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Some Countrywide branches to experiment with 7am to 9pm working day

Countrywide has revealed to Estate Agent Today that it is to begin a trial where selected local branch staff will work between 7am and 9pm.

They will visit customers in their homes if requested, or be available in offices, at any time in the 14-hour working day.

The three areas in which the trail will take place have not yet been finalised but the experiment will begin in April and is part of what Sam Tyrer - Countrywide’s managing director, retail - calls “new thinking” in how the agency group works with its customers.


The emphasis will be on face-to-face meetings with people where they want and when they want, whether that’s during traditional office hours or before or after work.

The trial will also move away from one individual service being offered to a client.

“It’s often the case that a customer may call to ask for an appraisal or a valuation, but actually it ends up with them really wanting to remortgage or put a conservatory on the back of their house” she says in an interview with Estate Agent Today.

She says Countrywide has the services to offer the customer who wants any of those things, through local agency brands specialising in lettings and sales, and through Countrywide’s own branded surveying, conveyancing and mortgage arms.

However, Tyrer feels that the group’s current “silo operations” - with staff knowledgable chiefly about their own division but without expert knowledge of other services - prevents customers being offered what she calls “the complete Countrywide experience.”

The staff who will take part in the trial will therefore be pioneering what Tyrer refers to as “the teams of the future, who will have blended skills and a complete set of digital tools to help the customer with whatever they want from Countrywide's services.”

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    counting down the days until this company becomes a block buster
    way off the track, management even making the city cringe now ,desperation
    writings on the wall
    oh well guess someone gets advertorial out of it i guess

  • Terence Dicks

    Waiting for the flood of Countrywide staff hitting the employment agencies....

    Rob  Davies

    And who could blame them? If my employer came to me and said you will be working 14-hour days - and will be on call for all these hours - I'd politely tell them to do one. There is such a thing as work/life balance, even for estate agents.

    I really don't see the point of this. Is there any evidence to suggest that people want to visit an estate agents at 7am in the morning or 8pm at night? You could argue that this makes things more flexible for those who work during the day and can't make meetings/visit the branch in person, but I'm not buying that. If you're committed to buying/selling a home, you make the time. You take time off to deal with things.

    The branch I work in has many dead hours as it is, no need to add even more to that.

    I'm fed up of this 24/7 world we live in, where everything must be open and switched on at all times. It's exhausting. And it's making people far more impatient and short-tempered. People want it all, they want it now and they want it quickly. It's not sustainable.

    Unless Countrywide are going to hire a load more staff and rota the shifts, I just can't see how this can work. I'm sure there are people who are willing to work 14-hour days to advance, but that doesn't make it right. Poor form, Countrywide. Very poor form.

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    New logo?

    Integrated jargon | tired staff

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    Jesus! - 7am - 9pm what are they a factory and going to do shift work?

    How to destroy motivation in your entire work force in one sweep!

    What decent estate agent will want to be forced to work these hours? I have staff in at 7 and leave at 9 but its their choice, they are motivated to do so. I know if i turned round today and said that we are now open 7 - 9 they will all look for neg roles, and i dont blame them!

  • jeremy clarke

    When I first came into agency in 1988 with what was then Hambro Countrywide their offices were open 8 - 8 - didn't last very long!

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    • C K
    • 09 February 2016 09:35 AM

    Do these people really think that they can re-invent the wheel?????
    Do other corporates & Independents not have staff who deal with sales & lettings combined & have mortgage advisors at their finger tips???
    Do we not see loads of agents who are available to do home visits pretty much at any time of day????
    Aren't other agents open from stupid o'clock to crazy o'clock???
    Are these "Retail" managers so naive to think that they are the first people to have thought of this???
    Despair for what could actually be a really good business but with such lack of understanding.

  • Algarve  Investor

    Absolutely ridiculous. What are Countrywide thinking?

    I hope their staff tell them where to go, in no uncertain terms.

    7am-9pm, are they having a laugh? A 14-hour day? Estate agents work far too many hours as it is, why increase those hours?

    I despair.

  • Simon Shinerock

    I have a feeling the comments on this article have misunderstood what countrywide intends to do. I'm sure they are not advocating a 14 hour day, I'm sure what they are advocating is their valuers be available to take instructions when the vendor is at home. Perhaps if they do it well and utilise the available tech, this will lead to more flexitime and less rigidity which is at least a bit forward thinking.


    Good business as far as I'm concerned.

    Terence Dicks

    Funny that, because that is EXACTLY what they are advocating. Unless they introduce flexi-time working arrangements their staff are not going to stay. Wages in this industry are not exactly brilliant now, so what are they going to be like when this sort of thing starts happening?? Work/life balance may not be important to you as a boss, Simon, but it is to most people as employees, and this just about destroys that.

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    Maybe they will rotate staff ..

    • C K
    • 09 February 2016 12:55 PM

    Means that they will have to increase staffing levels in their offices to allow this......great idea but either involves paying staff less money or "heaven forbid" increasing the cost base of their branches !!!!

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    I worked for countrywide for 3 years from 2011. I started out as a trainee and worked up quite quickly. I was branch manager within a year. At this point I was 24. I took my branch from in the red, to profit in first year and made money the second year. A new regional came in and I was told I wasn't doing enough. I was micro managed by the regional manager and felt like I was being pushed to walk so he could bring in staff from his previous area. For the most of time i was manager I worked from 7.30 until 8-9pm most nights and even worked Saturday and Sundays if it bought business in. I was not only branch manager, but also the only valuer. Not once was I appreciated by this regional manager and eventually I took the plunge stepped down and within a month I was leaving to set up my own agency a few doors down. I had a lot of clients follow me also.
    I will always be thankful to Countrywide as I am now embarking on opening my second agency.
    To be a good Estate Agent, you need to give the client what they need and when and meet their expectations everytime. Make them NEVER forget you.
    Working long hours in this industry is needed, it pays off in the end when you have people working for you. You want that same ethic from them.

  • Simon Shinerock

    In the dark days of the early 90s I had to cover our Crawley branch for two weeks while the manager was on holiday. At that time the branch was averaging 3 instructions per week. During my two weeks I averaged 11 instructions a week and £45000 worth of pensions, mortgages and life cover. I did this by keeping my eyes open, building a relationship and doing a fact find. These days with Lettings, investments and sales so closely intertwined, it is not only desirable but essential for negotiators and particularly listers to be capable full line sales people (like me) 😀🤗🤑

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    HAHA this is insane. In my experience with CW there is NO WAY they are thinking about rota staff or shifts. They will pack it all into one long, mind numbing day. There will be no salary increase, just new contracts being sent out. It makes them look so desperate. If they cant get done what they need to in the 10 hour day they already do, they need to take a look at there entire business, not just increase work hours to make the staff even more depressed.

  • Steven Thompson

    It doesn't appear as though they will be asking staff to work from 7 am to 9 pm in one go, more likely that they will stagger their working day so some cover the start of the day and some the end.

    I think that this makes better use of the time available. Working for Countrywide in the past you were stuck for long hours of the day being unable to get hold of many clients because they were at work. Being available after work (more than before work) was something that most customers wanted, so it was probably only a matter of time before someone provided it.

    Countrywide management seems to see estate agency as more like retail, and they definitely need to do something to fend off the upcoming threat from online-only estate agents. If their teams walk out then there will be plenty to walk into the void they leave.

    Terence Dicks

    There are companies already doing this Steve, mine for one. I learned long ago that to sell property, you must be available AFTER 6pm to carry out viewings. However, that is MY choice, not the choice of the company I work for. I have no doubt that CW will be telling staff to work from 0700-2100 in one go, unless they are prepared to take on many more staff and increase their overhead. By the way, the head of CW is from a retail background and wishes to run the company as retail, which is why she has sacked anyone with estate agency knowledge from the board.

  • Sam  Pattison

    We do those hours now and 7 days a week. you get much more done in those times as most people finish work at 6-7pm. which means either more valuations which means more instructions or more viewings more sales. I think it is a great idea!

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    Maybe you will get club card points for booking a viewing/valuation out of hours.


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