Commercial Agency Activity & Post-Lockdown Planning
One of the consistent questions being asked of us by clients and contacts daily is, "How are we doing in lockdown?"
The answer is that while transactions have slowed and enquiries have of course subsided, we are reassuringly busy supporting existing clients and new enquiries.
We have continued to bring forward dozens of new instructions. We are also pleased to report a very positive increase in levels of enquiries over the last 7-10 days. While these are still at levels below what we would usually expect, there are some very encouraging signs. We would judge that enquiry levels have fallen by around 70%, but the firms we are speaking to now have a serious intent to occupy accommodation.
Like many other property advisory firms during lockdown, the only real issue we have faced is being unable to conduct physical property inspections. We have adapted nicely to remote working (some team members find it easier than others!). Where circumstances have allowed, use of 3D virtual tours, video tours on Zoom and other supporting technology has allowed us to keep things moving. However, this is not and will never be a substitute for the benefits and levels of communication that accompanied viewings add to our advisory role.
Our focus now is getting back to business in a way that maintains the safety of our staff, clients and contacts as a priority. Returning to whatever the ‘new normal’ may be is now key.
HOW ARE WE TACKLING THIS?
Firstly, we recognise there will be concerns around returning to work and travelling around London for most. Communicating with staff over arrangements and listening to their preferences will be paramount.
We are in the process of finalising our return to work plans. These will include:
- Preparing our offices and implementing increased cleaning schedules
- Putting in place distancing requirements for desks in our offices
- Operating ‘one way systems’ through common parts/circulation areas and reducing touchpoints
- Provision of essential PPE and protocols for office-based working
- Replacing most client meetings with video calls
In terms of inspections, we are anticipating being busy with dozens of viewings to schedule. Again, PPE has been supplied for use by staff and clients to allow us to conduct property inspections safely and travelling to work and appointments. We expect that most staff will ideally look to try and reduce their use of public transport where they can. Attending appointments on foot or bicycle will be a priority where this is possible, and use of public bikes and car club/shares will be made available for staff.
We are ready.
As with the rush into lockdown during late March, we are aware that returning to the workplace and conducting some aspects of our business will have its challenges but we are well placed to tackle this. We look forward to ‘being back’ and continuing to work with you.