The pace of change was enhanced by a global reliance on platforms, apps and multi-media in a way that hadn't been needed before
This was innovation on an unprecedented scale, lots of which was centred around either enhancing or overcoming disruption in established ways of doing things
Ed Ford, Many People
In our 2021 report our experts talked about the blending of home, work and social spaces. Successful spaces of the future would be those that combined multiple functions. This change was accelerated by Covid-19 - but the influence of technology leveraged this change in a way that the industry had not experienced before. Such was the power of the tech-multiplier effect that the pace of change was enhanced by a global reliance on platforms, apps and multi-media in a way that hadn't been needed before. In many cases this technology was not new, but people's familiarity with it and its applications had grown to a point before the pandemic that when that struck, it was second nature for people to look to technology to help them cope with new challenges. The key change being that during this period, people started to trust these platforms and depend on them day to day. Technology became a willing facilitator. Video conferencing kept our face-to-face meetings going; online retail and new tech delivery specialist startups kept the groceries and shopping bags flowing; and booking platforms like Desana provided access to co-working and flexible office space on demand. This was innovation on an unprecedented scale, lots of which was centred around either enhancing or overcoming disruption in established ways of doing things that had been thrust into the spotlight by the pandemic. The working world was evolving as people's lives were becoming more intertwined with new technologies.
Meeting consumers' new expectations
This period brought with it irreversible cultural as well as practical changes. Consumers have come to expect choice and convenience, from same-day delivery to on-demand content, while expecting a higher level of service at this faster, competitive rate. Businesses that offer this to the real estate market in new and innovative ways are doing well and our contributors all see great opportunities for those businesses prepared to embrace these changes.
Work-life balance vs Workplace lifestyle
Many employers are considering how to incorporate multifunctional spaces into the workplace, making offices smarter and focusing more on social and collaborative activities in the hope of coaxing workers out of their home offices. Before the pandemic this was talked about through the optic of work-life balance. Our contributors felt that the new maxim for employers and employees alike has shifted focus towards a more sustainable workplace lifestyle.
The best investors are able to blend leisure into lifestyle
Josh Mintz, Waveline
What is the office for?
'An office doesn't need to be what it once was pre-pandemic. It needs to be smaller; it needs to be more flexible and that is what we are seeing'
Nick Donnelly, Upflex
What is the office for now? It is a question with which employers of all sizes are grappling as desk occupancy rates in cities such as San Francisco, New York and London are still far lower than pre-pandemic.
Offices on demand
'Talent acquisition is the biggest, highest-value part of any business and it is the thing that is in the biggest flux at the moment. What on earth are their needs and how on earth do we meet them?'
Michael Cockburn, Desana
The questions are rhetorical, but Michael Cockburn believes he has a way to answer them. Desana, the app he founded in 2019, is one of a number of new platforms offering access to co-working and flex office space around the world. Options range from The Ministry, a Central London workspace with a members-club feel, to Well&Work in Lisbon, which has its own aquarium and is just a couple of minutes’ walk from the beach.
'There's a very high-end crowd who pay for services to come to them, but we’ve created a mass-market proposition where you pool all the services together in one place. It’s kind of a dream world for them because they can do all the things that they want to do'
Ed Ford, Many People
Our contributors expect the boundaries to continue to blur between retail and hospitality, as businesses innovate to attract people back into city centres.
Landlords don't go into estate agents and say I want to sell my property, or I want to rent my property. There is no point anymore.
Hedi Zidan, Nestify
New renter relationships
The emergency of the Covid-19 pandemic put landlords in an unprecedented situation. Many re-negotiated lease terms with tenants, although government support and mortgage forbearance programmes helped to mitigate the damage.
Given the changes in behaviour that have followed the crisis, our contributors expect this more collaborative, connected approach to continue. Commercial property owners are predicted to take a more active role over the coming years, deploying models that allow landlords to share more in the upside of the success of the underlying businesses whilst sharing downsides when times get tough.