Given the rapid spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) we wanted to reassure you about the steps we’ve been taking to ensure we stay open for business and how we’re looking after the welfare of our team at Smiffy’s, and protecting our customers.
As a family business, we take the welfare of all of our staff very seriously. R H Smith continues to adhere to and follow all the latest Government advice about COVID-19.
We have taken the decision to reduce the working hours for all of our team, in the UK, Europe Australia and China, partly to reflect less through-put, but also to reflect private needs during these unprecedented times. We have taken the decision to put the majority of the UK team on a paid leave of absence (‘furlough’) until the end of May. The remaining members of the team are working from home on reduced hours, with the exception of a small team working in the warehouse.
Our business is well prepared to cope with the disruption to normal service due to continual investment in our IT and telephone infrastructure over the years. This means our team have the flexibility to work from home without compromise to data security (GDPR), by connecting our phone systems to staff remotely. We will continue to provide the Smiffy customer service experience with no compromise to security or quality, We are confident we can cover calls and online queries across all departments during this crisis period.
The warehouse team will continue to function from the UK facility in Gainsborough, albeit in a much reduced capacity. Our business operates as a ‘storage and distribution facility’, and as such is a notable exception to businesses that must remain closed (26 March). Further, we operate as an ‘online retail’ business, which the Government actively encourages such businesses to remain open, ‘with postal and delivery services to run as normal’ ( https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance). We will continue to monitor the situation closely.
Shipments from German facility are now suspended with all orders to Europe dispatched out of the UK facility until further notice.
Additional measures are in place to minimise contact between the team for those working in the business locations. Rigorous sanitation measures have been undertaken at all office and warehouse locations (including UK, Netherlands, Germany, Australia and China) to ensure the environments are cleaned thoroughly and frequently, and that all team members are following Public Health guidance on necessary hygiene protocols, practicing safe working, social distancing and regular hand washing. We have also introduced infra-red thermometers as a part of our site risk assessment routine.
This is a challenging time for so many people globally, and we take the health and wellbeing of our staff, suppliers and our customers, very seriously. But also that of the wider community. Please keep in touch, even just for a friendly chat in these increasingly strange times. We are all in this together!
The Peckett Family and the team at Smiffys