The Shard, London

A Powerful Reminder: We Live in Uncertain Times

Around the time we first heard the word Coronavirus, my colleague Sam and I took a trip to NY to meet with our sister company SpacesNYC.

It was a brilliant trip. We learnt a lot and will collaborate more in the future. This was to have been the subject for this blog post.

Sadly, events have overtaken us. In 2 weeks, we have gone from 5 years of relative stability to being reminded that nothing is ever certain in life. All the plans we had 2 weeks ago have now gone on hold. Many people are frightened, uncertain as this pandemic has torn across the world. We are even scared of each other.

No one saw it coming. Not our leaders, not their advisors, not our economists. Everyone connected to finance has been caught out. Except, it seems, Bill Gates – that visionary TED Talk in 2015 that was largely ignored: “We’re not ready for the next epidemic.”

This should be a blog about Property. Stuff that!

Like others, we want to pay tribute to the Angels and miracle workers in the NHS. These are the people who were here before this pandemic that we only ever realised were here when we had cause to use the NHS. A footballer might be on £150,000 per week, an NHS worker an average of £26,000 a year. Maybe our priorities are wrong?

Every day, as we go through adjustments: of being at home, isolating – there are hundreds of scientists who even before this pandemic had been working tirelessly on research in this field, and are now, on our behalf, desperately trying to create a safe vaccine to save millions of lives.

The delivery drivers risking their health, possibly more, to ensure that our food ordered online is delivered – the ones who were there before this pandemic.

Have you noticed how much cleaner the air is already? Far fewer car journeys and planes parked rather than flying are giving the environment a chance to recuperate after so much abuse. Even Venice’s canals, who has ever seen them as they are today: apparently, the water is clear and blue, there are shoals of tiny fish, scuttling crabs and multicoloured plant-life.

When this is all over and it will be, as sure as spring always follows winter, we will spring back to normal life – perhaps sooner than we think. I hope we remember how connected we all are and always were.

Property is a people profession, such an enjoyable facet for me. The lack of human touch – between business colleagues, children and grandparents, friends and relatives – reminds us what a basic need it is. We will all have lost months of being connected to people. A WhatsApp video chat is a technological feat that we take for granted. Zoom is incredible. Yet this is a token connection with one another. You only really get to know someone by being with them in person.

There are some 7 billion people in this world – one virus, started in a small market in Wuhan in the largest, one of the most beautiful, countries in the world. In a terrible way, it has connected all of us and brought us together – a shared experience on a scale hardly imagined. Maybe this common fight will have some lasting benefits for how we perceive the world. A summons to have faith in the human race: our adaptability, flexibility and resilience. This might be a reset, a chance for humanity to realign.

Thank you to all those who are working tirelessly on our behalf. There is no amount of gratitude too great to express our appreciation for all you are doing for us.

Please stay safe. Isolate and be HEALTHY!