This year's LREF kicked off this morning with a series of talks and roundtables around the main exhibition. The following is a selection of some of the main takeaways and quotes from some of the sessions.
Keynote - London economy
Angus Knowles-Cutler, Chairman and London Office Managing Partner, Deloitte
- The UK is still 'by far' the most attractive location for Fortune 250 companies.
- Demand is staying resilient, with 89% of a Deloitte survey of 2000 respondents indicating they still positive about the UK, post-Brexit
- But - Deloitte is having to employ a 'workaround' to get accommodation for its staff in Stratford, using its buying power in a perceived expensive city
- 'We're committed to London'
- 'It looks like London is still a magnet for business and talent', but 'complacency is a great danger', and political leadership is required to keep pushing the 'London is open for business' message
- Deloitte surveyed non-Brits to ask how many were thinking of leaving in 2-3 years. Around one fifth said yes, but in hospitality in London that grew to 50%. In higher skill areas such as tech it rose to 70%. 'There's a lot of political narrative about who comes in but there's also a retention issue as well.'
- London could also learn from the Far East in terms of retail and shops being showcases for phone-based transactions
Lucy Owens, Interim Executive Director - Development, Enterprise and Environment, GLA
- In many areas, London is not just growing but thriving, such as in AI, where it leads Europe
- The mayor is continuing to push levels of affordable housing - now at 34% towards a 50% goal. 'We're seeing more applications than ever before'
- 'We have to make sure that London continues to grow, but not at any cost'
John Mulryan, Group Managing Director, Ballymore Group
- The London economy 'seems quite positive'
- Tackling the 'affordable private housing' question is going to be a 'big challenge'
- The biggest housebuilders are pulling out of London, but the flipside is that Build-to-rent is seeing strong demand
- The biggest impact on people coming to the UK is Sterling, with currency changes making other places such as Dublin a more attractive proposition
- Ballymore has started fitting out ground floor retail spaces to Cat A to encourage their viability
Leaders of change - workplace culture
Bruce Daisley, EMEA Vice President, Twitter
- 'Work is way less fun that it used to be, isn't it?'
- Two megatrends have led to workers appearing worn down and broken - accepting emails on handsets, and automation prospectively taking over our jobs
- A Gallup poll revealed that 78% of workers go to work 'to shut off'
- The average home in London is 12x salaries; many university leavers have debts of £40-50,000, and Londoners have the longest commute in Europe
- We achieve more goals when we aim at them indirectly
- Red herrings include the 'smoothie illusion' - 'that somehow when you press an Innocent smoothie into their hands they are marginally happier'. Offices with pool tables or ping pong are just tricks to get people to work longer.
- The brain has a finite capacity to do no more than 50 hours per week of work, and are configured to make a certain number of decisions per day, no more. The brain also only has the capacity to trust 150 people.
- 'Open plan doesn't allow for flow. Anything of value isn't created in a constant status of interruption'
- We need to re-engineer our offices around face-to-face chat,
- 'The number one thing you can do to make work more bearable is turn off your notifications on your phone. Number two is take a lunch break. Most people eat al desko'
- None of the senior product engineers at Apple have asked to its new building. 'They don't want to go there because they don't feel they can do their best work there.'
- 'I found myself looking at people around me with fresh eyes. They were in an increasingly zombie-like state'
Carissa Kilgour, Workplace Director, Landsec
- 'The internal working environment can reinforce culture but can't deliver it'.
- Nicola Gillen, Director - Strategy Plus, AECOM
- 'There's still a real sense of trying to create a community within the office'
- There is a growing need to have spaces in which to focus - sometimes at home, sometimes in the office
Sue Asprey Price, Head of Corporate Solutions, JLL
- Personality is a big factor in wellbeing
- 'Work follows us, so we should be able to do it where we are'
- Organisations will be building far less in future, but higher quality space
So, London, are you smart enough?
Anil Menon, Global President, Smart+Connected Communities, Cisco
- 10,000 people an hour move from rural communities to cities, and those in developing countries cannot cope, leading to those people migrating to places like London
- Can we use digital to give access to these people to provide education, health, and jobs? Medical procedures are already being conducted on Tanzanians remotely from India
- We are in the third wave of the digital economy - globalising of IT services was the first, engineering services the second. Now it is one larger than booth - the globalising of urban services
- 'The average Parisian spends four years just looking for a parking space.'
- 'To become smart, to become futuristic, you have to have political vision - what is your city going to be?'
- Great cities are great not because they have great buildings but because they have a soul.'
- Smart cities do not equal digital cities alone
- It is not about work/ life balance, but about work/ life integration
- 'When you have 20bn hacking efforts a day there are only two kinds of people - those who have been hacked and those who don't know they have been hacked.'
City of London
Digby Flower, Chairman UK & Ireland, Cushman & Wakefield
- When Broadgate was built it was of discrete parts, with a Venn diagram of placemaking, space and offices. But as we move to more activity-based working it doesn't matter to the user. 'What's happening is people are working in the whole space; they don't see the barriers. The skilful part is how you blend these things.'
- 22 Bishopsgate will change the world of towers. 'I think it will make some of the older towers in the City look pretty dated.'
- If culture is what happens between the rules, public realm is what happens between the workplace
Kathryn Harrison, Business Partner for CIB, Regional Business Partner UK/I, Americas & Asia Pacific, Deutsche Bank
- London will always be an important hub for us
- 'The City itself was for us a relatively straightforward choice in the end. We have a long history here and the bank felt tied to that history.'
Chris Hayward, Chairman of the Planning and Transportation Committee, City of London
- Deutsche Bank remaining in the City was a fantastic 'fillip'
- The City is being developed as a '24-hour City', and is a very different place to the City of 20 years ago
- 'We couldn't have survived without the creation of Canary Wharf. I see it as complementary.'
Tim Roberts, Head of Offices, British Land
- 80% of the assets British Land has now are in campuses because customers like them
- Broadgate is being transformed and broadened with new tech occupiers
Tina Paillet, Generali Real Estate
- The City pushed Generali on developing the fifth façade at Fen Court - the rooftop
Heathrow and airport expansion
Iain Painting, Partner, Barton Willmore
- Heathrow expansion will deliver around 180,000 jobs
- 'It's always good to get people in a room to talk, but at some point you have to take a hard choice
Brendon Walsh, Chair, Heathrow Strategic Planning Group
- 'It's a bit like spinning plates, There's always one plate wobbling.'
- 'My optimism is that we have made good progress - better than I would have anticipated three years ago'
- We need not just a third runway but an airport that is as good as the best in the world
- The development of homes for both airport workers and residents is a
- a key issue
- The government needs to get that decision across the line and then we can kick on and do this more detailed work'
Neil Impiazzi, Partnerships Development Manager, SEGRO
- Heathrow exports more by value than Felixstowe and Southampton
- SEGRO is working to double cargo capacity at Heathrow
- Stephen Fry, CEO, Hounslow Chamber of Commerce
- 'Excitement, yes, but incredible frustration. Please, just get on with it'
- Charlotte Twyning, Consents Director, Heathrow Airport
- The airport is going for a second consultation in the first half of next year, when a masterplan will be ready
Anna Mitra, Director, London Communications Agency (Chair)
- A straw poll of the panel revealed that they thought the first planes would
- take off from a third runway at Heathrow between 2025 and 2028
David Taylor, Editor, New London Quarterly
Follow #LREF2018 for regular live updates or visit lref.co.uk for more information