As you will have seen or heard on the news last week, an extension of at least three weeks has been announced to the restrictions currently in place across the UK to fight the Coronavirus. Over the course of a month or so our everyday lives have changed dramatically, and we are all feeling the impact of Coronavirus not just on ourselves but on loved ones and our communities.
To give you an update, across the Group we now have 1,600 people working from home or remotely from their normal place of work and over 3,000 people furloughed out of our 9,200 direct employees.
Whilst each division has been impacted, the effect has been different.
Within the Telecom Division, by changing the way we work and altering our procedures, work has fundamentally continued as normal. The Transport Division has seen work continue in the Rail and Highways sectors, however, work within Aviation has reduced greatly. Our work load across the Water and Energy Divisions is varied. Some non-emergency customer facing works, such as meter reading and new meter installations, have been temporarily suspended; however, our works to ensure essential services are operating effectively, continue very much as before.
The varying impact demonstrates the benefit of being a part of a large Group. We have the resilience to withstand significant challenges; we are stronger as a Group, and together we are able to help each other through these difficult times.
I do want to say thank you to you all for your tenacity and flexibility. We are all having to find a ‘new normal’ – be that adjusting work procedures on-site or in the office, utilising our IT infrastructure and innovation to work apart from each other, or being furloughed for the period our works have been suspended. The professionalism and understanding shown by each and every one of you demonstrates yet again why this is a great business to be a part of.
I am convinced some of the new operating procedures we have introduced will not be of a short-term nature. The world is now different and as an example; it is unlikely that social distancing will suddenly stop being of relevance in the months to come. Recognising this change, we must find ways to continue delivering our services, once the current restrictions are removed.
Our focus continues to be on maintaining the infrastructure of the UK and Ireland. Now more than ever in these difficult times we should not forget the significance of the word essential or critical. We must continue to play our part in ensuring people are warm, have clean water, can put the lights on, use the internet and travel safely.
As key workers, you are all playing your part in supporting the efforts in the fight against Coronavirus. You should all feel proud of the way you are dealing with this unprecedented situation.
One of our aims is to keep our people, clients and supply chain partners as up to date as possible. Our senior leadership teams, people services and communications teams, are continually providing updates and communications both internally and externally to support everyone during this time, please take the time to keep updated.
Please continue to stay safe, remember why these measures have been put in place, maintain your focus on properly risk assessing your works and follow the approved guidelines.
Thank you once again for your continued support and commitment, together we will get through this.
Chief Executive Officer