Industry Leader Interview (Covid-19 related) – Andy Whatmough, Managing Director – S&G Response

What’s the biggest challenge (Coronavirus related) facing your sector of the industry?

Apart from the obvious points around cashflow, profitability, and striking the right balance so the organisation is fit for purpose at the end of it, I’d say the biggest challenge is the speed of it all.  Events are unfolding so quickly is a full time job just keeping on top of it all.  

How are you and your business dealing with this? 

We started implementing remote working from Tuesday 17th March moving our people out of the office in controlled waves.  We now have 100% of our people working remotely with full access to our IT platforms and telephony system. We have implemented daily morning video conferences with the management team for a high-level information cascade, with team conference calls throughout the day.  We also have a daily email update to all our people.

What is the most important piece of leadership advice you can offer?

There can never be too much communication to employees in times like this.  It’s so important to take the news and make it relevant to the organisation and what it means for each individual.  They all are uncertain, they all have questions and making time to allow them to raise them is critical. Times like this give you an opportunity to demonstrate leadership skills and to identify the leaders of tomorrow, we have seen our staff members step up in the face of uncertainty and continue to deliver an exceptional service to our customers.

What are your top tips for home-working productivity? 

Act as though it is a normal day, get up, have a shower, follow your usual routine. Get your home environment set up to act productively with as few distractions as possible and act / do what you would if you were sat at your desk at work (i.e. don’t get lost watching YouTube or a box set on Netflix). Discipline and consistency ensures that you will be both productive and happy in your home environment. But the most important thing is to make sure you take breaks, walk around and keep in contact (virtually) with your peers.

What would be your overriding message to the industry right now?

Communicate, and wherever possible, we need to collaborate.


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