Collaborating for our customers | Wates

David Morgan, Managing Director, Wates Property Services calls for the housing maintenance industry to join forces in the aftermath of Covid-19.

 

After three months of lockdown and living behind tightly closed doors, the UK is now slowly turning the key and taking tentative steps out towards a new way of living and working.

We’re understandably doing this cautiously as the world has changed irrevocably as we sought to control Covid-19. But while we adapt to an ever-changing concept of normal, there is much we can take benefit from and of course, much that hasn’t actually changed at all. 

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David Morgan - Executive Managing Director, Property Services
David Morgan, Managing Director, Wates Property Services

Business as usual

At Wates Living Space, the housing maintenance division within Wates Property Services, our responsibility to protect residents and preserve the safety and security of their homes did not stop when lockdown started.

We are an agile business and thanks to the dedication of our workforce, we were able to implement alternative processes and ways of working in the home from day one. This enabled us to carry out emergency repairs and maintenance while adhering to government guidelines. As a result, we have been practising social distancing since the outset of the Coronavirus crisis.

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WATCH THE VIDEO | Stay safe during emergency and essential repairs and maintenance works

Working safely

We have now been given the green light by the Prime Minister to restart many of our planned property improvement programmes. We’re working closely with Housing Associations and Registered Social Landlords to recommence works to residents’ properties as soon and more importantly, as safely as we can.

We have the benefit of more than 12 weeks’ experience operating in this new socially distanced manner and we are extremely well versed in how to manage this.

Our team will also continue to implement our new ‘eyes wide open’ initiative which observes residents’ social conditions and notes concerns regarding safeguarding and living circumstances. The safety and wellbeing of residents has always been our top priority.

That’s not to say we are resting on our laurels; now is not the time for complacency. But nor is it the time for competitiveness.

While the economic impact of Covid-19 will be hard-felt around the world, we are urging our colleagues, clients, consultants and peers to resist competition and collaborate instead. Much like we have come together as individuals to overcome the virus, we must now increase our efforts to work collectively in a professional capacity.

We recently produced a video for social housing tenants to illustrate how we practically intend to protect their safety and that of our operatives. This followed a similar piece of work which was shared with us by one of our customers. Consequently, we have ensured that our video can be repurposed by other organisations across the sector ensuring the continued and wide spread of best practice. There are more innovations and learnings like this to be made all of which must be delivered inclusively across the industry for the benefit of customers and their communities.

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Financial strength

The full ramifications of the pandemic for the UK economy are only just beginning to be guessed at but we are very fortunate at Wates to be fiscally resilient.

We are proud to be one of the most sustainable businesses in the sector and we take our responsibility as a large family-owned construction company extremely seriously. We know we are not immune to the commercial impact of the lockdown and are prepared to make the difficult decisions required to protect our wider workforce and the comprehensive supply chain that relies on us.

Bright future

As a nation, we will one day reflect on these very strange times and perhaps even reminisce about some of the behaviours and practices that are no longer part of the British psyche. But we will also have much to celebrate and appreciate; learnings and experiences that have made us all live more considerately and work more acutely.

In the meantime, at Wates we will continue to take whatever actions are necessary in order to support our customers and protect the welfare of their residents. That is one approach that for Wates will never change.

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