Cat Hoad is founder and director of Absolute Project Management, a company that manages and provides interior design services for residential renovation projects. Our two companies have been neighbours in our shared office space in Islington for many years, so we’re used to seeing each other most days. Some lockdown measures are being eased now, of course, but we are all still working from home.
Business in lockdown
Louise: Although working from home has its benefits, I know the Amazon PR team misses being in the office with you and the other firms we share with. We like hearing your conversations about wall tiles and lighting (and also we like ‘borrowing’ your milk). What have you missed most about office life?
Cat: I think the same as you, chatting in the kitchen or as we pass, liaising on important things like whether the windows are open and the general camaraderie of office life.
“We also definitely miss some of the Amazon conversations we overhear about many and diverse subjects – Holocaust Memorial Day to bowel health to donkey sanctuaries.”
A couple of our campaigns had to be postponed when lockdown began. Presumably lockdown forced some of your projects to pause. It’s interesting hearing how other professions are affected. What have been the most significant challenges for you and your clients?
Without doubt the difficulty, delay and in some cases impossibility of getting fittings delivered to site – whether that’s a national shortage of plaster or bespoke bathroom fittings ‘stuck in a warehouse in Dover’. This causes major delays to our projects which is extremely inconvenient for clients and makes our and our contractors’/ suppliers’ jobs much more tedious (and less profitable) – you can’t really use a shower enclosure if the tiles lining it don’t make it to site…
I was impressed by how quickly you launched a new lockdown service – your ‘Design Capsule’, a by-room design package for a fixed fee. With everyone spending so much time at home and no longer being able to ignore all the things they hate about their surroundings, has take-up been good?
It was quite fun although felt slightly insane to come up with and market a new product within about two weeks. Unfortunately take-up hasn’t been as good as we thought but with so much continuing economic uncertainty, that’s probably not too surprising. We were pleased to be able to support Shelter via this new service – and will continue to work with them.