To say my first day at work was a bit weird is an understatement. Nothing to do with joining Potter Space, I hasten to add. It was just that I started on 1 May, right in the middle of lockdown.
So, when I went to the head office in Ripon as the newbie, it was all eerily quiet with almost everyone working from home. I therefore got used to my surroundings, for when things started to return to ‘normal’, collected my new laptop and work mobile, and headed off home.
I wasn’t a complete stranger to the team. Having been in the property sector since I was 21 (no rude comments please!), I had already worked with Potter Space’s Property Director, Rob Barker, on a couple of occasions, while at King Sturge and Colliers.
As for the rest of my colleagues, I got to know them all ‘virtually’ through MS teams and in person, from a distance.
Naturally getting out to our five business parks and meeting the on-site teams took a little longer due to the pandemic, but we managed to do it, eventually; slowly and safely.
The lockdown certainly provided more strategic thinking time and the property department was tasked to come up with ideas for the business in the coming months.
I suggested entering The Green Apple Environment Awards, which recognise, reward, and promote environmental best practice around the world.
We certainly have a good case to put forward. In 2018, Potter Space, as landlords, took a business strategy decision to focus all future development of new industrial units on the business parks to be sustainable, environmentally efficient and to adopt the best practice, as much as practical.
Since then the newly constructed units, 51 and 60, have an A grade on the EPC rating. On the back of this success, our ambition was then to go even further by creating the first carbon neutral new build, when constructing unit 52. Having achieved this ambition, we now have a template to build a portfolio of properties for our customers that would deliver sustainable occupation benefits in the running of their business, while also meeting best practice standards.
We will find out later this month as to whether our entry has been successful.
In the meantime, I have been working with Rob on the retendering of our utilities so that we can deliver the best price for our customers, including selling the solar energy we generate back to the grid.
I have also introduced RiskWise, on online property risk management software platform, designed by health and safety professionals and technical experts at the S2 Partnership. We have recently undertaken our first externally audited General Risk Assessment, which we will be rolling out across all our business parks. Together with the RiskWise platform, we will have a great reporting structure, clearly demonstrating where we are as a business in terms of H&S.
Finally, I’ve written and produced a service charge template which, subject to approval, can be shared with our customers.
With responsibility of running three of the business parks now in my hands, and the remaining two being given to me by the end of October, it really has been a whirlwind first 100 days at Potter Space, especially in these most unusual of times.
It has been a great start and most enjoyable, so I am really looking forward to further challenges ahead.