REFLECT- THE POTTERIES CENTRE
COVID19 was an unprecedented challenge for businesses to respond to, from the very outset of the pandemic the protection of our team was of the upmost importance. Before any government advice or guidance was released, we protected our most vulnerable individuals or those with vulnerable families by offering the opportunity to work from home wherever possible or deployed staff into locations and roles where they would be less exposed to the virus. But physical protection was not the only important thing that we considered, when the government released the furlough scheme paying staff 80% of their wage, as a centre, we made the decision to top up all of our teams’ earnings to 100% to protect them from financial difficulty.
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We also looked after the entire team’s mental health as much as we could with the management team conducting regular welfare calls with all of the team, it was refreshing to just have a conversation with people to just see how everyone was doing. We found that some people didn’t really need the calls, but some of the team were spending quite a lot of time in isolation and loved having a call. Once the restrictions allowed, we went and delivered easter eggs to everyone on the team at home which was also well received by everyone. But the centre did not close during this period, we house a number of essential stores which remained open throughout the pandemic, throughout this entire period we had to constantly adapt our operation in line with government guidance ensuring that the workplace remained a safe environment for our staff and customers.
Once the country was ready to reopen, we lead the way for the city centre, with the city centre BID and council adopting our approach to one-way systems and social distancing.
‘As a team leader I worked the entire way through the pandemic, which I was happy with, as interacting with people was really important for my mental health. Our shift patterns moved to four on four off which still gave a good amount of time off. One of the key things that happened during the lockdowns is it bought us closer together as a team, we had significantly reduced numbers of people around to talk to, sometimes there were so few people around thatwe nicknamed the Topshop mannequins Doris and Edna. We took turns baking cakes on our team which was a really wonderful experience. I felt very looked after through the entire period.’
Michelle Anderson –Security Team Leader (Team 2)