A few weeks ago I was very fortunate to attend a travel agent event at the top of The Shard in London. From there I had a spectacular panoramic view of the City including the Old Bailey with its gold scales of justice. The scales themselves though reminded me of the need for balance in our lives and I spent a few moments just reflecting on how far we’ve come over the past two years.

This time two years ago the majority of us were coming into the office most days of the week. I did my daily commute on an early and late, extremely busy ferry and seemed to run out of time most days trying to cram in everything I needed to do. It was the way I had always worked so I never questioned it or thought there may be an alternative.

From the end of March 2020, almost overnight, we set up home offices wherever we had space and began to talk to our colleagues, peers and friends through Zoom. While it certainly – and still does – work well, there was limited interaction and very few moments of chat and creativity, it was all at a prescribed time and duration and it very much focuses on the task at hand.

Many hundreds of you took the time to fill in the hybrid working survey, thank you for this. We’re looking forward to reading through your thoughts and ideas, which will allow us to reflect upon the best way forward, both for our teams and also for the wider business.

From your anecdotal feedback, working at home brings significant positives from the perspective of care arrangements, commuting, parking, coffee and lunches and of course flexibility of hours. For others though, working at home meant isolation, operational challenges, family (and pet!) interruptions and a lack of proper working space. Many miss the interaction with colleagues and seeing friends at work, as well as the energy of being together in the vibrant environment of Carnival House.

I have heard several rumours regarding our return to the office (and many more that I or the ELT are alleged to have said) but I can stress that no decisions have yet been made.

What I can say is that we need balance.

When we have got it right – and I appreciate it is often difficult – balance makes us appreciate the various aspects of our lives and the separation of these brings more of an appreciation for each ‘compartment’ – whether that is work, home, family, friends, sport, wellness, self-care or hobbies.

Just as we switched from spending our time in the office to wholly working at home, we now need to consider a possible middle ground and best way forward.

There really is no substitute for face-to-face meetings in the office, coming up with ideas, sharing stories and just those periods of togetherness I, and so many of you, have missed.

I will, though, at times, have a time at home to gather my thoughts and work on projects, or on occasion, for a personal commitment. I’d also be happy to come into the office later to avoid the rush on the ferry.

We don’t need to return to our previous, frenetic ways of working and if we try together there really can be a balance of our personal and professional lives.

Currently (at the time of writing) I was pleased to see that we are recruiting for 140 roles across CUK, which is yet another positive sign that we are responding to the increased demand from guests and acknowledging gaps in our teams. Once these positions are filled it will also relieve the pressure that many of you have felt and will allow us breathing space and resource to expand and fulfil our plans and objectives.

Some of these roles are being filled by internal candidates, some by familiar faces we have not seen for a while and others by fresh new talent. As they join the business over the next few months, they too will appreciate the face-to-face interaction with new colleagues as they embed themselves into our business and ways of working. I look forward to the ideas new colleagues will bring and I am excited to meet as many of the team as possible in the coming weeks.

And so, whatever form our hybrid working takes, let’s all strive for balance in our lives. Come into the office, work from home, prioritise family and friends and most importantly…. book a holiday (perhaps a cruise!), so you have something to look forward to this year.

I look forward to seeing you all soon.

Take care,


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