Last week I took the 07.57 from Brighton to our CANCOM offices near Kings Cross in central London. My train was deserted - it was like riding a ghost train. Levels of resilience have been impressive during this pandemic but making this solo journey underlined one thing - it’s time to move forward.
Bring on reality, bring on office banter, bring on the wonderful energy of people you can only get in the office.
Many might assume as the MD of a technology company I’d be in favour of extending remote working - but they would be wrong.
I accept we are going into a hybrid working environment and remote working platforms like Microsoft Teams are fantastic. But for me a return to the office is essential for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, I believe If you work from home for too long, I think the soul of the company goes. Most of us are social animals, and I think an office gives you purpose, momentum and boundaries to your working day. It’s also better for attracting talent, especially younger employees.
In short, an office provides energy, it provides innovation and it provides edge.
The second reason I want the office back is, I believe an “office-based economy” is important for all of us. Large global businesses such as Facebook and Google may have the reserves to withstand severe economic pressure, but many smaller and mid-tier business don’t.
Our offices in Tabernacle Street are right next to some of the best hipster coffee shops in Shoreditch. Mark Zuckerberg might not care whether they survive, but I do.
Watch our Webinar Recording of How we Reopened our Offices and Re-energised our business >>
A lot of organisations are currently adopting the stance of returning to offices later this year, or returning for essential business or personal safety reasons only. I don’t think this is good enough. That’s why I felt it was important to offer a more subtle and agile approach.
So, when many of my business peers were reporting they were finding it devilishly difficult to reopen their office’s, I asked if they’d be interested in hearing our approach - the answer was a resounding, “yes”.
That’s why we decided to share in a very open way the detailed steps we took to reopen the CANCOM UK offices. And I have to say I am incredibly proud of the belt-and-braces approach my Business Continuity Team have taken to make our offices COVID-safe.
Finally, I’d just like to say, that for me, the economy isn’t just about money, it’s about lives. That’s why I believe we need to switch mindsets from one of fear to one of positivity.
I would love to hear your own views on this, so drop me a line on Twitter. If you want to watch the full webinar, click here.