Starting a new job is a daunting prospect at any time, let alone during a global pandemic, but back in June 2020 George Tilbury did just that when he joined our team in a pre-contracts building surveyor role as a Commercial Manager. We asked him to share his experiences and thoughts on the past six months, including making the leap from client to contractor side, joining a virtual team and his outlook on 2021…

First of all, who makes the conscious decision to resign on the 19th March 2020?! And what’s more, to make a career change to the ‘other side of the fence’, at a time when the economic outlook couldn’t have been more uncertain. It wasn’t without a degree of doubt and concern, and I knew It was going to be a challenge, but combine a global pandemic, a three-month notice period (suddenly working from home) and then your first day and meeting your new team via TEAMS just for good measure, it was definitely a time to remember!

I had always considered a move to the contractor ‘side’ of the industry but I honestly wasn’t sure where I would fit in, especially when my background was with Bruntwood, a significant landlord with ultimate buying power and the luxury of everything else that comes with being client side. That said, I knew I needed a fresh challenge and meeting with some of the ADT Workplace team at my interview really helped me understand why someone with my skillset and background would suit such a role. I think what I could see was an opportunity to work in a well-established business with a great reputation, and make a genuine difference internally as well as to the wider market. I love conversation and meeting new people, and already I have seen new relationships develop and I am excited to my role evolve further during 2021.

Six months on from starting my role, it still feels strange when I meet a team member face-to-face, having spoken to them for months through a screen. Despite the latest lockdown, with the roll-out of vaccine there is definite hope as we move into 2021 and I’m looking forward to meeting everyone in the team at some point in the not too distant future! When I look at how the construction industry as a whole has reacted to the past 10 months, it has been fantastic to see how it has managed to continue given the challenges, and I think the sector has really come together and worked tirelessly to set a precedent in how markets and industries can adapt to survive and embrace the new opportunities presented by Covid-19.

One frustration of mine, and I think perhaps of many working in the commercial office sector, is the phrase ‘is the office dead?’ which has been frequently debated and written about in the media. While I appreciate that yes, it’s a valid question, I very much prefer to take a more positive outlook. There is no doubt that challenges lie ahead, particularly as we navigate the winter months, but this situation we’re facing has also presented many exciting opportunities. We should be focusing on embracing these opportunities and considering how this market can adapt and evolve. What will the office be next? Over the past six months I’ve already been given the opportunity to work with some fantastic clients who also share the same positive outlook as our team on the future, and entrust us to make it happen, which has been truly rewarding.

Since joining the company, I have been blown away by the team, its capability and the work ethic behind everything they present to their clients. The design capability, the want to encourage clients to pursue new and creative ideas, the focus on staff wellbeing and attracting them back to the office above and beyond a desk and laptop stand! Maybe that’s why I’ve enjoyed it so much, the constant desire to exceed and be better, rather than simply tick over and win contracts. It’s great to be able to promote and work with a business that really is set up to make a difference.

I think what this pandemic really has shown us is how important people are. The huge drive to understand mental health, the fight for equality and how desperate we all were to just to get out and about and see friends. I think this really does prove how important work and our working environments are. We all need face-to-face social interaction and this is where the future of our working environments needs to start.

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