Returning to the new normal

Henry Mayes, Business Development Director reflects on the last 3 weeks back in the office and sees hope in the future.

Having spoken to nearly 100 contacts in the last 3 weeks, it is clear that under-confidence is holding back the economy. While investors are keen to realise the returns on their investments, C-19 is stifling not only progress on site, but also our ability to progress projects through planning, pre-construction and design to get on site. The challenge for most businesses is going to be getting back to the place they were in February and getting back to the new improved ‘normal’. Confidence in the office is building all the time. The administrative, design and planning duties required for great project delivery and a more secure pipeline, will give organisations the best opportunity to deliver on their current and future commitments. The UK economy as a whole needs the construction sector to pick up its pace. There are green shoots and we are seeing some forward thinking developers progressing in the pre-construction teams well. I suspect the slow return to building in the residential sector will lead to an avalanche of workload and expectation towards the end of the year and demand could overtake supply in a labour market that already has its challenges. We relish the prospect of this challenge!

Right now organisations need to continue to work on finding the right balance of home and office working – a new normal - in an uncertain environment. We are all very aware of one-another’s personal space – even more so than before. This creates emotional uncertainty which will take time to resolve. We need to remember the trust we had in one-another a few short months ago and to trust one another again. Remember how great the team was and rebuild – and improve.

Time will be the healer; those who were furloughed or have worked from home for the last few months are gradually returning to their offices. While they worked well at home, all of the positive things about coming together in the work place have been very much missed and it will take time to regenerate the momentum and relationships that we once had as a team working in one location. Being and feeling like part of a TEAM is vital and can be overlooked. We need to be creative about the work we are doing and bouncing ideas off each other is so important – you can’t overhear a conversation and positively contribute to an ongoing project over zoom or Teams!

In our head office, we have 90 people gradually returning, with the 2 metre rule still in place. We are lucky – we have the space in the office to enable this to happen, but not everyone is comfortable yet. Confidence will be restored as we spend more time with each other. Only then will we start to see an economy in full swing, high demand, with competition to keep us focused! And a keen eye on a prosperous future.

The dust will settle. The pride in our business is growing and our team spirit is getting stronger every day.

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