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Reopening after lockdown

How many of you are reopening your office on Monday?

Didn't find your answer?

We are a family run practice and we are working very well from home, but I'm concious with the latest easing of restricions, that we need to look into reopening the office. I'm torn, as I don't want to be the practice that isn't open and run the risk of losing clients, but equally, my wife has just finished cancer treatment and I have underlying health conditions, so I don't know what to do for the best. How are others playing it?

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By Mr_awol
12th Jun 2020 12:17

If you have health issues and your wife has just had cancer treatment then surely that answers your question?

Having said that, being 'open' doesn't have to mean going back to before. We spread half a dozen staff to the four corners of our main office and kept it 'open' throughout - but diverted the phone lines and didn't let clients in either than to collect/drop off and even then at a distance.

I haven't picked up much, haven't lost much. I'm not sure people are looking around at the moment. I suspect the price conscious may re-evaluate in six months or so, and I expect a bit more movement than usual in Feb-June 2021. Just a guess though

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By SXGuy
12th Jun 2020 12:19

Well I run my office by myself. So I have given clients the choice of a physical appointment or by email/phone etc. I leave it down to the client to decide and go from there.

But I don't have any underlying health conditions to worry about so you should do what you need to do.

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By NYB
12th Jun 2020 12:22

My husband has worked in his 1st floor office throughout that can be locked but you can see from outside. He has done 7-12 & his secretary 12-6 + one working from home. He has worked from home in afternoon. Clients have been great. They drop books off but no face to face. They collect by arrangement. Every client has bee so considerate. It has actually made life easier as those that drop in and chat for an hour are no longer, so the work has been easier. He reckons he wont "open the office up" for sometime.
At this point he doesnt want to expose staff to "the outside"

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Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
12th Jun 2020 12:26

What do your risk assessments suggest regarding the actual office premises, your staff risks getting to/from the office and particular risks for individuals/their families ?

The last seems answered for you/your spouse presumably living with you, maybe the office ought to open without your/your wife's attendance?

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By yelsnew
12th Jun 2020 12:45

Productivity in our practice has gone up since home working!
Not considering a return any time soon, certainly wouldn't if I had your health considerations too.

If you're getting the work done for your clients, why do you risk losing them?

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Replying to yelsnew:
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By mbee1
12th Jun 2020 14:41

yelsnew wrote:

Productivity in our practice has gone up since home working!
Not considering a return any time soon, certainly wouldn't if I had your health considerations too.

If you're getting the work done for your clients, why do you risk losing them?

Exactly our thoughts. Not even considered opening yet. The mantra is still "if you can work from home then do so". If a client needs to drop something off we arrange for someone who is local to the office to go and open it just for the drop off. We only collect the post once a week from the Post office as we use a PO Box and someone calls in the office to check if anything has been pushed through the letter box.

We have a few staff who live some distance from the office so productivity has certainly gone up. Even when we do decide to open up we will still only probably let half the staff in depending upon social distancing rules.

We cancelled all our face to face meetings until the end of June and have used a combination of Zoom, Facetime and Skype. Haven't yet made a decision on appointments from July but I suspect we'll cancel them too.

Clients have been fantastic about it.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
12th Jun 2020 13:49

Pfft. If its working from home, work from home.

I never like face to face client meetings anyway as it chews up so much time. Being avoid 'em for nearly 20 years.

Offices have been largely an anachronism for the past 10+ years, it just seems this period of enforced homeworking will lighten the bulb for many who didn't get it before. That said, I really miss have my no.2 at my beck and call in the my home office. (not her home, mine) Oddly enough no.2 does not miss this at all, or the travel time, and I imagine will be coming in less once this is all over.

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By like to be anonymous
12th Jun 2020 14:53

Thanks everyone for your input. Looks like the office is staying closed for the time being.
Productivity is up in our office too and if the clients are happy, then why put ourselves in harms way.

Have a great weekend!!

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By Cardigan
12th Jun 2020 14:55

We are going to continue to work from home as we can do so.

I would love to be back to the office as normal. I miss the chats with colleagues and the other people in our shared building. I miss going for coffee/lunch with friends. I miss the separation of work and home life. I actually miss the commute as this was some me-time to listen to audiobooks.

Going back to work is not going to be the same for a while due to social distancing, so I'm going to wait another while.

No clients have complained and the Zoom meetings save me and clients so much time, I might continue with them going forward.

If I had a health concern, I would continue to work from home and monitor how it goes for the next few weeks.

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A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
12th Jun 2020 15:56

I'm no spring chicken myself, and would regard my firm as fairly traditional, but I am surprised how many posts mention clients dropping of papers etc. Isn't everyone on the cloud these days? And uses mobiles rather than landlines.

I've decided to give notice on the office, give the staff a modest pay increase and spend the rest of the rent money on a nice electric car in which to do the rounds of the clients.

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Replying to Arthur Putey:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
12th Jun 2020 19:50

You swine, no thought or consideration for us landlords.☺

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ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
12th Jun 2020 18:25

Short term, we’re not reopening the office until at least the beg July.

We’ve currently got what would be described as a 10 person office for 5 of us. Our thoughts for the future are split between not having an office (all working from home) for 6 months and see how things are then, or moving to a small office and just having 2/3 ppl in at a time, the rest working from home.

I’d prefer not to have an office and give pay rises, but I’m going to have the problem of being 50+ Registered Offices, so I think that we’ll have to stick with keeping a small office.

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By leicsred
12th Jun 2020 19:38

We have opened the office on a limited basis as we have about 5 staff wh0 can't work full time at home (for various reasons).

Everyone is in a different office and we have ppe. All others will be working from home for the foreseeable. In fact in the long term I think at least half the staff will be working from home at any one time.

Clients come to the office to drop off books, but all at a distance and very few meetings (only one so far).

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By Cheshire
13th Jun 2020 13:46

like to be anonymous wrote:

We are a family run practice and we are working very well from home, but I'm concious with the latest easing of restricions, that we need to look into reopening the office. I'm torn, as I don't want to be the practice that isn't open and run the risk of losing clients, but equally, my wife has just finished cancer treatment and I have underlying health conditions, so I don't know what to do for the best. How are others playing it?

No brainer - your health is more important, oh and as an aside surely that of your wife.

Plus, Ive said it recently when this almost exact Q was asked....why are you dashing to re-open when the advice is contrary to that?!

Ive not been in, Ive worked from home, not one single client has had an issue with it. Quite the opposite in fact.

Work life balance....even more of an important phrase that it ever was.

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By bendybod
16th Jun 2020 10:12

To be honest, I think the one thing that I have found during this period is that clients accept that we're human. They accept that staff have been on furlough (although they're all back now); they accept that we have issues outside of work at the moment that mean that things have to be done differently. That is one of the better things that has come out of this period.
I emailed my staff last week to find out how they felt about going back to work. We're fortunate to be in an area of the country with very few cases throughout, so that may have a bearing, but I was surprised that the majority were happy with the idea of going back in to the office at least part time when I decide the time is right.
Personally though, I know we have issues with social distancing in the communal areas of our building and no scope to have a one way system as there's only one staircase and no lift. All the time that the Government's advice is 'work from home unless you cannot', that is what the vast majority of my staff will be doing. Our admin staff are working from the office through choice but clients are not dropping records off / picking them up face to face and I haven't had any face to face meetings yet. If I did, they would not be in the office at this stage.
Having a member of my family (not in the same household) who has been diagnosed with cancer in the last month, you absolutely need to do what is right for you and your family. Anyone who doesn't understand that in the current climate, I would question whether I wanted as a client. Heck, I've got a surgeon who can't do my surgery because of his own health! I'm not questioning that.

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By pauljohnston
16th Jun 2020 10:22

Can I just add that a Notice "ABC Ltd is working full time but following government regulations the office remains closed and we are working from home. PLease call01XXXXX XXXX if you would like an appointment or to drop off documents" Is what I am going to attach to our front door

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Replying to pauljohnston:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
16th Jun 2020 11:10

The danger of that is break ins, you are advertising the property is empty.

We have had a sign on the gate at the foot of our stair advising the postman to throw our post up the stair in bundles, which he has been doing since March, but it does give me the odd sleepless night as we are in an industrial yard which gets very quiet as evening falls (though most computers at least are no longer in the office and there is not much else of value there to be nicked)

It is tough to know what ought to be done.

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Replying to pauljohnston:
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By bendybod
17th Jun 2020 10:39

I've put something on my email footer to say that we're following Government guidance and that the majority of our staff are working remotely and that clients will need to make appointments to drop off records. I do have the advantage that one or two staff are working from the office so there is someone to answer the phone but more and more of the regular clients are using my mobile when they need to contact me directly (which always has appalling signal inside the office so they tended not to previously) rather than phoning the office.

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Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
16th Jun 2020 12:39

My staff normally work remotely anyway and I go into the office every day. I have been working from home for last 3 months and from a hotel for 2 weeks when my family had the virus.

I am starting to go in a 2 days a week As I get more done at work, and been struggling balancing working and home schooling. My office at home is not the bets and I have purposely have never made it that nice as I didn't want to come home and work too much on a night. I think as a result of this I might work less from the office and more from home.

A lot of my clients who have managed well with home working are talking about reducing office space and doing more home working going forward.

If your in a high risk group stay safe and embrace zoom.

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