It’s been a mad few weeks. Our daily lives have changed, we miss seeing the friendly faces behind our favourite independents. We are sure you do too, so we thought we’d check in.
Not only have they had to adapt their own lifestyle to the new normal, their business has had to change too.
We caught up with Nicola from Spencers Estate Agents on Ecclesall Road, who sell, manage, rent and block manage many properties.
What was your initial reaction to lockdown?
We actually locked ourselves down before the announcement knowing that we didn’t want to expose any staff or clients unnecessarily where we could find other ways of running the business. Because my mum has cancer, dad has long term heart conditions, and because we have young children, I didn’t want to place any of my family at risk either and so it seemed sensible to act before the inevitable.
How has your business changed over the past few weeks?
It is strange how adaptable you can be when forced to be, and all the things that you wouldn’t have thought possible, such as remote working, suddenly there was options that weren’t as difficult as you would have imagined. We are still running the business as efficiently as possible, conforming with all distancing guidelines, and we are still managing to stay in contact with all clients and undertake emergency repairs where absolutely necessary. Having to run the business, look after children and not see people is hard, especially in a business where relationship building is so key, but we are hanging our hats on the truth that this won’t be forever and that needs must for now.
How do you see the long-tern impact on small businesses?
We can only speak for ourselves here, of course, but the resources that have been put in place from the government should really help us and I can only hope that the property sales market isn’t seriously affected long term, only time will tell. In the short term, we must tighten our belts on spending and find ways to cut back overheads just to ensure the job security for all our staff and to ensure the business can keep going over the next 12 months where income will be affected by the huge dip in sales, we have made the changes needed and are confident that the business is as safe as it can be in these times.
What has been your daily coping strategy in these crazy times?
I’m not great at having to deal with my own company, so working from home and remotely hasn’t been much fun, even if I can work in my pyjamas! It has been nice to find the time to exercise a little more though, and it has been nice to have to be at home and be forced to get some jobs done that have been on the back burner. I am finding the lack of contact with family and friends incredibly hard though and having very little to talk about when I take the time to call or video call seems strange. I can’t wait to be able to plan doing some nice things with the people I love and to get back to a bit of normality. In the meantime the priority has to be keeping those safe that are around me and doing my “bit” to ensure that I don’t let them down.
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