Pandemic: Part Two
So it feels like Groundhog Day or Jaws but this time rather than being “just when you think it is safe to go into the water… “ it’s “just when you think it is safe to go back into the office!” Just after the late Summer Bank Holiday, we as a team agreed that we would all come back to the office. Little did we know that just three weeks later we would be packing up for good.
The search for our next office
In some of our previous blogs we have advised that we made the sad decision to leave our offices in Paddington due to expansion, so packing up was something that we always knew we had to do. We just didn’t know that this was going to be packing up to destination unknown. The search for an office has taken a different turn. With our knowledge of the commercial market and with guidance from Harrison Eagles of LDG we felt that a short term let would better serve the needs of MIH. The first two weeks of September were a frenzy of viewings with Sarah settling on the first office she saw. However, this was soon scuppered by the announcement that all staff should work from home if they could.
The decision to close the office was ultimately a much simpler one than when we had closed in March. This time we were prepared. So aside from the packing boxes and our most exciting purchase ever, a server everything went quite smoothly. Works are currently being undertaken in our office in line with dilapidations. We decided to bring these works forward in the event that there was a full lockdown and we couldn’t give the office back on the due date. Notwithstanding this, we are sure that when we give the keys back, there may be a few tears bearing in mind that this was MIH’s first home and we were there for 3 years.
Lessons learned for the March Lockdown
Having sorted the practical side of our move out including the relocation of our computers and our new server, we turned our attention to the service side. We drew upon the lesson learned from our shut down in March.
The first difficulty we faced that is the many changes to MIH since March. Our last blog referred to the leavers and starters in September. However, it didn’t reference that the team has grown since March. Indeed, we have a new Property Manager, Stuart starting in October and this will be the first time that MIH has had someone start without going through MIH initiation. It felt somewhat strange to be buying a new laptop for someone that we have hardly met but we are confident that Joe will soon get him trained up MIH style.
Combatting the isolation
With a mix of a fresh young team and established MIH hardliners, we decided that although we wouldn’t be meeting in the office we would meet together in smaller groups to keep up the MIH spirit. We wanted to combat the isolation that many of us had felt during the previous lockdown and to try and ensure that the more junior members were receiving the support they so desperately need. These meetings will coincide with our property visits which we hadn’t been able to undertake previously but with the easing of regulations, we can do now. For those who have experienced the MIH service, they will know that MIH believes that you can’t manage a building without knowing it inside out.
We also made the decision to disable the central phone line as previously we had missed messages and calls on the same and this had caused some frustration for our clients. Although all “MIHers“ have smartphones and their numbers are shared, there are often instances where clients wish to phone and speak to several people in the office. Although we can’t offer this immediately, we can ensure that calls are returned and where necessary through the use of teams and call merging are often able to Make it Happen far easier than when we're in the office. We are sure Spring Street will miss the dulcet tones of MIH Staff on their phones when they couldn’t be heard in the office.
For MIH and this period of new normal, we are sure that everything will be smooth sailing, famous last words obviously. However, our confidence is not misplaced as we know that we have the support of our clients who always work with us collaboratively to make sure that their property (and ours as the MIH mantra is to manage each property as their own) is well maintained. Clients can always be assured of receiving great service, simply because that is what great clients deserve!