As many staff begin to return to the office following a lengthy period of working from home,  we spoke to colleagues about their experiences of the past 18 months and thoughts for the future.  Here’s Brenda Saetta, the receptionist/secretary with the Usher Institute. 

I have been making in-person visits to Teviot Doorway 1 for at least three days per week since the beginning of 2021.  Travelling on public transport was not a safe option so I walked to work and walked back home.  I live near the BioQuarter so it was a good 90 minutes to get into Teviot, but I felt that it was a good way of keeping fit and healthy!

Being generally alone in the building felt very strange, as I’m based in a large office usually occupied by a number of colleagues.  When I wasn’t in the office, I was available online to answer any questions from staff and, where possible,  provided assistance within set guidelines which were subject to change following government directives.

After a while, staff working from home started to visit in person to Doorway 1and Doorway 3 to collect equipment, paperwork and materials that were required for remote working from home.  This  involved organising a lot of couriers to send equipment  such as laptops and office chairs to colleagues’ home addresses.

Eventually my line manager, Kate Britton and I were on-site together.   We kept abreast of all the changes to guidelines that the Scottish Government had imposed on businesses.  New signage was required in Doorways 1 and 3.  This is no mean feat as there are over 85 offices as well as three stairwells.

Unfortunately, due to further changes to government guidelines, all the signage previously created and displayed then had to be replaced.

Equipment in the kitchen areas and coffee rooms were put away and cabinets sealed so that equipment could not be used.

Our three meeting rooms were measured to ensure that volume of use was within government guidelines.

All 85 offices required designated stickers placed on the doors stating how many people were allowed to be present at any one time.

I have been attending operational meetings across Teviot and Nine BioQuarter.

Latterly we have had to clear up some of our student’s desks, as some of them have since moved home or left the University so we had to make space for new students.