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Place North West: All Things Office and Workspace

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23 November 2022

Never one to shy away from talking up all the amazing things we do here at Colony, our very own Alex Campbell, Co-Founder and Head of Product, had the chance to shout about us at the latest Place North West event!

Our very own Alex Campbell, Co-Founder and Head of Product here at Colony, had the pleasure of speaking at the latest Place North West event to discuss all things office and workspace – one of our favourite topics of conversation, naturally. The first panel of speakers comprised of Head of Manchester office and Director of the National Offices Team at Colliers, Dominic Pozzoni, Head of Enterprise Sales at ITS, Dave Ferry, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Impact at Bruntwood, Jessica Bowles, Principal Energy and Sustainability Consultant at Hydrock, James Barker, and Development Director at MEPC, Dan Hyde. The second panel consisted of Head of Flexible Workspace at Cushman, Emma Swinnerton, CEO and Co-Founder of Huckletree, Gabriela Hersham, Real Assets Advisory Consultant at Deloitte, Fiona Flanagan, Partner at Till Asset Management, Les Lang, and, of course, last but by no means least, our man on the inside Alex Campbell.

Much was discussed over the course of the day with topics ranging from encouraging talent to sustainability, utilisation of space to creating a culture of creativity, and both the benefits and drawbacks of flexible workspace. Insight from all parties was greatly welcomed as the panel touched on all things in the post-Covid, post-Brexit climate that is, according to Dominic Pozzoni, literally changing by the hour.

The notion that Chief Executives are keen on ushering their staff back into the office was raised, alongside the fact that recent surveys are suggesting the employees themselves are more than happy working in a more versatile, non-traditional sense. Something in which seems to be translating into what key decision makers in business are having to look at more and more now. “It’s no longer just looking at an individual office building and what that provides. It’s the place, the culture, the neighbourhood, the community amenities. All these components are something we’re seeing far more now.” James Barker said that employers and office space providers are now having to look at providing an experience that gives people something to do before, during and after work that is worth commuting for. In essence, employees are growing more particular about being able to maximise their days and benefitting from being in collaborative environments.

(Alex Campbell, Co-Founder and Head of Product)

It's not just a culture of creativity that staff are pining for, it’s also somewhere in which is smart-enabled. Dan Hyde emphasised the need for office space to have adjustable ambiance through heating and lighting, or the ability to report problems and order things directly to your desk whilst also having the building itself operated super efficiently in terms of being able to provide real-time information on air quality and energy usage. “Smart enablement is here to stay in next-generation buildings.”

The need for more careful thought and consideration around flexible workspace was also raised by not only Les Lang, but this and other drawbacks were commented on by Alex Campbell, Fiona Flanagan and Gabriela Hersham during the latter half of the discussion. Points surrounding long-term security for the operator, management and fit out by the landlord and the saturation of ‘gimmicks’ that cost a lot but aren’t genuine or fit for purpose, were all mentioned too.

Many positives and opportunities were also talked on including the maximisation of outdoor space as and where possible, the animation of buildings using bottom-up principles and how this allows for simplification and seamlessness of arrival experiences. Alex Campbell highlighted how the fast-paced nature of the business allows us to learn lessons just as fast, whilst Lang and Flanagan pointed out new opportunities that lie within new technology and importance of USPs in what is becoming a crowded market.

If you would like to register your interest and take a look at our fantastic coworking spaces please get in touch via email or phone at info@colonyco.work or 0161 974 3210.

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