Remote workers flock back to Cheltenham town centre office
If you thought confidence might take time to time return as fears of the pandemic subside think again.
A popular remote office space in the centre of Cheltenham which could take more than 100 busy individuals back in the ‘old normal’ pre-coronavirus days has re-opened due to popular demand.
All in line with Government safety guidelines, the business – The Workplace - with its close connections to The Find coffee house and café, opened its doors on Monday.
Claire Storey, who runs the stylish flexible workspace in Frogmore House, Ormond Place, said: “When everyone first started to become aware of the pandemic we started by re-shuffling the desks, moving everything further apart – but it (business) started drifting away pretty quick and the decision was taken to close.”
She added: “At first it was a bit like a holiday – but with the added worry about whether we would ever open again.”
What saved her, and made it all possible was the community The Workplace has generated.
For a 3D tour clock The Workplace .
“We began having regular Zoom catch-ups, just to see how everyone was feeling and getting on and recently began talking about whether people wanted us to re-open,” said Ms Storey, who has run the business since 2017.
Discussion were positive and prompted a speedy office redesign so people could sit at their desks, be safe and comfortable, and the building could operate within the Government guidelines. That done, the doors opened and numbers are already on route to the 60 it was regularly catering for on the eve of closure.
Its Covid-Secure Policy can be found on its website for those who needs reassurance from the small print.
“The office is really quite big. People are able to work, and feel comfortable, but still talk to one another. And people have come back.
“Even one or two who said they perhaps needed more time, after a couple of days, have come in and stayed. I think people missed human contact.
“Many will come and work here because it provides them with more than just a space to work.”
And that is not The Workplace’s only secret weapon - perhaps the free real coffee and tea and its fine cake selection helped sway one or two?
According to Ms Storey it is the human interaction that makes the space special.
“We have people aged from about 25 to about 60, from cyber security experts, web developers, a Russian translator, a stuntman, a barrister – it is a real selection. It is brilliant, and works really well.”
And she is already hearing talk from some that their previous existence of one or two days a week remote working might change.
"We have one or two people who have a permanent office space elsewhere have realised they do not need to pay the high rents when they could work remotely, from somewhere like here. It has opened a lot of people's eyes I think.”
Prices start from in the region of four days from £75 a month and outside of the pandemic could see the return of the day-passes for £20.