Working from home is not new to me, it has been 10+ years since I left the the traditional office environment behind. There has been so many posts on how to work effectively from home, the challenges it faces, the realisation that your broadband speed at home isn't that great after all and that your bookshelves don't look great on that Zoom call to managing your time and how to cope without contact with colleagues. One thing you will probably appreciate is a diary free of endless "meetings".

The first thing you will have realised by now is just how much you can get done in a day without endless distractions. You may have started to use the phone more instead of getting into email conversations. You realise how much time you waste commuting. In the current circumstances you appreciate the quiet and of course family.

In this virtual age conferences and seminars still continue and you have the luxury that if there is a talk that doesn't spark your interest you can take coffee break. However we have also seen masses of excellent online learning webinars appearing. I have to mention the weekly series "Transforming the Future of Land Management" hosted by Tim Hopkin (The LandApp) and Matthew Morris (Duchy of Cornwall). These weekly events are watched by 300/400 people are short, punchy, collaborative and engaging. These are all excellent means of learning new skills and keeping "current". Hopefully we will see more of these.

What though of the implications for the wider property market now that we have discovered new ways of working. Some ideas;

1 - Companies will begin to trust their employees that they do actually work when at home. Back to its not the hours its what you get done in the hours. Productivity will increase.

2 - Large (maybe all) corporate offices begin to look outdated. Space could be drastically consolidated. Staff could go to offices say a couple of days a week.

3 - High Street shops are already under pressure and online shopping will no doubt increase. Maybe surplus shops could be converted to offices. Small local hubs, close to the coffee shops where people can still meet (yes at 2 metres).

4 - Commuting will be realised as wasteful time and costly in personal time, energy cost and infrastructure cost.

5 - The housing market and "commuter land" could change. If mass transit isn't necessary demand will change. People will live where they want to live and not where they need to live.

6 - Availability of fast broadband will be a necessity and will hold greater importance and value when investing in property.

7 - Quite possibly weekly commuting or working away from home for extended periods will drastically fall away. COVID 19 really has emphasised the value we place of families and communities. Being away every week or for extended periods will become far less attractive.

8 - Home design will change to incorporate "office space" and the use of garden based sheds/worksops/offices will increase.

9 - As property professionals the importance of using technology effectively will be of ever increasing importance. Key to this will be having excellent property records (all electronic of course), have very thing mapped using GIS and have truly paperless systems.

10 - I have to mention GIS and drones - GIS self evident on the value it brings to managing property. Drones will have their place as well from providing video for virtual planning committees, detailed inspections for valuations/audits to having upto date footage of your portfolio. It one way or other I have provided all of these to existing clients.

Time will tell on the above but we surely now moving into another phase of how we all work and use property. It will keep us busy as Chartered Surveyors and also for those of use providing additional services to property professionals.


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