EDITOR'S LETTER: Here to stay

With most of Europe still in lockdown a full year after the first Covid restrictions - and work from home policies - were imposed, PropertyEU editor-in-chief Robin Marriott wonders when it will all end.

I stated in a previous letter that working from home sucks. Not all the time, but going to the office is better, way better.

In January I started working from a Regus serviced office in a London suburb. I also have two colleagues working there, which makes a big difference. Just being present as a team has great upside: the dynamics of engagement, collective work ethic, ideas and instant answers to questions are all about collaboration, and that is why the office will survive for the majority of companies.

I am lucky. IWG, which owns Regus, has this centre just 10 minutes from where I live. So, it feels like the best of both worlds – home is not my workplace, but I do not have to commute either. It gave me the idea to interview IWG to find out how it is doing as a company, and lo and behold it is indeed pushing more urban, town centre locations as it sees customers like me as a growth market. Meanwhile, its big, city-centre sites are suffering.

It is March 2021, a full year after the first lockdowns were imposed across Europe and the world, and when I see so many businesses still operating work from home policies, I ask myself when it will all end.

The point I am making is that I am acutely aware of the changes taking place and the impact upon the real estate industry. You may judge that some of the changes are here to stay and others might melt away. Half of the fun – and half of the serious investment challenge – is to work out which are which.

In this edition, we touch on so many issues that are subject to opinion in terms of the timeframe and outcome. For example, we examine ESG, which is clearly a long-term issue. But we also learned during our roundtable on the subject that not every company in the world is moving at the same pace despite objectives being roughly the same. This whole move towards ESG perfection requires big firms and leaders to get things done.

Speaking of getting things done, at its heart this magazine is about transactions, and we see how many pitches are going on to tee up sales of assets across Europe. The timing of those sales is very much linked to when travel restrictions are eased, but we are confident that by using technology, transactions can still make some progress even without full freedom of movement.

That said, the sooner we feel we can ‘safely’ open up, the better.

Robin Marriott
Editor in chief PropertyEU


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