‘Better working environments will save firms money’

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What are the prospects for the property sector in Yorkshire and Humber?

The prospects are very good for the Yorkshire and Humber region as confidence returns to the market. We are seeing a return of cranes to the skyline in Leeds and expect some of these new buildings to achieve new headline office rents for the city. There is also increased confidence in the investment market as investors seek value outside of London.

What is the best project you have been involved in?

One of my favourite projects, which I still talk about today, was during my trip to Kenya and Uganda in 2007, as one of 10 16 and 17-year-olds we designed, sourced and built a new brick kitchen for a small orphanage in Kenya. Although not fiercely related to my career today, it taught me a lot of skills regarding organisation, financial budgeting and build methods with very limited materials.

What is your favourite building in the region and why?

Broadcasting Place, Leeds, is probably my favourite building in this region; the design has created a Marmite effect with the people of Leeds, I personally love it for the bold and quirky design. It was voted the best tall building in the world at The Architectural Awards in 2010. The material used, which is designed to rust, is a contrast to the normal materials used and offers something different to Leeds.

If you could change one thing to improve the property industry in this region, what would it be?

Taking inspiration from my new office at CBRE Leeds, I think better working environments in offices will alter the industry considerably. Hot desking allows flexible and efficient working whilst encouraging collaboration within the workplace. It is also a massive cost-saving initiative for firms, as most do not have 100 per cent of their workforce in the office at all times, therefore at CBRE the workplace only has enough desks for 70 per cent of the workforce, thus saving a considerable amount in occupational costs.

Who has inspired you?

I take my inspiration from Sue Clayton, executive director at CBRE. Sue Clayton was the first female to be promoted to equity partner in 1993 whilst working for Richard Ellis. Sue currently chairs the CBRE’s Woman’s Network, which offers mentoring programmes, seminars and support to female employees looking to further their careers whilst being able to maintain a family life. She has appeared in the top 20 in Property Week’s 1st Power list of the most influential women in UK property and in the top 50 agents. In 2013 she was recognised in the Financial Times /Timewise Power Part Time List for UK business leaders.

Her achievements to date make her a role model in this industry, not just to females at CBRE but also to females coming through all sectors of the property industry, which historically has been a highly male dominated industry.