What’s the working day without a good lunch? Reading’s street food market (Wednesdays & Fridays) is hugely popular with office workers. And if a choice of a dozen or more street food stalls isn’t your thing, then you’re spoilt for other choice with gourmet sandwiches to tacos, burritos, sushi or pizza to name a few. And there are lots of outdoor spaces to enjoy lunch on sunny days, from Forbury Gardens to one of the outdoor restaurant terraces alongside the Kennet & Avon Canal flowing through the Oracle.
We’re tired of Zoom and Teams and having to send an email or book a meeting to discuss an idea or innovation. Many of Reading’s office buildings are re-configuring their space to make socially distanced networking and collaborating even easier. Many of us work in offices because we like human interaction and bouncing ideas off each other… or just having a chat. It’ll be good to re-discover social interaction.
It’s easy to do all those errands during the working week with everything within easy walking distance in Reading. If you’re stuck in your home office, those lunch time errands just stack up until the weekend. Shops, post office, the bank, John Lewis, M&S , the chemist or optician, it’s all on your doorstep from offices in the town centre.
Reading has the largest supply of Grade A office buildings in the Thames Valley. Admittedly, not every office is up to the same standard, but with good ventilation, quality build and maximising space increasingly important in a world affected by a pandemic, you’re likely to have a better office in Reading than elsewhere and certainly better than the kitchen table! Oh, and there will be other people for you to talk to and collaborate with.
Fed up with the same walk every day to achieve your 10,000 steps? A lunchtime walk along the Thames or Kennet, through Forbury Gardens or around Green Park will enliven up your day. Reading is lucky to have so much green space, particularly along its waterways and in the Abbey Quarter. And if you work on one of Reading’s leafy business parks, it is only 10-20 minutes from the station by bike, which is a great start to the day. On rainy days, the town centre gyms are open for a quick class or gym session.
When the working day is done, it’s so nice to have a cultural fix so close to hand. With comedy clubs, escape rooms, live music venues, arts classes, theatre, dance and yoga workshops and much more a stroll from the office front door, there’s no need to rush off home straight away. Make use of the vibrant cultural scene on the doorstep.
Some people aren’t missing their daily commute, but we’re lucky in the investment in public transport infrastructure that we have in Reading to make our daily journeys to work as smooth as possible. The A33 Rapid Transit project is almost complete, Green Park Station is due to open soon, a new Reading West Station ticket office is being built and one day before too long the Elizabeth Line will finally be open! Not to mention, having one of the UK’s best bus services operating from all points of the compass into the town centre, park and ride schemes and new investment in cycling infrastructure.
For the tens of thousands of people who work in Reading town centre, Reading has lots of the buzz of a big city but the scale is much more manageable. For many, the office is only a short walk from the station or bus stop, lunch and errands; the river is a 5-minute walk and people living locally are usually home in under 20 minutes at the end of the day.
Reading has one of the most vibrant economies in the UK and indeed Europe. If you work in finance, professional services, IT, pharma, property, energy, FMCG, retail, logistics or the creative sector, you have a ready-made network on tap in Reading and a wide choice of career options without having to move location. Lots of these networks have face to face groups which will be flourishing again soon as we all tire of virtual networking.
Drinks after work. It’s great to wind down and finish off the day or week over a drink with colleagues. In Reading, there’s so much choice from wine bars such as Tasting House or Veeno to bars such as Market House or Zero Degrees, cafes, restaurants and traditional pubs. It’s not so much fun when Friday night post-work socialising involves walking from the spare room to the kitchen!
We’ve listed 10 reasons to return to the office in Reading because it is a nice round number but there are many more. Now, there are also undoubtedly advantages to working from home some of the time as well, but there is no substitute for having a good quality working environment, co-located with other people and with easy access to the world beyond work. And for this, Reading is ready and waiting to welcome its workforce back to the office. See you soon!