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COVID-19

The office, to be or not to be? Or is the real question... where?

Like many an office biscuit tin, ours is sadly on a career break.

29th July 2020

The future of the office, especially those located in city centres, is a matter of consternation following the Pandemic. When will it be safe to return, how will the office work with social distancing, will the trend for Working From Home continue, or are we all desperate to see our colleagues?

As always, location matters!  

Melbourne’s Central Business District has been hit hard as we cope with not one, but two lockdowns.  Even when the first lockdown was lifted, most opted to stay close to home. Our trains and trams were quiet and the CBD was lifeless.

When we think ‘offices’ let’s not forget that there are many office buildings, over 20,000, located in middle and outer Melbourne and rural Victoria.  Will it be the decentralised, local office hubs that flourish?  They tick many boxes:

  1. The need to stay close to home to contain the spread of disease.
  2. A reduction in commuting emissions.
  3. The human need for community and social interaction.

Without the culture of presenteeism and technological barriers, perhaps corporations will see the benefits of a hub and spoke office network. Do teams actually need to be all physically located together if they’ve managed to WFH during lockdown?  Perhaps working alongside other colleagues, or even those from other companies, in a small office hub, can provide the social interaction and creative collaboration many of us miss.

Our top picks for the best ‘local office’ hubs in middle and outer Melbourne:

In the North - Preston and Epping
In the West - Footscray and Sunshine
In the East - Camberwell, Hawthorn, Armadale/Malvern, Kew, Croydon, Bayswater, Box Hill, Blackburn, Mitcham, Ringwood and Boronia
In the South East - Brighton, Oakleigh, Clayton, Dandenong, Frankston, Moorabbin/Cheltenham and Mornington.

These areas all have over 200 existing office buildings and are located near to a cafe hub, for that all important morning latte!

Office buildings and cafe hubs in Melbourne (source: Geolytix Workers Australia January 2020, Geolytix Cafe Places March 2020)

The chances are we’ll all be in a fluid, blended combination of being in the office and WFH for the foreseeable future. All the Geolytix team, from the UK to South Africa, are already either WFH or in co-working office spaces. WeWork are a particular favourite for our APAC offices. The winners in the co-working office space will be those with ‘local’ locations, not just city centres.

Let’s hope we can all wheel out our office biscuit tins again soon!

Samantha Colebatch, Commercial Director

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