Corporates commit to Docklands
Collins Square is a place where the corporates flaunt their brands on the top of the office towers.
There’s KPMG, Marsh Mercer, Lendlease, Pearson and Transurban, to name a few.
The towers are empty but these national and global corporations are not silent.
KPMG and Transurban are making predictions about the way Melbourne will look in the future in terms of mobility and housing.
And while most say it’s too soon to go public, they are also considering how their own offices will look.
“I’ve just received a memo from the CEO of the Asia/Pacific,” a spokesperson for the insurance firm Marsh & McLennan told Docklands News. “Melbourne is entirely working from home. Sydney is 10 per cent. Marsh is committed to staying where we are.”
They added, “a lot of people are eager to work from home. That means an opportunity not to be in the office.”
While management consultancy firm KPMG and development company Lendlease said it was too early to have the debate about how home versus office space would pan out in Docklands, the sociable Amelia Cater, corporate affairs and marketing manager for Lendlease, said, “I can’t wait to get back.”
She said the deserted buildings were really sad.
“I think it’s great to have flexibility but if you like people and like learning from them … I was thinking yesterday about my colleagues. What if you don’t know them?”
She said it would be difficult developing rapport working from home. “That’s what I miss, the human side of delivering good outcomes.”
The lease for publishing firm Pearson, an occupant of converted Goods Shed 1, comes up for renewal in two years and a source close to the company said it was considering relocating to the suburbs, following its split from Penguin.
Some of its employees are talking about working from home and only visiting the office once a fortnight.
Transurban, by contrast, has issued a statement that the company will remain loyal to Docklands and has global research to back up its position.
“While 95 per cent of Transurban staff have been working from home since March we are maintaining our offices at Collins Square and look forward to resuming work there when it is safe to do so,” the company said.
Transurban has published mobility trends on the projected uptake of working from home vs from the office and flexible working.
The data has been gathered from 4500 respondents in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, the Greater Washington Area and Montreal.
The majority of respondents (86 per cent) believed they would not significantly increase the amount of time they worked from home following the pandemic.
“Concerns around maintaining relationships, managing tasks that can’t be done from home, and separating work from home are key drivers for people wanting to return to the workplace,” the survey concluded.
And KPMG, in its analysis of the post-COVID world, predicted that there would be a move away from the small inner urban cottage to a more spacious home in the outer suburbs •