Companies across the UK are dealing with a period of unprecedented challenge due to Covid-19. Many have transformed their ways of working in response to the lockdown imposed by government.
The IoD is working closely with the government and other business organisations to support directors and their businesses through this time.
As part of this activity, we need powerful first-hand reports from members who are working through the Covid-19 crisis.
Here, the 2M Group of Companies shares how it responded quickly to the outbreak so that staff were kept safe and it could operate as smoothly as possible.
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The 2M Group of Companies specialises in chemical distribution and related chemical services of samples management, storage and blending. The group has companies in Yorkshire, North East, East Midlands, North West and overseas. 2M has around 250 UK staff in offices and on manufacturing sites.
Liran Maller, group director of HR and PR at 2M Holdings, described how the business prepared itself for lockdown working even before government guidance to work from home where possible was issued.
As part of their preparations, Liran and her team evaluated:
As lockdown restrictions were outlined by the Prime Minister, Tier 1 workers were immediately sent to work from home, with protocols for managers regarding regular contact via video conference and other channels.
Tier 2 staff were asked to work from home and bolstered by IT training with additional IT equipment sent to their homes. Where some office or site presence is required, a shift system was put in place to ensure that people are not alone but able to safely social distance from others.
For Tier 3 workers, such as those on manufacturing sites, social distancing is required at all times with additional breaks for hand washing and hand sanitiser provided for use at work and home.
2M introduced staggered shifts for Tier 3 workers to reduce the number of people on site at any one time. Special consideration was given to staff with childcare responsibilities.
2M staff have also turned their hand to manufacturing and bottling hand sanitiser for use by frontline staff including NHS workers in Covid-19 wards, care home workers and social workers.
Liran said 2M continues to monitor the Covid-19 situation and any new government guidance. Thoughts are already turning to the longer term.
She said: “We need to turn our attentions to the future ways of working. I am already looking at different models for operating in what I anticipate will be the ‘new normal’ once lockdown eases. We will need to consider things such as reduced office time, reduced travel and social distancing.”
Liran Maller is a member of the IoD. Dr Richard Smith, chief operating officer of 2M Group, is a Fellow of the IoD, Chartered Director and West Yorkshire branch chair.