BEST STAFF SUPPORT DURING COVID-19 2021
Church House Westminster
The dynamic and resilient venue team of multi-purpose Covid-secure events venue, Church House Westminster, approached the challenges of the pandemic as an opportunity to evolve the scope of the venue’s business profile and revenues by actively pursuing new unchartered markets, updating their product and service offerings, collaborating with industry partners, upskilling, developing strategic marketing communications and most importantly, establishing staff well-being at the top of the agenda.
Determined to position the venue as flexible and innovative, a new business plan was created and driven by the team of nine who set out to install high-tech virtual studios and leverage creative and inspire production techniques to deliver bespoke virtual, hybrid and in-person event experiences.
The success and performance of the new business plan is a result of creating a team culture that encouraged out-of-the-box thinking, total transparency and an inherent trust in each other. As a result, the team was quick to respond to uncertainty and changes, supporting internal departments collaboratively, and develop new ways of working – ensuring that the venue has remained open and profitable since re-opening in July 2020.
In this award submission, we’ve outlined how the adoption of an agile approach to human resources enabled us to protect the mental health and welfare of our team, while striving to protect jobs and enable remote working.
In record time, we were able to switch strategy utilising all our resources including our IT infrastructure, communications tools, and the management team to respond to the consequences of the pandemic in an empathetic and human way, supporting our staff, whilst still enabling productivity.
Most importantly, our approach to supporting our staff during the pandemic helped them remain engaged, connected, and informed, and ultimately deliver work whilst we supported the national effort to combat the COVID-19 virus.
London Metropolitan University
London Metropolitan University has been fully committed to looking after its customers and staff during Covid-19. With the Events team fully redeployed across the Estates department, and footing the bill to ensure the contract catering team received their full contracted pay for 15 months, regardless of whether we were open or not, London Met really put its money where its mouth is – a social justice university committed to equity for all. With management implementing innovative IT solutions to ensure all team members felt communicated with and engaged – from Team spaces to video team calls, whatsapp groups to wellbeing phone calls. And the whole team rallying round to create online fitness and wellbeing programmes, challenges, quizzes, guest talks from inspirational athletes, whatsapp social groups etc etc we’ve created our own ‘new normal’. With no covid related redundancies and a strong commitment to support staff working from home, from technology provision to desks, chairs and equipment delivered to those in need. On site we have Asymptomatic Test Centres, 2m social distancing, and the cleaning and PPE requirements we need. London Met has stood with its staff in the worst of times, especially those of us in Events & Hospitality.
The Ritz Hotel, London
During Covid, Spencer has been our Key Covid Marshall ensuring that all staff are following guidelines by wearing masks at all times. He has instigated a system of cleaning the kitchen to a tighter time schedule and hand washing. Aware that the change in procedures may take time to settle in, Spencer introduced a timer system that would automatically ring when it was time for the team to clean their workspace or wash their hands. His pragmatic approach meant that his team felt safe in their work environment and allowed them to work within a new rhythm without any negative impact on the guest experience.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Koula has truly gone the extra mile to connect with her colleagues and safeguard their mental health and wellbeing. A key example of this is when a colleague was released from hospital after a severe case of coronavirus, Koula ensured that his residence was clean, his cupboards and fridge stocked and collected messages of support from the wider team. It is exceptional that in a time such a this, Koula was still able to plan ahead and ensure that her colleague felt included, valued and cared for.
The Roundhouse has 92 permanent members of staff and over 250 casual staff members. Like many organisations our workforce had to adapt to remote working and, following staff consultation, we have since moved to a hybrid and more flexible approach to work. Much of our work has centred on introducing innovative digital systems – from cloud based systems to online learning and performance systems – to keep the team connected and able to work effectively remotely. We are now focusing on the physical space at the Roundhouse to ensure the office environment is suitable for more flexible ways of working. Alongside this has been an investment in wellbeing, health and safety, and training to ensure the workforce has been supported and kept safe during a challenging year. To match the innovative systems and support we’ve put in place, we’ve also adapted our business plan which has allowed us to prioritse and focus our team and regroup as one organisation moving forward.