There has been a lot of changes to how we work since the outbreak of Coronavirus. For us, it has meant working almost exclusively from home, but also a lot has changed in how we're supporting our clients during the crisis.
Jade has taken some time to diarise her experience of a typical day of work during the crisis.
6.30 am - Alarm goes off. I get a bit of a lie-in now that I don’t have the commute into the office! Shower, dress and feed the cats before firing up the laptop and making breakfast. Cereal and coffee this morning.
7.00 am – Start work. Doing the usual checks of overnight emails and text messages. I run a report every morning that tells me which of our temps are working today – this is essential now that we have so many candidates working 24/7.
Before COVID-19 the majority of my temps worked Monday to Friday, with hours ranging from 6.00 am to 6.00 pm which was much easier to track. Now, I double-check every day so that I know who is off, who is in, and which shift they are on. This is important not only from a health and safety point of view, but also to ensure that payroll is correct each week.
I’ve had a request for three more temps on a night shift cleaning a warehouse in London (starting tonight!). This is my first priority for the day.
8.00 am – Refresh our online job adverts (we always make sure we have a good stream of new applicants so that we are ready to fill urgent jobs) and call through my pre-registered list. These are the candidates that I have already interviewed and got their vetting details, and I’ve put on standby for urgent work. Registering candidates in advance means I can react quickly to fill jobs and today it's paid off as I have three people who are willing to start tonight.
9.00 am – Payroll day. Our team administrator is on furlough so that means it’s all up to me to enter payroll on time, and most importantly, get it right! Our candidates are working so hard for us, and our clients, right now - it’s my responsibility to make sure they are paid on time and correctly. Fortunately, all the timesheets have come in on time. I only have to make a couple of calls to double-check some shifts.
10.30 am – ‘Service visit’ to a client. This now takes place over the phone, usually, it would be on-site but for obvious reasons, this isn’t possible.
I’m trying to convince my client to use Zoom for our service visits, but he’s shy (even though I’ve met him face to face before). Today's call is to go over all of the changes to their sites, inductions, and Health & Safety regulations. Lots of social distancing and handwashing rules to discuss, as well as PPE.
Discussed how we can sort the logistics of helping to supply temporary workers with PPE – we’re going to look into ordering gloves and masks online for delivery to our temporary workers.
We’ll also pass on all of this information to new candidates so that they understand the importance when they start their assignment.
12.00 pm – Lunchtime. I do 20 minutes of yoga every lunchtime, it's been a massive help to my physical and mental health while on lockdown. Spicy prawn stir fry with green veg for lunch.
1.00 pm – Time for candidate check up’s. We take a lot of pride in making sure that our candidates are happy and working in a safe environment, so we check in with them at least twice a week. Today I helped one of our workers to sort out their tax code problem. Resolved a query over missing hours and had several holiday requests to process. No issues on-site, everyone has all of the PPE they need and everyone is (so far) happy with their shifts this week.
2.00 pm – Client catch up calls. So many of my client contacts are on furlough, but I’ve found that they still want to keep in touch anyway. I always try and share as much market information, advice, and news from the industry with my clients and I think that’s even more important now. We catch up on plans for re-opening and re-occupying their buildings, go over who is still working, who is on furlough and discuss what they think will change going forward – for good and bad.
2.30 pm – My plan for this afternoon has gone out the window. One of the candidates I spoke to earlier has called me back to let me know he’s going back to his old job... tomorrow! All hands to the pump as I go back to my pre-registered list and inform the client. They're not happy, but after 15 calls I’ve found someone who can start tomorrow and we get her booked onto the induction. Phew!
4.00 pm – Team catch up on Zoom. I love our team chats. We talk about the business of the day, who we’ve spoken to and what bookings we’ve filled (and what we’ve had for lunch!). It helps to remind me that I’m not alone in all of this and keeps me sane!
4.30 pm – Finish for the day. I pop to the supermarket to do my weekly big shop.
6.30 pm – Halfway through dinner the phone rings. Mark, one of my night shift workers at a site in Birmingham is panicking. He lives with his mum and she’s got Coronovirus symptoms, he’s very upset.
I advise him to call 111 immediately and take their advice. I know our client's policy – he won’t be able to go back to work for 14 days, he'll now have to self-isolate. I advise him that he can self-certify for sick pay and that I’ll catch up with him tomorrow. This is the most upsetting part of working through the Coronovirus crisis for me. It’s not just affecting people’s health, but also their families, work and finances - I feel terrible for him.
7.00 pm – The supervisor at Birmingham rings me back. They can cope for tonight but will need someone to cover for the 14 days Mark will be off. That’s my first job for tomorrow morning.