NextGen Diaries: Alex Beale

14 May 2020

I’m sure it’s been an interesting past few months for all of us, with initial panic evolving into a sense of a weird, shared global experience while all staying apart. I’ve really noticed a slowdown in the pace of life and a change in my perspective of what I’m grateful for – being physically healthy, being able to talk to friends and family and having a busy work schedule. I think I’ve probably spoken to friends and family more in the last few weeks than I have done in years.

I live in a one bedroom flat with my partner and, while we’ve both invested in some headphones, it can still sound like a call centre to people we’re speaking to from our co-working/living room. Our shared balcony has never been more popular and Netflix usage has gone into overdrive, I’m not sure what I’ll do when I run out of episodes of ‘You’ imminently.

Landsec’s new CEO Mark Allen started in the past few weeks. It can’t be easy joining a new company remotely, but he hosted a ‘town-hall’ event for the whole company to dial in and ask questions which actually worked surprising well as an introduction. There have also been weekly video updates from different senior leaders to share their teams focus, which has been great to get a window into everyone’s shared experiences.

The economic and societal implications of this situation could be huge. Boundaries between the public and private sector are changing with radical ideas like government bailouts, nationalisation of industries or universal basic income becoming more mainstream and could radically change our cultural landscape.

I’m hopeful that we could see fresh perspectives on sustainability and the environment as it opened our eyes to a way of life with less travel and consumption of goods. As we live and work remotely, I wonder whether globalisation will change as people will become more aware of our interconnectedness and share ideas and goods digitally across borders.

The changes we’ve seen make me wonder whether we’ll ever accept that spending time travelling to work is worthwhile every day when so many have been able to work remotely so effectively. The office needs real differentiation from home working everyone’s accustomed to, for collaboration and connection, in order to draw people back in on regular basis. I also think its going to change what people prioritise when choosing where they live – access to nature and more space may become more of a priority at the cost of urban density.

Alex Beale
CPA NextGen Vice Chair
Foresight Manager at Landsec