On Going Back To The Office

This week we returned to the office — and it’s been great. We’ve missed it: the space, the buzz and, of course, the people. The decision to go back has had nothing to do with politics, nor has it been influenced by the frenzy of recent media coverage. It simply felt like the right thing to do at this particular point in time.

Now, when we say we’ve returned, we don’t mean everyone. Out of a global workforce of roughly 50, there have been around 10 of us in the office on any given day this week. You see, since day one, we’ve always had a flexible approach to work. It’s in our DNA. Not everyone who works at Viddyoze needs to be based at our headquarters. After all, we’re an online business. We can work anywhere (well, anywhere that has good internet connection).

And that’s not the only reason. Letting people work from home isn’t just about being a progressive employer. We’ve always been flexible. Our approach to work is also shaped by how we see ourselves: as a tech company with proud roots in the north-west of England but with a reach that is international. Having a team that reflects that just makes sense. So, in addition to having staff local to the area and across the UK, we also have a smattering of staff spread across the globe, from all over Europe to the Philippines and the US. This is part of what makes us so unique.

Being in the office isn’t quite what it used to be. As long as Covid-19 remains in active circulation — and a vaccine remains a far off reality — we have to live and work in a way that requires us to be more cautious and conscientious. So, come the start of the day, that means temperature checks. During work hours that means maintaining social distancing. And, more generally, that means adhering to good hygiene practices, from the moment we arrive to the moment we leave. We’re certainly not short of wipes and hand sanitiser.

That’s just a snapshot of things, but hopefully you get the picture: Viddyoze HQ is a very safe space to work in. Week one is now in the bag and, as we head into the weekend, we do so with a smile on our face. It’s good to be back. And the response from our colleagues who have so far come back has been great — the initial unease and awkwardness has all but gone and it doesn’t feel weird anymore.

And long may it continue. We’re under no illusions that Covid-19 is going to be with us for some time to come. We’re also aware that in the UK we’re venturing into uncharted territory, namely an autumn and winter period that has no precedent with this particularly persistent virus.

No-one really knows what to expect. The key thing for us is that if we have to go back to how it was earlier this year, then we will. We’ll close the office and we’ll all work from home again. The safety and wellbeing of our employees is always going to be our priority.

The thing is we know we can make that work. Our team has already shown that and, as we noted earlier, we’re well aware of how lucky we are that so much of what we do can be done remotely — and done well. Still, as we’ve found being back in the office this week, a comfortable and welcoming office space in the company of colleagues we like and admire — safely distanced — is something special. A Zoom call just doesn’t quite cut it.

Stay safe and enjoy your weekend.

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