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A catalyst for positive change

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​For many, the UK lockdown has been a dark and sometimes lonely place. Colleagues, friends and individuals have been furloughed, made redundant or are out of work. Social distancing measures have been enforced leaving members of society unable to visit family and loved ones and the entire nation is obliged to adapt, to what feels like, a virtual reality. There’s no question that COVID-19 is one of the toughest experiences UK society has had to face, but, like any battle, it’s a catalyst for positive change.

"A 17% weekly increase in job vacancies were recorded between April 27thand May 1st."


Are we starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel?

As news of the virus slowing continues to emerge, the global economy presents promising signs of recovery, stocks in Asia have climbed alongside U.S equity futures increasing by 20% from recent lows. Global markets are up 11% this month, as Asian markets start to convalesce.

In the world of tech, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, revealed that signs of user behaviour normality occurred throughout April; although it’s too soon to say whether these trends will last throughout the quarter, it’s important to remain optimistic and celebrate small wins.

Google revealed that its internet search business stabilised in April after a sharp downturn at the end of last month and has seen the first signs of a recovery, lifting its shares by around 8 per cent in after-market trading on Tuesday.

According to BBC News, the capacity of the NHS is improving and plan to set out a six-week plan for ‘returning to normal’. In a letter to local trusts and GP’s, the head of NHS England said urgent outpatient appointments should go ahead and routine surgery could be restarted. Regular testing will be offered to all staff – even to those with no symptoms.

East London’s Nightingale Hospital, situated in the Excel, has treated 51 patients during the 3 weeks since its launch and has not received any new patients in the last 7 days.

Property activity

The property industry has shown significant signs of movement and increased activity. A number of construction sites which were once closed have opened their doors and are beginning to plough through existing and new projects.

Developers who have opened their sites include Taylor Wimpey, Redrow, Sir Robert McAlpine, Persimmon and Vistry: all companies have commented that they plan to abide government guidelines.

Chief Executive David Jenkinson said Persimmon had spent the past month developing and testing new site protocols that incorporate the necessary social distancing and protective measures. He warned that “these new measures will be strictly enforced by a specialist team, with any individual failing to uphold standards being subject to disciplinary action and removal from site.”

For the first time since lockdown laws were implemented, deverellsmith has recorded a weekly increase in job vacancies created between April 27thand May 1stby 17%.

deverellsmith has reported an increase in engagement between client and consultant, several conversations have included an anticipated response for the Prime Minister’s briefing on Sunday 10thMay 2020, which if lifted, is likely to result in increased recruitment activity.

Before the coronavirus hit, 31% of the respondents worked from home just once a month, and 27% never worked from home at all. A further 27% worked from home once a week, with just 12% working from home more than once a week.


What can we expect from the ‘New World’ post Covid-19?

According to Forbes, in a large survey conducted in the UK last week, only 9% wanted life to return back to pre-crisis ‘normal.’ If surveys are conducted around the world, it is likely that similar levels of discontentment with the pre-COVID world would emerge.

It can be tempting in times of turbulence to lose focus on the longer-term trends and opportunities:

Flexible working– Remember when flexible working was viewed as a progressive employment strategy implemented by charities and start-ups? What was almost implausible 3 months ago has now been trialled, tested and proven effective. Flexible working is here to stay.

Space as a service– The way companies work was slowly starting to change, but this movement has certainly been accelerated by coronavirus. Dynamic workspaces will be a working norm. Development projects will also include co-working space as a mandatory amenity. Listen to Antony Slumbers podcast on ‘Space as a service here’.

Voice interaction– Individuals will be far less inclined to touch objects in public spaces moving forward which will accelerate the implementation of voice interaction. Expect a team of Siri’s and Alexa’s in and around your office space.

Tech and efficiency– According to Digital Information World, the human attention span now sits at 8 seconds. Slow and inefficient tech won’t cut it in a virtual world, most wires will be removed and replaced by wireless software. Management are urged to devise quicker meetings with clear and attainable agendas to keep employees focused and engaged.