What Will Freedom Day Mean For Prince Krofa?
This Monday, the government’s so-called “Freedom Day”, when almost all previous Covid restrictions were
lifted and the previous “work from home where possible” guidance ended, saw jubilation for some sectors and anxiety set in for many others.
Many surveying firms are looking to bring staff back to the office, accompanied by huge demand after months of “frenzied buyer activity” fuelled in part by the stamp duty holiday (which we wrote an article about a few weeks ago – find it here), which has also pushed the average asking price for a home in Britain to a new high. However, there is still a question mark over whether a rush to reset to the ways of 2019 is right for everyone, particularly with growing uncertainty over rising cases.
According to MoneyWeek, almost all building sector companies are not rushing everyone back to the office, instead, favouring “flexible working” and “hybrid models”, whereby staff will have more freedom to work remotely for at least part of the working week.
Some publications, like The Independent, have gone so far as to say that traditional office space will become irrelevant post-pandemic, citing that over half of employees in 2021 recognised the home office and corporate benefits, such as the elimination of commuting, scheduling independence and better mental health outcomes, compared to just 16% in 2019.
However, there are also concerns that this new trend will increase housing inequality, with renters losing out to property owners and landlords. Since the beginning of the pandemic, many firms have reported a rise in office space inequality and lack of facilities for younger, renting staff members, particularly graduates and apprentices, and its negative outcomes for productivity. Pressure groups like #RippedOff have called for more secure and longer tenancies, as well as a huge increase in the supply of social and affordable housing, to combat this.
In addition, “Freedom Day” is a tentative term for some in the building industry, which is not happy with the government’s sudden outsourcing of the responsibility for policing restrictions. Many firms have had to plan very quickly for this eventuality, and according to the ONS, despite the current property sales boom, the sector’s output over the last three months has shrunk by 0.8%. This could be blamed on a combination of bad weather, staff shortages due to self-isolation measures and difficulty to price jobs due to ever-changing regulations and the presence of fixed, lump-sum contracts combined with rising prices across the sector.
So…how will Prince Krofa approach all this?
Well, to put it simply, in much the same way most other surveying firms are.
We will continue to deliver in-person surveys, with masks indoors and enclosed spaces, social distancing measures, and, ideally, letting as few people into the property as possible during a survey.
We will not attend a job if any of our party has Covid symptoms, and will offer free reschedules if this is the case.
Plus, the benefit of Prince Krofa & Sons being a family-run, local firm is that remote working can continue as it has with no real change to productivity.
How are you approaching “Freedom Day”? What is your opinion – is it a dream or a nightmare for the surveying sector? Let us know in the comments.