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Message from Executive Director, Emma Alexander 6 August 2020

6 August 2020

We’re now into the summer holidays and I’m sure some of us are hoping to take a bit of a break from what has seemed at times to be a pretty relentless workload.

I know many of you have been working extremely long hours, and this has not been made any easier for those of you working from home, in some cases juggling childcare and home teaching duties too.

Although working from home has improved the work life balance for some, I know for others it has made it harder to switch off. We’ll be looking at the employees’ survey closely to pick up on issues you have raised, what’s worked well for you and what could be done better as we move forward. The survey was completed by more than 4,000 of you - 32% of the workforce. If you’ve not seen the results yet, please read the employee survey results and watch a short video.

Taking a break is really important for our health and wellbeing, and helps us stay on top of the jobs we do as we come back feeling refreshed and ready to go again. I’m urging you, if you haven’t already, to book some annual leave. Your manager may have asked you not to store it all up, so think about stepping away for a bit to concentrate on other things, even just for a while.

I’m sure many of you have had to curtail your plans for the summer, and thoughts of jetting off may have been put on hold. Maybe now’s the perfect time to discover, or re-discover what’s on your doorstep while you take that well-earned time off.

Many attractions across the county and beyond are opening up, albeit with some restrictions in place. As long as you’ve got a face-covering to hand, you can still go out and explore, dip into the cafes and other local businesses that have re-opened and are desperate for our business.

Not only will you be helping yourself by getting a much-needed change of scenery, but you’ll be helping to get the local economy back on its feet. We all need to play our part in this if we can, and look out for those outlets taking part in the `Eat Out to Help Out’ offer too.

As local shops, cafes, bars and restaurants start to re-open, we’re busy re-opening a lot of our services too, trying to get back to normal where we can while making sure people are safe.

Our libraries are rolling out a re-opening programme with some temporary measures in place, including asking customers to wear face coverings unless they fall in to one of the exempt groups. Some libraries are even re-introducing browsing the shelves from 10 August.

Our countryside sites are all open, with most of the facilities also now open for business, which is really positive news and a great excuse to get out and about.

So, take the opportunity to go and re-charge your batteries, get some fresh air if that’s your thing, and take a break. I promise you will feel better for it.