It has been a testing time for everyone over the last 15 months, and as we take this week to reflect on the impact this has had on our customers, we thought we would wrap up the week with a look internally as to how we have been affected and the way we have had to adapt as a business.
We remained open for business throughout the lockdowns, but the way in which we worked had to change massively. Although we remained open throughout, volumes dropped so every team had to deal with levels of furlough. This clearly had a financial impact for them, bringing with it concerns around money, and job security. We are pleased to say that 2021 has brought new opportunities in many of our markets and we have returned to growth and recruiting staff to help drive us forward.
The Sales team, who were used to being out and about, suddenly found that their work in the early days shifted to more on-line meetings and lots of working from home. This was a big change, it removed the face to face contact, and for us relationships and being able to meet people face to face is centric to what we do. We had to adapt, to ensure that our customers still had the maximum support and also to ensure our Sales team didn’t feel cut off and isolated.
For the Installation and Service teams, PPE and sanitising has become part of their daily routine. The Customer Service team very sensitively worked with customers to support them through the period and to organise work to take place at a time and in a manner that each individual was comfortable with.
The Accounts team had to cope with all of the administration involved for the furloughing and flexible working hours of those effected. The Health and Safety team supporting home working and providing COVID-secure working environments. Line managers dealt with remote team leadership and regularly checking in with staff.
The Goods Out team are still on a constant sanitising cycle to ensure that everything coming in and out of the premises does not increase infection risk. And through it all, production and R&D continued to design and produce our wonderful products, and the Marketing team tried hard to keep everyone up to date with internal and external news.
As we begin to emerge out of the worst, vaccinations begin to provide protection and those that have been shielding for months begin to venture out, Astor Bannerman is delighted to be offering face to face demonstrations, and in person meetings and training, where appropriate again.
One of the changes we are most proud of is that we will be rolling out a Mental Health First Aider initiative – where certain members of staff will be trained Mental Health First Aiders. We feel it’s so important to create an environment where our staff feel comfortable to ask for help and support from us if it’s needed.
As a company we are very family orientated, this runs through the core of everything that we do, from our product design through to how we communicate with our customers and staff. As a company we are encouraging our staff to take a little time out to recharge batteries. On that note, we share a moment of relaxation and time out with our Sales Director, enjoying a well-earned day off in the open air.