Following the re-opening of our London-based showroom in August, we're pleased to announce that the Creatif Team have now returned to our HQ in Leeds after an extended period of remote working.
After completing their first week of a new hybrid model that sees staff split their time between the office and working from home (and of course social distancing and hygiene measures), we gathered the thoughts of several members of staff to see how they're finding the "new normal"...
Aaron Surtees, Project Consultant
How was your first week back in the office? And How are you finding the new normal?
"Enjoyable, felt like another step towards normality, good to see colleagues’ faces again and be able to collaborate face to face. I also didn’t realise how much I missed my commute!
In terms of the changes around the office - they have been slightly challenging in that we have to break old habits but it's also nice to have less distractions."
Was there anything particularly frustrating about remote working?
"It was nice to begin with but soon became a bit monotonous, not having people at hand to speak to or ask questions was sometimes difficult. Also not having access to a printer made some things surprisingly difficult."
Is there anything specific you will continue to implement following the return to work?
"I think I'll take more regular breaks from the desk and screen."
Emma Hartley, Executive Assistant
How's the first week back at HQ been for you?
"Loved it, great to see everyone and have some normality. Although there were a lot of spiders, they’ve had the run of the place just recently."
And how about the changes around the office in terms of social distancing etc.?
"It's been fine, you get to understand how each person feels. It is just about been responsible. We have taken a lot of time to get the environment right for everyone to return to and feel safe. Personally I found remote working difficult, the change was hard for me as I am a people person. I really missed seeing everyone.
Is there anything you'll miss about increased remote working?
“No commuting meant more time with family, which has been nice. I started spin classes when the gyms reopened, I go before work and really enjoy this. I really want to still do this a couple of times a week and working from home more has allowed me to do this."
Do you have any return to work tips?
"Be organised and be ready to be interrupted more. Remember everyone is in the same situation so take it at your own pace, there is no pressure."
Dwight Bailey, MD
Tell us about your first week back in the office.
"It was amazing. Refreshing. It felt great to be what seems to be heading towards something more like normal, whatever that is."
How are you finding the new changes to working life? Social distancing and all...
"No problem – our team have put in some good work in creating a safe environment and making sure that we all fit in the space with the correct guidelines being adhered to. That, coupled with common sense, makes it all work well."
You're pretty used to working remotely. Did you have any particular frustrations with the doing this for extended periods?
"My biggest frustration was not being able to collaborate with the team. This is why I firmly believe two things will happen; First, the workplace is not dead – its very much needed, just in a different way. It will be used for collaboration, teamwork and the creative side of work.
Second, the hybrid model of home work for focus work and the office for creative work will be adopted by most up-to-date businesses."
How has the increase in remote working affected client interaction?
"Zoom has been very useful for client meetings – it's actually way more efficient and can increase activity levels significantly. It cuts out travel time and cost. I think we'll see this model being implemented by a lot of companies moving forwards as we have all realised the benefit of Zoom and similar technology."
Do you have any advice for businesses and their employees on returning to the office space?
"Just do it. Get back and make it happen. I enjoy working from home, but combining that with 2-3 days a week in the office has taken my feel-good factor to a level I haven’t experienced for months. Businesses need to embrace this hybrid model and I think management will see a fresh and exciting level of productivity from their teams."
Louise Kirkham, Operations Coordinator
How has the return to the office been for you?
"It was interesting, bit noisy, bit uncomfortable, desk needed a little bit of TLC but seeing humans face to face rather than via the PC was lovely. It actually doesn’t feel much different apart from the hundreds of hand gels and wipes hanging around."
And how about working remotely in contrast to what is predominantly an office-based role?
"I loved it, all positives, got so much more work done without distractions and interruptions, got to wear lounge wear as much as I wanted & working with my assistant Quill has been fabulous."
There must be some positives you’ve noticed?
“Of course – time being the main one. I have a lot more now there is no travel. I have a lot more time to cook, house work etc. Plus, it takes me 10 minutes from getting out of bed to the laptop. Granted I might not always look my best…”
“Away from work I’ve kept my time filled up with daily walks, plenty of cooking, yoga, some home improvements and even some LEGO building.”
Give us an idea of what the new normal looks like for you...
"Splitting my week at home and in the office, reducing my travel time and improving the work/life balance."
Jo Longbottom, Project Manager
You were still relativley new to the Creatif Team prior to the pandemic - welcome back! How has your second first week in the office been?
“I have loved it! I much prefer being in the office and having that work life balance back. It has been great to see people and get out of the house!"
And has much changed about the place?
“Increased cleanliness is never a bad thing, social distancing has worked well in our office as we have been able to adapt the workspace to suit."
What was your take on remote working in general over the past few months?
“As mentioned, I'm fairly new to the company, my biggest positive and frustration is the same thing… Being left to my own devices. It is hard to be on your own when you are first starting out as you have lots of questions, I found that rather hard. On the other hand, I have enjoyed going and finding my own information and having the focus to be able to get really stuck in!
And has remote working taught you anything in particular?
“I am really growing to love being paperless - or reduced paper anyway! With not having access to a printer at home, even down to having my project notes and lists online rather than in a book."
And how about any remote working tips?
“As a Project Manager I love change, keep an open mind. Things have changed, but not everything is for the worse."
If you'd like to discuss anything with the team, please get in touch.