9th October 2020

The buses are busy, the sound of children in playgrounds now drowns out the birdsong and, despite further precautions, working life has returned, albeit in a new form.

As a business that deals in homes, work space and retail, this year has seen us adapt at an incredibly fast rate, and continually. We place all of our customers and our staff at the heart of everything we do and have welcomed their resilience and optimism to forge a new way of life.

When we hosted a roundtable on the Future of the Office with CoStar a year ago, no one could foresee the tidal wave of disruption around the corner. We re-visited the topic with industry colleagues in May. The conclusion remained the same – that the office was here to stay but undoubtedly with some changes. May’s panel were unanimous that working from home for most had seen a smooth transition and in some cases surprisingly productive. However the biggest difference between the two round table discussions was undoubtedly the impact of absence of personal interaction. Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Hangouts have proficiently filled the meeting void but it highlighted that offices and personal interaction are needed for training and development, team building and focus as well as creativity. Everyone has been missing the personal interaction.

With the findings from these insightful discussions ringing in our ears and the desire to bring the team together (not to mention the need to play our part on the Kings Road which is the high street that we call home), we have blended the positive experiences of working from home with our insights into more flexible and collaborative office space to create a new HQ and working practices which we hope will unite the positive working principals from a pre and post Covid world.

The pandemic gave many of us the opportunity to reassess our health and dedicate time to our wellbeing whether it be exercise, mindfulness or more time to cook. We have therefore introduced working from home for all our team into our working week. Going forward, Mondays and Tuesdays every week will be dedicated to working from home – allowing colleagues to move their homes further afield, spend more time with family and less time commuting, whilst prioritising desk based tasks. The rest of the week will see all the team together in the office, functioning as one, motivating each other and collaborating across all aspects of our business. Our new look office, whilst adhering to strict Covid guidelines and procedures, allows for break out spaces for teamwork and a large kitchen for a time when we hope we will be able to eat together again.

We continue to weather the storm and remain grateful that we can do so together and hope that our new space meets the social aspect many of us have missed and provides a space for enthusiasm and team work.