Last week the majority of Vacherin’s head office team returned to our Hatton Garden head office. We certainly hadn’t mothballed our office for the past four months; Phil has been cycling the 35 mile commute at least twice a week, Dan and the ops team are regular visitors as is Margaret, our HR manager who prefers the office environment to working from home.
But, following government encouragement to return to work we took the collective decision for all of us to make a gradual return – starting with an “all hands day” on Wednesday.
For some, there were understandably some feelings of trepidation, mostly about public transport – but having taken the plunge we all agreed that any angst was unfounded. The buzz of being back in the office, catching up on four months of chat, comparing beard growth, exercise, DIY…and of course culinary accomplishments can never compare to the online pigeon-hole conversations that we’ve been having.
The commercial success of Vacherin is dependent on people working in offices so of course, our decision to return was in part to practice what we preach. We also have a number of contracts that have remained open throughout the pandemic, and are now reinstating our catering services at more sites each week so it’s really important that we’re available – in person – to support our on-site teams and our clients.
And there’s more. Being together in the office reinforces that feeling of belonging and of being part of the bigger picture; the collaboration and sharing of ideas is once again spontaneous. Questions can be asked of colleagues immediately, future meetings planned with ease. The excitement over lunch was a joy to behold (Sam, our FD’s reaction to discovering that Tongue and Brisket has reopened was priceless). To once again choose from our own cafes or from the high street as opposed to eating last night’s leftovers was an incentive in itself. That and the added bonus of team drinks on the sun terrace of The Argyle on Leather Lane of course!
Our office is Covid-safe. We’ve risk-assessed and applied the same stringent measures that we have in place for our catering and reception contracts. We fully recognise that there are benefits to working from home and it’s highly likely that the majority of us will work for home more than we did prior to the pandemic. But we’re a people business, we thrive on social interaction – not just commercially but from a personal perspective. Being back together, in the office or at our sites…well it just felt ‘right’.
Those who had voiced a preference for returning to Hatton Garden one or two days a week, are now reviewing their plans are keen to increase this to three or four days. We’re playing our part in getting London #OpenForBusiness and strongly encourage those, whose offices are ready and waiting for them, to follow suit.
We look forward to seeing you soon.