The lead director of Jones Lang LaSelle on 2014, the economic recovery, and its impact on business next year.

How sustainable do you believe the economic recovery to be?

Our feeling is that it depends on the strength of the corporate markets. As the corporate markets strengthen there seems to be growing confidence elsewhere, so we need to carefully look at what’s going on and react to it. For example, are we going to see people changing their occupancy patterns?

What do you see as the biggest opportunities for your business next year? Where is growth going to come from?

We’re making changes and focusing on a number of areas. I’m sure our new development management team will present opportunities, and we’re also expanding our cost management team with the aim of building a national profile. I’m sure that will contribute to growth.

What do you think the greatest danger to your business will be in 2014?

Skill shortages, nurturing skilled staff, and retaining skilled staff. Now that things are getting better it’s difficult to find and keep hold of top quality professionals.

What do you think the construction industry could do to help itself in 2014?

We need to remember that the overall needs of the client come first and foremost, and by that I mean taking a slightly less combative approach to projects. The team needs open communication throughout, and respect needs to be there at the end of the project. I think mature relationships were fostered throughout the recession, and I hope that, now things are looking up, they carry on getting better.

What single realistic policy change from the government would make the biggest difference to your business next year?

Making things clearer. There’s uncertainty in the regulation framework, in the green agenda for example. We need certainty, be it in planning or environmental, so that we can work confidently and quickly.

Helen Gough is lead director at Jones Lang LaSelle