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Jul 15, 2016

Postcard From The Edge 6 – Sydney Second time round


Last port of call on my smart working tour and back to where I started and indeed where Activity-Based Working (ABW) all started. It seemed quite fitting to spend the day tracing the origins of this remarkable approach to flexible working given all the great examples I’d seen during the last two weeks. It was good to spend time with Chris Alcock, hearing first hand, how a fresh approach to using office space emerged. This enabled me to make sense of the chronology of the key projects which stand as proud milestones marking the progress of this initiative not only here in Sydney but in Melbourne and in Auckland too.

Having seen the Macquarie Bank triumvirate of facilities last week, I had the opportunity to visit not only Commonwealth Bank Place but the latest addition to the ABW flotilla – Westpac’s new office in Barangaroo. It was interesting to see how these operations all support their respective organisations and how their workforce is positively responding.  To me there is a common thread that of creating holistic working environments not just design/building focused ones.


Commonwealth Bank







To end the day, we visited Campus MLC which is the daddy of them all and where it all started. Located on Sydney’s NorthShore who would have imagined that this 1950s glass curtain wall office block could have spawned an entire movement? It also said something to me about applying great design thinking to solve what can appear as an intractable problems in terms of making best use of existing floorplates.  It also appears that great project leadership played an important role in the success of this and indeed many other agile working initiative. This is a topic I plan to return to in later blog posts.

Camplus MLC (2)


IMG_0009_CMLC Staircase






Delving into my reactions and reflections on what I had the privilege to see over the last few weeks would make these postcards way too long!. However, as I came away with so many interesting insights, stimulating feedback from lots of interesting people and nascent ideas for development; maybe I should consider writing a few letters on these topics?

One thing is for sure they are great examples of smart working in this part of the world maybe those of us located elsewhere could take a leaf or two out of their body of experiences and expertise and injected them into how we use office space across the globe?

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