Decentralization and technology-enabled home working

Enter the rural environment as a destination for those displaced from, say Canary Wharf, with an enviable work/life balance, properly equipped with resources appropriate to decentralized working.

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Today’s Daily Mail carries a story on the near-future:

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Big offices are now a thing of the past, says Barclays boss in sign lender may give up most of its Canary Wharf HQ

The boss of Barclays has said having thousands of workers in one building ‘may be a thing of the past’ as he signalled a shift in the way the banking industry operates. In a sign that the lender may give up most of its towering Canary Wharf HQ, chief executive Jes Staley said the coronavirus would have a lasting impact on where staff work. Around 70,000 of the 80,000 employees are working from home with just a handful of the 7,000 who usually work in Canary Wharf, London, coming in to the office.

Big offices are now a thing of the past, says Barclays boss in sign lender may give up most of its Canary Wharf HQ | dailymail.co.uk

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The comment from the East Devon Watch blog is what a waste of space, time, energy and money the move to the now largely empty offices of the District Council: “Another question mark over the future utility of Blackdown House?”

BIG OFFICES ARE NOW A THING OF THE PAST, SAYS BARCLAYS BOSS | eastdevonwatch.org

Which is indeed a suggestion made on these pages many a time:

Knowle relocation project: some reflections

Knowle relocation project: ‘questions hang in the air’

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However, a comment from a regular correspondent notes that changes in perception could help in the revival of the high street and the local economy:

If this potential move by Barclays for decentralization and home working comes about it may become a post -Covid trend, technology-enabled, and benefit rural towns around the country.

In other words, the chair of Barclays implied, the days of centralization may be over along with massive head office buildings. Enter the rural environment as a destination for those displaced from, say Canary Wharf, with an enviable work/life balance, properly equipped with resources appropriate to decentralized working.

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And there is already one such model waiting to come to East Devon and possibly even Sidmouth:

District Council to invest in South West Mutual bank

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With further comment about how a decentralised, hi-tech bank would help the economy:

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Localisation features significantly in the Community Actions Economic Resilience section of the Neighbourhood Plan where nurturing, supporting and developing our entrepreneurial culture is a key step in the journey towards a diversely based and resilient economy. Key components in this approach, in my opinion, are to promote East Devon as a vibrant place to live, offering a strong work-life balance, supported by a business infrastructure geared to the entrepreneurial economy.

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