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What Does The Rise Of Jeremy Corbyn Mean For Liverpool Business?

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Colin Sinclair is director of workspace at Bruntwood. Having managed bands on international record labels he now leads the Liverpool office of one of the UK’s largest property firms. @colindsinclair

THE rise of Jeremy Corbyn has given rise to a new political vocabulary. There are Corbynites and Corbinistas, there is Corbynspeak and Corbynmania, and then of course there is Corbynomics, the name given to his radical economic agenda.

It’s nearly 4 decades since another Corb, the Corby steelworks closed with the loss of 10,000 jobs. History is repeating itself with the administration of the Thai owned Teeside steelworks. We say we’re out of recession but for far too many life is still too tough.

So what does this mean for Corbyn and Liverpool. A city that had already shed much of its industrial past before the last recession. A city where film making, digital and tech have long let go of the lathes looms and furnesses of the old northern economy. Liverpool is a now a post industrial city of opportunity.

The answer is simple really. Whatever the rhetoric used Corbyn needs to promise something that no Labour government has effectively in recent times done before him. Invest in the North. Close the North South divide by pledging to do everything in his power to invest in our roads and rail and our fibre connectivity and support the momentum already in place that could give us real devolved power in Liverpool. Power to sort out our skills gaps, fund our colleges, empower our universities and rebuild our health service. Promise us the power to shape our own future. Get behind Liverpool, at the heart of a real northern powerhouse.

Do that and Cor Blimey, we could once again have a socialist in no 10 Downing Street.

Should city firms be investing in beer and ping-pong?

Workspaces naturally evolve over time but it’s fair to say that something akin to a revolution has taken place in the last five years and it shows little sign of abating.

Many organisations are now much more aware of their staff’s wellbeing and they factor this into their thinking when planning a new office space.

Making time for play - businesses are realising that allowing staff to have fun increases productivity and loyalty
Making time for play – businesses are realising that allowing staff to have fun increases productivity and loyalty

Work takes up a significant chunk of people’s lives and savvy employers recognise that workspaces must evolve in tandem with the changing workforce.  They also understand their employees are more loyal and productive when they feel able to interact and be sociable with colleagues and neighbouring businesses.

So what do workspaces of the future look like?

This is a question that holds great fascination for me and as I embark on a new challenge to develop the product on offer at Bruntwood I’m learning that the possibilities are almost endless.

Gone are the desk partitions, boxed-in windows and grey, dark corners. Instead, we have collaborative open-plan floorplates, televisions and breakout spaces, combined in more creative businesses with ping-pong tables, computer game consoles or even bars and bowling alleys.

People expect there to be a fridge stocked with beers on a Friday, to have networking and events spaces close by and the fastest internet and the tastiest coffee available to them.

Connectivity, in both senses of the word, should always be welcomed. Connecting like-minded people physically, by providing a customer lounge or hot-desking and providing the fastest broadband to connect them digitally seems to be key.

The traditional serviced office approach is being replaced by co-working spaces with private offices, integrating screening rooms, phone booths and places to take Skype calls.

Advancing technology will also play a key role, with sensory recognition software and smart devices continuing to augment the work landscape on a weekly basis. Technology such as 3D 360 degree virtual meeting rooms or massage chairs that detect and treat lumbar problems may be just around the corner.

This revolution can, in no small part, be attributed to the United States and companies such as WeWork who have crossed the Atlantic to London and are now spreading their ethos across the UK.

As workspace evolves with it brings some incredible challenges for property owners and developers alike, who must continue to cater for the changing needs of businesses as they rightly bid to keep up with the evolving needs of their staff.

Thanks to those who make sure networking is working

Liverpool is as a great place to do business. Very few cities match Liverpool for our sheer determination to work together. The way we are all so happy to share our knowledge and our contacts.

Networking events such as those organised by Downtown In Business, Professional Liverpool and the Commercial District BID cater for different audiences and provide many of us with the chance to meet old friends and new contacts. Alongside that, we have an active and engaged Chamber of Commerce, complemented by the work of regional industry groups such as the Law Society, ICAEW or the Hoteliers’ Association.

When you add to that mix the many dozens of firms like Morecrofts who are more than willing to place not only their faith, but also large chunks of their marketing budgets, in countless gatherings across the city region each week, the scale and vibrancy of our networking landscape becomes abundantly clear.

It’s a well-known fact that people do business best with people they like and people in Liverpool love building enduring relationships, sharing knowledge and using their contacts to grow their business. In Liverpool we do this better than most and it’s an incredibly powerful tool that remains a major catalyst for city’s ongoing success. I for one am happy to raise a glass to that.



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