One year and counting

 

Twelve months ago we gathered the team together and told everyone to go home. The slow creep of covid had suddenly come racing towards us and crashed into the UK with frightening speed. I will never forget the crushing sense of doom that followed after realising that no-one had any real idea what was happening or what the full implications were going to be.  It was terrifying.  

What was truly remarkable was how we all seemed to adapt so incredibly quickly. Within two days we had everyone working remotely and very quickly learnt how to use zoom.  We did our very best to maintain regular contact and adapted to new ways of working. Although our systems had never been tested to this degree, our IT support, courtesy of Inventas, were up and running and we did our very best to stay calm and carry on.  As the weeks rolled on and the transmissions started going up along with the staggering death toll, it became increasingly evident, this was not going to pass anytime soon.  I remember the recession in 2008, we were four years into the business and then one day it was as if someone had just turned the lights off,  but this was very different. Fear had gripped the City and everyone was running scared.   

 

Attempting to keep calm and carry on

The furlough scheme was a Godsend, and our Landlords, Workspace, were incredibly accommodating as we did our best to manage costs.  With the whole business on furlough, apart from myself, I did my very best to try and crack on. I continued going into the office finding a new found appreciation of my Brompton bike, at least the sun was shining. Walking through Central London was like walking through a ghost town,  I didn’t see a single soul. Everything we had worked so hard for had just vanished.  The beautiful City of London was deserted. 

Reflecting on this time last year, we were 18 months into our three year growth plan. The office was full and we were making plans to move to bigger offices.  We had just had our best quarter ever and despite the constant nagging gloom of Brexit, things were definitely looking up. But within a month, I sat in our empty office in a state of shock at how quickly things had changed.  We had to make some tough decisions, hanging onto the hope that despite becoming a leaner business, we would be ok. 

 

Measuring the strength of a company

We are not measured in “times of comfort and convenience,” when your back’s against the wall and with no other option, we have to dig in and find something more beyond the fear and frustration. As biased as I may be, my team were brilliant. With our weekly check ins and regular catch up calls, I was so unbelievably grateful for everyone’s positivity despite the incredible challenges that faced each and every one of us. Our clients were amazing too.  After the initial shock, their resilience, creativity and ambitions, despite the uncertainty, was truly inspiring and I am fortunate to work with a team and a client base that show such strength in adversity.  

Slowly but surely things started to improve, and so far, continue to do so. At the beginning of the pandemic we moved from a candidate-led market to a job-led market, almost overnight. Just this one small change offered a real opportunity to refocus on those businesses that were willing to capitalise on the new talent that had appeared.  Both the businesses recruiting and the candidates themselves adapted quickly and companies stuck to their own plans confident in the knowledge that one day things would improve. 

It’s not all just about recruitment at Mattinson Partnership, which proved resilient, our sustainability consultancy, MP Smarter Travel, worked tirelessly demonstrating strength and resilience, and despite projects being delayed,  not a single project was pulled.  Despite everyone working from home, the relentless bad news on the TV, councils and businesses alike were determined to keep going and use this time to continue with their projects. With a steady flow of project income,  we were able to deploy resources as each project started to come back on line. 

 

Lessons learnt

So here we are, 12 months later. It’s not the happiest of anniversaries,  but it is one that has shown myself and my business that there is so much to be incredibly grateful for.  Like everyone else who manages a business or a team, I have learnt some tough personal lessons and although I recognised what a great team I had before, I now truly understand the value and contribution of the people you surround yourself with. Whether it’s at work or in your personal life, people can surprise you, and in a year of what’s been horrendously challenging, it’s also been one that has shown what true resilience and dedication is and what it can give you.

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London Wildlife Trust.

We are proud partners of The London Wildlife Trust, a charity dedicated to protecting the wildlife and wild spaces of London by driving environmental projects throughout the city. Our team often get involved at ground level in Wild Workdays by helping to maintain and restore treasured spaces and land… we love to get our hands dirty! We also run multiple interactive workshops, providing their conservation trainees with invaluable career advice and insights into the environmental sector to prepare them for employment. Most recently, we worked with young people taking part in their Keeping it Wild programme, which engages young people from backgrounds currently under-represented in nature conservation.



Royal Town Planning Institute.

The RTPI represents planning professionals in the UK and Ireland and aims to encourage the development of vibrant and prosperous places and communities. Our Senior Consultant Freddie enthusiastically attends the annual Planning Convention, and we host several events throughout the year to show our support, including drinks networking and a literal pub quiz. We also keep in close contact with our friends down under, at the Planning Institute Australia and New Zealand Planning Institute. In addition, we sponsor the London Planning Summit, an event designed to address the biggest challenges facing the industry. This is our opportunity to stay on top of the latest changes in town planning by meeting with other key professionals in the sector, while celebrating our achievements.



Land Securities Group Plc.

One of our clients, LandSec, are the clever people behind Girls Can Do It Too, an initiative designed to encourage girls to consider a career in construction. Currently, only 11% of the construction workforce are female, and LandSec are attempting to increase this number by providing education and engagement projects and workshops for girls aged 11-13. Featuring workshops on demolition and tower building, as well as challenging the girls to design a planning project of their own (with a focus on budgeting and environmental considerations), LandSec have proven their dedication to addressing the need for diversity in this very male dominated industry. Ruth assists the project by sharing her fascinating insights into the industry and is even on the project judging panel!



Urban Land Institute.

In partnership with Urban Land Institute we are able to play an imperative role in creating a larger and more diverse pool of candidates within the planning & property professions. Working in schools we take part in the Urban Plan Educational workshops programme, which has now reached more than 2,500 pupils in 100 schools since its launch. Alongside more than 200 industry volunteers engaged across the country, we provide invaluable industry & careers advice to students while guiding them through their workshops and helping judge their presentations.



Carbon Footprint.

Carbon FootprintTM works to help organisations offset their CO2 through tree planting and community projects worldwide. By partnering with Carbon FootprintTM, we have planted native trees and shrubs such as Whitebeam, Hazel, Field Maple, Silver Birch, Rowan, Beech, Blackthorn, Holly and Dog Rose to create a Mattinson Forest that spreads across South East England. Carbon FootprintTM work in conjunction with the Florestal Santa Maria Project (FSM-Redd Project), designed to reduce deforestation in the Amazonian Rainforest. So, for every tree we plant in the UK we guarantee a tonne of CO₂ offset in Brazil too. Carbon FootprintTM have allowed us to not only do our bit for the environment but also commemorate moments of growth for our clients and candidates.