Home » News » COVID-19 news » Foxtons to open branches and bring back furloughed staff by next Monday previous nextAgencies & PeopleFoxtons to open branches and bring back furloughed staff by next MondayEstate agency also reveals that toll on revenues has been less apocalyptic than many expected, dropping by 44% during the crisis.Nigel Lewis26th May 202001,214 Views While many estate agency branches have been open for several weeks since the housing market re-started on 12th May, leading London agency Foxtons has revealed that it is only now beginning to re-open its 50+ branch network.It has also reported that commission levels have dropped by 44% across all of its divisions between 23 March and Friday 15 May, its latest trading update to investors highlights.The company says all of its branches will be open by next Monday and that its furloughed employees will be returning to work from that date onward ‘on a gradual basis’. Some employees will be allowed to continue working from home if they can do so effectively.“The safety and well-being of our employees and customers is of paramount importance to the company,” the statements says.“We have undertaken comprehensive risk assessments at all of our branches as well as our head office in consultation with employee representatives.“Each of our workplaces has now been modified to be in line with recent guidance issued by both the government and Propertymark, the estate agency industry body.”Social distancingStaff returning to Foxtons’ branches will also have to follow social distancing procedures throughout, follow enhanced hygiene and office cleaning procedures and undergo training on how to ‘engage appropriately with customers’ during physical viewings and valuations.Different parts of Foxtons’ business have been impacted to varying degrees by the pandemic; sales are down 61% while lettings dropped by 40%. But mortgage broking revenues decreased by just 2%.Foxtons May 26, 2020Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021
Dozens of Harvard faculty and students gathered at Emerson Hall on Feb. 23 to ponder the nature of perception with Ned Block, the Silver Professor of Philosophy, Psychology and Neural Science at New York University (NYU) and one of the country’s leading thinkers on consciousness.Block’s lecture, “How Empirical Facts About Attention Transform Traditional Philosophical Debates About the Nature of Perception,” explored prevailing notions of perception by looking at how we see and pay attention to objects we encounter. As the title indicated, the lecture was peppered with evidence from experiments, some of which he asked members of the audience to try themselves.The address also marked the resurrection of the William James Lectures, a long-running series of talks in the 20th century that featured such well-known intellectuals as Bertrand Russell and John Dewey. Discontinued in the 1980s, the series has now been revived by Harvard’s Department of Philosophy.Block appropriately began his lecture with a quote on the nature of attention from the renowned Harvard philosopher and psychologist after whom the series is named.“As we rightly perceive and name the same color under various lights, the same sound at various distances,” wrote William James in “The Principles of Psychology” (1890), “so we seem to make an analogous sort of allowance for the varying amounts of attention with which objects are viewed. And whatever changes of feeling the attention may bring, we charge, as it were, to the attention’s account, and still perceive and conceive of the object as the same.”Block said that James’ understanding of perception was, in some ways, a precursor of Block’s own view, which he called “mental paint.” He explained that this notion of consciousness emphasizes the ways in which one is aware of things, rather than whether the things are themselves representations of our own inner worlds or objectively perceived. In other words, the color red that you see may or may not be the color red that I see, depending on the circumstances of perception.Block contrasted mental paint with the idea of perception forwarded by the direct realists. These thinkers, he said, contend that the objects we see are the product of “direct awareness.” In other words, the red you see really is the red I see. Moreover, a direct realist would say that there is no such thing as an illusion. To illustrate this point, Block showed the audience a picture of a pencil partially immersed in water. For a direct realist, Block said, even the light refraction that makes the pencil looks bent is not an illusion, because our association is to something real.“What you’re aware of is the similarity between the pencil in the water and a bent pencil,” he said. “What’s illusory is just the cognition to the effect that the pencil is bent. There’s no illusion in the perception.” Block said that this distinction amounted to little more than semantics. At some level, the viewer must still decide what is real and what is an illusion when he or she looks at the pencil in the glass, which undermines claims of a one-size-fits-all perception.Block also took on the idea of perception advanced by representationalists, philosophers who claim that what we see is a representation of our own unique inner reality. In this view, the red you see is not the red I see. The color you perceive is determined by the idea that you have in your mind, not by any objective quality of the object itself.“The phenomenal character of perceptual experience is constituted by or is determined by the representational content of perception,” Block explained. Block found this notion of consciousness lacking as well. He said that representationalism was “too vague.” Moreover, Block asserted that representationalists had perception backward, and that the experience of an object — seeing a fire hydrant, touching a glass — is what determines the idea we have in our mind.To help the crowd at Emerson understand the mental-paint approach to consciousness, Block recreated an experiment first carried out by his colleague Marisa Carrasco, professor of psychology and neural science at NYU. On a screen at the head of the classroom, he projected an image with three aspects. In the middle was a dot. On either side of the dot were identical images of differing contrast. The image on the left was a 22 percent contrast patch. The image on the right was 28 percent.Block asked the audience members to aim their gaze at the dot in the middle of the screen, but to attend to the image on the left. When they did, the members of the crowd discovered that the low-contrast patch looked identical to the high-contrast one. In other words, the way you pay attention to an object determines how you experience it. Perception is therefore neither objective and unchanging, as the direct realists content, nor entirely a product of inner experience, as the representationalists contend.“There is a third way to think about perception,” he said. “Experience and experiment can influence the way we understand how we see.”Block’s talk was well-received by the audience, and yielded to a vigorous question-and-answer session. Many in the standing-room-only crowd likely will return to Emerson 305 for the final three lectures in the series, “Rich Perception, Sparse Cognition” (March 1), “Unconscious vs. Preconscious” (March 8), and “Is Conscious Perception More Fine Grained than Attention and Perceptual Belief?” (March 20).