It’s nearly 10 months since the UK first went into lockdown, and now, alongside the rest of the country, we are entering the third. Having already experienced two national lockdowns and tier restrictions for the majority of the last year, we feel more prepared for what’s about to happen, how it’ll make us feel, and all the things we learned to do the first time round to keep us feeling healthy, positive and in control.
At Sugarhouse, we are very fortunate that the housing industry is still open, and the need for accommodation across all different areas is still as important as ever. Whilst the pandemic and subsequent new government guidelines and lockdowns have definitely affected us as a business and our staff as individuals, with some staff having to shield, and everyone making sacrifices to not see family and friends, just like everyone else, we’re still hopeful that we can continue in what has now been dubbed as ‘the new normal’ and make sure that we’re here to help our existing tenants, as well as ensuring that we can continue to help lots of prospective new tenants to find their next home for the next academic year. That’s not to say that we’ve not had to change the way we do things, to make sure things are as safe as possible! What would normally be a busy time of year in the office, with groups of tenants in and out going to view properties and signing for the ones they love, it’s been a whole different process this year as we moved all viewings and signings online (Yes, you can view and sign for your new home without having to move off your sofa!). Whilst it has worked really well, and the enquiries are still coming through thick and fast, we’ve really missed the hustle and bustle of having lots of people in the office and chatting with you all face to face!
During the first lockdown, some of our team were furloughed, whilst the rest of the business continued to run, with everyone working from home, which was fun to tackle as a new challenge! A few of us even moved back to family homes to avoid being alone; you can imagine how difficult it was adjusting to that! To keep morale high during what was a very strange time, we organised a few virtual staff catch ups, including takeaway night, quiz night and bingo too! Like rest of the world, we did all we could to stay positive and band together.
Around 90% of our tenants are students in Leeds and we know that this is a very stressful and worrying time for everyone, this includes our landlords and professional tenants too, and of course, the team at Sugarhouse. In adherence with the Government guidance, Universities are phasing the return of students during the month of January and remain open although some courses will have virtual lectures for a while. This time around, there is a much larger emphasis on virtual learning and lectures, but also ensuring that all campuses are covid-safe. The most important thing to remember is that no one is alone during this difficult time. Each University has their own support for anyone encountering difficulties whether its financial worries or generally feeling a bit lost, and we’d urge you to utilise these or make sure you reach out to someone who can help. It’s very difficult to adapt to a new way of e-learning alongside not being able to socialise, travel to see family and friends, go to the gym, go out to eat, and all the other normal things that you’d do if we weren’t under the lockdown rules! For those of you who are first year students, some of you may not have even met those on your course, apart from through a Zoom call so make sure you check on your friends and housemates any way you can, organising group nights, quiz’s, catch ups and movie nights can be a great way to involve everyone, even if you’re all in different places, the virtual events can still continue!
We all want the same thing, to get through the lockdown, through the pandemic and back to some sort of normality as soon as we can!. Sugarhouse are still open, so if you’re looking for your home for next year, get in touch and let us show you some virtual tours of our properties and help you find your next home! Or if you have any concerns or worries, just get in touch with us – we’re here to help! 😊
Let’s have a great New Year and come out of this together!
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