Is the great return to the office finally back on? With Jacob Rees-Mogg on the war path, it probably is for civil servants, but what about everyone else?

Liz Hamson leader

Liz Hamson, editor

It was just one of many interesting questions posed at my final editor’s dinner, hosted by JAI and NWEC, and views were mixed. The consensus was that people will return, but not five days a week, and that, as IWG boss Mark Dixon argues in his comment this week, the future is hybrid, a view seemingly validated by Lendlease’s decision to move out of its 20 Triton Street HQ after 12 years and explore hybrid working options.

But it is not as simplistic as that. As was pointed out at the dinner, many of the fastest-growing companies work fully from home. Conversely, some employers are keen to get people back in the office five days a week. Could a range of different ways of working be acceptable in the mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up post-Covid world?

It is humbling and awe-inspiring to discover that even in war-torn Ukraine, people are gearing up for a return to the office, with Ukrainian developer UDP and parent company UFuture Holding having resumed development of an office-led innovation park in Lviv even as the war with Russia rages on around them. “We have no other option,” says UFuture’s Vasyl Khmelnytsky with characteristic Ukrainian stoicism.

Interestingly, the scheme includes co-working as well as traditional workspace. It also features recreational space and another use that hopefully we won’t have need for here – an emergency shelter for tenants. Aside from that last use, the mix is not dissimilar to what we are seeing in some of the mixed-use schemes that developers are looking to bring forward here.

There is a good reason for that: single-use schemes don’t cut it with the post-Covid community-focused masses – or with the developers and investors that develop and buy them.

Fortunately, with typical foresight, the industry cottoned on years ago, and mixed-use schemes, whether office-, retail-, resi- or even industrial-led are now transforming towns and cities up and down the country. The resi-led variety will no doubt be a talking point on 20 to 21 September at this year’s RESI, which has been rebranded as RESi360 and relocated to the Royal Lancaster London.

Sadly, I will not be joining you this year. Today is my last day at Property Week after eight years with the magazine. The industry is transformed from the one I encountered in 2014 when I rejoined PW – as many of you know, I did a previous four-and-a-half-year stint at the magazine – and mostly for the better. That is down to the ingenuity, passion and determination that pretty much everyone I have had the pleasure and privilege of meeting or writing about seems to possess in spades.

There have, of course, been aspects of the industry I have been less impressed with. As I have argued in some of my more forthright leader pieces, it still has a way to go on the diversity and climate fronts. Thanks for reading even my more challenging comments and accepting (or at least tolerating) views sometimes diametrically opposed to your own. Thanks also for all your support over the years. I have no doubt you will be just as welcoming to Construction News editor Lem Bingley, who takes over as PW editor in June.

Last but not least, a big thanks to everyone on the Property Week team. You are the best and I will miss you enormously. Goodbye and good luck!