Posts by category: WORKTECH 11
Ever since the Romans pushed a cart up Watling Street, technology has been inextricably linked to economics
WORKTECH 11 London | Steven Norris, TfL; Cornelius Medvei, Eversheds; Ian MacBeth, TfL; Sir Terry Farrell, Farrell and Partners
Steven Norris kicked off the debate by stating that ‘ever since the Romans pushed a cart up Watling Street, technology has been inextricably linked to economics’. While he sympathised with transport authorities that see their role as purely facilitating transport, he encouraged a greater use of technology such as smarter ticketing and a move towards homeworking. Just as long as he does not have to do it all of the time…!
Cornelius Medvei put forward Eversheds’ new way of working, where the nature and scale of the project is considered more important than counting the number of hours spent and location of work. Their work philosophy allows them the flexibility to put the best team together for a project regardless of geography. They have invested in third spaces to allow both collaboration and thinking space, and innovation which has saved them money.
Finally Ian MacBeth added that the biggest challenge to new ways of working would be behavioural change and that whilst smaller companies have the agility, bigger businesses can put in place the process. He cited the example of NatWest who have managed to utilise WiFi despite initial concerns over security. He also mentioned that for the younger generations, the workplace plays a big part in their social life and personal relationships with colleagues still need to be nurtured. Despite trying to lead the way in flexible, remote and new ways of working, Ian noted that TfL still had a blanket ban on Facebook.
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WORKTECH 11 London | Philip Ross, UnWork (pictured) and Kurt Mcronz, Regus
‘Work is a verb, not a noun’, states Philip Ross. Business needs to change the way it views work from somewhere we go to something we do. Work needs to be measured by output rather than time spent in a chair. Work needs to keep up with the changes in the way we live. We are increasingly urbanised – as of 2008 there are more people living in cities than there are in rural areas – and 63.5% of us commute to an office at least 4 or 5 days a week. Travel infrastructure, environmental considerations and work stress mean that this situation is totally unsustainable. ‘Most of us would prefer a short 10 minute journey to work, but away from the home’, said Philip. One solution is the ‘Guild’ or ‘Club’, an additional space where people can work in their communities, cutting out the commuting but creating a positive working environment.
Agile working is a reality for some, but there is still a lack of uptake by many companies. Efficiency will be the biggest driver of this change. Working in the cloud with mobile devices means that the applications we need are available wherever we choose to work. In 5-10 years’ time most companies will have outsourced to the cloud with servers and IT at remote locations allowing business to function in thin buildings. Not only are employees more productive with the new ways of working, but those coming into the workforce in the future will not accept old-fashioned work styles. Generation Z (those born at and after the turn of the millennium) may only know new ways of working.
Kurt Mcronz added that the factors which hold businesses back from implementing change are often ‘simple’ problems such as lease-length; and that there are 20 million work-related journeys each day. Business needs to change its management technique to look at output rather than hours spent in a seat. The development of a space for work between home and city-centre offices will be increasingly important.
- Increased effieciency will be the biggest driver of change
- Third space working will be increasingly important
- In future, management will be of results, not of time
- ‘Work is a verb, not a noun’
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WORKTECH 11 London | Sir Terry Farrell CBE, Farrell and Partners
The enigmatic architect had the unenviable task of discussing the future of London, a subject he has become rather adept at handling as one of Boris Johnson’s design advisers. He described London as the world’s greatest liveable metropolis (though he did not dismiss New York’s claim to the title). Questioning the wisdom of developments in East London when the demand for housing was in West London he advised that ‘we need to listen to what people actually want’.
Sir Terry argued that the shape of Great Britain means that logical development plans should hang off a transport spine going up the centre of the country. As such he advised against plans for a Thames Estuary airport, suggesting that a cheaper and more sensible solution would be to connect Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton with high-speed trains Sir Terry has put together comprehensive plans for the Thames Gateway reinforcing the landscape to the east of London. Here flood control and management is a key issue and worryingly it seems that the Thames Barrier is no longer up to the job.
Looking at the post-industrial changes in the capital has led Sir Terry to estimate that more than 3 million people could be accommodated by redeveloping parts of central London. ‘London is not full up’ he declared and then showed viable potential developments along the old rivers that feed the Thames in places like Park Royal and Battersea. Arguing against big, ambitious projects that could become white elephants, he explained that we need to use what we have got in an evolutionary way: ‘We need bypasses and pacemakers to the heart we’ve got’. Let us hope the city does not have a heart attack before we can agree on a plan of action.
- Central London still has housing capacity
- Go west, not east – this is where the demand is
- Create a Heathrow hub with high speed trains linking Gatwick and Luton – a better solution than a new hub
- On new development and redevelopment: ‘we need to listen to what people actually want’
- ‘London is not full up’
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