As the country edges ever closer to a return to some normality, we’re continuing to delve into the ways HR leaders across the nation are keeping their people connected during this period of working from home.
Today, we’re delighted to welcome another HR leader to this series. Elizabeth Smith is the HR Manager at Expeditious Services, a business protection and security company based in Shrewsbury.
With many of their team being key workers, they have had to adapt their people strategies to meet the changing needs of their team – both in the office and at home.
We caught up with Elizabeth recently to find out exactly how they have been keeping their employees connected during a challenging year.
NHR: Elizabeth, tell us a bit about Expeditious Services and how you have been working throughout lockdown?
“Expeditious Services is a business protection and security company. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been keeping our clients, their premises, and their people safe. Since the start of 2020, the team has grown considerably to meet the increased demand for work. As we’re classed as key workers, the head office team has continued working on-site, until the end of January 2021 where we decided some time working from home would add extra resilience to the team and reduce the risk of spread.
“From the point of view of our officers, they’ve coped incredibly well in such challenging circumstances, taking on extra duties such as social distancing enforcement in student accommodation, and guarding of vaccines. Fortunately, we’ve been able to retain all of our officer team, and only had to put a handful on furlough. We all feel extremely lucky to still be working when many are not as fortunate.”
NHR: And what methods have you enlisted to keep your employees connected during this lockdown?
“When we’re working in the office, we have a team debrief every Friday – a great way for leadership to get together and reflect on another week. We’ve made sure to continue this whilst working from home.
“As the HR manager, I’ve also made sure to have at least weekly catch-ups with all team members, to check in with how they are, how they’re coping and keep everyone connected.”
NHR: Have you made any changes to facilitate working from home?
“Tools like Zoom have always been a big part of our business as we have offices across the country and some team members who work remotely the majority of the time. The transition to worknight from home for the head office team has been fairly easy.
“We’ve introduced a few other project managing platforms to our toolbelt to help keep things streamlined.
“From our own experiences managing a remote team, we’ve taken this time to launch our workforce management service. Over the years, we’ve used many of the tools already in the market, and seen the challenges many businesses have in commanding, controlling, and communicating with their remote teams. We’re working more remotely than ever before, and this service helps bring all the management of a workforce into a central command point. As well as the processes and practical side of managing a workforce, our tool supports health and wellbeing – being of mutual benefit to an employer and employee.”
NHR: And how are you maintaining Expeditious Services’ company culture away from the office?
“We’re a very sociable and well-connected team, we’re really missing the opportunity to chat and engage with each other! The Friday debrief drinks are a highlight of everyone’s week.
“As well as thriving WhatsApp groups keeping in touch with each other, intent on not diluting the strong team we’ve nurtured.”
NHR: Have you made any changes to your employee engagement strategy due to remote work?
“For me, it’s been important that everyone’s wellbeing is being looked after and no-one is struggling. We’ve adapted our strategy to keep things fun, light-hearted, ensuring people are looking after themselves physically, mentally, and not feeling isolated.
“It’s also been important to be transparent in the next steps, maintaining clarity and peace of mind for when we’ll be back in the office.”
NHR: How have these practices been received by employees?
“We’re a close-knit group, and it’s felt strange for everyone to be separated for so long, but we know it’ll be worth it when we’re finally reunited!
“Everyone’s handling the changes well and I’m genuinely proud at how they’ve adapted under the circumstances and with the minimal notice they had.”
We would like to extend our huge thanks to Elizabeth for sharing such brilliant insights into how Expeditious Services are managing and engaging their employees while we continue to work from home.