15 Oct 2020

Julius Baer’s Market Update with Richard Croft

Listen to Julius Baer’s Market Update on “Cities after the Corona crisis and the future of the workplace” with Richard Croft, Mark Dixon, CEO and Founder of IWG plc and Carsten Menke, Head of Next Generation Research at Julius Baer.

The webinar discussed the impact of the Corona virus forcing, in record time, a vast majority of office workers having to work from home and shop online while being disconnected from their normal social environment and the impact this has had and will have, on the future of the workplace. Some of the key takeaways were:

• Cities have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, being temporarily transformed into sleeping giants during lockdowns.

• Whilst a bounce back is expected, there will be changes. Rental prices will need to become more affordable and properties on offer will need to be more appealingly designed.

• Working from home has been a necessity for many of late but it does not suit all jobs and all people. Whilst many companies might offer more flexible working location options, we do not expect the death of the office. These spaces, however, need to be developed in such a way that employees want to work there. Affordable local accommodation, as well as commuting times and conditions, are crucial factors given the huge issue of traffic congestion.

• The panel discussion explored a diverse range of topics from whether ‘the rush hour is dead’ to the fact that a city just an hour away from London offers office and living accommodation for an eighth of the price. Also, given that megacities are currently only really affordable for the very rich, might we see a move towards smaller conurbations?

• Carsten, Mark and Richard also debated the future of the landlord/tenant relationship, the changing nature of logistics and whether we will ever see a complete return to the level of pre-corona business travel. They also shared their thoughts on the prospect of smart cities and how, for example, employers might be more relaxed about their staff having hybrid working options, given that data will allow them to know what staff are doing, and when, on company time.

• It was universally agreed that the drive towards smarter and more sustainable cities will not come about just because the United Nations has a set of Sustainable Development goals. It will be achieved as a result of the changing mindset of city dwellers, the practices of politicians and big businesses, and as a result of pressure from our future generations, who are already pushing us hard for this change.

To watch the webinar, click here.