Ingleton Wood's new London home
The multi-disciplinary property and construction consultancy have relocated, creating a showcase office that provides a flexible and collaborative workspace for staff.
We sit down with Kathryn Cripps, a Partner at Knight Frank with 11 years’ experience in the property industry. Kathryn joined Knight Frank in 2008 and works in the London Office Agency Department, specialising in the West End market.
I most enjoy the variety of my role, working with a wide range of clients from private equity firms to estates, funds to REITs, and really getting to grips with their different objectives and development schemes. I feel able to challenge myself, grow and learn at Knight Frank, which I find fulfilling and I also find it rewarding working alongside brilliant people – which I am privileged enough to do day-to-day.
There are a number of areas that need to be addressed, however, the area that is regularly cited as the reason for women leaving the industry – but rarely an area that is discussed in any depth – is culture. It is important that property companies look at modernising their often-traditional culture in order to achieve greater gender balance. This can be achieved in a number of ways, such as improving flexible working policies, developing a working environment and culture where employees are trusted and empowered to work in the way that they are more productive, and by judging them on their performance and output rather than hours worked in the office. Another key culture shift that needs to take place is from an individual billings culture to a team environment, with team goals where individuals with creativity, ambition and loyalty can excel and are rewarded.
Secondly, career progression is important whether you are male or female. It is important to look at management within organisations and ensure they have the training they should in positions of influence, to ensure everyone is given the right opportunities to progress and be supported. Sponsorship is vital for progression and often harder to come by as a woman – women are notoriously over-mentored and under-sponsored.
Finally, there is no doubt that, if women can see other women, they can be inspired. Women leaders have a responsibility to inspire the next generation, to be visible in any way they can. Managers can be inspirational simply by telling their stories.
We can all adjust our way of thinking and our cultures in order to move forward with gender diversity – something that is paramount to the success of a business.
It is a brilliant and exciting career. The industry offers ample opportunity and variety that would suit you, whether you are an introvert or extrovert, or if you prefer a fast-paced and competitive or a structured and analytical environment. My advice would be to spend time understanding what the industry has to offer as there are many diverse roles and opportunities. If you find the role and team that best suits you, the property industry will give you an opportunity to challenge yourself, grow, learn and gain many transferrable skills.
It is an exciting time for architects and designers, who are being challenged more than before to come up with innovative ideas that cleverly transform schemes into dynamic and creative workspaces. Occupiers are looking to their real estate to attract and retain staff and to provide an environment where their businesses can thrive. Design teams are also being increasingly required to work closely with landlords looking to create ‘plug and play’ space for occupiers.
Wellness and sustainability is jumping to the top of the agenda, climate change is accelerating and the property industry and investors are becoming more accountable and recognising the real influence that we have as an industry. In the same way, many clients and investors will not invest or work with companies that are not gender diverse. The same can be true with banks not lending on buildings that are not sustainable and tenants not occupying buildings that have a low energy performance. I believe that companies are beginning to understand the role that ESG plays in recruiting and retaining the best staff and that it is fast becoming business imperative.
It is true that commercial real estate has been slow to adapt to the shift in the way that occupiers approach their real estate. However, it has been the growth of technology and the changes in the way people work – for example, an increase in employees working flexibly and, more generally, business disruption – that has driven the rise of flexible workspace. The stark contrast between flexible space and the traditional lease has propelled occupiers towards flexible solutions. A hybrid ‘plug and play’ solution has appeared in the market – that will continue to expand as occupiers are attracted to the ease of entry and exit, alongside the ability to brand their workspace. This middle ground between coworking and a conventional lease enables tenants to transition through all stages of a business lifecycle and landlords to capture each phase.
Inspiration for your next read
The acoustic design of an office should be in keeping with the activities of its users - but this is often not the case.
The environment continues to be the hottest of hot topics – but how much do we really know and understand? Should we really believe all that we're told? Apparently not. Here, Jon Khoo, Regional Sustainability Manager at Interface, presents seven myths about sustainability