One in four adults feel lonely some or all of the time. There’s no single cause and there’s no one solution. After all we’re all different! But the longer we feel lonely, the more we’re at risk of mental health problems. Some people are also higher at risk of feeling more lonely than others.
At the Aircon Group you could say that we have been immune to the pandemic. Our customers, many of them in food manufacturing, retail and care services needed our support more than ever during the pandemic. Our engineers were very rarely on furlough and the only real difference was that they had to travel alone in their vans as opposed to sharing a vehicle when working together at the customers premises.
We began trials of AirSafe early in the pandemic, something the business had been considering but we expedited the trials and testing when we realised there was a real need for change. The office staff worked from home for the first two weeks of the pandemic but were encouraged to return as soon as possible and once AirSafe had been installed.
While in the beginning, the accounts department may have thought it a novelty to work from home, the service department may have enjoyed not doing the daily commute and the sales team were actively involved in networking online, Steve Farrell, Managing Director wasn’t convinced and wanted his teams back in the office.
Measures were put in place to distance desks, put up plastic screens, a one-way system was introduced, additional checks introduced when entering the premises, and face masks stayed in place a lot longer than in other businesses. But, as a team, our staff members thrived!
Psychological Safety is extremely important to us at the Aircon Group. Employees feel comfortable asking for help, sharing suggestions informally, or challenging the status quo without fear of negative social consequences, but we feel this is achieved more effectively by having teams in the offices.
Innovation is key in refrigeration and air conditioning at the moment with energy prices rising and the need for better maintenance to prevent the spread of Covid. We feel that offering a Psychological Safe place to work increases innovation, supports the need to innovate quickly and enables staff members to adapt well to change.
By creating a network of teams, employees are able to work with a range of people across the business and in different branches. Having an agile organisational structure that empowers teams to tackle problems quickly also ensures that employees communicate, work together and feel like part of a team, which we hope will combat loneliness amongst our employees.
As a business, we make service calls to customers, many of which we found to be working at home. Our friendly sales and service teams are more than happy to have a chat to those working alone, we appreciate that we may have been the only person they spoke to that day, so we ensure that calls are light-hearted and informal.
Erica Legg, Sales and Marketing Manager joined the Aircon Group in March 2021: “When I was told I would be working from the office because AirSafe was installed in the air conditioning system I was surprised, but after a year working from home it was a delight, being able to run down the corridor to ask a colleague a question, to have meetings in person where we could share ideas and just to have a chat over lunch or coffee with another adult was like a breath of fresh air. I am so pleased that Aircon Group adopted a policy for staff to work in the office, I very rarely work from home now.”