Tuesday 23rd March 2021
By Brendan Kilpatrick, Senior Partner at PRP
Even before the pandemic, economists warned us that our low productivity would hold back the UK’s economic growth. I wonder what they would make of it now.
Technological improvements have thankfully saved our bacon in enabling home-working.
Without these, huge sectors of the economy would have failed including the City of London and the office-based component of the construction industry.
But as the slowly spreading glue of the third lockdown gums up the wheels of our industry we need to shake ourselves free from its typical ailments and instead we need to:
Of course, I’m sure some are already living by these rules and not abusing of Teams unnecessarily. There are some who might even be more productive at home, and see a return to the office as an impending crash on their productivity. But I believe that such people are in the minority.
The majority of us need human contact, the thrill of collaborative working, the stimulus of having one’s shoulder overlooked, or even a simple conversation about cladding at the coffee point. This is how human beings progress, how we teach our younger staff, how we develop careers and set our aspirations. On Teams, all we can do is plan the next meeting, and the next after that.
There is light of course, at the terminus of a longer tunnel than we expected, but it is there and it allows us to begin to plan our return. The roll-out of various vaccines will illuminate our re-emergence. It will be gradual at first. Safety measures and infection control will need to remain in place while we determine the efficacy of the greatest vaccination programme in history.
Some safety measures may never leave us, but new members of staff will be able to meet their colleagues for the first time. Departments of larger organisations that haven’t collaborated for almost a year will have no excuse not to. Placement students and apprentices will be properly instructed and guided in their work. Business development operatives will be able to drum up new business. Life for the majority will be enriched.
Some are predicting a Roaring Twenties one hundred years after the first one happened. It is the least we deserve after a year or more of confinement where all but a minority have had their mental resolve severely tested and theirs has assuredly been tested too, whether they realise it or not.
Recovery is almost at hand.