Mental Health Awareness Week will have resonated more than usual this year for many of us as we struggle to cope with Covid-19.
Thoughts of an imminent return to the office dashed for those of us still working, we now face the prospect of months more working from home, a gloomy Groundhog Day reality that no amount of glorious sunshine or freedom to enjoy it can burn through. Meanwhile, those on furlough must now come up with even more creative ways to spend their time, while resisting the ever-growing temptation to get stuck into the furlough Merlot.
Well, we are up for the challenge if you are. I have always described Property Week as the industry’s critical friend. In the spirit of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week theme of kindness, you may have noticed we have been more friend than critical lately. That is by design rather than accident.
Since the lockdown started, we’ve been on the lookout for positive stories to counterbalance the negative (we don’t always have to look very hard – this week, we report on a flurry of deals in the industrial sector). We have also introduced a host of new features including: the Covid-19 Support Hub offering practical advice and support; View from the Top, a series of interviews with industry heavy hitters on the personal and professional challenges posed by Covid-19 (this week it’s JLL UK chief executive Chris Ireland’s turn); and Letter from New York, a weekly column by long-term Property Week columnist Steve Cuozzo.
There has been plenty happening online too. As well as beefing up our news offering – we’ve effectively gone web first because we know many of you don’t receive the print issue at home – we’ve enhanced the Support Hub and launched a series of podcasts featuring the bosses of L&G, Laing O’Rourke and ilke Homes – watch out for episodes featuring John Hitchcox, Marcus Meijer, Richard Jackson and Sir Stuart Lipton coming soon.
Just for you, I have even conquered my phobia of cameras to do a bunch of virtual interviews and panel debates. If you haven’t already, register for our Climate Crisis Challenge virtual event on 9 June, which I’ll be hosting with UKGBC chief executive Julie Hirigoyen.
The feedback we’ve received has been amazing and it’s gratifying to see this reflected in our audience numbers. Our total brand audience is on track to break 350,000 this summer, thanks partly to a spike in web traffic and partly to the growth in our social media reach – our LinkedIn following has rocketed to 49,812 from just a few thousand a year ago. Audience engagement has also risen sharply, while for others, it has fallen.
It is also wonderful to see all the team’s hard work acknowledged in the shortlist for this year’s virtual PPA Awards. Property Week has made the cut in no fewer than four categories: editor, magazine brand, event (for Student Accommodation) and unsung hero (for editorial team secretary, Janet Dombrandt).
After a tough couple of months, it was some much-needed good news. I’d like to thank the phenomenal PW team for continuing to go way above and beyond the call of duty, and you, our readers, for continuing to share your stories and supporting us. We’ve got your back. It looks as though you’ve got ours, too.