Fashion and homeware store Oliver Bonas has now reopened half of its 80 stores in the UK and Ireland, with safer working measures in place to protect staff and customers.
Oliver Tress, Founder and MD reveals the steps it has taken to reopen safely:
“We have around 1,200 staff and we are bringing back team members on a store by store basis.
Some stores have reduced teams due to the lower number of people allowed in each store at any one time, and because there are reduced trading hours in some stores. Some team members are also unable to work as they are shielding at home, or because they have childcare or caring responsibilities. We have kept those team members on furlough through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Our health and safety team worked with our facilities and operations teams to undertake risk assessments and to make sure we are operating at the highest standards, ensuring we are COVID-secure.
We also liaised with shopping centres and partners (such as Network Rail) to reflect local requirements.”
The measures Oliver Bonas has put in place include:
- Restricting the number of customers allowed inside shops
- Installing hand sanitiser stations in all stores
- Cleaning stores regularly, with special care and extra attention for the busiest areas. Baskets are also cleaned in between each use
- Closing fitting rooms temporarily
- Accepting cashless payments in all stores, where possible
- Installing clear signage inside and outside stores indicating social distancing measures and ensuring staff can assist customers that need extra help navigating the measures
- Providing all team members with face shields to wear if they wish, so they can help customers on the store floor, rather than just staying at till points. This will particularly help customers who may only be able to reach certain parts of the store.
Oliver added: “The work was led by our director of operations and team, supported by our retail team. This ensured that the measures worked in store, rather than just in theory.
We have developed extensive training materials for our store teams and shared these through our internal online training platform. This includes videos, walk throughs and guides to all new procedures as well as clear guidance on how to manage operations in our stores.”
The government has published COVID-19 secure guidance to support businesses to reopen and for workers to feel confident, safe and empowered to return to work.
If you run a business and would like to know which of the coronavirus support schemes you are eligible for, you can use the business support finder tool. It takes just minutes to complete and will help you easily find support for your business.