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Business Focus: Inverness Chamber welcomes the return of face to face business

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inverness Chamber portaits.
inverness Chamber portaits.

by Stewart Nicol, chief executive of Inverness Chamber of Commerce

A month after the reopening of our city centre office we’re taking the opportunity to check with staff how the experience has been for them.

We’re fortunate that we’ve been able to accommodate everyone’s preferred pattern of hybrid working while ensuring we continue to connect, support and represent our members and the wider city and Highland business community.

The Inverness Chamber of Commerce barbecue at the Kingsmills Hotel. Picture: James Mackenzie.
The Inverness Chamber of Commerce barbecue at the Kingsmills Hotel. Picture: James Mackenzie.

Our office reopening followed on from the success of our annual barbeque in August, which was our first face-to-face event to be held in over 500 days.

Although we delivered more than 50 virtual events last year, all of which were very well received, the whole team are keen to get back to engaging our business community in person, and doing so safely.

You may have seen the publicity last week announcing the return of our Highland Business Awards?

As you would expect, we are carefully planning this major event to ensure as best we can that we keep everyone safe.

Running the event as an option of both physical and online will, we believe, give everyone a great experience and a choice which best meets their personal preferences at this stage in the pandemic.

We have been extensively engaging with people in business and, as part of our preparation, we surveyed our members.

While this has helped in our decision-making, some of the responses have surprised us.

Less than 10 per cent of those who responded were not at all comfortable with the thought of attending an indoor event. Somewhat surprisingly over 40 per cent were comfortable with the idea of attending an indoor event with a capacity over 100 though it is perhaps a sign of what we have all been through over the last 18 months that over two-thirds would feel more comfortable attending an event where everyone had their temperature taken on entry and encouraged to take a lateral flow test. Both of which are measures we are absolutely happy to adopt.

We are determined to lead the way on the re-opening of physical business events, but we will do so sensitively and in an appropriate manner.

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