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Demise of the city centre

This chap seems to think that you won't be the only one. Big offices may be in the past, says Barclays boss

As far as I see it, there will be a few forces at play here to change they way we live.

1. Covid, social distancing and all of the nasties to come (Remember we got off very lightly with Covid - SARS had an 11% mortality, MERS a 35%, Covid is only 1-2%, oh, and they're all from the same coronavirus family) will mean we have to live with social distancing and potential further lockdowns in the future, whatever the politicians say.
2. Remote working is possible for information workers, made more so by the growth in cloud adoption in the recent years. Organisations who cannot remotely work will either have legitimate reason and therefore need to plan for the next pandemic, or will go bust. Nobody is too big to fail with the current stretched purses of govts these days.
3. Digitization (Middle of the 3rd line across in the buzzword bingo sheet) will continue to change technology, people and process. When digital competition represents 20% or more of your market, then those that haven't/can't digitize will be marginalized or deaded.
4. There will continue to be verticals and geographies that won't be fully digitized, despite the management consultant bollocks sloshing around. They will, however, see some efficiencies or revenue opportunities, even in Govt and defence.
5. I'm already seeing private equity money moving out of office space. They aren't stupid. Pension fund managers will not just sit in the corner and cry, they'll be leading the charge.
6. Your £2,000 per week box of a flat in Docklands is just a box. Of who's 4 walls you have learnt to hate over the past 4 months. Think what £8K per month can buy you in the sticks: Garden, living space and the like. Expect a diaspora of those that can from the cities along the commuter links. With little desire to commute apart from 1-2 days a week for meetings in shared office space.
7. Goodbye High Street unless it provides unique charm and value - as per my previous post

Just in the same way we don't have a typing pool, or take tin baths in our front room, we'll move on. It's called progress. If you want to survive, carry on, if you want to succeed then embrace it.
I dropped to doing 3 days a week 4 years ago, then 2.5 days a week last year. I'm retiring fully at the end of next June, TF. The days can't go quick enough until then as far as I'm concerned. Started WFH when this all kicked off earlier this year and I'm loving it. I work in a small design team of 7. Before this started we were based in 3 different offices scattered around the country, now we're all WFH and it makes not the slightest bit of difference. If you work in an office the world of work is changing massively for the majority of people in the same shoes as you.
 
I dropped to doing 3 days a week 4 years ago, then 2.5 days a week last year. I'm retiring fully at the end of next June, TF. The days can't go quick enough until then as far as I'm concerned. Started WFH when this all kicked off earlier this year and I'm loving it. I work in a small design team of 7. Before this started we were based in 3 different offices scattered around the country, now we're all WFH and it makes not the slightest bit of difference. If you work in an office the world of work is changing massively for the majority of people in the same shoes as you.
My employer has announced that when we reopen our office, we’re reducing the floor space by 30% because a lot of people have discovered the joys of working from home (and the company the joys of saving 30% in rent).
 
They always pull out the " "What about the Pret [a Manger] or the pub that depends on lunch trade from the City workers filling up these offices every day?" line.

How many people actually get a career out of Pret or Pub work? It's transient labour, minimum wage (if they're lucky) and just a stop gap to get a bit more cash. Mostly students or kids after school (Pret).

Arguably, if the big cities aren't swamped with loads of cash heavy commuters, prices will have to come down in general and the locals won't need as much cash themselves?? Or if the businesses aren't there, why would Students go to Uni there?

Personally I love WFH. I've been doing it 4 days a week for over 2 years. Most of my team are spread around the rest of the EU. I get more done, get 3 hours of life back and get to spend my hard earned cash in my local town!!!

All ok until the WiFi goes down at home!
 
Spoke to head of marketing today - she’s a septic living in London. From New York before shipping over here. Anyway - she’s in central London. I asked her what the weekend was like as she walks everywhere and will have eyes on what’s going on and give a good account.

She’s just south of the river by London Bridge. She walked into Covent Garden on Saturday and arrived at 1000 hrs. Place was deserted. Shops were open but empty. Same story on the way to Covent Garden. Everywhere empty.

Sunday she walks to Chelsea. Got there just before lunch. Marie Celeste. The people she did see on both days were all wearing masks. That had changed she says.

Her mate gets the tube into the office every day and sends her a picture of the carriage. Most days she’s the only person in the carriage and one of the few people on the tube.

One of her good mates in New York is a big noise journo. She follows his blog as he publishes on there 9 hours before his articles hit the press. Same story in New York. People also moving out of the City in droves so local tax revenues plummeting.

I live in rural Hertfordshire. I was out with the hounds tonight in the Arrse end of nowhere - well off the beaten track. I spotted a woman walking towards me with her hound. GuesS what? Yup. Open air, in the back end of beyond in the countryside with not a soul for miles and yup - she’s was wearing a bloody face mask!
 
I agree totally about the employment market. The tricky bit for much of the service sector is going to be surviving until they see the lie of the “ new world”
town centres with large transient commuting staff are going to be very different for a few years. less wage slaves commuting in and money being tighter. I.e. Less likely to buy the £6 coffee every day will mean a lot of the present town Center Buisness models will strain.
In 5 years when pension funds and councils have seen no rebounce we may well see widespread conversion of much of the surplus office stock to town Center residential. That will create new and different service opportunities in the town centres.
Generally councils are made up of people who have zero business management knowledge or skills , this is a major factor in the demise of the high streets.
 
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My employer has announced that when we reopen our office, we’re reducing the floor space by 30% because a lot of people have discovered the joys of working from home (and the company the joys of saving 30% in rent).
Only 30%?
 

Mr_Relaxed

War Hero
Nor do they need to be British.
Don't think we're quite there yet - if a typical small employer with less than 50 staff is still coming to terms with managing people when we can't see them, then we're not offshoring white collar jobs en masse, not that we have lots of them. Larger corporates are now and have been down this road, and they're trying to use IT to manage backoffice functions already.
 

Chalkster69

Old-Salt
All ok until the WiFi goes down at home!

I just connect through my phone until it comes back....

Worst case scenario, I'd take leave if I had to - never happened yet & never will....

D
 

Chalkster69

Old-Salt
Employees working from home don’t need to be in the United Kingdom...

No they don't.

But then, in a lot of industries (mine certainly) you can't get the experience in the older systems in India - they're not interested in learning anything that's not the most up to date & swankiest system!

And you certainly don't get the years of experience in the industry & company - anyone can learn a system (whether technical or administrative) - the hard part is learning how it's used in the company - and with established companies it's very often not that logical!

We all know in my company that, if an EU person goes, they'll be replaced by an IN one.

It's been that way for years. So we sit here, earning as much as we can & getting that pension pot built up ready for the inevitable day it happens.

And now I have the luxury of being able to do it from home!!!

When the inevitable happens, I'll get a job as a Dog Shit Picker Upper in the local park and life will become pretty much stress free!!!
 
Yes Guildford or Woking.
I think the authorities have been trying to make Aldershot a commuter town for the last two decades, it’s only 50 minutes ( ish) to Waterloo.
Thus making it less of a military town and building thousands of new homes.

I lived in Woking for five years and within the borough for another ten.

Woking has always been a commuter town. The original Woking, now Old Woking was a sleepy little village to the south of the current town, which grew around the new railway station. The landowner who sold the land to the railway had a canny clause inserted in the sale agreement which insisted that every train that passed through the new station had to stop there. This had some weird results (like the once weekly train to Manchester??) but made it a commuter dream. In rush hour there are (or were until recently) six trains/hour that will get you to Waterloo in about 20 minutes.

The net result of this has been a massive increase in the number of tower blocks built specifically for commuters who cannot afford London prices. I haven't been back there for two years but it was like the bloody Wild West then.

The next, fairly obvious, result was a monster spike in property prices.

Who would have guessed.
 

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