On-site tradespeople comprise 55 per cent of Fortem’s property maintenance and repairs workforce, meaning communication and engagement is a major challenge, let alone when there is a global pandemic with strict isolation measures set by the government.
In response to the pandemic, it was important that we had the correct measures to facilitate remote working for those who are able, while ensuring that everyone, from office staff to tradespeople, feels engaged, motivated and connected to the wider business.
To enable remote working, all of our back-office staff have VPN-equipped laptops so that they can continue to work effectively, continue to direct trades, and meet our clients’ and their residents’ needs. In addition, all of our core systems can be accessed remotely, meaning our back-office functions can work anywhere.
To ensure no aspect of our services are disrupted, we use the Avaya IP office telephone which is accessed via laptop rather than physical phones. This means our specialist SmartHub contact centre can become a virtual call centre.
We have enabled Skype for all staff for collaboration, video conferencing and to ensure people continue to feel connected to their colleagues. Last but not least, we have used our in-house employee app, Connect4tem, to send out videos and important communications to key workers and tradespeople.
Chris Hone, systems director, Fortem, said, “I’m really pleased with how well our business continuity plans have worked, with our back-office teams being able to work securely away from the office. By using VPN, Skype and Teams, we have continued to function as close to normal as possible and ensure our people can collaborate internally and externally.”