Claire Harkins is regional manager for Scotland at Business Moves Group. She joined the company in August 2021 and has been busy getting to grips with her role and expanding the business in Scotland. In this blog, Claire gives us an update of what she has been working on and her plans for 2022.

I joined Business Moves Group at what we all know has been a fascinating time in the workplace sector. Companies have been juggling their real estate strategies with the uncertainty of lockdown restrictions, not to mention employee sentiment about returning to the office.

Understandably, it’s been a very reactive period. When I first started, about 70 per cent of time my was spent building and maintaining existing client relationships. I’ve had great support from everyone at BMG, from my colleagues on the ground in Scotland to other regional leads across the UK.

Things are now starting to settle down (hopefully these are not famous last words!). Restrictions have been eased in Scotland and employees are being encouraged to return to the office. Having fully got to grips with the business, I have big plans for 2022.

Plans for 2022

One of my priorities when I started was to expand the team here, to support BMG’s operations and in turn provide better and faster projects to our clients.

Ivana Coppola has joined as business development specialist, and Stephanie Munro is our new central administrator. It was by no means planned that we would have an all-female core team in Scotland, but in a sense, it fits with the BMG ethos. Our MD Rachel Houghton is a rare female leader in a traditionally male-dominated industry and will be a great mentor for us all.

My work balance is now nearing a 50 / 50 split between existing clients and new business. One of my core objectives is to become more of a genuine partner with our clients rather than being on call for reactive work. There will always be a reactive element to our business, but we have great experience of planning and implementing workplace change. I want to make sure that we are involved at the outset of projects so that clients gain the maximum benefit from us.

While the pandemic has had a huge impact on offices, the fact is that workplaces are always evolving and no one solution lasts forever. I come from the workplace transformation sector so I know this all too well. If we can align more strategically with our client teams, we’ll be better positioned to advise, plan and implement projects throughout the coming years.

Sector support

There are very few sectors that have been impacted by the pandemic and we’ve already been supporting businesses in finance, healthcare, telecoms and higher education. Essentially, we can support any company that utilises commercial office space.

I’m also looking into how we might support the hospitality sector on a larger scale. Some large businesses may down downsize their real estate but still need the option for a larger venue now and again. I’m exploring how we can work with venues to provide space to companies when needed.

Many companies will need time to fully devise a real estate strategy so we will be storing furniture and equipment while decisions are made. Indeed, we have stored items throughout the lockdown for some companies and they are starting to request that it is returned to the office. Hybrid work is also set to stay, and we will deliver some equipment direct to clients’ employee homes.

It’s a really exciting time to be involved in the industry and in Scotland we’re ready to take BMG to the next level. Visit our Scotland page on the BMG website for more information, or contact me on CHarkins@businessmoves.com to discuss how we can support your business.

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