Our editor is optimistic about the business world taking on more normality

As we head towards the final stages of the roadmap, it has been heartening to see the world beginning to take on some form of normality.

Those of us who have tried to retain some semblance of a pre-COVID routine over the past few months have noticed for many weeks the increase in traffic and bustle returning to our city and town centres.

The shops, bars, restaurants, hairdressers, salons, cafes, markets and leisure attractions all depend on us to make the effort to get out of the house and visit them. May’s weather certainly hasn’t helped but it is good to see people back out and about.

In an office setting, too, more and more firms are seeing their teams return. The next challenge will be for leaders and managers to maintain contact with those who remain on flexible working patterns.

The long-term effects of more than a year, in some cases, of working from home won’t be known for some time but I remain convinced it is the younger members of our workforce who will be hampered most if they don’t come into regular contact with more experienced members of their team.

It could also spill over into a recruitment issue with some firms preferring those who want to work primarily in an office and others who take their entire operation to a remote model.

Neither one will be perfect, and neither should be seen as ‘the way forward’. Every business operates in a slightly different way and as long as customers and clients are getting the service they are paying for then everyone should be happy.

My feeling is that slowly but surely – in the majority of sectors – businesses will feel more like 2019 than 2020. The caveat there is that we will take the learnings from 2020 (and 2021) and implement them into a model which is more like 2019.


A taste of normality as hospitality returns

The agency that I run – HRM PR & Creative – has had a busy few weeks with the return of the hospitality sector.

We have been proud to launch two brand new restaurants, one in Sheffield and one in Doncaster, to rave reviews.

Raffina, on Ecclesall Road, is the big brother to a smaller outlet at Fox Valley in Stocksbridge.

It is a new concept (the food is amazing, by the way) and in both cases sits below the offices of estate agents Redbrik.

Elephant & Castle at Frenchgate Shopping Centre in Doncaster – last month’s unLTD cover stars – is a more established brand having started in Dublin 30 years ago. Doncaster is the first stop off in the UK and, from early signs, it won’t be the last.