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Anthony Towse: Change within the property sector and beyond

Anthony Towse: Change

-By Anthony Towse, Senior Recruitment Consultant, Quantity Surveying-

Change – /tʃeɪndʒ : the act of becoming different, or the result of something becoming different.

Adapting to change is a daunting prospect for most people, from having to change positions in a football match to having to change the company you work for. People for some reason or another always have a fear of the unknown, although in retrospect once you have adapted you realise that change, most of the time, it’s for the better and wasn’t all that hard to deal with. 

Being taken out of your comfort zone creates fear, which gives you purpose, urgency and certainly keeps your brain from becoming stale, something that a lot of us are going to deal with in the near future. 

The biggest change that the majority of us are currently dealing with is having to work from home. I have always dreamed of being able to do so but as the weeks pass by for me the novelty is starting to wear off. I miss being able to walk into Ole & Steen and buy a coffee in the morning. I miss the sound of my colleague’s laughter during lunchtime. I dread to say it I even miss my boss pestering me to get things done, and being a 27 year old chap who works in recruitment in central London I miss the taste of that first Friday beer after a hard weeks’ work.

That is me and I am not everyone so I do appreciate how others are looking at things. I spoke to a client yesterday who couldn’t be happier with her time at home! Being with her family, not having to commute 2 hours a day, having time to go for a run at lunch, having an afternoon cup of tea out in the garden with the sun on her face, the list goes on. I think companies are going to have to be very careful about how they adapt to the change when the lockdown finishes. It’s obvious people have already started to feel comfortable in their new life. Taking that away from them or not giving them balance might not go down well.

In terms of how companies within the property industry and beyond look at making these changes is yet to be seen. Maybe there will be a rota system where half the office goes in and half stays at home. Maybe it will be mandatory for people to attend certain days and not others, who knows, but listening to Big Boris on Sundays it sounds like we do need to ‘stay alert’. It’s probably not a good idea for everyone to go rushing in at once. Although the people who you surely should worry about are the juniors coming through. The main question is are they going to be getting the attention they need to develop properly? Either it’s recruitment or any other industry, it’s no good having an apprentice at home trying to teach themselves.

When it comes to particular sectors companies specialise in, there may be some slight or drastic changes of direction. I’ve had many discussions with people within the property sector and if I’m totally honest no one really knows which areas will be affected the most. We all know the retail industry is likely to struggle but wasn’t it anyway? You have to think that if more people are working from home moving forward then will commercial office developments/fit-outs see a decline? With everything, there is usually balance and where there is a decline there is usually incline. I know that certain parts of the infrastructure world are really going to benefit, HS2 seems to be moving forward nicely and you can only imagine how some highways contractors will be rubbing their hands together. So many ifs and maybes but one thing is for sure whether the changes are large or small everyone is going to be affected and it is imperative that we adapt in the right way.

“It appears that the Hotel Sector may experience a fall in the percentage of projects progressing to contract stage as a result of COVID-19 and the implication with business travel and demand for hotel accommodation at present. Hotel projects already on-site and under construction appear not to be affected except for delay to completion due to the impact of COVID-19. My concern is the long term effects COVID19 may have on the hotel market sector and the construction industry as a whole”. 

Michael Eshyigba, Associate Director, Jones Lang LaSalle

On a more positive note, I feel a big winner during this pandemic has been the environment. You only have to step outside to actually be able to hear the birds tweeting and not the cars screeching plus I can only imagine the rate of hedgehogs being run over will have declined massively. Not that I am a scientist but Google has told me Nitrogen Dioxide levels have dropped by around 20% across the UK since the lockdown. If true this is a huge achievement regardless of the circumstances, will this carry on once this is over? I hope so!

Overall I think people across recruitment, property, and other industries are going to change their mindset, whether it’s cycling to work instead of using motor transport or walking up to the butchers and supporting the local businesses rather than heading to Tesco. We are starting to think about others and it was exactly the kick up the ass we all needed.

Whenever there is a bush fire there are always new shoots that come through the black soil; we must look at the positives during this tough time.

Good luck.

Anthony Towse


To get in touch with Anthony to discuss current job opportunities within Quantity Surveying you can either email anthony.towse@oysterpartnership.com or give him a call on 07418 031 696.

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