We are incredibly proud of the creative and collaborative atmosphere that our tenants at Norton Park enjoy – and it’s one that many have been pleased to have been able to embrace again as they have embarked on a gradual and safe return to office working.

Here, two of our tenants share their thoughts on being in the office, all in line with Scottish Government guidance.

Margaret Murphy, Chief Executive, Edinburgh Young Carers (EYC)

Since the March 2020 lockdown, Edinburgh Young Carers’ staff team had been working from home. Like most charities, we had to make drastic changes to our service to ensure we were still able to support our young carers and young adult carers.

Throughout the last 18 months, we have adapted our services to ensure we were meeting the needs of our young people but also ensuring we kept within Scottish Government guidelines.

I think it’s fair to say that, until we were thrown into working from home, I wasn’t sure how this would work effectively. However, the team were amazing and we supported more than 370 young people over this period.

There are advantages to working from home, such as less commuting, saving money on petrol, comfy clothes etc. However, we are social creatures who need to socialise.  Zoom is fine and has its uses, but you can’t beat the spur of the moment idea you have that you can instantly share with your colleague next to you, the funny stories you share over a coffee, or just seeing a nice smile when you walk into the office. 

Another important factor that we missed was easy access to information and expertise from the diverse range of charities based at Norton Park. I think you can underestimate the value of having this across the hall or next door to you, until you don’t have it. 

Looking to the future, EYC have decided that we would like the best of both worlds, which means that we will be working two or three days in the office and the rest at home. 

We started coming back to work a few weeks ago and the changes to Norton Park are amazing.  The efforts made to ensure people are safe are clear to see, and definitely took away any safety anxieties we may have had. The building was very quiet to begin with but now, as more charities come back to hybrid working, there is a positive buzz about the place that we have all missed.  EYC are definitely glad to be back.

Helen Brown, Chief Executive, Visualise Scotland

Visualise Scotland worked throughout the pandemic based in the Norton Park offices.

Our team supports people with disabilities in Edinburgh and East Lothian, offering housing support, care at home and day services. It was essential for us to keep the services running during the Covid period to ensure the best possible care and support.

Our experience of working at Norton Park was very positive. Processes were put in place to ensure our safety – masks, two-metre distancing, a one-way system and regular sanitisation of the building. We found the staff on duty at Norton Park exemplary in their support to us during this time and extremely helpful.

Being able to have a core team working at the office created solidarity, it strengthened our ability to react on the ground to changing situations in our services and make decisions together. It helped build us as a team and provided a focal point for our service teams on the frontline with people we support.

Having the facilities and services of an office base enabled us to provide a better service. It helped us better assess risk, flag up concerns early on through informal conversations and respond when needed.

Norton Park also enabled us to exhibit the art and pottery created by people we support during lockdown – a lovely exhibition which boosted their confidence. I know now the building is opening back up that the people we support are looking forward to dropping by for a chat when it’s possible to do soTo find out more about opportunities at Norton Park Conference Centre and Business Hub, email ywringe@nortonpark.org