Is Office Property Dead?


Every person is unique. What drives our physical uniqueness was not fully understood until scientists proved DNA – the molecules that contain our unique genetic code. Since Watson and Crick proved DNA in the 1950s, we have gained more and more understanding of its incredible complexity. Bill Gates in the Road Ahead says  “DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created.”

If we get a cut, the body goes about its business of healing. But it’s the DNA that controls the proteins that manufacture the skin with the right colour to match the rest of our skin. Now the scientists out there will probably tell me that explanation is a bit crude, but I think you get the idea – we have this software that holds the blueprints to the unique design of our body. We get damaged – don’t worry, our software knows what we look like and can ‘reproduce us’.

What’s this got to do with property, and particularly office property. Well, property is simply an expression of us humans. That’s why I love property – it creates spaces for humans – it creates spaces where life happens.  Take the Blues rugby game on Sunday, it could have been played on a rugby field with no physical structure around it. But look at what happened when it was played at Eden Park with 40,000 fans. The atmosphere was incredible and the best team won. Go the Blues.

During lockdown, apparently, I was very grumpy. Probably true. I like to get out and see people. If I am working – I like to go to the office and interact. I do property investment planning sessions – mostly with couples. I find it far better doing them in person. I can read body language – and I think our clients pick up a bit more of my passion for helping them build great equity and passive income.

My wife on the other hand sits more towards the introvert end of the spectrum and absolutely loved not having an obligation to go into work.

Human nature is the DNA of property. We drive what property looks like. And what property looks like is a function of how we like to live and work. Some people love to hide away and research and write software and build spreadsheets and create art. Others like to build and create by doing deals – speaking verbally, meeting physically.

Lockdown has been great for showing us that a lot of meetings can take place over the internet. And shown us that more flexible working is possible. At the same time it has shown me how incredibly important human interaction is. A handshake, hugging a mate before open-heart surgery, collective laughter in a meeting – which is somehow a whole lot better in person.

The need for office space won’t die because humans love and need to interact face to face.