How I changed jobs in the middle of COVID-19 – and why it worked for me

A new property manager who joined Principle Estate Management at the peak of COVID-19 has revealed how the job move has worked for him.

Stephen Downing accepted the role with Principle in mid-March to look after its larger and more complex properties after the Birmingham-based specialist’s portfolio across the country expanded to more than 200 developments.

His appointment followed nearly 14 years of multidisciplinary experience in the property sector, including his most recent role as a property manager at HML PM Ltd.

Mr Downing said: “I started a new role with Principle Estate Management on 6 April 2020 under unusual circumstances, with the country in lockdown in the national battle against Covid-19.

“I had accepted the job offer on 19 March without hesitation and submitted my notice to my previous employer, HML, the same day.

“However, within days the UK government placed us all in lockdown, but any potential worries I had were calmed by assurances from Principle’s directors Brett Williams and Joe Jobson, along with their recruitment agent, Temple PM.

“In fact, I positively looked forward to starting my new role – albeit under unusual circumstances where I would be isolated along with the rest of the team and setting up working from home.

“Thankfully, my new employers had the foresight to make remote working functional and practical for staff and their expanding list of clients.

“After collecting my equipment prior to starting on 6 April I was able to hit the ground running and received digital training via their excellent IT systems.

“The first two weeks were really difficult taking into consideration the bank holidays, lack of knowledge of the clients and unable to quickly fire questions at colleagues across the office.

“But Brett and Joe have been fantastic in offering their support and passing on their knowledge and since the unconventional start to my tenure, I have really settled into my role and I am enjoying every minute of it.”

Mr Downing added: “I am really grateful for the support received from Brett and Joe who have helped my transition into a new, growing, exciting company where I aim to develop and progress my career.

“I am glad I took the opportunity. Even during these very difficult times with a pandemic that has affected a lot of us personally, the grass sometimes can be greener on the other side.”

Mr Downing was Principle’s third recruit of 2020 and took the company’s staff numbers up to 21, including three consultants.

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, said: “Stephen’s quickly made an impact and we are delighted to have him on board.

“His knowledge, experience and skills are really suiting the large, complex and what might be termed ‘needy’ properties in our portfolio, where he’s providing the tender loving care that some of them need.”