The challenge that coronavirus (COVID-19) presents has been both unprecedented and devastating for many, and is changing how we live and work.
At EKFB, our position is that the safety, health and wellbeing of our people is always our priority and will never be compromised.
EKFB has kept a watching brief on the Coronavirus situation and convened our Business Continuity Group to meet weekly and assess our response to the changing situation.
We have followed Government advice since the beginning of the escalation, including anticipating future advice, where we have taken action in advance. For example, we mandated that all employees who could, should work from home very early in the process.
What are we doing to protect our people?
We are continuing to follow all government advice from Public Health England (see details here)
We have closed our offices and all non site workers are working from home. This represents the vast majority of our business (see here for our top tips on working remotely)
The implementation of remote working was highly successful and supported by existing systems such as Microsoft Teams and policies like our Working Practices Policy
All of our remote workers have been trained in the effective use of the business tools available to them
We are suspending our site activity and operations until we can comply with the guidelines published by Public Health England. This consists of some Ground Investigation works and water management and represents around 5% of our activity on HS2
Sites were asked to draw up safe closure plans as an early business continuity measure. This means that suspension of work can be achieved safely and quickly
We have introduced a package of measures to keep track of our people’s health and wellbeing and to support them through this period. This includes our Employee Assistance Programme and empowering our Wellbeing Champions to monitor and maintain our people’s wellbeing
Wellbeing activities at EKFB
We have a community of ‘Wellbeing Champions’ whose role, in addition to their day jobs, is to provide wellbeing support to our people. They are trained as Mental Health First Aiders and support colleagues to spot the symptoms of mental health issues, offer initial help and guide people towards support. However, their main focus is not simply to react to existing issues, but to help our people to take positive steps to prevent mental health issues in the first place, giving them them the tools to care for their wellbeing in a positive working environment.
It is more important than ever to do everything we can to help our people cope with the external situation and give them opportunities to connect with each other. With full support from our Leadership, our Wellbeing Champions have put together the following programme of events:
Virtual coffee shop
Online yoga sessions
Online fitness sessions
Virtual swap shop
Bite size learning sessions in managing wellbeing
Wellbeing/EDI Champions telephone staff contact
Wellbeing info email
Online Language lessons
Online mindfulness sessions
We’ve always had a busy social life at EKFB and many of our social activities have moved online. We have virtual ‘Thirsty Thursday’ – a Teams meeting after work to replace our fortnightly social. The EKFB book club has moved its meetings to Teams, and we’re working on a dice based version of five a side football.