Offering a ‘Helping Hand’ to colleagues during lockdowns
As the construction sector remains open, Novus have been working through the latest lockdown. For those colleagues working from home at the moment, the importance of keeping morale high and maintaining the feeling of community cannot be overstated.
In this article, we would like to share some of the initiatives that Novus have introduced to offer a ‘Helping Hand’ to colleagues during periods of lockdown this year.
Before the virus
Although working remotely has become the new normal amongst office workers in the UK and indeed our own business service departments, feelings of loneliness can be associated with this way of working.
It is understandable, in a pre-covid world, it was estimated that people spent around 10 years of their life at work – in the office.
During that time, it is only natural that strong working relationships and indeed friendships are formed and maintained by regular face-to-face contact.
This daily face-to-face social interaction unquestionably aids in building the strong team that underpins organisational culture.
And by extension, one could make the argument that the same strength simply cannot be achieved remotely, negatively affecting the culture within the business as a consequence.
Smells like team spirit
With this in mind, the first lockdown in March 2020 posed the challenge of maintaining the team spirit remotely, as one of our key values at Novus is to “create great teams.”
It was quickly identified that this was a crucial area for support during lockdown, making sure our people still feel part of a team was a priority.
A Helping Hand from Novus
Regular communication is key and to that end, every week our communications team issue an internal newsletter called the “Helping Hand” to all colleagues in Novus.
This weekly emailer features a wealth of helpful articles, videos, and tips, and company updates designed at helping everyone in the Novus community survive and thrive during lockdown.
Under the categories A Time to Talk, A Time to Learn, A Time to Celebrate, A Time to Share, and A Time to Have Fun, colleagues will find help on improving physical wellbeing and mental health, strategies to manage finances, and even activities to try with the kids during half term.
Originally introduced during the March lockdown, the Helping Hand was well received and experienced a high level of engagement.
As such, the newsletter has been revived for the latest second lockdown.
Finger on the pulse
Our way of asking the people within Novus, “How are you doing?” In essence keeping our ‘finger on the pulse’ of the business.
It is well established that feedback from colleagues is really important, after all they are the life blood of any organisation.
In this time of change and flux, it feels like the perfect time to ask the people within the Novus community how the business can change to make working life better.
That’s why we release a Pulse survey on a quarterly basis, as we believe that all colleagues should have something valuable to contribute and their voices and opinions should be heard.
We’ve asked colleagues a whole host of questions this year – their opinions on remote working, what they’ve been up to during lockdown, their goals and aspirations, their concerns, and if there are any training requirements (to name just a few).
Saying thanks and being visible
Our CEO Alan Nixon and senior management team have remained visible over the course of 2020, providing video updates to the business and giving thanks for the hard work of colleagues.
As with a lot of communications at Novus, we believe that putting a face/name/real person to a message really helps ground a piece of communication in reality and adds credibility.
Additionally, in the absence of face-to-face contact, this is the next best thing to being spoken to directly.
The current situation has encouraged our management team to innovate and adopt a more digital approach in daily activities.
An example of this is found in our Head of Operations Charlie Cooley (Scotland and North East) who provides a weekly video update to his team via YouTube – giving that visible and personal touch to his leadership.
Highlighting success and positive news
The compliments and positive feedback that Novus receive from customers and tenants really are a testament to the hard work, dedication, and care that Novus colleagues put into their work on a daily basis.
Particularly in 2020, we have increased the frequency of posting compliments via our social media channels as it gives everyone within Novus a lift, demonstrating and celebrating the high standard of service that our colleagues are providing – at the same time, this serves as another avenue of recognition for our hard working people.
Build Back Better: The Novus Food Bank Appeal
At the end of 2020, 32% of Novus colleagues voted that Novus should support local food banks and subsequently we launched the Novus Food Bank Appeal in December as part of our wider Build Back Better Campaign.