On this week’s show we are joined by Linda Chandler to talk about the rise of hyperlocal working.
You can find her Digital High Street eBook series – first 2 books on Retail Experience and Mobility
And last week’s – 4 Digital High Street sessions on Mobility, Smart Public Space, Community and Retail Experience
This week’s automatically generated transcript:
Matt: Hello and welcome to episode 187 of WB 40, the weekly podcast with me, Matt Ballantine, Chris Weston and Linda Chandler.
Chris: Hello, and welcome to another episode of WB 40. And this week we are joined with, by Linda Chandler, who is going to talk to us about. Cities and how we work and all of that kind of thing. A bit of a continuation from well, many, many our podcasts recently. So before we get to Linda ma how, w what have you been up to.
Matt: I have been getting vaccinated. That’s very exciting. I’m now one down, a slightly sore arm for about three days afterwards. Other than that, no side effects. I have been it’s yeah, it’s just I Monday. Okay. Today we’re recording is Monday by 11 folk. In the morning this morning I had to.
Actually check my computer to work out what day of the week it was. I think this is basically turning into months a massive Sensory deprivation exercise and I’m losing. Other than that I continue to watch the mighty Watford climb up the, by the night, even climb out of the table. Now we’ve come fixed to almost the top of the table, which is very exciting.
And I’m planning a few trips to. Places when we can travel again. So there’s a trip to Devin coming up with some friends and there’s a trip to the Lake district coming up at the end of June with some friends. And so, yeah, it’s been busy all week now, work, you know, Getting Olin. How about you roll?
Chris: I can’t really remember what happened last week. It was so long ago, mainly because I had that extra hour. We had an IDC on unplug today, which means that they gave everybody a day off in a, in a very nice aspirin, Iceland to do something, do that. The nature of our work really means it doesn’t cost them to do that.
And really just have to catch up with all the work the next week. But, you know, it’s nice. Everybody’s got the same day off and it’s a, it’s a, it’s a way to say, you know, everybody just, just take a break, which is, which is great. And but yeah, so that was been to three-day weekend and therefore I am.
Not yeah, like the week before is completely it’s completely lost to me in my memory. And all I can think about is what’s what’s ahead of me rather than what’s behind, because it probably wasn’t very much different as you say to previous weeks,
Matt: but yeah, that remember though that the point of this bit of the show is you talk about the week, just gone the bit at the end of the show is where we talk about the week ahead.
Chris: Well, of course. Well, I’ve been talking about the weakest guy. I just can’t remember it, man.
Matt: Okay. That’s all right. That’s fine. Good. Glad to hear.
Chris: Yeah. Anyway, so, but we’ve got Linda with us. Hello, Linda? No, it was very nice to have you on this. Cause of course we were briefly colleagues, IDC and and so it’s, it’s very nice to see you back here.
And so how’s your week been?
Linda: It’s it’s been really good. Actually. It’s been some, some closing down of projects and some opening up projects as well. So it’s been, yeah, one of those transition weeks, I guess. So last week for me, we had a. Big event actually on Wednesday. So there was a reconnect global PropTech event that was happening online and I’m doing some work with tech, London advocates at the moment.
We’ve been launching some eBooks around the digital high street. So we had the some channel sessions on the reconnect, which went very well.
Matt: So a tech, London advocates is an interesting thing. I think I’ve been it’s rough. Isn’t it? The guy who created it all, Russia
is a city based. Advocacy for tech actually relevant in a world where everybody’s working remotely. They’re not the whole thing about, you know, having regional things is just it’s. It’s interesting. Isn’t it? That actually, well, can anybody join now? Is it, you know, breadth of these things?
Linda: So I think tech, London advocates is a bit of a misnomer actually, because actually there are lots of other tech advocates group globally.
So yeah, so, so it is really interesting in terms of how it has grown. So, so you’re right. There are all these enclaves of advocates that around a city. But we also have a technology advocates. We’re talking about setting up tech, whales advocates. So that there’s a lot of those around that there’s around globally, really just, just around the world.
So yeah, so we all come together in a city, but actually we all collaborate online as well.
Matt: Yeah. I just, I’d never made that connection before, but often the kind of the place is the thing that links people together. And actually that becomes. Well, I’m saying I’m not going to, by any stretch, say that we’re not going to think about things like London anymore in the future.
Obviously the rest of the country would rather be, we did stop thinking about it. But there is that kind of idea that actually, maybe it needs to be ideas about how you gather people together without having the city as a I thing might be something that increasingly becomes important going forward.
Maybe it’s not something we can explore in the later conversation.
Chris: Yeah. So so I guess that we should crack on then, because it sounds like we’ve got to an interesting conversation ahead. We
Matt: do, but before we get into the body of the show I had a little short conversation. When I say short conversation.
I had a conversation with a friend of the show, Emma Berman earlier in the week, and I’ve managed to edit it down into a short conversation, which I love them. It’s a bit. And by gum it’s, it’s an interesting challenge to be able to get a little things. But anyway, she’s got a project that’s coming up in April, which is called love to play 2021.
And it’s a an intergalactically scaled event picking up on what I was just mentioning a moment ago to encourage people to play more. So I spent a few minutes with Emma a few days ago to find out a bit more about it. ,
Chris: so Linda, thank you for coming to WB 40 because we’ve, we’ve had lots of conversations about what the world of work will be like after coronavirus or as, you know, as we, as we come back to, to after the pandemic. And I know, and you and I had a conversation a few weeks ago about this didn’t we, where we talked about what.
Smart cities might look like what cities are going to be, because there’s lots of, there’s lots of I guess, death of the city stuff going on. There’s all of the folder roll between people like I know I saw a press release from, from Danska bank the other day, and they’re saying, you know, that’s it, we’re all working from home now.
It’s never, it’s never going back. And then you sort of, you get, you see the likes of Goldman Sachs. Who are pretty unique at the moment on the other side of the fence saying this is just an aberration, Boris Johnson, I think saying this is the complete operation. We’ll all be back in the office so we can see what we can see what you’re doing.
And when we talked to Anthony slumbers a few weeks ago that there was definitely a sense that yes, there’s going to be. Some of that will happen. And there will be organizations that really want to get back to the office. And there’ll be people as well that want to go back to an office environment.
They don’t want to sit at home. They want to be in an office. They want to go and bribe by their somewhere wages from practice or whatever, whatever, whatever sort of his shop takes its place. And that will, that there’ll be an economy around now, but it will be different on the, you don’t have to have too much of a change for it to be some tipping points.
So You’ve just been talking about, about the, about this, about what you did last week and some of the things that have been going on. What do you, what do you see Linda in your, in your world? What you, what do you think are, is the most likely thing that might occur as people start to return to offices?
Do you see a big change or do you see us all rebounding back to exactly how we were.
Linda: Great question. Thanks. Thanks for inviting me. I mean, it’s, it’s great to be with you both. And actually we felt we’ve crossed companies in a, in a number of ways. Haven’t we IDC with you, Chris, and with maths at Microsoft.
And actually, you know, I guess we’re all veterans of the, of the tech world in many ways. And as you know, we. We’ve been working remotely for, you know, a couple of decades now, probably actually. So I think there’s a segment of the population that has always worked in this way that think remote working is part and parcel of what they do.
They’ve carried their office around in their backpack packs for many years now. So there’s a segment of the population that thinks. Yep. This is, this is how we’ve worked for a long time, but I think what the pandemic has shown us is that there’s a whole, you, a bunch of people that just haven’t experienced that way of working.
And to those of us in the tech industry, that’s. Been a bit of a revelation. I think actually in, in the way that people have suddenly discovered zoom and teams and they’ve discovered you know, what working from home, if you like. So it’s, it’s been a real wake up call on both sides, sides. I think both sides have now acknowledging that there are genuinely different ways.
To work. And there are good things about remote working and there are good things about working in the office. I guess the whole idea of work locally is something that I’ve been involved in for probably the past decade or so. When I was at Microsoft, we did quite a lots of research. Very early on into something called the hybrid organization, which was really looking at how the future of technology, the future of demographics in the office and the future of work.
The space itself starts to have an effect on how an organization moves. And, and as I said, that that was about 10 years or so ago that we started to have those conversations. And at the time when I worked at Microsoft, I wrote a paper called anywhere working cities, which was in the run-up to the London Olympics.
I was working with TFL as my client at the time. And we were starting to think about how London was changing over the course of the Olympics. So of course, as we all know, London was. Almost a bit of a ghost town over the Olympics. It was, it was always too successful. The message of, of, you know, stay away release capacity on the transport system for all of those visitors into London.
And, and so I was working for Microsoft at the time. We were equipping people with the, with Laptops and comms devices. So they could work away from the office and TFL at the time, we’re also looking at travel demand management. So they were trying to say, you know, how, how do we keep people out for, for six weeks over the summer?
So it was a really interesting inflection point, I think, in, in London’s history. And what we try to capitalize on was the fact that it shouldn’t be for six weeks, one summer. Actually, if we do this, right, this could be quite a different way of actually using our infrastructure there isn’t bound to the nine to five and the peaks and the troughs.
So anyway, working cities was a way of capturing the zeitgeists if you like at the time and saying, well, why don’t we work differently? You know, we’ve got these polar opposites. We’ve got working from home, we’ve got working in the office. But what about the spaces in between where we can be productive?
What about the concept of third space? You know, many coffee shops of course, serve servers that space while we’re on the move, but there’s also co-working spaces. And again, at the time we were doing quite a lot of work about looking at the rise of co-working spaces in, in cities and how people were using those.
So it’s really interesting to see that. All of that was around. And all of those conversations were around about a decade ago. We’ve been slowly building on those conversations and the different stakeholders involved and getting different people and actually different generations now into the conversation and suddenly, you know a year into the pandemic.
We’ve got it. And where we really understand that there is another way of working. So I think in summary that there’s no going back, that the genius definitely out of the boss or, and I think it will start to settle in terms of this hybrid, working that everybody’s talking about. People are talking about that the two slash three day week.
So a couple of days remote, a couple of days in the office. And I think now we’re planning on, you know, we’re planning for the return and how that might pan out. What are the systems in place to help us deal with that?
Matt: I said, I’ve not made that link between the Actually, I think in many ways at the time, the sheer there was amongst businesses that they should be told to for six weeks, not everybody should come into the office every day.
Yeah. And it was such a big statement and an enormous amount of organization and huge amounts of planning. And it was being done at the height of the holiday season anyway. So, you know, it would have been lower footfall or whatever, going into cities into London at that point. Anyway, but the thing actually thinking back on it if he’d done it in 2001, 2002, the difference between the technology then and now was stark.
Slightly whilst we’ve definitely evolved more around cloud-based. Core office systems. Cause back in 2012 I think we were S we were just asked to be posse rowboat, and we were just getting into office three 65, but it was a bit tardy. Google was kind of, Oh, it was usable because I did a migration of it in 2010, but it was rough around the edges, but broadband was there and coffee shops were by fied.
And, and so actually the difference in 10 years, Isn’t that great technologically. And it’s where we were there. Yeah, it seems like a different, different era.
Linda: It does. And I think it’s a lot to do with adoption actually. And it’s not necessarily just having the technology and the comms. It’s actually about having the societal structures and acceptance of that.
If you kind of remember back to the Olympics you know, people were, were saying about, you know, working remotely from home and there was you know, a bit of a backlash against it, or, you know, you’re going to watch daytime TV, or you’re not going to do any work. And, and so I think, yeah, the, the working from home, yeah.
It kind of air quotes if you like. And, and I think what the, what we’ve seen in the past year is that we can be productive from home. We’re not swinging the lad. And so there is that societal acceptance. And so, so I think there are almost these layers that you need for something to become really widespread in society.
I mean, I always term it as you need kind of a vision. You need a vision to hang on to. So again, around London, 2012, we had the Olympics and we need to free up space on the transport infrastructure. You need a variety of technologies and spaces that support remote working, but then you need societal acceptance of that.
And so if you fast forward now to what we’ve just experienced, you’ve got a common goal. If you like, we need to work from home. Because of the pandemic, you’ve got much more prevalence of the communications. I think certainly the the telecoms providers have really stepped up in the past year or so.
I think, you know, we’ve all been quite impressed with that. So there’s been, you know, largely widespread communications. We’ve had the technology. We’ve had PCs, it’s not been equally distributed. And that’s starting to become acknowledged. And these gaps in society are starting to be noticed. But again, I think what we’ve had in space is this societal acceptance of, of, we ha we have to be productive.
We have to work like this and we can, we can actually do this. So there’s that belief that strongly coming through. And I think so. Yeah. You know, going back now to the return, to the office where we’ve all had quite a different experience, I think is going to be fascinating in terms of how that pans out.
Chris: Yeah, that makes sense. I mean, I remember at that time I was working in London quite a lot, and I know I was actually going in strangely enough, as a lot of people were staying out, we’ve got a particular project on and and therefore I think there was there wasn’t a compulsion. Then there’s there is now, and also it wasn’t just London for a few weeks that, that as you say, that kind of a societal acceptance, it requires a wider exposure to the whole thing.
And just, there’s a lot of people going in and out of London, but that it’s not everybody, you know, it’s not that universal experience. So I think that’s definitely the case. It didn’t have an end date for this whole thing and yeah. So therefore it wasn’t just, okay. We’ll stay at the office for a few weeks and we’ll see out.
We’ll see how it goes. I think also technologically, if I think to back then we would have meetings and we, you know, we’d, we’d have people all around the country working on this project and not all of them are in the office all the time. And if we ever got together, Remotely. It was on a teleconference, which, you know, we all know how terrible the telephone conferences with the spider phone in the middle of the table.
Really, really horrible. And the poly COVID kit was as traditionally expected. It was in the corner gathering dust and nobody would ever use it because it would be an awful nightmare to do any kind of video conferencing. So. I remember just a couple of years later working with a, an ad source development company.
And they were we’re a source or a software company that had, that had outsourced development elsewhere. And they were basically saying to me, we couldn’t have done this, but if before decent video conferencing just a couple of years ago, you know, think back to them until you can do this kind of thing, where you can look at each other and you can discuss things and you can have a, have a more animated and, and, and meaningful conversation.
That that option to offshore just, it was just far less, far less convenient. So I do think that switch in terms of half decent video conferencing. There’s a big difference between 2016 and now
Linda: absolutely. But then I think you’ve also got to remember that when did we learn to switch our cameras on in the it world?
You know, we never used to put the cameras on. So we, we, we did we through the voice conference thing. And yeah, you, you you’d be on a teams call but, but nobody would ever switch their cameras on. And it’s only since the pandemic that that’s now becoming a norm. And actually, I think we would, we would think it’s strange now, if somebody is not showing their camera and we, we understand the whole zoom fatigue being in front of you know, a camera all day and, and there, there are norms developing over when we, when we, we like to be on camera on when we decide to turn it off, but it is conscious decision now, whereas before I think everybody was I don’t know, hiding behind the technology, I guess.
Matt: With the talk about the third place, places like coffee shops or I mean, heaven forbid we work when she has it. That’s, that’s a whole, that’s a podcast in its own. Right. But the, the relationships between those and work spaces and home. And homes. It does strike me that we, we don’t really think about that as some sort of.
Holistic thing in any way. Yeah, they’re very much it’s first, second and third places that there isn’t a strategy around it. And I guess it’s interesting for me, particularly given my, my current work, looking at housing and the extent to which, as we now start to plan for homes that would be built over the next 10 years or so, the extent to which.
The needs of people working from home needs to be built into the houses that we’re building and whether that’s you know, social rent housing, or whether that shared ownership of housing or private market housing. The idea of a studio flat now is a very different proposition. Now going forward than a studio flat in London was even 18 months ago.
Do you, are you sensing that we are starting to think about this as more than just individual separate sections of. Of the world of property that is commercial or residential, or
Linda: I’d like to think that we were in reality. I don’t think we are. And you mentioned the word strategy, and I think that sports what’s missing here As I said, we were quite familiar now with this polar working in the office, working from home.
And in fact, a lot of the conversation about remote working assumes working from home. So I think we’re not thinking very clearly about alternative places to work than a near to home, but not at home. And I think it’s that strategy that really needs to be fleshed out. So I live in St. Alban’s. So commuter town to London.
And I, if you walked down a high street on a pre-print pandemic yeah. You would have seen people working all across our towns. So they’re there in coffee shops. They would have been, you know, have laptops out that they’d be working. Yeah. But there was really no place for them to go. That was, was conducive to working.
I wouldn’t say, you know, coffee shops are good for some things and not good for others. And about, Oh, about four or five, five years ago, a group of people got together in some Orbens and they would call it a Silicon Abby, actually. So a local entrepreneur said, you know, we’ve got kind of Google setting up base and King’s cross what, what, what the sun ovens have to attract, you know, people from Google to live here, if you like, is there a community?
Yeah. All of entrepreneurs and tech designers you know, for them to latch onto. So Silicon Abbey was formed. And a few of us got together. And the first thing we said was. Where, where do we all meet one another? When we work from home, wouldn’t it be nice to bump into somebody? And and so we, we actually trialed a coworking space.
This, this was actually when I, I decamped Singapore for a couple of years. So with Microsoft, and so but I was watching things from a, so I, I noticed this was happening locally and caught the tail end of it. When I came back to the UK in 2017. And so there was a, a genuine kind of grassroots popup co-working space just to see what it would be like for the community.
And it, it was really interesting. You can’t all kinds of people, you know, coming to this space. And, and so I think you mentioned we work and I think we work has been I mean, it’s, it’s been obviously a phenomenon in the real estate industry and I think it’s been both, both good and bad because I think the, the good part of it is actually popularizing.
The whole co-working space and actually, you know, making it more mainstream, but it’s only a particular type of coworking. I think it, it, it doesn’t actually show the breadth of coworking and the different spaces and the different communities that you can actually have around those spaces. It’s one particular brand and style.
I think there’s an enormous number. Of the different types of working. And, and I think the way that work is evolving is that we it’s evolving so quickly. We don’t even have the language around coworking and on what it means. So it’s a co-work or whether we have casual coworking or subscription coworking, I think we’re just evolving now.
This conversation. So in terms of you know, working locally, I always thought in some ovens that they were there, there was a lack of somewhere that I could go to that I genuinely thought was a substitute for a London office. And I’ve got coworking spaces that I would go to in London at the IAT or the RSA.
But I felt that there was nothing locally where I could do that. And actually that there has been that gap filled somewhat in the past couple of years. And and in fact, I took up a subscription in a local co-working space called bubble hub, which gives me exactly that. So I work from there one day a week.
And it’s great. It’s a 10 minute walk from my house. It’s a community of people and you actually get to have that human interaction, which is you know, much needed. I think. I think in terms of getting us out of our homes. So, so when I think about locality working, that was the kind of thing that I had in mind, you know, the, that we wouldn’t necessarily have to work at home because a lot of people haven’t got that space or, or the luxury of lots of rooms in their house, but we would work near to home.
And so the rise of coworking on the high street, the actually, yeah, Makes you come out of your house? I behave very differently. The day I go to bubble hub, I always go to bubble hub. I always buy my lunch in town. So you’ve got that daytime economy that’s naturally occurring when people are out and about in the town center.
You can also do, you know, knock some of your errands off the list as well. And you, you can see people. So I think that there’s a style of working that’s about being the hub of where things are in your community. Really. Participating and getting to know local people. When we, when we started to engage as, as part of Silicon happy, I was amazed at how many people there were that were professionally involved in cities that live in this and opens and I didn’t know them.
And so I think it’s great when you start to really you know, engage with people in the local community because you, you just don’t know who lives around the corner or next door sometimes.
Matt: I think it’s interesting that maybe some of the reticence that we saw back in 2011, 2012 from organizations.
Not wanting people to work effectively from home back then. I wonder whether they will also be reticence to the idea of people working in shared areas so they can cope. Corporates tend to still, I think, have a bias towards the idea of secrecy. Th that they are private unless they decide to disclose something.
And actually one of the biggest learnings for me of the whole, of the digital transformation of the last 25 years, it’s the old Don task or thing about how in, in the age of the internet, every, everybody is naked. You, you can’t. Managed to maintain an air of secrecy in the way that you used to, unless you’re, you know, my six or something, and you need to shift to the idea of everything is open, unless you decide to make it private, which is a big mental shift.
Maybe one of the ways in which that will manifest will be, as Asians will be resistant to the idea of their staff working in the same place as other people. They find if there are a home and they’re in private, they’re fine. If they’re in the office is in private, but sitting next to somebody who might be from a competitor or from a, that might be a block organization each to this sort of thing happening.
Linda: Potentially. Yeah, I think with some organizations, but then again, it’s about getting the right kind of space. So if you’ve got a coworking space that has the right kind of areas that support, you know, foam booths, when you can go to make a private call and when you’re in the open area, You know, perhaps you were just doing work, work at your desk, you know, you’ve got your headphones on.
You’re not particularly engaging in what should be private conversations. So, so I think it comes down to having the right space that facilitates that. And also. Trust. I think, you know, we have to be trusted to do the right things. I’m sure we’ve all over her. Plenty of conversations of people being interviewed on trains and all kinds of things like that.
So, so I think it is about trusting people. I also think actually one of the major barriers is about who pays. Actually because, you know, I guess the way I’ve justified it to myself in terms of my you know, one day a week in the, in a shared space is, is that I would have spent that money on a train ticket to London.
So why not? Spend it in, you know, spend it locally and actually go to an area that I think benefits my productivity. And so that’s my personal choice. I think if people are starting to save money on the train fare, going into the office and genuine, the organizations are starting to save on real estate footprint.
I think the question of who pays actually should become much more of an open discussion, you know? So, so should employees have a stipend. To you know, to, to work where they want to work at many years ago, of course we had the bring your own device fascination with companies and on whether you should have stipends or to bring your own devices to that, to the workplace.
I think maybe the concept of bring your own office might start to become a reality in terms of, you know, choosing to go to the, the, the central office when you need to. Yeah. But also having that flexibility to choose where you want to spend the extra time and actually spend money in the local economy.
You know, th there is effectively a stipend from your employer. So, so I think it’s more about the who pays question, which I’m, I’m only just seeing the, the organizations. Really realizing that that might be a barrier.
Chris: Yeah. That’s that occurred to me while you were talking a moment ago. I was starting to think to myself.
What makes these working spaces, even, even those that are, you know, as humble as you, like, what makes them go and concerns, because it does require somebody as you, as you say, to part with the harder and, and, and if the alternative is to work at home and save that money or to work in a coworking space.
It’s a tough decision, right? Especially if you’re, maybe you’re paying 10 pounds a day or something like that, that’s a lot of money in a month. So you’ve got to be you’ve got to think there’s a, there’s that amount of value in it. And for an organization, maybe an enlightened viewpoint would be actually, I want my, I don’t want my people sitting at home.
I do want them working with people. I want them to networking. I want them getting ideas and being, being able to have that, that office. Experience and because it’s better for them, it’s better for them. And it’s better for us because we get more productive and, and better informed people. Whereas if they just think actually that we’re going to save all this money, we’ll keep all that.
Thank you very much. And. Yeah, I just go and work where I was brought best for you then maybe will, there’s not the, maybe there’s not the business to keep these things going as, you know, as genuinely, unless that, unless they are subsidized in other ways, they have to see how they, how they
Interesting as well though. I think possibly the most developed Program that is associated with this stuff is a couple of years ago. Now we talked to Tracy Keogh from grow remote in Ireland. And I think that the strengths that grow remote has had has been their ultimate drive is to sustain rural.
Communities, it’s not to be able to be able to allow large corporates to have lower real estate costs. It’s about being able to make sure that outages across the, the furthest outreaches of Ireland are able to sustain themselves by having modern employment. And that’s the thing I think there that that’s the vision.
That’s the strategy that the home will grow
Linda: remote day. Yeah, absolutely. I’m doing some work in Wales at the moment around the concept of smart towns and the Welsh government. Very interesting because they they’re really starting again to get this idea of the disparate, the dispersal of working and actually what that can do to the, the local economies.
So the Welsh government have actually come out saying that they they’d like 30% of. People to, to work locally on work remotely. And again, what they’re seeing is that, you know, you, you can do a global job and you can live in Wales and you can live perhaps in a remote part of Wales. And if you go to a local co-working space, You can engage with a local economy.
So they, they’re doing a lot of strategic work about mapping out where those spaces are, where people want to work and actually asking them where they want to work and then making a very conscious effort. The, the, the right conditions are in place for that to be successful. So I think you’re right. So, so again, it comes down to, you know, what’s the strategy, what’s the big idea.
And what’s the push behind this. I think also when, when I started to think about the work local agenda, I was thinking about it from the commuter and the working near to home aspect of it. But we’ve been challenged recently to think about that from more of a city perspective. So. What happens to these cities when people are actually only going in two or three days a week, and what happens to the vibrancy of those cities and so that, you know, the challenge the other way round.
And actually, if you think about it, The city has got to really be quite responsive to the needs of, of that commuter making the visits. So, so I, I choose to go into London for a business meeting. But actually I’ve got a number of choices of how I spend my day. So, so we’re doing, do I just go in for that meeting and come back again?
Do I go in, do I meet other people? Where do I go? You know, who facilitates that interaction for me? So, so I think the city is going to be quite challenged. And how do you make that the best experience and how do you make people really productive? Because they’ve chosen to spend that time commuting and to go to your city.
So I think that’s the next big challenge that cities have goals in terms of enticing people to go and actually keeping them productive and making that as frictionless as possible.
Matt: It’s also maybe thinking about the different elements, a short thing I wrote last week out of the back of some conversations I had with a few of the CIO is actually about how the, the constructs that we’ve had offices, they’re essentially a 19th century invention.
The management styles that are still used in most organizations are 20th century inventions. And actually you’ve gone backwards in many cases, as we’ve seen increasingly kind of Taylorist approaches to management often because of information technology enabling closer control over people in what, where more autonomous white collar jobs and the technology is 21st century.
With the exception of ERP systems, which is obviously fairly firmly entrenched in the 20th century, but there’s a mismatch there. There’s this massive misalignment. The office is if you look at pictures of offices from the late Victorian era, I don’t re I mean, the clouds are a bit old and there’s no computers, but other than that, they don’t look that much different to many offices today.
Th the, the point about management style, which was still the overseeing within the space, which even for global organizations, You know, lots of global organizations have struggled to be able to shake off the the, the hierarchy and the control and the idea of, you know, not giving too much autonomy because you don’t want, they’ll get up to the McGregor stuff around theory X and theory wise manner.
And I, it does strike me when people say about, you know, we need to go back to the office. He said, well, w w which. Bit of that, is it, is it, is it 19th century and the styles you’re missing or is it 20th century nostalgia you’re missing or, or, or what, and I dunno, I guess that, you know, that that little piece I wrote last week was partly about being able to say, actually stopped thinking about it is going back.
How do we move this stuff forward? What do we need to put in play to be able to come up with better ways of working that don’t constrain ourselves with habits that we’ve had for. Couple of hundred years, I guess.
Linda: Yeah, you’re right. I mean, it’s all about the organizational change really. And that’s, that’s, what’s lacking and we’re, we’re catching up with what the technology can do for us, I think.
And of course, you know, there’s more to come of that. And and so, so you never quite get it in the sink because once we’ve caught up the technology about what we can do is actually moved on again. So we’re always in this, in this catch out mode, I think.
Matt: Fascinating stuff. So that brings us to the end of yet another show. Linda, thank you very much for being with us this week. Fascinating conversation. What, what is the seven days ahead of this look like for you?
Linda: So for me I’m doing some more work on the a high street e-book so we had the launch of two of the books last week, and now it’s my turn.
So I’m curating smart public spaces. So we’re having yeah, th th the last call for contributions and getting that ready for launching in April. So I’m going to be focused on that last week and Tomorrow, I’ve got a UK property PropTech association round table that I’m chairing. So lots of talk about data-driven design in the real estate industry.
Matt: Fabulous. And Chris, if you remember, as you got the week ahead, as opposed to the week behind, well,
Chris: I think I definitely have some things to do this week. It’s it’s, I’ve got a conference we’re doing in the Adriatic, so I’m the I’m presenting out. So I’m just getting ready for that to I’m making sure that I know what I’m talking about, or at least can look like I know what I’m talking about.
And I’ve got, yeah, I’ve got actually quite a lot going on this week. Different, different meetings here, there, and everywhere. All of course here, but all but everybody else is there and everywhere. And, and that’s pretty much it. I, I’ve not got any vaccinations to look forward to like, like the older generation.
I’m still too young.
Matt: Yeah, indeed. I love the idea of you having a conference in the Adriatic. So I imagined you were in this sort of small yellow submarine floating somewhere between Italy and maybe Serbia occasionally bringing Periscope up and, and then realizing it you’ve lost wifi connection yet again, that’s
Chris: essentially it that’s that’s, you know, you hit the nail on the head.
That’s exactly what
Matt: happened. Excellent. That’s good. Well, I, I will be w we do some really interesting stuff. We’ve been doing the single purpose architecture Mike, after the last few months we’ve been doing lots of really in-depth interviews with customers to be able to understand their stories, what their experience of being one of our customers has been.
It’s been very eye opening. There’s been some good stuff. There’s been some Frankly, terrible stuff. That’s coming out of it as well, but as a way, spare to start to better illustrate what we need to do next, how many changed? So we’ve got the conclusions of some of that. There’s a bit of recruitment going on.
There’s more procurement. It’s just like endless. Stuff, which is in a it’s fine. So that will keep us going on next week’s show. We are going to be joined by Timo peach, who is a musician and artist and a creative director. And it’s something I’ve been wanting to explore for a while, which is as some of you may know, I like music and music creation tools, software, and one of the things that I’ve Wondered for some time is why music software works together seamlessly without seemingly any effort whatsoever in a way that most business software precisely doesn’t.
And so we’re going to get Timo one. I’m going to talk a bit about what would the world be like if printers used middy? So I’m really looking forward to that and that’ll be the last show before Easter, when we will go off and stuff, our faces with chocolate. So There we go. So one more show before the Easter break, Timo peach next week, Linda.
Thank you again, Ben. Actually delight and we will see next week recording.
Linda: Thank you for listening to WB 40. You can find us on the internet at wb40podcast.com on Twitter @WB40podcast and on all good podcasting platforms.