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How we survived lockdown

Written by Karen Barton on Jul 9, 2020 9:30:00 AM

A culture of caring collaboration that considers employees’ individual needs and ensures everyone feels in the loop has helped us keep spirits high and come out stronger than ever before.

Finally, after months of complete lockdown we seem to be getting back to normal – or a new normal at least. Shops, hairdressers, and pubs are open again and we’ve gradually been welcoming more staff back to the office.

An important part of this has been the installation of a thermal imaging camera in reception, which checks and records everyone’s temperature as they arrive. The health and safety of our employees will always be our top priority.

It has been a difficult few months but I am incredibly proud of the team and how we’ve pulled together.

The first few weeks were about making sure our staff who were able to work from home could do so comfortably. We bought laptops for those who needed them and even arranged for office chairs, desks, and screens to be delivered to some.

Each week we caught up with everyone individually to check how they were and if there was anything we could do for them – however small.

Bonding over box sets

We also sought to maintain some of the social interaction that binds us together as a team, as working from home can be an isolating experience without the usual watercooler chat.

Every morning at 10.30 am we got together online for what our Swedish colleagues would call ‘fika’ – time out of the day to relax with friends over a coffee. We talked about which box set to binge on next, how people’s DIY projects were coming along, and who’d been chased by a cow on their daily walk.

Late on Friday afternoons we organised a lockdown quiz. The best one was singing a cappella with everyone guessing the artist and song.

What’s so nice about these social catch-ups is that colleagues on furlough also joined in. It’s helped them still feel part of the team, which I believe is essential for both mental and social wellbeing.

Communication is key

When it comes to the business side of things, I’m pleased that we’ve been regularly dispatching orders to customers who repair machines. It’s great to know that we have played a role in keeping some vital pieces of equipment going. We had a very limited number of people working on site so social distancing was easy to maintain.

Our MD Peter has been writing a weekly update so everyone in the business gets an overview of what’s going on. In uncertain times things can change very quickly as different guidance is released. Sharing information helps people feel involved, gives them a heads-up as to what may be next, and encourages them to put forward any thoughts or ideas for the future of the company.

We’re still not out of the woods but we have done well to adapt to the circumstances. In some cases, our people have been very creative in the way they work and come up with some fantastic ideas to make our company and customer offer even better. It’s testament to the skill and dedication of our team and as we look back on this time, I hope we all feel we’ve come out stronger as a result.

Topics: Leaf chain, Company culture

Karen Barton

Written by Karen Barton

A Qualified Accountant, FCCA. Karen began her career as an auditor before joining FB Chain in 1995 to take care of our finances. She joined the board of the company as Finance Director in January 2019. Her role now includes dealing with all HR and finance aspects of our business and responsibility for business systems and inventory management.