Wokingham.Today

When it comes to working, Walter is armed with the tables

Picture: Jess Warren

WORKING from home has its unique challenges — intermittent WiFi connection, a crowded kitchen tableand the daily decision over whether to make a cheese or ham sandwich for lunch.

Set on improving the working lunch, Jon Levene, owner of The Walter Arms, launched his work table scheme last week.

Visitors to the Sindlesham pub have access to unlimited tea and coffee, steady WiFi, charging points and lunch for three hours at £10. An offer that Jon hopes home workers cannot refuse.

Checking out the scheme, Wokingham.Today paid The Walter Arms a visit.

Arriving at the pub, the car park has clear signs directing visitors through the one-way system.

Opening the front door, santisier and track and trace information is available.

Front of house staff greet visitors at the door to check the booking type, before directing those to their seat.

The work tables are equally spaced out, with just over a metre gap between them. Located in a specific section of the pub, each desk has access to a charge point underneath the table.

Tables edge the room, with most visitors choosing to face inwards — opposite one another.

“It’s about getting out, networking and having a coffee,” Jon says. “And it’s already in demand.

“We made one social media post about them last week, which was seen by more than 45,000 people.

“We’ve set up a booking system online to manage the demand,” he adds.

The square pub tables are suitable for a laptop, notebook and plate of food — enough space to keep focused and avoid reams of paperwork piling up.

Unlike an office desk, workers would be best advised to use their laptop trackpad over a traditional mouse due to the lacquered table surface. But bringing a mouse mat would also resolve that.

The three-hour slot gives enough time to set up and settle into the flow of work, before taking a natural break for lunch.

Visitors can choose from a pot of tea, or Americano, as well as a jug of water for the table. Sandwiches include prawn marie rose with rocket, chicken and avocado and buffalo mozzarella and beef tomato on white or granary bloomer.

Anyone particularly hungry can add fries, chunky chips or onion rings for an additional £2.

Jon says he hopes the scheme will drive up daytime trade.

“During August, visitors increased by 30% due to the Eat Out to Help Out scheme,” he explains. “It’s decreased again, so we hope doing things like this will boost the number of people coming to the pub.”

Last month, the venue closed for a deep clean after a member of staff tested positive for coronavirus.

“It’s certainly given the company an insight into the process,” Jon says. “We closed for four days and reopened with staff from some of the other pubs in The Old Spot Pub Company.

“It was dealt with in the right way, and now the whole company is prepared.”

Later this month, Jon is launching a new winter menu with their new head chef, Mark Price.

Mark is the former head chef at River Cottage, owned by celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and has a decadent menu planned.

For more information, visit: thewalterarms.co.uk

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