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Virus made us abandon branches for hubs, says agency

A regional agency in the east of England says the Coronavirus lockdown working environment has made it rethink its structure - and traditional offices are being abandoned in favour of a smaller number of ‘hubs’.

The Arnold Keys agency has told local media in the area that it is “transitioning” to three new multi-service hubs in Norwich, Sheringham and Aylsham; however, previous branches at Wroxham, North Walsham and Cromer will not re-open.

Operations partner Jan Hytch - formerly a senior figure in the National Association of Estate Agents - says the lockdown gave an opportunity to reassess business models and a chance to “shapeshift” to meet public expectations.


“Their requirements of us are so different now. They want us out there, seeing properties, being out and about – they don’t want us sitting in an office keeping the door open for no foot traffic. So what we’ve decided to do is place our services strategically where customers need them to be” says Hytch.

“We’ve actually just invested quite heavily in new tech to be able to make it possible. If someone calls, we want the phone to ring wherever the agent is, not just in the office. As an industry we’ve got much better at using VOIP telephony, laptops, tablets, things like that – and this will give us the ability to drop everything and do whatever it is we need to do wherever we need to be.”

She adds that all generations are now skilled at using Zoom and FaceTime. “Before, video meetings were thought to be the arena for young people but now people are finding using video to be much nicer than just having a phone call.”


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