Visiting the office and seeing people in person
Yesterday I was in our London office. I was excited to be going in, just like I have been doing a lot more recently. Microsoft Teams has been our absolute lifeline for getting the job done, keeping connected, I cannot imagine working life without it. Just like FaceTime and similar tools have kept friends and family members ‘close’ when visiting was not possible.
For me though, there is nothing quite like actually being in person with other people who have a shared purpose. So, like each of the times before I head to an office, I take my COVID-19 lateral flow test and then, in the knowledge that I have a negative test, headed out to start my journey.
In England, for the past week there has been a big lifting of pandemic restrictions. This means that in many cases there is not a legal requirement to wear a face covering. On London transport you are asked to keep your face covering on and in quite a few shops too. I decided that I would carry on wearing my face mask in public areas, particularly indoors where it is busy and on transport. So, I did just that. For the first time since before Christmas, somebody sat next to me on the train and on the bus, although they too wore a face covering. It felt strange to be in close proximity to another person, particularly somebody I didn’t know.
When I got to our building, I was warmly greeted by the reception team in the lobby and, not for the first time, did I stand and admire the incredible aquarium. I had made it in and having washed my hands and applied a large dose of hand sanitizer, my next stop was to choose one of the three coloured bands on our reception desk; green for hugs and hive fives, amber for ‘you can come close but not too close’ and red for ‘I like my space but happy to be here’. I chose a red band yesterday. If you spoke to my mum she would tell you that even as a baby I was never wanting hugs 😊
Being in the office has been a real tonic for the spirit. Seeing people in person I had only ever met on Teams before, telling a new colleague proudly about our brands, our people, the countries we are present in and flying the flag for our amazing group of companies. Just popping over and checking something with a colleague, saying hello and catching up on news with people that I haven’t seen for a while. All of this made the day special. For me it’s why Teams is great but can never replace the sheer joy of being with people in the same space.
The thing I found challenging was the hybrid way of some of us being in the office and some being via Teams when hold a multi-person meeting in this way. It is something we will all get used to. It made me think that I need to speak to Gavin, our IT Director, and get some great advice from him and his team as to what we will need to have in place in our office locations to help us do this well and effectively.
The journey home was ok too, I was conscious of keeping myself safe, but I got the sense that was on my fellow passenger’s minds too. I found myself humming along to a song playing out in my headphones. There is no doubt in my mind, for me it was a great day.
Well, it has been another great week in the Harvey Nash Group of businesses. As always, there were challenges that we had not expected, that we needed to find solutions for. The thing is that I know when we work together, we will find our way through those times - nobody is ever alone. There have been some fantastic moments, lots of them throughout this week too. Great new people joined our businesses, people went on well-deserved holidays, came back from breaks away, new babies joined the families of colleagues, we won great work, delighted clients, contractors and candidates.
You will have your own recollections of the week that we have just had. Be proud of what you have accomplished, as you in your own right and with your colleagues. This is a fantastic group of businesses that really cares about what we do and how we do our work.
As the weekend comes around, make sure you take time out to recharge and energise yourself for the week ahead. Keep safe and well.