branches in the United Kingdom, where customers are able to book the services at fixed prices in locations surrounding the London area. The hope is that the success of this program will play out similarly when it comes stateside.

The deal, which was made at an amount left undisclosed by the companies, was done in hopes of Ikea expanding its outreach to online consumers (a market Amazon currently dominates), as well as an attempt to better utilize the "gig-economy" that is quite popular among the top purchasers of Ikea's products.

However, there are some downfalls in signing up with the service, such as the requirement that the furniture must be anchored to the wall as Ikea suggests in its retail package. If this is not done, the Tasker will not complete the assembly. The safety reasons behind the decision are quite logical after the scandals of dressers falling over and injuring people (particularly children), but it's fairly impractical to expect customers likely living in rented units to create more damage to their homes simply to purchase what they originally thought was cost effective furniture.

Task Rabbit

It will have to be seen whether or not the pros of having someone assemble your furniture make it a better buy than investing in a sturdier piece. At the very least, it's something worth experimenting with when the service is fully rolled out in shops throughout the end of the year.

Perhaps the next time you head to Ikea for a home purchase, the only thing you'll have to stress out about is how many meatballs you should order.

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Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.

What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.

The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.

There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!

Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.

Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”

While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.

That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying

the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.

This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.

Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.

That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?

Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."

In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.

We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.

As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.

What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.

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Did you hear about the Great Resignation? It isn’t over. Just over two years of pandemic living, many offices are finally returning to full-time or hybrid experiences. This is causing employees to totally reconsider their positions.

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