Marty McFly goes Mobile Fast forward to the future. When financial services firms take the first step of providing choice seats, whether the pure or plus model, their space begins to look and function like a co- working space. More people will get used to practical aspects of working this way: getting their job done from wherever they choose to sit, finding viable workarounds and alternatives for tethers such as paper, and finding new ways to collaborate with colleagues who are out of eyeshot. The more people get used to this, the less remote will seem to be the next obvious step: working this way from outside the confines of the institution’s physical walls. Is it a question of “if”, or “when”? It’s not “if”… The 2014 report " The Future of the Financial Workplace ", commissioned by DTZ and researched by Unwork. com suggested that there were five pain points that a¥ect property in the financial sector. These are, in decreasing order of priority: regulation, cost pressure, technology, geography and talent. Of these, the only point that tends towards “if” rather than “when” is regulation, which in this context covers matters of compliance, political sensitivities, information security and segregation.

It’s “when” The remaining four pressures that tend towards “when”. If co-working services providers can make their o¥ering more cost eŸcient, the second obstacle will be removed. Technology is an enabler, and indeed those firms that are now trialing the co-working option have already embraced agile working practices to some extent. With regard to geography, the trend is to move operations to where there is greater cost eŸciency. Laggards no more A business thinker, Rogers (2003), talked about the technology adoption cycle, where innovators and early adopters are followed by pragmatists (early majority) and then conservatives (late majority). Lastly there were the laggards. Financial services organizations were once firmly in the latter camp when it came to technology adoption. Some financial services firms (e.g: HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs) are now firmly in the vanguard of exploring co-working for corporates. Between the first and second draft of this paper over the period August-September 2016 we saw significant momentum in the way financial services firms were exploring co-working spaces. In the next 5+ years we will see more and more corporates avail themselves of co-working spaces to reduce their footprint.

“When” is now.

MARC SHAMMA’A Head of Strategic Consulting Global Occupier Services, Asia Pacific T: +65 6232 3232 marc.shammaa@ap.cushwake.com


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