At the time of writing, the United Kingdom has seen many of its lockdown measures lifted: gyms are reopening, we can go get our hair done(!), and sitting down in a restaurant is now a thing again.
Whilst we continue to work from home, the option to come back into the office for a day or two a week (with all the safety measures in place to keep us secure) is helping many of us feel a bit more normal.
Last week was Rebecca Hudson's first day in the office. We caught up with her on how it went.
Returning to the office, an honest review:
This week I completed my first commute into London for 4 and a half months.
I was excited, nervous and on edge, all rolled into one. I realised how much I’d missed my walk to the station in the morning; KeepCup in hand, just Bex time.
It was the first time in 18 weeks that I had been away from my other half and if I'm being honest, I loved it! Don’t get me wrong, I love her, and I have loved having the time we have had together in the last few months, but I had forgotten how much I valued “me time”.
I would normally get my "me time" from the 3 hours I am in the hairdressers once every 3 months, or when I pop to the shops for a mooch, or when I sit on the train and watch the Netflix series she hates, and don’t watch at home. All of that "me time" has been absent for so long. I loved having a small dose of it back.
Nothing quite prepared me for my arrival at Charing Cross - I actually cried.
So, if you are planning to return to London, be prepared for the overwhelming sense of emotion. Reunited with this City I love, but seeing it in such a different light.
Arriving into Charing Cross and seeing it relatively lifeless and clinical (oneway systems, anti-bac stations, no smiles or expression as everyone’s smile and expression is hidden behind their mask...) – it was weird, to say the least.
Walking down the Strand was my first real reflection of actually how hard businesses and the economy has been hit. H&M closed down, Pret shut, Itsu lifeless, the Muffin shop closed down, Pauls closed, the Delauney (usually buzzy with breakfast goers) was empty and shuttered up.
I cried again.
It was really emotional.
Being at home, in a quiet suburb of South East London, I’d been shielded from this very visible impact. It made me think, I have to support businesses, and safely, try and encourage some form of normality. So I bought a coffee from the local independent place by the office, and lunch from Pret. I know one sandwich won’t change much, but 1 million people buying a sandwich might.
Then I got into the office and it was like I’d never been away. It was just the most amazing, and overwhelming, feeling of happiness, normality and relief that I just picked up with people where I left off with them - Albeit in a slightly strange, no hugs, no embraces, and distance between us kinda way.
Sphere is moving offices next week and we will officially be in our new office on the 20th of July. I can’t wait! It’s been months in the making, the building work delayed due to Covid, but having popped in their yesterday, it’s going to be amazing.
I had 4.5 wonderful years with Sphere in our Kingsway home, and I am so happy I’ve been in this week to take it all in again, but the new home, snazzy and with double the office space, it is going to be an incredible fresh start for everyone.
I am naturally an anxious and more cautious person so I was very hesitant about coming back in. I am also super productive at home, so have always worked from home a bit. That said, and to summarise my experience, last week has taught me to:
- Enjoy the "me time" again
- Not forget your mask (let's stay safe!)
- Embrace the emotions - they will come to the forefront
- Appreciate London - how fantastic it is, and how brilliant it will be again
- Be reassured that despite the time away, with good people, and great colleagues, it’s like you’ve never been apart
- Support local businesses
If you're in the office now, or are thinking about it, share with me your experience!
Senior Business Manager
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