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Dear Office, it's not you, it's us

A North East PR agency is facing the post-Covid world with a fresh start after breaking up with its office.

Dear Office, it's not you, it's us

"The team can get more done in less time, meaning they have more free time to do the things they love which is so important after the upheaval of the past few months."
Charlotte Nichols

A North East PR agency is facing the post-Covid world with a fresh start – after breaking up with its office.


Harvey & Hugo has been based in Business Central, Darlington, since 2015, but will now be going it alone, after managing director Charlotte Nichols felt the relationship with the office had run its course.


Explaining the decision, Charlotte said: “Breaking up is hard to do, but it’s very much a case of us not them.


“With everything we – and the rest of the world – has been through lately, we felt the time was right to say goodbye.


“My main concern has always been the health and safety of The Pack; we can all work from home and it works well for us, so why increase people’s risk by making them come into an office?


“Some Pack members are shielding, and some have underlying health conditions, so I wouldn’t want them coming into the office anyway. An added benefit is a better work-life balance with no commute and more time at home, which is also a boost to the team’s health.”


With increasing uncertainty over the potential for a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as questions over the impact this would have on the economy, Charlotte said the decision to split up was also a practical one.


She added: “I am worried that there will be a second wave and I don’t want the burden of having an office that we can’t use over winter. I want to be as financially agile going into an uncertain future, putting people before premises and prioritising The Pack’s health and safety.


“We’ve also found that we’re so much more productive working from home; as a very sociable group, we would find ourselves distracted in the office. This way, the team can get more done in less time, meaning they have more free time to do the things they love – which is so important after the upheaval of the past few months.”


While the relationship has come to an end, the break-up was amicable – and Charlotte has fond memories of their time together.


She said: “We loved our time in Business Central. We were the first tenant to move in back in May 2015 and, as well as providing space to help my business flourish over the years, I also went through some major personal landmarks, including getting married and having a baby, while I was a tenant. In fact, Business Central was one of my one-year-old daughter’s first trips out, and I regularly visited during my maternity leave.


“I would definitely recommend the centre for other businesses and I know a great office with the best view in Darlington going spare!”


The forward-thinking agency – one of the first to realise the potential for in digital marketing more than a decade ago – had always embraced change, and plans are in place to ensure it can continue to provide its PR, content marketing and social media services in new and innovative ways.


Charlotte said: “I feel real mixed emotions about splitting up, but I’m also excited about this decision and embracing a new way of working.


“We’re still working collaboratively and having fun using technology, such as video calling and social media, to keep in touch with our clients and each other.


“We’re going to still meet regularly for social events – albeit in a socially-distanced way - and as the COVID situation improves, we’ll look to work collaboratively from venues around the region, the UK and even abroad.”


Despite no longer having a physical office presence, Harvey & Hugo will continue to keep the Business Central virtual address to allow clients to contact The Pack via post.


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