Novus Blog

lady working from home

OUR TOP 5 TIPS FOR WORKING FROM HOME

  20 MARCH, 2020      COMPANY UPDATES , INDUSTRY INSIGHTS
Here are our top tips to help remain healthy, happy, and productive whilst you are working from home. Like many businesses across the UK (and indeed globally), Novus closed their offices on Monday 23rd March in an effort to help halt the spread of coronavirus. As such, many office-based colleagues up and down the country are working from home (WFH). For some who work this way on a regular basis, this situation is almost "business as usual" but for many, this is somewhat unchartered waters that will take a period of adjustment. Good news! We are here to help with our 5 top tips: 1. Maintain regular hours of work Creating a healthy work life balance whilst working remotely can sometimes be hard, as the days can be (at least to begin with) a little unstructured; starting earlier and finishing later due to getting caught up in work tasks. However, it is important to still that you structure your day like you would in an office, give yourself a start time, lunch time, and finishing time. And, make sure you stick to them! 2. Schedule breaks Again, structure and routine are important when working from home. It is very easy to get caught up in your work, extending your working times, not taking any breaks, and even working through your lunch. Regular breaks are an ideal way of keeping your mind fresh and maintaining productivity levels. Therefore, we suggest you schedule breaks in the same way that you would when working in the office. Get up and make yourself a cup of tea/coffee every so often and do ensure that you take a proper lunch break - eat, re-hydrate, and stay away from your emails! Maybe you could sit in the garden (weather permitting) for half an hour for a change of scenery? 3. Have a dedicated workspace No, you don't have to sit at a chair and a desk, it could just be your kitchen table! But just because you aren't in the office doesn’t mean you can't bring the office to your home, just set up camp somewhere you feel comfortable, won't get too distracted and (preferably) a place with a decent amount of sunlight. Dedicating a specific space adds familiarity, structure, and a sense of routine to a potentially unfamiliar situation. Why not tweet us a picture of your working from home space? @_NovusSolutions 4. Plan your work list Take 15 minutes at the end of each day to plan what you will be working on the following day. We've found that this will helps us to prioritise your job list, hit the ground running, and really focus on your work tasks.  5. Stay connected Whilst working from home can initially help you focus on work in the short term, it can become quite lonely in the long term, with one of the main complaints from remote workers being the feeling of social isolation. For the benefit of your own mental health and the quality of your work output, it is important to stay connected with your colleagues. Make use of technologies that enable video conferencing and instant messaging to stay in touch with your peers and always remember that you are part of a team contributing to a bigger picture. Have some working from home tips of your own? We hope you have found these tips useful and thank you for your support during this time. If you would like to contribute your own ideas to these tips, please share them via our social media channels. We can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
2019 in review for Novus

6 HIGHLIGHTS FROM A SUCCESSFUL 2019 FOR NOVUS

  17 MARCH, 2020      COMPANY UPDATES , CORE VALUES
Novus can count the final year of the previous decade as a highly successful one. Here, we’ve picked out 6 of our biggest highlights from 2019.   1.       Alan Nixon is Appointed CEO of Novus 2019 saw Alan Nixon take the reigns as CEO for Novus. Alan is a highly enthusiastic, experienced and distinguished construction professional with over 30 years of construction industry experience. In the years leading up to this appointment, Alan fulfilled several Board level positions within the Group before eventually taking his place as CEO. This appointment is a significant milestone in the history of Novus and was therefore a key highlight of 2019.   2.       Strong Financial Performance Despite difficult market conditions in 2019, the company reported greater-than-projected revenue of £162 Million. The financial result represents another impressive year of growth for Novus, without any borrowing and retaining profit. This can be considered an outstanding result for the company. In part, this achievement is illustrative of Novus’s stability in the market and sustainable growth model. Where other contractors within the construction industry are seemingly struggling, Novus are going from strength-to-strength and anticipate further growth in 2020. An ambitious but achievable revenue target of £180 million has been set. In a sector where contractors are folding at an alarming rate , the financial stability, sensible, and sustainable business practices of Novus are the ensuring that the company thrives and is ultimately able to deliver on its promises to clients.   3.       Reinforcement of our Company Values Novus is built on a bedrock of strong family values, having been established by the Seddon brothers in 1897 (learn more about the history of Novus here) and it is a family-run business still today with the shareholders being made up of the John Seddon family. 2019 saw Sophie Seddon become a shareholder. Incredibly, Sophie represents the 5th generation of the Seddon family to be directly involved in company ownership. It is from this strong sense of family that the strong moral and ethical code of conduct and employee inclusivity is derived. Within the company, this code of ethics is referred to as “The Novus Way” – a way of working that permeates every facet of the organisation, making the company credible, reliable and trustworthy. Never more was the commitment to these values reinforced than in 2019 through the development of the Novus “Shield”. To ensure that these qualities are enacted in all areas of the business, in 2019, all Novus colleagues committed to upholding the attitudes emblemised in “The Shield” framework. Over the course of 2019, a total 250 Novus colleagues and 150 of our subcontractors attended the nationwide training roadshows. Through the company’s commitment to its customers came the “It’s Our Job” initiative. Customer service is enshrined in the Novus pillars of conduct and that’s why as part of this campaign, the company trained every colleague throughout the business in customer service excellence, irrespective of position or role. Every Novus team member was asked to commit to the ‘Valuing Our Customer Pledge” a promise to provide each and every customer with a great experience. Going forward, Novus are committed to being a market leader in customer experience. Feedback is always welcome and if you have any to share, please do get in touch via our online contact form. Additionally, 2019 saw significant developments in the Health, Safety & Wellbeing policies of Novus. Headed up by new Novus recruit Adrian Honeywell, the SHEQ (Safety, Health, Environment and Quality) initiative spawned activities created with the sole aim of caring for colleagues, customers, and communities. Internal strength in Compliance has led to our service to clients being expanded. As this work stream in particular is a present and high-profile issue in wider society, it is an area where Novus can offer additional value to clients now and in the future.   4.       Social Value and Corporate Social Responsibility As a socially responsible and morally driven business, Novus are continually getting involved in social value projects throughout the UK, working with local community groups and charities nationwide. Novus are committed to becoming a leader in Corporate Social Responsibility within the sector. In 2019, Novus fended off competition from some of the biggest names in our industry to win two prestigious awards in the shape of the CSR Initiative of the Year Award from – Construction News Talent Awards and The Community Engagement Award at the National Building Awards. These accolades were awarded for Novus’s flagship CSR initiative: the “Big 5 Campaign”, a venture that saw 5 deserving community projects receive £20,000 each to help towards the cost of the renovation works. (see all the videos from the BIG 5 Campaign here). In addition, December 2019 saw Novus get into the festive spirit as each site encouraged to “Give a Gift” of time and/or money to the homeless and less fortunate. Charities that tackle homelessness and poverty benefitted from the campaign, alongside care homes and various children’s charities all were the recipients of gifts from Novus colleagues.   As charitable and social value initiatives are at the heart of operations at Novus, we will continue to work closely with our partners and local communities to help make lives better for the people who live there. Keep up-to-date with our CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activities by visiting the CSR section of the Novus website.   5.       Boosting Career Progression and Development Opportunities In 2019, Novus worked hard to build a legacy where people can live, work, and thrive; recognising that its workforce are the lifeblood of the business. Through robust succession planning and a culture of developing talent from within, came new opportunities for colleagues to grow and progress within the business. Novus is focussed on becoming organisation that continually nurtures talent and facilitates career progression. This tradition of talent development is showcased by the high volume of long serving colleagues who have moved into more senior roles within the business in recent times. Seven new Operations Managers were appointed alongside Steve Fitt as Senior Operations Manager, Sam Frame, Chris Murphy, and Gary Clay became Heads of Operations, and Sophie Seddon moved into a senior leadership role as Head of Client Engagement and Communications. Additionally, Novus also proved to be competitive in the recruitment market in 2019, attracting experienced and talented individuals to fill newly created positions in the business, such as Adrian Honeywell (Head of SHEQ) and Hannah O’Brien (Marketing Communications Manager). The performance and sustainable growth of the company has enabled Novus to invest in strengthening all areas of the business. The employment and training of apprentices is in the DNA of the company and is seen as vitally important to the future of the business and the industry as a whole. Novus has been employing apprentices since 1938 and are renown for the quality of their training. Last year, Novus employed 18 apprentices across a range of disciplines including Joinery and Multi-Trades. You can hear from 3 apprentices from the class of 2019 in our blog article here. Novus is committed to becoming a great place to work and creating great teams is a key area of focus for the business. To that end, Novus launched an employee engagement survey, which was designed to garner valuable input from colleagues across all areas of the organisation.  There was a massive response that saw 74% of the total workforce give their feedback and incite improvements in areas of operation such as internal communication.   6.       Contract Wins Novus remains a commercially attractive organisation as was demonstrated by some big contract wins, extensions and success stories. New contracts with Johnnie Johnson, South Derbyshire, New Forrest, NHS Boston and Lincoln, Midland Heart, Fortior Homes, Swindon Borough Council, and Unitas, along with the contract extension with Manchester University all represented significant business for the company. These examples are just a flavour of the major wins that Novus achieved in 2019, all leading contributing towards the ultimate strategic intent of the company. The level of repeat business and customer retention was particularly pleasing, as it demonstrates our focus on nurturing client relationships and commitment to being a leader in customer experience.     2019 proved to be a great year for Novus and these were some of many highlights for the business. We are hopeful that 2020 proves to be even more successful.
hospital-refurbishment-works

HOSPITAL REFURBISHMENT: OPERATIONS WHERE TRUST IS CRITICAL

  09 MARCH, 2020      INDUSTRY INSIGHTS
As hospital refurbishment occupies a bigger proportion of the construction landscape, sensitive handling of works is of critical importance and strong, honest relationships between supplier and client are increasingly vital to successful completion of the works. From New-Build to Refurbishment In recent times, there has been a big shift in government strategy with regards to developing the healthcare estate in the UK. This movement has been focussed on moving away from new-build into more refurbishment based projects. Previously, largely PFI financed projects have seen a series of new hospitals and healthcare centres built throughout the UK however this has now given way to a much greater focus on improvement and extension works to existing assets. There has also been a shift in direction away from investing in centralised acute care facilities towards improving primary and community care buildings. These facilities include General Practitioners (GPs) and specialist care facilities such as those specifically catering for mental health. A Construction Perspective From a construction standpoint these shifts have had two major impacts. Firstly, works are more frequently undertaken within (or in close proximity to) live healthcare environments. Secondly, the activities commonly consist of smaller projects that are distributed over a large geographical area. As a result, construction workers are placed more closely to clinical staff and their patients than ever before. Sensitivity and trust in the relationships between client and contractor therefore have never been more crucial considerations in recent times. Concurrently, the more distributed nature of the work has caused a rise in longer term framework agreements rather than ad-hoc or project-by-project working. Hospital Refurbishment Can Be Complicated By their nature, hospital refurbishment projects can vary in terms of their scale and complexity. Broadly, the brief for these projects is usually to renovate an ageing building that was constructed in an era when the expectations of patients and staff were not as sophisticated as those of modern day. The objective therefore is to turn it into a facility that offers state-of-the-art standards of care. The end goal is to transform outdated facilities that are no longer fit for purpose into clean, bright and modern environments that make a significant contribution to the wellbeing of patients and hospital workers. For teams delivering these projects, the works involved may present a multifaceted and wide-ranging challenge, oftentimes more so than almost any other kind of building refurbishment project. They often demand not just aesthetic upgrades but also significant structural works to allow for the way spaces are used to be changed, to let in more natural light or to provide easier access for patients. Combined, these demands create the requirement for close collaborative working relationships between a wide range of teams and departments. Conditions are made even more challenging by the demands of carrying out the works in a functional, working, and busy hospital environment. Working in live environments When it comes to hospital refurbishment, upgrades need to be carried out when the facility remains open and in full use. The growing demands on the NHS means that it is impossible to close a hospital in order to complete these improvement works. One common approach to managing these complicated works effectively (negating the need to close off entire areas of the facility for a prolonged period), is to adopt a rolling programme of works. For example, the team might agree to work on just one ward within a wider unit at any given time, leaving the remaining wards live whenever work was being carried out. This approach to completing the projected out at a pace agreed with clinical staff means that patients can then gradually be re-located into the refurbished areas to allow work to continue in new areas. Planning a Hospital Refurbishment For a hospital refurbishment to be carried out seamlessly, it is key for the team delivering the project to work smoothly alongside clinical staff and other stakeholders throughout the programme with clear and honest dialogue. Involving contractors and senior hospital managers in the early stages of design meetings can allow any potential issues that may cause disruption to clinical operations to be identified and tackled. This information gathering stage should be considered critical to any hospital refurbishment project. In addition, the approach to communications with management and key staff members in the early going, sets the tone for a the project and informs the creation of a schema of work that everyone can get on board with. Of course, it is also vital that this remains fluid and adaptable, with built-in flexibility to accommodate the outcomes of further progress meetings as the project develops. The outcomes from these initial consultations must be followed throughout the project, with regular engagement to support and enforce communication. At every stage, consultation with all parties reduces the potential for frustrations and other barriers to arise. The Importance of Trust in Complex Refurbishment Projects As the health sector’s investment plans move towards refurbishment and as contractors working near patients and care givers becomes more commonplace, the trust between client and contractor has become more important than ever. When building trust, longer term agreements between clients and contractors can deliver significant benefits. Not only do they help establish mutual objectives but also enable smaller refurbishment projects that are spread over a wider geographical area to be delivered to a consistently high standard; a greater challenge when using a patchwork of suppliers. There are significant mutual benefits to this way of working, with individual project costs often being reduced as onboarding processes can be significantly more efficient. Contractor commitment is also strengthened by the greater forward visibility of revenue and long-term continuous improvement plans forged. Knowledge sharing additionally helps to improve processes across multiple future projects, driving efficiency. When carrying out this kind of project, Novus will frequently establish a temporary office on-site from which to co-ordinate the works on the ground. A senior manager is always available to liaise with any member of hospital staff, ensuring that the team is always visible and approachable and allowing any potential grievances to be nipped in the bud. Healthcare refurbishment is arguably the area of the construction industry where sensitive and considerate working practices are most important. Ultimately, with the right level of planning and communication – and a commitment to understanding and truly working with the needs of patients and staff – it is possible even in the most sensitive of healthcare environments to deliver outstanding refurbishments that will support excellent patient care for many years to come. More Information For more on how Novus can help with refurbishment projects of all kinds, contact us for more information today.
National-Apprenticeship-Week-Mike

NATIONAL APPRENTICESHIP WEEK: MEET OUR APPRENTICES DAN, MIKE AND FINLEY

  05 FEBRUARY, 2020      CAREERS , CORE VALUES
Between 3rd – 9th February 2020 Novus celebrates National Apprenticeship Week. We are proud to have an 82-year long tradition of training apprentices and since 1938, the recruitment of apprentices has been a key focus for the company.   We believe that Novus is great place for young people to undertake an apprenticeship but don’t just take our word for it, here are 3 of our latest cohort explaining why they chose Novus.   Dan: Apprentice Joiner at Novus Dan chose Novus because he has family already in the business and was inspired by how well they are treated in the company. Novus are a family business; his motivations align perfectly with our own company values. Pursuing a career in joinery represented a more fulfilling role than his previous position as a plasterer. Dan felt like his career was flatlining and felt that a change of trade was needed. Dan decided that joinery offered him the opportunity to “get his career off the ground,” and as he likes to get stuck into his work, chose a profession that allows him to work on-site, in the real world rather than learning in the controlled environment of a classroom. In his first year with Novus, Dan is looking forward to meeting new people and is excited about facing the kinds of real-world challenges that arise outside of the classroom.  Looking ahead, Dan has ambitions of moving into management one day; following in the footsteps of his family and forging a long-term career for himself within Novus. Mike: Apprentice Electrician at Novus Mike is currently working out of the Novus Burton office having joined the company as an apprentice electrician. He was convinced to undertake his apprenticeship with Novus because of their track record of high-quality training and career development & progression opportunities that achievable within the organisation. Mike’s decision to train as an electrician is born out of his prior experience within the profession and his affinity towards the type of work involved. He feels that Novus is a great place to develop his skills and harness his potential. As with all our apprentices, Mike is looking forward to learning new skills, meeting new people, and is excited about the challenges that lie ahead as he develops. Being “the best electrician he can be” is Mike’s aim; this is reflective of the determination, drive and enthusiasm that all Novus apprentices possess. Once qualified, Mike intends to work his way up into a supervisory role and believes that the sky is the limit for him and his career at Novus. Finley: Multi -Trade Apprentice at Novus Finley is one our Multi-Trade apprentices who applied for the Novus apprenticeship scheme after researching the company online. Having been impressed by the positive reviews he found about Novus, Finley applied and was selected to join the programme. Finley chose a multi-trade apprenticeship in order to gain a more rounded and diverse skill set in construction to fulfil his long-term ambition of owning his own business. In his first year with Novus, Finley is looking forward to getting a greater understanding how the construction industry works and meeting experienced professionals from whom he can learn. Although he dreams of owning his own business one day, Finley is hoping to stay with Novus for a long time; building his knowledge and skills to become the best well-rounded multi-trades professional he can be. Want to learn more about the Novus apprenticeship scheme? To register your interest in becoming a Novus apprentice, please contact us via our online form or send your CV to recruitment@novussolutions.co.uk
PRESS OFFICE
Hannah O'Brien
Telephone: 07854 781631
Email: hannah.obrien@novussolutions.co.uk
SEARCH

INFORMATION ABOUT HOW WE USE COOKIES

We use cookies to make our site work. A cookie is a small file that we put on your device. These cookies allow us to distinguish you from other users of our website, which helps us to provide you with a good experience when you browse our website and allows us to improve our site.
OUR COOKIES
Necessary Cookies
Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.
Analytical Cookies
Analytical Cookies help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information about how visitors use our site. This helps us to improve the way our website works, for example by ensuring that users are easily finding what they are looking.
Read more about the individual cookies we use, their duration and how to recognise them in our Cookie Policy.