Support for manufacturing employees during Covid-19
Recent months have required businesses to make adjustments in both their operations and the methods used to provide for support for manufacturing employees during Covid-19 uncertainty. Although our office based staff were able to change their environment to support working from home, this is not possible for our manufacturing employees who work within our factories and were consequently on furlough leave. We took this as an opportunity to communicate with our employees in new ways, in order to maintain engagement and ensure they were prepared for the imminent return to the workplace.
During these uncertain times, individuals are affected and respond differently so supporting over 250 employees across the UK is no mean feat. From a HR perspective, employees were supported in a number of ways whilst spending time away from the business. As furlough leave was a new concept, ensuring that we were equipped with the correct information from legal guidelines was a priority. Documentation was then regularly updated to share with managers and employees to comply with obligations.
Although employees were not physically in the business during the lockdown period, this did not halter our sense of responsibility for well-being. Tools were provided through daily emails from the business to support mental well-being, in addition to encouraging exercise for both the personal benefits it brings and to keep productivity high upon the return to work. Online group conversations were also introduced around common interests such as entertaining children and recipe inspiration to provide companionship during what can be a lonely time.
As the business gradually resumed operations, communication was key and – by working with all areas of the business from Marketing to Finance and H&S – information remained up to date and passed onto all employees. Benefits also arose that may not have been expected, such as Line Managers ability to build stronger relationships with factory operatives through weekly check-ins by phone whilst still on furlough leave.
More recently, travel restrictions have been an important topic of conversation. Regular communications throughout the business have ensured that employees are aware how our policies affect their travel plans and information is consistently updated.
Head of HR Anna Kennedy has made every effort to support employees during this uncertain time and commented: “Communication, teamwork and flexibility stand out as the key traits needed during this period – with individuals and teams all helping eachother and taking on additional roles to deliver results.”
We have been able to adapt our processes based on learnings during this time and more opportunities are being taken to engage employees, such as the development of our intranet.
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