Cooke has more room after moving into Avondale House at Strathclyde Business Park. Photo: Cooke.

Cooke staff welcomed back to bigger and better office

Scottish salmon producer Cooke’s office staff were today getting their first taste of the company’s new, more spacious premises after 20 months working from home because of Covid-19.

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Cooke remains in Strathclyde Business Park but has moved buildings to Avondale House, which the company believes will provide a more welcoming environment for more than 30 staff making up Cooke’s UK sales, supply chain, communications, finance, IT and sustainability teams.

The main-door, ground floor office is in a prime location within the business park and has been completely refurbished and equipped with new energy-efficient equipment throughout.

The main entrance to Cooke's new office. Photo: Cooke.

Green power

The office is powered with renewable electricity from Blantyre Muir windfarm near Hamilton and has electric vehicle charging spaces outside, in line with Cooke’s commitment to sustainability.

At just over 5,000 square feet, the office provides more than double the square footage of Cooke’s previous premises. This will this enable staff to socially distance and has provided enough room for hot desks for staff who are not normally based in Bellshill.

The move coincides with the company’s decision for all office-based staff to return in a phased approach to their normal places of work. From today staff will return to offices for two days a week, expected to increase to three days a week from January 2022.

Cooke said in a press release that it had taken a cautious approach since the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. It cancelled non-essential travel and business meetings and asked office-based employees to work from home in early March 2020, well ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ’s first lockdown announcement on March 23. Most office staff have continued to work from home since then.

A large photo of a Cooke site on one of the office walls. Photo: Cooke.

Extra staff

Cooke also took on more staff so that it could change shift patterns to enable social distancing in its packing stations in Orkney and Shetland and implemented Covid-safe measures in all offices in anticipation of a return to offices in 2020 that never transpired.

“It’s been 20 months since we took the decision to enable those staff who could, to work from home,” said Cooke Scotland managing director Colin Blair. “Back in March 2020 no one could have predicted how long the disruption to the business would last, nor foresee the effect Covid-19 would have on our working and

“So, today’s opening of our new corporate office, and the return of all our office-based colleagues across the country, feels significant.

“The virus is still circulating, and we need to live with Covid-19 for a time yet, but it feels like things are slowly starting to get back to normal. We’ve missed the team spirit, creativity and collaboration that comes when people work in the same place and the same time, together. We’re really excited about the prospect of Covid-safe face-to-face interaction which is so important for our colleagues as individuals, and for the company as a whole.”