Net zero, SME office thoughts and more

So last weekend I just enjoyed a weekend with family and friends. A couple of days with my Nephew. But this week has seen a bit more things to discuss and share. As the world begins to open more I get to write this while enjoying a locally brewed coffee in my favorite cafe. A cafe that is just simple. The service is amazing and they really care about their customers. They also love watching me go off into my own little world – whether music, articles or books. So what’s happened this week.

In my ears this week was a podcast from PropertyShe (aka Susan Freeman) interviewing Brad Hargreaves Founder and CEO of Common. On multiple levels this was an enjoyable discussion – firstly to hear more about coliving brand Common, a not too common brand yet in Europe but with plans for expansion (so watch this space). The UK market seems to focus a lot on operator and developer models but not Common who choose to be the operator. Certainly feels like more to come from this brand. 

And also the final Caleb Parker podcast with a different view – What do SMEs want from CRE? The discussion is easy to look at from the employee or landlord/large corporate perspective but the future of work for SMEs is completely different. Organisations that will need more space as they grow working under more flexible working arrangements. The options here will depend on so many variables including location of employees and how space will be used. Quite a fascinating insight. 

In BTR news, BTR sector has the strongest ever quarter for planning approvals at almost 7,000 built-to-rent (BTR) planning applications approved in the first three months of 2021 – the highest figure for any quarter on record.That is news BUT what really excites me more is how BTR is becoming more spread across the UK. News that Platform has launched a new build-to-rent JV with US investor to invest initially in Sheffield, Glasgow and Cardiff shows how the product is becoming more accepted across the country and links a little in the podcast above as we see new operators and developers entering the sector. 

In cities news, check out China! With more Chinese people moving to the city a need to create large urban landscapes has sparked huge growth over the last 30 years. Policies to encourage growth in the South of the country and then more centralised with a large infrastructure project by the Government. Bringing in multinationals, retaining culture and spreading quickly! The Massive Chinese Cities You’ve Never Heard Of… Yet

In workplace news What if Remote Work Didn’t Mean Working from Home? I mean we seem to have started an argument of home versus the office but why? Why can’t we have both in our life? Why does remote working mean at home? There is an argument that people just like things binary – one or the other – and therefore home or office. But the “office” is really anywhere that isn’t home. The “versus” is really and. Our ability now to really flex where we work means there is huge potential. Over the last week I have worked from home, the office, my brother’s house, a cafe and a coworking space. In none of those locations did I feel unproductive or in the wrong place. They just worked well together. 

And sticking with workplace but from a culture perspective I really enjoyed friend David’s discussion on How can you encourage curiosity and rebel talent? Discussion with Prof. Francesca Gino. Some insight around decline in engagement but actually we should look at the current situation through a different lens and see the opportunity for growth in our own development and the wider business world. 

And lastly in sustainability news FORE Partnership and Amicala have formed a joint venture to deliver net zero extra care in central and southern England. The plan is to create 1,000 later-living homes with the first site targeted. FORE have already delivered in the office space with Windmill Green in Manchester so it will be interesting to watch how this same thought process is taken into the homes market. You can read more at Property Week: FORE and Amicala net zero in on extra care with £300m JV

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