This has been a big week for us, and next week I have a much needed holiday.

Office return trial

We have started a trial return to our offices. I was in on Wednesday for the first day of that, and it was a complete joy to be in and seeing colleagues. I was reminded so strongly of something I knew, but hadn’t felt for a while – work at its best is a sociable activity. I have missed seeing my colleagues.

Not everyone can join the trial, and we are conscious that some people do not feel safe, either for health or transport reasons. That’s ok by us, as we are trialling things, and we are doing it for those colleagues who have struggled with home working. We also want to know what it takes for us to deliver some of our activity in a time of COVID. Our business support team have done brilliant work in risk assessing and communicating everything. It was good to be back.

Four months of working from home

It’s pretty much exactly four months since we started working from home. When I look at our six-stage plan, we have done an enormous amount of work to:

  1. Deal with the crisis and get everyone safe
  2. Adapt with our clients and beneficiaries to keep working and understand what that means for our team and clients
  3. Begin to reset our assumptions and learn new things about ourselves and our work, and what sort of needs and challenges are out there.
  4. And now we’re ready to positively respond. Opening the offices is one part of that, and I’m taking ideas and plans to our board in early August to keep that up.
  5. We don’t know what a new normal will look like, but I know this team will be ready for it, and ready to work with our clients, beneficiaries and communities on their needs when that time arrives.

New work

We’re about to kick off two new projects. One is supporting a funder to evaluate and learn from their COVID emergency funding. The other sees us work closely as the learning partner to an exciting community organisation doing place-based social action as the central plank of their work.

That comes as our service team have started to partner with Transitions London, exploring the support for refugees into engineering roles. Transitions works with some of the largest engineering firms to increase the hiring success of highly-skilled refugees. By partnering with Transitions we aim to build capacity and share expertise across both our organisations for the benefit of refugees and the companies that employ them.

We’re learning from the last few months and looking to what comes next for everyone we work with.

I head off on holiday feeling positive, proud and determined. We’ve got a lot more work to do, but we are doing exactly the sort of work we should be doing.

Reading, listening and watching

I finished I May Destroy You. It’s as good as everyone says it is. You don’t need me to add to that. Just watch it.

Also, the cricket is back. I’ve been watching cricket.