JS: I’m intrigued as to why Sydney has a market that enables it to be more innovative?
NS: I think we have a lesser sense of formality here. Most businesses pride themselves on more of a flat structure with less hierarchy. You can have very quick and honest conversations here, and I think there is something in that. There is also less of a hang-up about status symbols, which can often be a barrier to change.
JS: The workplace has changed significantly over the last ten years. What do you think are the drivers of that change?
NS: I would suggest it is about attracting talent and being able to engage people in your brand proposition. I know we have always had a war for talent, but this is a really unusual time, because for the first time we have different businesses from different sectors competing for the same people. We all want digital talent, complex problem-solvers and design thinkers. The property sector, tech sector, banks, insurance companies all want the same people.
JS: What do you think we will see next in workplace design?
NS: We have almost evolved into the next generation of the workplace. Activity-based working and shared workspace was the order of the day, but we are now moving on as a sector to the next generation. The era of open spaces and shared workspaces in Australia is finishing.
The workplaces that are now being delivered are about providing sanctuary for people. People need spaces where they can do complex thinking. That doesn’t mean that cellular offices are flooding back, but we are now solving for the new ways of giving people private space.
The other change is the simplification of the workplace. If you go to an activity-based workplace or a co-working space, they are not especially intuitive in terms of how you use different spaces within them. We want people to walk in and have it be pretty bloody obvious what you’re supposed to do. That means you offer two or three choices for workspaces but not the volume that you have in an activity-based workspace.
This post was extracted from Exchange, Make’s new thought leadership series which explores some of the challenges and trends that the property industry is encountering. Issue No. 1 in the series looks at the workplace and is available to read and download.