5 ways we’re putting the welfare of our employees first
June 2, 2020
The true test of any organisation isn’t what it does in times of prosperity, but what it does in times of uncertainty. We are fortunate to be part of a global family run business with some heritage in the industry, known as a trusted brand with quality products. And right now that’s exactly the type of values that is going to help us navigate through these stormy waters.
Everyone is feeling vulnerable right now, our management team included, which drives us to protect our VEKA family even more. In the last few weeks our leadership team has transformed VEKA UK in preparation to welcome a number of our employees back responsibly and safely. We are relieved that not one of our employees has suffered any lasting health issues as a result of the Coronavirus and that’s exactly how we’d like to keep it.
Creating a Safe Work Environment
We have assessed every area of our factory, offices and work practices to minimise the risk of infection. We have invested in our IT infrastructure to allow as many people as possible to work from home and we have reorganised our office, communal spaces and start and finish times to minimise physical contact whilst also being mindful of mental health.
We have invested in adequate PPE for those who must work near others to help fulfil our customer orders and we have installed hand sanitisers and a daily temperature check station on arrival. We have installed special locks in our bathrooms to ensure only one person enters the space at once and implemented a one-way pedestrian system around our site. We’re very proud that our people are respectful of this new way of working, protecting themselves and others.
Looking after Mental Health
We at VEKA take pride in our positive culture and we are concerned about the impact this Pandemic will have on mental health and how it has affected the lives of our people. Although its important that we take care of physical health, we also recognise the importance of mental health in this situation. Our management team has been encouraged to remain flexible, listening to the needs of their teams and offering support where they can. As part of our VEKALife employee benefits package, employees can access counselling and financial advice and we remain mindful of mental health in all the business decisions we must make.
Implementing a Responsible and Flexible Business Strategy
It’s very difficult for any organisation to plan and prepare when the landscape is continually changing. We take into consideration the sustainable future of our business but also the longer term future of our customers, suppliers and people.
Our board review the strategy on a regular basis, creating plans with flexibility to allow us to adapt and respond to the ever changing environment around us. Our decision to temporarily close our site and Furlough most of our employees was a decision made proactively and responsibly and with the welfare of everyone in mind.
We value regular and open communication. Clarity is key and we have posted update letters to all our employees every fortnight, created a COVID-19 Communications Hub on our Intranet and encouraged our management team to create What’s App communications groups and call their teams during our time on Furlough for those comfortable to communicate in this way. As of 1st June, ca.50% of our staff have returned to work – closely reflecting the business scaling slowly but surely in a positive direction.
We have invested in adequate signage around our site to remind people of our new health and safety procedures, supported by a COVID-19 Risk Assessment, underpinned by our COVID-19 Pledge and Response Plan & Guidance booklet for each and every staff member. We understand that everyone is aware of the need for adequate hand washing and minimised contact, but as we focus on our daily tasks it’s easy to forget about our new way of working. We encourage people to regularly remind themselves by taking time to review the social distance signage, guidance and symptom posters around the site.
Living by our SPIRIT values
As always everything we do is underpinned by our VEKA SPIRIT values. We want to be successful in navigating the business through this challenging time, take pride in our responsible approach, working with integrity and as a team to make improvements for the health of our business and our people for now, for the future, for life.