Things are moving so fast, I thought it worthwhile doing a follow-up to my earlier message. Especially as there’s a number of operational things that we’re seeing.
The Government have now started a daily Press Conference, announcing new measures each day. Monday’s announcement saw them recommend staying away from pubs and restaurants and for office workers to work from home if they can. Tuesday’s announcement contained some measures to support the most affected businesses through Rate reductions and Business Loans. They hinted that today’s announcement will contain measures to help with the costs associated with employing people.
I’m keen to see what measures they will announce. Last night, I chaired a conference call for the Surrey Chambers, and the number of businesses who have already planned, or actually started, to introduce measures like Un-Paid Leave, Temporary Lay-offs and 3-day weeks was heart-breaking. The Government will need to do something to pick up the shortfall for these amazing people who are losing some, or all, of their incomes.
We’re seeing a number of issues caused by the volume of people working from home. You may be experiencing some of them yourself? Mobile Phone networks are struggling to cope with the volume of calls. Video Conferencing facilities (like Microsoft Teams and Zoom) are creaking under the strain, and our home broadband networks can’t cope with the simultaneous number of people working from home. If you’re working from home at the moment, you may have noticed some of these problems.
And, for ourselves, we’re seeing a massive peak in calls through to our Helpdesk. Our team are doing a fantastic job and are really motivated to help. We are currently receiving over DOUBLE the number of calls each day compared to a normal day. They are working through them, helping record numbers of people each day, and walking out of the office buzzing but knackered. This morning, they’re all here again, with a smile on their faces, ready to see how many people need our help today.
I must also say that our customers are being wonderful too. We’ve such a high number of people contacting us, the wait times are higher than we’d like – but the patience and understanding shown to us is great. Thank you!
Finally, a plea to all of us to keep an eye on those who are working from home. Social Isolation is a real issue. Not having anyone to talk to (and just emailing instead), or being unable to complete your usual Gym/Exercise routine is hard for people. Especially at a time when there’s so much panic and confusion on Social Media. I’m having a daily Video Call with my direct team (no agenda – just to have a ‘water-cooler chat’). Many of our team have never seen anything like this before. Some weren’t even classed as adults in the last recession. Yet now, they’re expected to make sense of this all by themselves?
The over-riding message I’ve learned in the last 48 hours is that we’re not alone. Talking to other MDs and CEOs has shown me that we’re all facing the same problems. And somehow, that makes me feel better. We’ve got a long way to go, but we’re in good hands.
Keep your spirits high.