In the first of a new series of short features on both the professional and personal lives of people in the Thames Valley property world, Gemma Malaperiman, director in the Savills Reading team, describes the current Thames Valley market as she sees it – and offers a glimpse into her world outside of work, from dog therapy to walking marathons and an awful lot of Hoovering in between…

Gemma looks after EMEA occupier services and has a background specialising in capital markets, particularly large retail and fund management transactions.

What are the key trends impacting the occupier services market in 2022?

The move to hybrid working and how companies adapt to this is one of the biggest trends in occupier services this year, alongside talent retention and attraction as well as real and pressing ESG commitments and their impacts on office occupation.

What are your hopes and fears for the market, both short term and long term?

I really hope we can cement the return to the offices of the Thames Valley, appreciating the benefits of face to face conversations and interaction.  With the current war for talent the type of accommodation that an organisation occupies makes a statement about a business and how it values its staff, this is a key aspect in both attracting and holding on to employees in competitive markets.

What is the best thing about the Thames Valley and what are its challenges?

I think the Thames Valley is a fabulous place to live and work, whilst also benefitting from excellent transport links to London and the rest of the world especially now, with the Elizabeth line coming into full service in November.  We are in an ideal position to welcome occupiers decentralising from London in this new hybrid working world – we just need to ensure that office spaces meet the occupational and ESG requirements of those considering such a move.

What do you like to do when you’re not in the office?

My children recently described my number one hobby as Hoovering!  With (hairy) dogs in the house, I am often to be found running around with a vacuum but my preferred pastime is walking, particularly with friends.

I have completed several walking marathons and really enjoy training for them – it’s a great way to unwind at the end of the day, with my dogs by my side. The canine companions also feature in another important part of my life as I volunteer with Pets as Therapy every week, taking Carla the golden retriever into a local primary school to work with children struggling with anxiety.

What surprises people most about you?

I once participated in a national synchronised swimming competition.

Not something I’ve kept up but I’m still a water baby; I am a qualified scuba diver and love travelling to dive all over the world.

I also enjoy open water swimming, stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, surfing, you name it I’ll jump in.

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