macdonald and company
macdonald and company

Why Real Estate businesses need to re-evaluate their working practices

Posting date: 21 October 2020
Ruth Rigden our consultant managing the role

Is your workplace permanently adapting to a new way of working?

Our latest RE:POLL asked what permanent plans, if any, real estate businesses are adopting. Only a small percentage (4%) said they were unsure which indicates that the majority of businesses have given this some consideration.

40% of respondents will make a mixture of office and home working days permanent (the popular choice from employees in our previous poll), with 12% adopting full home working entirely. 

28% are unsure how but do intend to review.

12% would like to get back to their usual working format.

Overall, 84% will be making changes.

We’ve previously discussed employees' preferences. The consensus is many would like the flexibility of working from home and working in the office. There are those on either end of the spectrum that want to be back in the office 5 days a week or exclusively want to work from home. 

We previously asked what can incentivise those that value home-working to return to the office. If working from home makes some feel the office is redundant, what added value can a central space provide?

The downfalls of not embracing change

My workplace is old fashioned and missing a trick. They don't trust their staff to work remotely. It will lose them their top staff as a result." 

- poll respondent

There is a possibility that employers could be missing out on talent, or losing their staff, because they don’t want to offer flexibility.

We're increasingly seeing candidates ask about flexibility for new roles. Those that tend to be ‘mid-senior’ in their career are looking for more flexibility, and unless it is their perfect role, will turn down opportunities if the company doesn't give any leeway. There have also been instances of Real Estate Marketers and Developers turn down job offers for this reason.

Candidates are expecting to be able to work from home part of the time, and clients, for the most part, have been happy to accommodate this. 

This isn’t always black and white and there are several variables; 

Graduates, and those that have been made redundant, are less likely to enquire about flexible working options. Many of those that have been furloughed for months are keen to get back to working in a social office environment. Architects, planners and other proffessions that rely on advanced software need to be in the office for specialist equipment. 

The key is offering flexibility. How does this benefit employers? 

The benefits of being flexible with both office and WFH options can mean you get the best of both worlds, balancing your staff's productivity, collaboration and creativity. It reduces the number of sick days and has aided health and well-being - all things that are in our key interests.

Additionally, you have the benefit of increasing the talent pool by opening up the radius of where your candidates live. Candidates will consider that extra time to get to the office if it means they only have to travel a set number of days.

Real Estate businesses should evaluate their working practices as soon as possible

Our first concern is safety and after that, allowing people into our offices who are genuinely struggling to work from home (poor facilities/disruptive environment) and encouraging those who would benefit from supervision and guidance- new starters, graduates, etc."

- poll respondent

Different sectors, company sizes and type of operations will need to further examine how best to adapt to new ways of working as changing expectations of work are evolving and the covid-19 pandemic continues to cause uncertainty. Adapting to new ways of working will need to be addressed as part of near-future plans, especially if it means finding new talent will be affected and staff retention could become an issue.

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