Caring through a crisis – how PLS kept moving through the pandemic

At PLS, it has always been our aim to provide the best care to both our staff and customers. Whenever we have faced challenges though a recession or this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, we have maintained the same approach and continued to nurture our staff and look after our customers.

This pandemic has been trying for everyone. For many the effects have been catastrophic and felt across the globe. In the UK, the housing market came to a halt, which was frightening for our sector.

For the first time businesses’ systems and processes were tested under the framework of their ‘business continuity plan’. For many there was one in place, but it never had to be used! We knew the only way to make ours work was to put communications first.

Despite not being within the company of our teams, we still engaged with everybody and nobody was forgotten along the way. Every week we held our team meetings, we stepped up the frequency of our newsletter and we found every opportunity we could to stay in touch. We knew those still working would now be working harder than ever, so it was great when our Directors went to everyone’s home to hand-deliver personalised sweetie jars as a thank you. It was also extremely important that our furloughed staff felt valued, so they received weekly calls from their Managers and HR. We even rolled out a training programme to keep the teams motivated and still feel connected to PLS.

Throughout lockdown, we wanted to truly discover how everyone was feeling and ensure we were doing all we could to support them. We sent out an Engagement Survey to all PLS employees, which asked what we were doing well and where we could improve – not just for this period but for the future. 68% of our team members completed the survey and we released the results to the teams – including the positive feedback, as well as where improvements had to be made.

Keeping positive mental health was incredibly important. We put in place a number of collaborative and team initiatives, and even ran competitions to get everyone engaged and focused on something fun. Our favourites were our VE Celebrations and PLS Foodie Competition.

By week 8 of lockdown, we finally got the news we had been hoping for when the housing market re-opened. This meant we were able to start bringing staff back from furlough and work towards recovery.