David Hunter, Chairman confirmed that we are in the somewhat fortunate position as construction is one of the key business activities highlighted by the Government as receiving support. Although the majority of this support is within infrastructure, investment is taking place in buildings such as schools and hospitals. We have been involved in the urgent work required for Health Care Trusts, including emergency departments and Lighthouse laboratories. Schools, too, is a strong sector, with many of our projects benefiting from our expertise in off site and modern methods of construction.
We are a diverse practice, both geographically (although mainly based in Wales and SW England we work right the way across the UK) and across the sectors, and we consciously aim at keeping this diversity.
The shift to homeworking has given us the opportunity to share the work around, which itself complements our employee-owned culture. Interesting to note that a quarter of everyone in the business was working on a project that was not based in their studio and this has allowed the business to become more agile. The most recent employee survey showed that 98% of our staff felt that they were trusted to perform, which is vital considering we’ve gone from working out of 9 offices to 330 individual offices.
Notwithstanding this recent Lockdown 2 and Brexit – we are starting to see encouraging signs in projected fees. Our rolling forecast for the next 12 months, which we use as an indicator of our medium-term outlook, is at a level we last saw in March, just before the pandemic took hold. We are cautious but have not reacted too quickly to panic signals. We do carefully monitor expenditure and have been focusing on retrieving debt. We have also made considerable savings across the business in travel expenditure alone – this is down by an incredible 92%, resulting in a saving of 5% of turnover. We will be looking to see how we maintain some of these savings going forward, especially where there are added benefits such as contributing towards our net zero carbon targets.
Our Divisional Director for Organisational Change speaks more about developing our resilience in the face of major change here: https://stridetreglown.com/weathering-the-covid-storm-and-learning-to-dance-in-the-rain/