The CEO of Spicerhaart Paul Smith has released a statement amid the “very difficult decision” to lay off some of his employees amid the recent coronavirus outbreak.
Smith revealed that Spicerhaart 1,750 employees are now working from home and its branches are temporarily closed , in order to keep staff and customers safe. He said most of Spicerhaart’s branches will remain open when “it is safe to.”
The statement read: “We totally understand the challenges and hardship that this very difficult decision will have for the staff who’ve been laid off, especially at this time of crisis with Covid-19. We have apologised to the individuals concerned and will be discussing their leaving terms with them.
“We had to act quickly in order to safeguard the business as a whole as the industry is facing the prospect of up to 90% less income coming in from property sales with best estimates suggesting it could be six to nine months before transaction volumes return – and even then, there’s no guarantee.”
Smith added: “I doubt if any estate agency, large or small, can survive with just a fraction of their income for nine months and we will see many agencies go to the wall if they don’t take action now.
“I am so desperately sad that a few of our branches will never re-open and I would like to thank all those staff who worked there for all their hard work. I hope, one day, they will understand that this was a decision that was completely out of my hands.
“Having been contacted by many others in the industry, I know we are not alone in taking this drastic action to let people go; many other estate agencies are following suit and I know of hundreds of job losses so far across the industry.”
The statement concluded: “Hopefully, out of adversity will come new operating models as agents strive to be innovative to face the challenges ahead. What many people are failing to grasp is that this pandemic will have major consequences for society as a whole, not just our industry. And we’re only just at the start.”