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Sep 2, 2016

Letter to the Edge #1


Letter to the edge by Simon Heath

Letter to the edge by Simon Heath

Having had some great experiences during my June trip ‘down under’ this is a long overdue thank you letter to everyone who facilitated my tour of agile working environments in Australia and New Zealand. As mentioned in my Postcards from the Edge – the scale and diversity of what is going on in your part of the world is very impressive. It has taken me quite a time to digest all that I learned so apologies for the delay in writing.  Hopefully, this digital approach of using blogposts will be ok as I believe your story is one well worth sharing as far and as wide as possible.  Whilst what is going on in terms of agile working and workplace strategy in your part of the world is of interest to those of us involved in Workplace strategy maybe others might take an interest in this area?  One outcome of our dialogue could be a greater appreciation on the opportunity of working in a smarter way and the benefits that arise to the individual, the organisation, the community and to society as a whole?



Having visited five cities, toured 11 workplace sites and interacted with hundreds of people I learned a great deal.  Since getting back to London, I have digested a lot of information plus started a range of follow-up discussions. So thanks to everyone who helped me and who are continuing to provide further input.  So what can the outside world learn from the Australian New Zealand experience?  A blogpost format won’t suffice given the scale of this discussion so I will ‘drop you a line’ in a series of letters, albeit digital ones, to share my reflections and posit some ideas with you over the coming weeks.

To get the ball rolling I’ve concluded that the scale and extent of adoption of agile of flexible working practices in Australia and New Zealand is evidence that there is now a clear alternative to the traditional approach to using office work spaces.

What is in place in Australia and New Zealand may not be totally replicable elsewhere but the principles employed could be used to inform what we can do elsewhere in the world. It is also clear that agile working is just as much about people as it is about the place where they do their work. These two factors cannot be treated in isolation.

There is also emerging evidence to suggest that a really significant revolution in thinking is underway in terms of how we use space along with the emergence of the concept of real estate as a service not an asset.

To expand on this sample of initial conclusions would make this blogpost pretty unwieldy hence my plan to cover them in follow up posts.  Underpinning all of this is a desire to improve our working experience, consume commercial real estate more efficiently whilst using the planet in a more sustainable manner.

So lots to mull on and develop over the coming weeks as I try to make sense of the data and insights I collected from my trip to the edge. One thing is for sure you guys have got to the heart of the matter when it comes to agile working it’s the rest of us which are on the edge.

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