My world: June 2021…
This is part of a series of articles where our contributors describe how they think things will look a year from now.
In truth since stepping back from a corporate role at Grainger at the end of 2017 my ambition was to hub my consulting business from my home in the Cotswolds. Up until March 2020 that seemed increasingly difficult as my client base grew not only in numbers but geographically. With clients based and investing across EMEA and the US, London was the natural place to meet, co-ordinate and use as my springboard. Despite selling the family home in Fulham so that the Cotswolds became home not a weekend retreat, we found ourselves renting an even more central flat within weeks.
But Covid-19 has changed everything. Seeing the lockdown as inevitable, my wife (who has an office in London) and I loaded the car and headed west and within two days had set up two offices from where we have both worked since.
I am almost embarrassed to admit that since the formal lockdown, I think I have worked both longer hours and more efficiently than at any time since 2017. Some of the on-line practises took a day or two to get used to but co-ordinating meetings, conversations, introductions and all forms of communication became easier. True; everyone else was in the same unchartered territory of working from home offices as far away as they could from children thoroughfares – with the purpose of keeping the show on the road.
As residential property folk we are used to constant, but changing environments. Buildings may seem inanimate objects, but they don’t sleep, nor do they operate or build themselves and now we had to accommodate our residents 24 hours a day. For the first few weeks of the lockdown, the focus was naturally on plotting the path ahead with little clarity about the length or obstacles that lay ahead. Cash conservation and policies for rent collection dominated and no one to my knowledge had ‘an indeterminate lockdown and global pandemic’ on their risk schedule, but the speed and calmness that we all adapted to the circumstances was impressive.
So, whilst writing this with neither the length or obstacles yet clear from my home office watching the sun set behind the now leafy trees across the fields, I look ahead to June 2021 and realise that in a matter of days I have managed to achieve what I wanted to do over the last two years. I have learnt not only how to work three separate screens at the same time, where to position the cameras for the back to back video calls as well as leave enough time to run to the kitchen and make a cup of tea and coffee between calls.
Being an optimist by June, I expect to be travelling round the UK by public transport (when optimum) for meetings wherever required, but heading home to Cirencester whenever possible. I also expect to be reacquainting myself with the BA lounge at Heathrow not just for work trips but also some holiday that we are all missing out on in 2020.
My predictions for June 2021: