Monday 30th March, 2020

Keeping staff safe and supported through a period of uncertainty

The global Covid-19 pandemic has thrown Britain’s workforce into a state of flux. Teams have been spread across all corners of the country as Boris Johnson has told people to work from home and keep their distance from one another.

As a client-facing business, this presents an especially tricky problem. However, at Equilibrium, our ethos has always been that if we treat our staff well, they’ll treat our clients better – and that rings true now more than ever. 

Providing our staff with the tools they need to thrive whilst working remotely – as most of them currently are – will ensure that client care doesn’t dip in a time when our clients need us most. We’ve worked to implement a few measures to keep the Equilibrium company culture strong and make sure our people feel confident and comfortable. 
We’re really keen to keep that ‘close-knit’ team feeling that we’ve cultivated over the years, even when we’re working remotely. 
Working from home can be tricky, especially when you’re in an advice role and are used to plenty of client contact and daily interaction. To help make the remote working environment as supportive and as functional as possible, we’ve put some measures in place. 
Team leaders check in with their team members once in the morning, identifying three objectives for the day and giving a full update on the day before. We’re doing end of the day check-ins too.

Our managing partner, Gaynor Rigby, is doing daily videos to the full team via video link, which is helping to keep everyone informed and on the same page. 

We’ve also created a working from home ‘bible’ to keep everyone sane and stop them from working in their pyjamas! It's all centred around wellbeing and staying well throughout a time when things could feel somewhat surreal. It's got suggestions in it like:  

•    Get up early, have a shower and pretend you're going to work 
•    Put on proper clothes and call up your colleagues so you can chat through your plans for the day 
•    Call your colleagues occasionally to have a laugh and a joke with them 
•    If you'd normally make yourself a brew at 10am, do the same at home - keep your routine as much the same as you can 
•    Set ground rules with the people in your space if you have flatmates or a live-in partner - e.g. decide who's going to take the dog for a walk when, or who's doing which shifts looking after babies and children 
•    Take regular, scheduled breaks and physically get outside as much as you can 
•    Stick to healthy eating, keep track of time, and keep your workspace tidy 
•    Finish work at exactly the same time each day you would if you were in the office - don't be lying in your bed typing away at 9pm!  

Our whole ethos with it is that we don't want people becoming slaves to their computers, and that wellbeing has to remain the top priority. We’re passionate about the wellness of our staff at Equilibrium, and that has to extend to outside the office too.  

We have a meditation coach who we’re getting to conduct lunchtime sessions online, so all the team can dial in remotely and meditate if they want to. We also sent out care packages to all the team with teabags, biscuits, multivitamins and a handwritten note telling them to take care of themselves and stay safe. Our weekly internal training sessions are also being held online.  

To make sure that people have a little bit of light respite, and that we’re keeping morale high, my Culture team has devised a method of playing full-team bingo – they're sending out bingo slips to people's homes and then team members can dial in at scheduled times via video link to one of the Culture team pulling balls out. We wanted to make sure we could still do an inclusive, fun, full-team activity that would be accessible remotely.  

Finally, we've arranged for an online GP service to be available to everybody so if people are showing symptoms, generally feeling unwell, or have anxieties around the whole situation, they can arrange a FaceTime appointment with a doctor to give them advice. 

As a very close team, it’s been a period of adjustment and innovation for us as we’ve tried to keep ‘business as usual’ ticking over at Equilibrium. 

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Equilibrium is a trading style of Equilibrium Financial Planning LLP and Equilibrium Investment Management LLP (Limited Liability Partnerships). Equilibrium Financial Planning LLP (OC316532) and Equilibrium Investment Management LLP (OC390700) are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and are entered on the financial services register under references 452261 and 776977 respectively. Registered Office: Ascot House, Epsom Avenue, Handforth, Wilmslow SK9 3DF. Both companies are registered in England and Wales.

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