Cronofy operates two offices – a lease on the top floor of a beautiful Victorian textile warehouse in Nottingham’s Lace Market alongside a satellite in London. As the pandemic restrictions are starting to be lifted I wanted to share how we are approaching the re-opening of these offices for the team, for others to learn from.

The outcome and ultimate decision is less important than the process we took to arrive there and we leaned heavily on our principles to guide our approach, particularly:

Everything above board – We don’t hide the truth from our teammates and customers. It might not always be pleasant, but we don’t compromise on honesty.

Never gonna give you up – We respect, trust, and support each other. Our products are reliable, secure, and respect everyone’s privacy.

We don’t normally go in for anonymous surveys because it is really hard to truly mask identity in a company of our size. Instead we prefer discussion with the appropriate team members, where we share ideas and thoughts and it’s then beholden on the management team to make a decision.

However we wanted to avoid people feeling the pressure of behaving in a certain way because their colleagues were more comfortable with the risks than they were. We also needed to recognise that people may have deeply private reasons for not wanting to share their view – for example an underlying health condition that they shouldn’t be forced to declare.

We asked three questions:

  1. What restrictions would you want in place before coming back to the office with few enough people to maintain distancing?
  2. What restrictions would you want in place before the whole team was back in the office?
  3. When would you feel comfortable meeting up for a face to face all-hands?

The result:

  • Announce your intention to go into the office in the appropriate office channel in Slack.
  • Ensure you have a negative COVID-19 test up to 24 hours prior to going in.

The team has a spread of concern levels and we erred on the side of providing more reassurance over flexibility. This approach allowed those that want to go back to the office the choice to do so, with the slight unpleasantness of a COVID-19 test beforehand.

As we learn more about vaccination efficacy and the impact of virus variants we will certainly evolve our approach. However, this will continue to carefully navigate the path between open discussion and respecting team member’s privacy.