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The London professor (and ex-head of research at a major agency)

My World 2021

My world: June 2021…

This is part of a series of articles where our contributors describe how they think things will look a year from now.

Both the offices and residential markets will migrate to the regions, and algorithms will rule our lives

I can barely remember my crowded commute of the pre- CC1 (first covid crisis) era. In the continued absence of an effective vaccine and its consequent herd immunity, it’s just normal now for us all to create spaces between us that no microbes can bridge – even when we’re networking or socialising with friends. It’s as if we’ve all become very physically stand-offish, but we’re learning to embrace with our voices and eye contact rather than through hugs.

Train carriages have been reconfigured with seats facing centre, staggered and 2m apart. The upside is a lavish amount of workspace for my journey – but I miss eavesdropping on other people’s conversations. Travel to work is only one day a week for many of us, and seats are strictly reservation-only. Urgent walk-ons are allocated standing room in a coloured 2m square at each carriage entrance, just like using a lift. (All those high- floor penthouses and offices are becoming unlettable and disinvested, because no one wants to queue to ride the elevator two at a time.)

Train boarding has become somewhat regimented and time- consuming, so I’m glad I don’t need to be in the office often. My part of the university has done no face to-face teaching for the whole academic year. It is amazing how effective we have all become online, both technically and socially. Technology has enabled us to remain international but also to become more inclusive.

For most organisations, their ‘team-based’ working days are staggered to avoid travel peaks. Algorithms rule our timetables for both work and transport as well as a range of other activities. The lockdown tested the limits of digital technologies in all kinds of ways, but it was amazing how quickly solutions evolved and became essential to our day-to-day existence. Healthcare environments were the battleground upon which a wide range of new innovations emerged, rather like the space race in the 1960s.

My World 2021

About Yolande Barnes

Yolande Barnes

Yolande has been examining and analysing real estate markets since 1986. As Director of World Research at Savills, Yolande provided evidence-based advice to clients and thought-leadership in real estate. She is an advisor to a variety of different enterprises and organisations. She writes regularly for research publications, national and international newspapers on a variety of property-related topics, and regularly appears on television and radio.

Articles by Yolande Barnes

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