Roxanne Sorooshian: Canny bars offering a change of scenery for home workers


LOCKDOWN restrictions have taken their toll on many businesses, and those in the hospitality industry have been hit particularly hard.

In areas where tier three restrictions are in force – which means most of the Central Belt – hospitality venues can open until 6pm as long as they don’t sell alcohol and adhere to government guidelines on hygiene and social distancing.

This changes somewhat the dynamic of a wee night oot.

But some pubs and restaurants have recognised a new demand in these Covid times – home-workers who are clawing at the walls from their kitchen tables – or wherever they happen to have pitched their make-shift workstation – desperate for a change of scenery.

Recognising a gap in a very challenged market, many restaurants, bars and cafés are rebranding into spaces from where people can work remotely.

Some establishments have also started doing package deals – you can “hire” a space in a bar or restaurant and get your lunch or unlimited tea and coffee. All the time can get expensive, but now and again would bring a change of scenery that some of us are craving.

With prices starting from around £15 for a two-hour slot with your own table and power supply, free Wifi, unlimited coffee and tea and a bite to eat, it’s not cheap. But maybe it’s worth it for a one-off change of scenery. Anything that forces you out of your baffies and into real shoes has got to be worth splashing out on.

Of course, those of us who can work from home are the lucky ones, as businesses go under and with them jobs.

And I sympathise with families juggling childcare and dodgy broadband, lack of a quiet workspace and inadequate tech.

Then there is the army of front-line workers in healthcare, the service industries and transport, for whom a cocooned working environment remote from the risk of Covid is not an option.

So I am grateful to have been able to work from home these past seven months. When we bailed from the office back in March, little did we know the long road ahead.

With restrictions now tightening once more and winter days ahead, the Quarter Master has again reared his head. Happy pottering in his Nissen hut in the warmer weather, constructing a life-sized Howitzer from old bully beef tins, the chillier weather has driven him inside … where he has started counting teabags again.

A stickler for monitoring outgoings from The Store, the QM informs me that our energy bills are on average seven pounds shillings and pence higher every month than they were last year. I point out that there is tax relief on working from home which covers this.

If you are working from home and haven’t yet done so, go to www.gov.uk/tax-relief-for-employees/working-at-home and fill in the form. It’s quick and easy, and you can claim back £6 pounds a week and it can be backdated to March 23.



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