The New Normal

As of the 27th July, the QES team were divided into two groups based on seating plan and a Week In Week Out rota was put into practice. Both groups have now experienced their first week transitioning back into the office, with the Tuesday and Thursday of their given week dedicated to being in the office, and the remainder of that week can be spent working from home if they wish.

Working From Home

This new decision was made due to how well our colleagues all took working from home in their stride, as Development Team Manager Paul said “working at home during this unprecedented time has certainly been different and at points very busy, but overall it's been great for me personally. I've found conducting meetings over Zoom/Teams quite natural and developing code hasn't changed too much from being at home.” The commuting time has also been put to great use by Paul, as he’s spent his evenings completing a big chunk of DIY on his house. It’s safe to say he’s probably put some of us to shame there, but whether it’s DIY at 5pm or heading straight out to sit in the garden, that little bit of extra time in the evening with the absence of a commute has definitely made a difference.

Social Atmosphere

The introduction of the Week In Week Out rota has offered our colleagues the perfect opportunity for a merged working lifestyle, mixing the convenience of working from home with the social atmosphere the office can bring. Adam, one of our developers, particularly enjoyed spending a little bit of time in the office thanks to this new rota, “it’s been a breath of fresh air and nostalgic at the same time to be back. It’s nice to feel the 'office vibe' again and see some happy faces around me!” These sentiments were shared by Dave in Quality Assurance, “it was really enjoyable to see my colleagues, and to engage in some face to face banter,” and Sales and Marketing Manager Emma agreed too, but not without recognising some notable changes, “it's been so lovely being back in the office again and seeing all those friendly faces... even if some have got hairier during lock down!!”

Safety Precuations

Of course, there have been amendments to the office with the addition of perspex screens across desks, a screening station and a new one-way system with some doors being temporarily closed to facilitate this. However, it’s fair to say some of the Covid-19 measures have offered a little light-hearted entertainment too, being greeted in the morning by the Chief Operations Officer armed with a temperature gun isn’t quite the arrival to work we’re used to. It’s great to hear from colleagues how these precautions have made them feel at ease, with Jen in Governance and Compliance admitting "I was worried about going back to the office while Covid-19 is still a very real threat but the new safety measures and structure of our return to work has been brilliant and I was really happy to be back.” The management team have been mindful about the health anxieties for those who have felt particularly nervous, and have reassured them that coming back to the office is not necessary if it may be a negative and uncomfortable transition.

It's Good to be Back

This has been a brilliant first two weeks for both groups to spend some time back in our office in the beautiful South Gloucestershire countryside, hearing the lambs bleating only a few metres away from our door. As Jen declared, “I'm enjoying the balance between office and WFH days, I'd happily work like this forever!"

Best of all, being back in the office and chatting with colleagues has been a wonderful opportunity to catch up and we’ve found out some really fantastic news as a result… one of our colleagues is expecting their first baby towards the end of this year! Massive congratulations, we’re all very excited and over the moon to hear such lovely news!