Latest News

Government announces rise in new homes built last year

20 January 2021

Figures published in January 2021 show a 111 per cent increase in housebuilding in England from July to September 2020 compared with the previous quarter. Data for the same period also show a quarterly rise of 185 per cent more dwellings completed. Read More...

Winter weather precautions

20 January 2021

Propertymark Industry Supplier, Gallagher offers practical steps that can help agents and their clients reduce the risk of damage to property as areas of the nation are set to see further warnings of more inclement weather to come. Damage caused by the escape of water from frozen pipes and other equipment can be extremely costly in repairs and disruption. Read More...

New Help to Buy: Equity Loan Scheme

19 January 2021

First-time buyers looking to purchase a home in England will continue to receive Government support under the revised Help to Buy: Equity Loan Scheme (2021-2023), which is now open for applications with buyers able to move into their new properties from 1 April 2021. Read More...

Further calls to Government to extend Stamp Duty cut

15 January 2021

A group of 50 Conservative MPs are calling on the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak to extend the stamp duty cut for properties worth less than £500,000 a further 12 months in a major boost alongside The Telegraph’s ‘Stamp Out the Duty’ campaign. Read More...

Post pandemic plan: preparing your office

Wednesday 06 May 2020

The timescales are uncertain but, at some point soon, offices and businesses will be allowed to reopen, and people will go back to work. Getting your office prepared is something you can work towards now, whilst still in lockdown.

It’s becoming clear that social distancing rules will need to stay in force for some time, even after people are allowed to return to life outside their home. Current office setups may not provide the social distance that is required, particularly given that most offices are open plan. This is even more true in customer-facing businesses such as property agencies.

Risk assess now

A detailed risk management approach will help to safeguard employees and customers. It is essential to base any plans for returning to the work on up to date Government public health guidance in relation to COVID-19.

Prepare your office

There are concepts like the ‘six feet office’ where office design enforces social distancing through desk space, technology, and work systems, which are starting to take shape. Look at the floor plan of your premises, and see where you could add space, lights, ventilation, or screening.

Your office will have likely been empty for several weeks and, therefore, will require a good deep clean regardless of whether this is due to Coronavirus or just abandonment. Cleaning should be done before the staff return and should cover all areas of the premises. Make sure you have ample cleaning products and make these readily available on each desk, and to visitors. Clean all high touch points regularly. 

Some practical steps agencies can take now are:  

  • Space desks and change the office layout so desks do not face each other but are side by side. 
  • Communal spaces like break rooms - small spaces may need a ‘one in one out’ approach, better ventilation, or closing altogether.
  • Implement two-metre distance markers where clients may gather to wait.
  • Install Perspex screens on customer-facing desks. 
  • Implement a clear desk policy and e-filing for both hygiene reasons and business continuityProvide hand sanitiser for your staff and customers. 
  • Leave internal doors (not fire doors) propped open, and clean high-touch areas regularly.
  • Use two-metre distancing markers in public areas of the branch – markers like stickers or posters may be better than barriers that are imposing and will require continual cleaning. 
  • Consider locking the door of your branch and allowing people in small groups with signage to communicate this with the public. 
  • Tell your customers what you’re doing to protect them - visual elements like distance markers, screens, and hand sanitiser will be obvious, but information on how the business is handling cleaning, appointments, and meetings will reassure clients that you’re doing everything you can to keep them and your staff safe.

Reduced staff in the office

Consider if employees can work remotely cutting down the number of people in the office to keep the safe distancing rules. If you have employees who are amenable to working from home, it may be possible to split your workforce into home and office working, alternating days.

PROPERTYMARK RESOURCES

To support agents' preparations to emerge from the Coronavirus lockdown to maximise market potential, Propertymark has written a series of articles designed to add value and underpin your business. Our webinars also provide helpful tips on marketing, view details of our recorded and upcoming webinars.

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