Getting back to the ‘new normal’

Ian Williams has been returning our capital, maintenance and painting teams back to work safely across the UK, through controlled and phased COVID-19 induction and training programmes. This is in addition to having undergone the challenge of maintaining its essential frontline, responsive on-call and urgent repairs services for housing providers during the lockdown.

Mike Turner, Executive Director comments on how we have transformed our operations to adapt to the ‘new normal’: “Perhaps more than many other organisations, because our teams across the UK deliver urgent, emergency and responsive repairs to tenants and older people, we had to react really quickly when the COVID-19 lockdown struck, to maintain business continuity for these essential services. This meant we had to be flexible and react quickly to daily Government updates, interpret new guidance and industry best practice and share advice between customers and suppliers to help us shape our new working practices. The result of this work resulted in two comprehensive guides for all our site and office employees which include real-time links to the latest Government advice, comprehensive instructions and updated risk assessments.

“As you’d expect, we will be continually reviewing our working practices as we move forward taking into consideration the latest Government guidance. Maintaining open lines of communication with our customers and suppliers is critical as we all adapt to the ‘new normal’. We’re also focusing on some of the positives which are already emerging through our new working practices, such as more effective communication, the use of technology and the many benefits that remote working brings. Although the impact on our sector has been profound there is a real sense that we are all ‘in it together’ and in some ways social distancing has brought us even closer together!.”

Back to work in pictures 

A vital part of our safe return to work, are the COVID-19 working inductions and toolbox talks we’re holding with every operative. Here’s a selection

As our capital teams return to work in the new normal, we are re-commencing work on the Void Property scheme for Wrexham County Borough Council. This phased approach around social distancing is proving effective – we’re now up to 36 operatives working on site from 9 at the beginning.

People helping people

Working in people’s homes during COVID-19 has highlighted more than ever how sensitive and proactive our frontline teams need to be to individual residents’ concerns. During the pandemic we’ve continued to get some fantastic feedback. Here’s a lovely endorsement from a  Teign Housing resident thanking one of our electricians Mike.

“I would just like to say thankyou for coming out to mend my shower. I’m in the COVID-19 high risk category and have been in isolation from day one, so I was more than a little anxious about someone coming into my home. But straight away he put my mind at ease. He wore a mask and gloves, sprayed everything he touched before and after. He was such a polite young man and a credit you to all. I can’t recommend him enough.”

And let’s not forget the great work many of our teams have been doing while on furlough, from fundraising for the NHS, helping out neighbours to donating time, skills and energy – summed up perfectly by this project during furlough from our team in Kent.

When we saw the appeal by The Aspinall Foundation calling for the support and generosity of the local community, we knew we had to help. In light of COVID-19, the foundation charity, which supports wildlife conservation, was desperate for tradespeople, suppliers and friends to donate time, skills and expertise– three things that many of our furloughed workforce had. What better way to bring the two together – helping out the foundation, but also giving the team in Kent a focus and feel-good factor, a volunteering challenge during furlough and a chance to use their skills for a good cause.

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