Grand Prix winner
Volume 60, Number 1, January 2022
ON THE MOVE IT HAS, to put it lightly, been a very odd two years. When we put the December 2019/January 2020 magazine to bed in late November 2019, Coronavirus hadn’t been heard of (well certainly not outside China) and we were innocently looking forward to Christmas and the start of a new decade which, people told us, was going to be the new “roaring twenties”. Then, when the February issue was going to press, there were rumblings of a mystery illness in China, then in Italy, then lots of people over here started coming down with respiratory infections (although we still don’t know whether that was linked) and then—bang, the whole world turned upside down. Back then we didn’t know what the future held. As we all locked down, none of us were sure just how bad this was going to be nor what the world would look like when it was all over. Personally we knew we all had to protect ourselves and take whatever steps were necessary to do that, but professionally we had to also consider what this would mean for Token Publishing Ltd. and what it would mean for the future of the magazines and for the hobby at large. Would we, when it was all over, still have jobs? Well, we now know the answer to that. We managed to carry on producing MEDAL NEWS every month (and myriad books too) and the hobby has gone from strength to strength as people, unable to do much else, turned again to their old “indoor” hobbies and collecting (of just about everything) enjoyed something of a renaissance. However, things are never as clear cut as you may think and, whilst to the outside world it may have been “business as usual” for us here at Token, it wasn’t quite that simple. In fact we were only able to carry on working and getting the magazines out every month, by making some pretty big changes to the way we did things. The first thing was getting everyone who could work from home to do so, as per the Government’s instructions; then we needed to ensure that all those unable to work from home (those who answered the phone, who packed up the books, etc.) were safe; that meant allocating them individual offices and arranging for parking so that they didn’t have to use public transport with its associated risks. We operated a rota system to ensure that no more than four or five staff were in the building at any one time and each had their own parking space. They could drive in, go into their office and leave without having to cross paths with another living soul if they so wished. We were determined to make sure everyone was safe and felt comfortable still coming in if they needed to. Now things are a little different, the urgency of those first few weeks has abated, the vaccination programme has kicked in and we don’t really need to operate a rota anymore—but here’s the thing, we don’t not need to either. We had always assumed that we needed to be altogether in one big office to coordinate our efforts and bring the magazines to press, but these past two years have shown that’s not the case at all—we can get MEDAL NEWS and COIN NEWS (and no fewer than nine new books in 18 months) out with half the staff working half the week from home; they don’t need to be in the office, don’t need to commute, don’t need the hassle of it if it can be at all avoided—so we thought: why force them to come back to the office if they don’t want to? Those of you who follow this “Comment” will know that four years ago I sold my collection of medals in order to be able to buy the beautiful Georgian building that has been our home since 2015. You will know how much we wanted to be here but, with only four people in most days (over eight offices), you will realise why this past two years has made us re-evaluate our position and, when you factor in Exeter City Council’s avowed intention to ban cars from the city centre altogether in the next few years, you begin to realise why we started questioning having a presence smack bang in the middle of town at all. So when we were made an offer for this lovely building (from a legal firm who were themselves downsizing, our position just by the Crown Court here makes it ideal for them) it seemed silly not to take it, after all we are a business and from a purely business perspective it really does make sense to move to smaller premises rather than rattle around here with half the staff at home. So, from December 8, we’ll be on the move again with our new address being 8 Oaktree Place, Matford, Exeter, EX2 8WA. In real terms nothing much will change, our emails and telephone lines will remain as they have been and you won’t really notice a difference but from our point of view it just makes sense—and besides I’ll be able to take out the money I put in and start buying medals with more gusto once again—all I need now is a theme . . .!
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