COVID-19 Advice Series from Retail Jeweller: reopening your business safely and in stages11 May 2020
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Birmingham-based manufacturer Hockley Mint reopened its factory for two days a week from mid-April. Managing director Gary Wroe discusses how the business was able to do this, while still operating within the confines of strict health and safety guidelines.
‘Our goal at Hockley Mint has been to strategize a return to work that ensures the safety of our staff. While health is our main concern at this stage, we are also conscious of bringing people back into employment and making sure our staff feel valued, informed and heard.
Our return to business is loosely explained by a three-phase plan.
Stage one is underway right now, with our business open three days per week, manned by 25-30 staff members who are carefully socially distanced around our 30,000 sq ft premises.
When we decided to reopen, we asked staff members who were interested in returning to work to volunteer. The rest of our team have been furloughed on 100% pay until the end of May.
In stage two, from the May 4, we increased the working week to 4 days and then the following week to up to five days until the end of May.
By June, the effects of Stage Two should put us in a strong position to react as businesses return to operation and our customers (hopefully) open their doors.
It is uplifting to see so many of our customers and colleagues finding ways of returning to work with a semblance of normality without risking themselves or others.
We then envision a Stage Three situation where we can start bringing more of our furloughed staff back into employment. Social distancing is likely to play a role for the foreseeable future, so we are beginning to question how our desk layouts and work benches need to change.
Stage Three is the most important for me, as this means offering a sense of security and certainty to our staff. Time spent analysing how we will scale-up our operations safely is a priority for me right now.
Of course, bringing all our staff back requires sustained work and loyalty from our customers.
We are not sure what the next six months will look like, or indeed what the Government’s plan is to support businesses from June onwards. What we do not want to do is rush back to work and end up back at square one, so we understand this must be a measured approach.’
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