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April 23, 2021

Returning to the office

Returning to the office

Perhaps we can look to bring to the workplace some of the positives we have experienced during this dreadful lockdown. For example, the importance of family and community.

While many have continued to work during the pandemic, teachers, health professionals, cleaners and Post Office workers amongst the more visible and spoken of in the media, there are also those who have not been mentioned, like directors of companies who have tried to keep their businesses ticking over and jobs still available for people to return to, as we will soon be allowed to do.

For anyone who has travelled up to London during the past 12-months to see the empty streets, closed shops and offices, there has been an eery silence where once the main and back streets of the Capital thronged with vibrance and commerce. It has at times been like a western movie, where one could almost imagine brushwood bushes blowing along Regent Street for example in complete silence.

The government though have given us a timetable to return and I for one, am already listing the restaurants, bars and sporting events I would like to go to in the second half of the year but perhaps more importantly a haircut and wet shave will be my first adventure.

As we return to our offices, if like I, many of you will have attended various Zoom meetings, presentations, discussions and heard expert’s opinions on the state of the economy as it is now and believe or at least hope of how it will be. This optimistic foretelling for the end to the year boom makes me realise that we now have the opportunity, to almost begin again to re-build our futures.

Perhaps we can look to bring to the workplace some of the positives we have experienced during this dreadful lockdown. For example, the importance of family and community.

How many of us enjoyed the simple experience of walking in our local park and smiling or speaking with strangers even if from a distance and are so looking forward to seeing a person’s full face without a mask observing the subtle variations in their facial expressions that enable communication to be fully expressed. Or the enjoyment of walking down to the shops and buying a simple cup of coffee or pastry from the local baker.

Maybe a little ‘rose-tinted spectacles’ for the moment but we will return to the office and the myth of home working for the masses finally debunked, although conversations will need to be undertaken regarding new working methods.

Some people will want to continue working from home (WFH) or near from home (WNH) on certain days, to allow for focussed project work or family flexibility. There are younger staff that have needed mentoring, social interaction, access to bars and restaurants and want to come into the office on a more structured and traditional basis.

These changes will cause disruption, and many will need a helping hand and maybe this is where Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) will really come in to its own.

The pandemic has shown us that we all work better together, working for common purpose. Can this common sense of purpose now be directed at growing and helping our local community working together and with the local government driving improvement and change, create opportunities and be a more supportive and caring community for all those that work and reside in it.

Perhaps as simple as buying locally where you can - when we attend networking events, we meet many businesses that operate near us and give them the opportunity to quote for our business. At the beginning of last year, we undertook to employ local staff for our vacancies, give work to our neighbourhood businesses and to date, we have been so pleased with the dedication and hard work of those we have contracted to assist with our projects.

As directors of the business Rebecca and I have made a conscious decision to help and support local charities where we can. The mental health charity CALM was chosen by our team for our company to support. As well as being loud advocates for Legacy the national OnSide Youth Organisation we are committed to playing a full part in Croydon Commitment where we can best offer efforts to assist those close to us.

The pandemic has caused heartache, anger and desperation for many, but I hope that as we return and build the future for us and the next generation, we can incorporate a social responsibility and understanding on how and where we work. I would suggest that we all benefit far more by what we give in terms of offering active hands-on time to mentor or train and by using local businesses to build that future and I look forward to meeting again at networking events or in a restaurant.

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