With our cities beginning to morph into polo’s, what can be done with them?
Today Mark Dixon, Founder and Chairman of Regus, confirmed that local towns and local High Streets would be the primary beneficiary in the current trend for white-collar immigration to the countryside. Housing demand in the countryside has increased since the lockdown. Is city living now falling out of favour? Not before mortgage companies release their stranglehold on first-time buyer mortgages which requires, in part, a stable booming economy.
This morning on Wake Up to Money (BBC Radio5 ), Mark Dixon said that office space in cities like London, Birmingham and Manchester would be repurposed in time, into large highly branded lobby spaces and corporate meeting room drop-in centres.
With Costa Coffee and Pret-a-Manger announcing significant job cuts, the ability to feed and water 250,000 London commuters each day becomes a challenge. Last Friday, Marlybone was empty with shops and restaurants boarded up. Today Pret a Manger announced a D2C proposition demonstrating a pivot for the long term.
With the first spade going into the ground, as constructions begin today on HS2, is the timing right? Maybe workforce migration to the countryside will put the HS2 balance sheet into the positive, or will it be a white elephant?
This white-collar migration is not borne out of fear but out of a recognition that work-life balance can be achieved as technology brings the office to the spare bedroom. But is this a permanent solution? Is this where serviced office space on the High St has a part to play in revitalising a local community?
What of housing? How many new builds have room for a home office or two? 5 years ago. The demand for large family home developments on small manageable plots drove planners and developers to build large scale developments nationwide. In 2015 there was no need for hone office working. With only 8.7 million people claiming to have worked from home occasionally in 2019, this was less than 30% of the workforce. An additional 1.7m people worked from home permanently that year. With no demand, demand did not build homes to accommodate #WFH (ONS). That’s all changed today.
So how are we going to buy our groceries in 2022? Click and Collect. D2C and online are the next growth channels. How will brands feature in the data-driven world? With an over-reliance on a data-driven algorithm, what can the brand do to ensure that choice is recognised in this new shopping ecosystem? How can the algorithm reflect this change in society and address this change in shopper behaviour?
Are you ready for the next economy?