There’s been national newspaper publicity and widespread social media criticism of the Dexters estate agency which asked its staff to report to work yesterday.
This was despite the plea by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that people should attempt to work from home - a policy adopted by hundreds of other estate agencies across the country.
Dexters calls itself London’s leading independent agency with 35 offices in central London and 70 in total across the capital. It is reported to have 1,500 employees.
The company told The Independent that its offices were closed to the public but open for staff who are "continuing to work through our website and on the phone".
The paper says Jeff Doble, the agency’s founder and chairman, saying he believed much of the work done by his firm could not be undertaken by home workers.
He is also quoted as saying he would have liked Dexters to have wound down its office-based activity but “it is very difficult in the face of a lot of work.”
In a statement to the paper the agency said: “Where our colleagues can, they are working from home and we are fully available to help Londoners with their urgent and longer term property needs.”
Anyone checking out the hashtag #Dexters will see the scale of criticism heaped on the agency, including - if some tweets are to be believed - from people who saw first hand how crowded their offices were yesterday.
One tweet - from an unidentifiable author - said of the firm that staff were “killing people for profit” while another, again unidentifiable, said the company was “providing a service and delivering Coronavirus to your homes.”
One member of the London Assembly - Susan Hall, leader of the Conservatives - tweeted: “Not good enough #Dexters - sort it!!”
Late yesterday morning the NAEA and ARLA Propertymark organisation said the government had told agencies to shut their offices as they were not regarded as ‘essential businesses.’