How has COVID Affected the Fit-Out & Refurbishment Sector

Worksmart Contracts Business Development Manager Jim Harkins

As you can probably imagine, being the Business Development Manager for a leading contractor in the construction and refurbishment industry has been very challenging this year.

Just as many other sectors have felt the force of the COVID-19 pandemic, the refurbishment sector has been majorly impacted and ceased operations during the shutdown.

However, we did have essential teams out on projects for the NHS.

Worksmart Contracts Essential Work for NHS at Hairmyres Hospital
Worksmart carried out essential works for the NHS over lockdown

Thankfully, we’re back to work now, and delighted to be finishing off some fantastic projects which were delayed due to the pandemic.

But have things changed for the Refurbishment Sector?

In my opinion, yes.

Things have changed in the way projects are being approached and managed.

The biggest shift we have already started to see is the move from the office to the virtual office. Home working has exploded since the coronavirus hit. Businesses have adapted and are now recognising that this is the future.

While the office as we know it will never fully disappear, we may see a huge increase in satellite office spaces. I expect these shared office spaces to become more and more common in city centres across the UK.

They will give companies the opportunity to rent an office space on a pay-as-you-go basis. As people get back to face-to-face meetings, many will happen in these environments.

Flexibility has already become a big thing. Working hours are becoming less and less defined as people work from home. Productivity is trumping the number of hours worked. Companies will be looking at results, rather than for someone to sit behind their desk for 8 hours every day.

This will make the use of flexible offices more attractive, not just for client meetings, but when people want to get in a few hours of work but need to get out of the house.

How does this affect Worksmart?

Good question.

I believe we’ll see more of an uptake in projects on shared office spaces. Owners of these commercial property developments will be in competition with one another, looking to attract short term & flexible agreements with businesses.

This will lead to huge demand for refurbishments and an increase in innovation. Why would I rent out an office space if I can rent one down the road that looks much better? Which one would impress my clients more?

This is the crux of the matter, and we’ll see office buildings carrying out refurbishments more often than we currently do.

Adapting to Changing Circumstances

Glenfield Office Refurbishment by Worksmart Contracts with COVID signage
New COVID-19 signage on site at Glenfield

As always, Worksmart Contracts remains flexible and willing to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances we now face ourselves in. The pandemic has changed everything. We can either work with it or cling to old practices which are no longer relevant.

Whether it’s bringing through new apprentices or innovating with design, Worksmart Contracts remains a leading refurbishment and fit-out contractor in Scotland.

With our offices in Kilmarnock, Glasgow, Edinburgh and satellite office London, we can serve the whole of the UK and take on any project, no matter the size or scope.

Contact me to discuss refurbishments, upcoming projects, how Worksmart can work with your company or anything else you have an idea about.

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 07494 680 597


The Future of our Construction Industry?

work experience in construction industry scotland worksmart contracts

It’s been a tricky summer for all of us and the lockdown has impacted kids and young adults too. Closed schools, no opportunities to socialise, missing out on some of the most important and transformative experiences of their lives.

It’s not been all bad for Ben and Murray though!

Despite the lockdown and ongoing COVID issues, they decided to make use of their free time and came along to take part in work experience over the summer. We were lucky to have them with us for a few days each week.

Naturally, Worksmart Contracts has always been sure to follow all COVID-19 health and safety protocols to the letter.

Worksmart Contracts is a responsible contractor and has followed all social distancing, mask-wearing and hand-sanitisation procedures.

We have also installed clear and informative signage across our sites to educate people on-site as to the best practices surrounding COVID. At the beginning of the pandemic we outlined the strategy we would implement for working with COVID-19, which you can read here.

Work Experience in Construction Sector

Back in July we were thrilled to be joined by Ben and Murray on our large site at Glenfield. Worksmart is creating a new head office for the client, in what is a massive project.

Having two enthusiastic youngsters on the project was fantastic. Senior members of our team took good care of them and gave them tasks to carry out, which they did so dutifully.

It looks like Worksmart made a positive impact on Ben, as he came back to join us in August at our Park Hotel refurbishment project.

Murray managed to work with his Dad, Kenny, at our Project Site at UWS in Paisley. They worked as a team, travelling together to work and giving Murray a glimpse into how the Higher Education Sector works. Murray is looking to finish off his Highers and go into University, possibly taking on a degree in a construction-related area.

By all accounts, the young lads were polite, hard-working and arrived on time – if they maintain those traits they’ll do just fine!

Scottish Apprenticeships in Construction

We love to see young people taking an interest in our industry. Worksmart have a rich history of employing local apprentices in Ayrshire, Glasgow, Stirlingshire and Edinburgh, and having them work their way through our ranks. It’s great to see the next generation coming through.

We really hope by offering work experience opportunities, we can show young people that there is a viable career path in construction.

It can be all too easy for today’s youth to become disillusioned at the prospect of their future before they’ve even left school.

By having them come into our offices and onto our sites, they can see how things work in the real world. The experience may not result in them entering the construction sector, but hopefully it will spark something within them and perhaps give them a better idea of what they want their future to look like.

Worksmart’s Managing Director Steve Nielson said: “We love having today’s youth on site for work experience. We want to show that construction is a great career path for people to take and it’s nice to show them how we operate at Worksmart.

“It’s not long before we take on a new selection of apprentices. There are so many great career paths available in construction and we’d encourage anyone with any questions to get in touch as we’re always available to give advice.

“We are also continuing to work with colleges and universities with our Graduate Programme which has been very successful.”

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