The future of work chat is missing an opportunity

The people with the loudest voices in the property industry (or those that like the sound of theirs the most) have been urgently spruiking who or what will make the biggest contribution to THE FUTURE OF WORK:


“This is the end of the office as we know it.”


“Working from home will be the new norm for many.”


“Co-working caught in the falling occupancy crunch.”


“In the past 2-3 weeks, COVID-19 has advanced the flex-space industry by 5-7 years”


“Star of Netflix hit series Tiger King claims his parks can also double as touchdown offices.”


(The last quote may or may not have been said.)



What we do know is this: the future of work is being framed by the greatest period of content creation and consumption in human history.


Let’s take a little test.


How many times today do you remember reading or hearing the words “remote”, “flexible” and “collaboration”:

A. 50-75 times B. 75-100 times C. 100+ times


Now, before we were seduced by the omnipresent future of the work news cycle, we had a little problem on our hands.


When I say “we” I mean our cities, its lawmakers and its people. And when I say “little” I mean the greatest problem facing the property industry in history.


Today we lost another high street veteran. After 58 years of being that source of truth for Blundstones, head-torches and pocket knives, Aussie Disposals closed its 30-something strong network of tent flaps. Forever.


When we talk about the future of work, imagine if there was something that could:


1. Create a use for retail premises that apartment developers don’t want to build


2. Help sell and lease apartments


3. Provide a product that aligns with the apartment developers & residents aspirations that absolutely, definitely isn’t another nail salon


4. Reduce congestion on roads and freeways


5. Relieve pressure on public transport networks


6. Allow large businesses and small to have a presence close to where people live, that isn’t their homes


7. Improves staff morale


8. Is a net contributor to communities by keeping people local, for longer?

These are just a few. For anyone that is interested, my list currently stands at 76 and is growing daily.


Despite the horrific din created by us know-it-alls in the past few weeks, I haven’t read anything that comes close to solving as many problems and creating as many benefits as the sensible, sustainable repurposing of shops into offices.


Anyway, it’s just another idea to throw into your future of work consumption for today.