In a week where everything as we know it has changed completely, here's an update from our business.
Before anything else, we want to thank every single person in our team for the support and optimism they've shown.
We don’t need to reiterate that we are living and working through unchartered territory, but one thing which has remained consistent is the teamwork and enormous efforts displayed by everyone at the business. The wellbeing of our people is our number one priority and that means keeping everyone healthy and providing access to the financial and emotional support they need.
We’re following the latest updates with COVID-19 and strictly adhering to the evolving Government and Public Health guidance to ensure we look after our team and deliver continuity of service. Our leadership team continues to meet remotely every day to evaluate this fast-moving situation and we will continue to update you with relevant information. We were quick to act and have had enhanced measures in place for the past two weeks.
We have implemented a working from home policy where possible and have social distancing guidelines in place for those in the operations. We have also introduced increased frequency of cleaning across sites and implemented enhanced hygiene training across the business.
We’re going beyond Government recommendations and have implemented a wide range of initiatives across sites and for those working remotely – from wellbeing rooms and access to support, a 24-hour HR helpline, personal sanitisers and changes to shift patterns. You can read in more detail below.
The Department for Transport has confirmed that logistics professionals need to continue to go about their business to keep supply chains moving, and Government policy is clear that this applies to all supply chains, not only those for food and medical supplies.
In addition to the public health challenge, and to ensure as many good companies as possible are still in business when we come through this crisis, there have been welcome initiatives from the Government to protect the economy and jobs. We’re working through what each of these means for us.
Let’s look ahead to the future with positivity. One of the most difficult things about the situation we all find ourselves in, is the level of uncertainty. Be reassured by the fact it is an uncertain time for each of us. As we work hard to keep everything moving, regular and open communication is more important than ever. We would welcome any questions or suggestions as to what else we can do to support each other more than ever.
Stay healthy, look after those around you and we’ll get through this together.
Mike Danby and Claire Webb.
Full list of initiatives on sites:
- Set up wellbeing rooms across all sites to allow our colleagues a safe space to discuss confidentially, any health issue or any concerns or anxieties
- Remained calm and positive across site to create a safe space for colleagues while at work, offering reassurance when needed
- In all our communication, we have given relevant contact details of Government bodies, and external support. Both financial, and mental wellbeing, e.g. Mind
- Issuing and cascading pre-emptive FAQs RE: Coronavirus – to ensure the managers felt equipped to brief and respond to our employees.
- Encouraged use of ‘Teams’ limiting face to face contact, and helping remain in touch with colleagues/Teams at all times
- We were pro-active to ever changing situations
- Encouraged and “Policed” social distancing across all sites e.g. staggered break times, made smoking area bigger, expanded working areas where needed, and staggered start and finish times across all sites
- Issued site etiquette and increased cleaning on site, providing wipes and cleaning sprays to everyone.
- All equipment sanitised at the end of each shift.
- We’ve provided PPE for all teams on site
- All internal doors (non-fire exits) permanently left open (to reduce contamination)
- Ordered more Hand sanitisers across all sites, and ensured there is always hand sanitiser available
- Made sure everyone’s contact numbers and emergency contact details are up to date with the support of their managers
- Created site posters around the business and accessed GOV communications pack
- We identified the most effective ways of communicating to our colleagues, in a timely and effective way, taking account of our culturally diverse population, feedback and a variety of working patterns across sites and, internationally.
- Worked with the business on contingency and action planning
- Issued personal hand sanitisers and wipes to all staff on all sites
- Stopped all non-essential tasks
- Stopped all unnecessary travel and visitors to sites
- Issued employee questionnaires to identify at risk workers to provide additional support
- We discussed different options with colleagues when facing self-isolation e.g. Options to take holidays, unpaid leave, to create options for colleagues to safeguard their wellbeing, and that of their dependents.
- Allowed and encouraged home working for employees, where possible, before the government announced the “lockdown”
- Set up the intranet, information portal – which included guides for working from home, IT guidance, signposting for wellbeing (mental health) and financial advice
- Regular welfare calls to employees who may have contacted us, or are in self isolation to maintain contact support, and understanding of current situation, and potential impact on other colleagues
- Set up dedicated 24 HR support in the form of a dedicated helpline and email
- Split shifts to enable social distancing and cleaning
- Liaised with local companies, supermarkets etc, to explore partnering opportunities for workers to be transferred to avoid lay off/redundancies where we could
- Contacted professional and government bodies and networks to understand and gain information on the ever-evolving situation, to establish facts and further ideas for safeguarding our employees
- Offered the choice of Furlough to help support staff who would have normally been made redundant in these circumstances due to drop in volumes
- Offered individual support and coaching to leaders on coping with this unprecedented level of anxiety and ambiguity.