LMRE interview Head of Service Office Advisory at Colliers, Mark Bott, as we discuss COVID-19 adaption.
I hope everyone and their families are staying safe and keeping healthy in these times. Whilst catching up with various clients over the past couple of weeks I thought I would share what businesses, senior management and founders are doing differently and hopefully share some constructive tips and new skills to be learnt at home.
Mark Bott (Colliers) – Head of Service Office Advisory
How have you and your team adapted to COVID-19?
Colliers reacted quickly by stress testing a remote working policy, which took place prior to the government mandated lockdown, which meant we were well adapted to being away from our office. Even before the COVID-19 situation, we have a flexible working policy, where every employee has a laptop and especially given our line of work, out meeting clients and visiting multiple office sites we are used to working away from a set location.
During the lockdown period we have daily team video calls to keep in touch and talk about ways to continue assisting and helping our clients, which after the wellbeing of our staff are our number one focus. Being isolated is very challenging both physically and mentally, and what we’re finding is a higher number of calls to clients are made but instead of talking about work, the conversation gravitates towards a more personal nature, thus building a stronger bond.
If there is anything you would have done differently (Winding the clock back to when this started)
It’s always very easy to be an expert in the after event, but I think the government is doing a fantastic job, in an unprecedented time with a huge amount of stress and pressure to balance saving lives whilst trying to provide financial support to businesses and individuals – one I don’t envy!
What positives can you take from this?
Business – Once we return to “normal” conditions, I believe companies will value flexibility even more, with this unforeseen global pandemic and previously Brexit, it just proves one can never fully predict future events, thus having the ability to take an office solution which offers various degrees of flexibility will be important. Also, as every business is desperately managing their cash flow to stay solvent, when businesses next look for an office move I suspect we will see a further increase of fitted space being a priority. Furthermore, being isolated at home and removed from face to face contact reinforces how social human beings are, thus buildings should adapt to continue providing social space for employees to access and development serendipitous relationships.
General – As with every crisis, the best of human natures comes out, and it’s truly humbling to see how hard our frontline NHS staff work day to day, tirelessly to provide essential lifesaving services, the community hand clap and cheering was emotional! Also, it’s great to see so many communities and people getting together and helping each other out in any way possible.
Any advice to other businesses out there?
Survival is obviously at the forefront of every companies mind at this stage, but it’s at difficult times like this that everyone does what they can and adapt to make it through, and once we come out of the other side, it’s vitally important to remember that the most important element of each business is the employees, as without them it nothing would be possible.
Since WFH have you discovered any hidden talents or will you be attempting to learn a new skill?
Good question, it’s important to not just focus on work, or the difficult situation we’re in, and I’ve been learning Spanish for just over a year so I’m doubling down on that via apps and TV. I’ve also had some fun workouts with my 7 year old daughter – we did an on Zumba class together yesterday!