In a series of blog posts to mark the anniversary of the first lockdown, our Chief Executive Anna Pangbourne talks about the lasting and positive changes homeworking have brought to the charity.

This time last year, I sat at a ‘homemade’ workstation with laptop precariously balanced on books, extension cables trailing on the floor and laughing on calls with the team about how new and bizarre the whole situation was. Little did we know!

Over time of course, the workstation became permanent and working from home became the new normal for our charity. As we mark one year since lockdown began, (358 days!) I reflect on the journey and the good and lasting changes that home working has brought to the organisation.  

Pictured: FTCT's home workstations (and pet helpers!).

Along with the rest of the world, Zoom meetings (“You’re on mute” “Can You See Me?” etc) replaced face-to-face team meet ups and a new bi-monthly catch up was established, in place of our previous monthly meetings. With significantly higher grant enquiries, the new bi-weekly schedule has remained a staple for KPI catch up’s and has really helped the team to feel connected during the year. (Though nothing replaces real life cake and biscuits!)

Downsizing to upsize: How the pandemic made us rethink our options for office space

While working from home continued, we also had an office move on the horizon and our experiences with home working, definitely re-shaped our approach to this. Moving during a global pandemic was not ideal, but with our office lease expiring in December 2020, we used this period as a way to rethink our approach to physical office space. Having already started to view properties in early summer, as an autumn of lockdowns loomed, we went back to the drawing board about what physical space our team would need.

With an office return date about as certain as trying to book an online food shop delivery, we needed a flexible solution, leaving us room to size up or down, based on future needs. After looking at over 15 office spaces, in December we moved into a new office in the Holborn branch of The Space UK – it is the perfect fit! 

Take a tour of our office!

What's next?

We envisage the new office space will be used more as a satellite office space with designated desks, (and Anti-Bac spray for all). The team will also be able to use the communal break out areas and meeting rooms, to get together when it is safe for us to be back again. Home working has definitely left a positive impact on our team and while we look forward to being back together in person, we also plan to balance this with the benefits remote working can also bring!