In the lead up to lockdown, we, like many others were unsure of the implications or effect that this virus would have on us. But when it started to affect our regular work on over the one-hundred sites we cover weekly, we had to take it seriously. We lost 90% of our work, and with a workforce of 250 people, this was catastrophic.
On Monday the 16th of March, and we sat and had a large team meeting at HQ; all the senior management team, account managers, trainers, even some of the supervisors came to the office. We calculated we could cover our usual running costs for about 4 months if everybody cut their salaries by 50% and we sold every vehicle we owned- this was with just 10% of our regular income from security guarding. We made a team decision that no matter what job you usually do, this week was “sales rep week”, in total, over 1000 calls were made from our office at the start of that week, and several hundred emails sent out. Thankfully, it worked.
On Wednesday, the 18th March we received an order to assist with security guards at 100 Morrisons sites, over the coming weeks the order increased to include 450 sites. That day and that night, we drafted in extra help and re- mobilised the workforce. Everyone dug in.
For us, we had achieved our goal of keeping most of our team at work. Furlough was still not announced. At the back of our mind was always the families and children of the team. They gratefully received the work offers and chance to become local lock-down heroes themselves at the supermarkets. We partnered with 44 other security companies across the UK, keeping many more people and companies in business, and pulling together in a time of need.
For the first 8 days, a team of 12 people all self-isolated in the office together. Food was delivered, and we slept in spare rooms around the offices. Luckily, the White Cross have excellent facilities, including showers and there is an abundance of takeaways nearby.
In the second week we took over a local hotel and camped there, with a degree of normality kicking in. The new normal at least.
In total in the first 12 weeks of Lockdown, the supermarkets that we serviced had more than 50 million visitors to them. As we now begin to return to the nw normal we have had the time to reflect on the past year, and we are extremely proud of the way that handled and responded to the COVID pandemic.