| COVID 19 info |
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak our offices, sales offices, building sites and kit factory are temporarily closed. We will begin work again as soon as we are permitted to do so.
Sales staff are working from home and will endeavour to answer all enquiries. However, regrettably we may be slower than normal in getting back to you. Contact details for each of our developments can be found here.
We are saddened and sorry that for some customers we will not be in a position to hand over their home on the date they expected. At this this time enquiries from these customers are our priority.
We hope you and your family are safe.
COVID-19 updates from Chief Executive, Innes Smith
22.05.2020 - COVID-19 Action Plan Update 24
I sit here again, looking at the same four walls, typing into the same laptop! Still missing seeing people, being at work and doing the things I would like to be doing. I am however grateful that the lockdown means my family, my friends and our workforce have stayed healthy. I hope your family, friends and colleagues have stayed healthy too. These have been a tough 8 weeks and we are now moving onto the next stage.
Yesterday the Government announced that we could, from the 28th May, get back on site so that we can prepare for a return to housebuilding. This return date for housebuilding is still not set in stone but all being well it will be confirmed very soon. The return will not be at full capacity and we are going to have to proceed cautiously and carefully. We need to treat the virus as any other risk on our sites and workplaces – seriously. We will not take any unnecessary risks and it is important that we play our part in keeping the virus spread down so that everyone can get on with their lives again.
The great news is that we can begin asking some more of you to return to work. This will initially be the Site and Contract managers, and they will need others to help them get the sites ready for the return of more workers. We will be in touch.
Some Health and Safety staff have already returned and our new Health and Safety Director – Ken Millar has joined the team and will work alongside Brian Rees until he leaves us at the end of June. Welcome Ken –we are going to need your help!
Some sales staff have come back to help us keep in touch with customers so that they are ready to move into their new homes. We are going to be handing over homes again!!!!
Office working is not going to happen until the schools go back so home working for returning employees who are normally office based will be the norm until then. Even then it is likely to be at reduced capacity, however if you need to get anything or need to do anything in the office this is possible with strict physical distancing.
It’s really important that we all remember that these are new unchartered territories for us to work in and we are all going to have to be very understanding, accommodating and patient when we come back. We will provide the facilities and we are going to rely on you to take personal responsibility, keeping your hands clean, not touching your faces and keeping your distance.
As we are returning slowly, not everyone will asked back immediately. I completely understand that this will be frustrating for some of you. This cannot be avoided and I’m sorry. We have received great feedback with regards to your ideas and concerns about returning. I can assure you that we will be flexible and understanding about all situations and will work with you to ensure you are not in an uncomfortable position.
I would like to make a final reminder that if you want to increase your pay while on Furlough then it is a good idea to put in for holidays now.
Please take care over the next few weeks and I hope to see you all sooner rather than later.
13.05.2020 - COVID-19 Action Plan Update 23
I hope you and your families are keeping well.
Yesterday it was announced that the Furlough scheme is going to be extended until end of July, as it is, and then up until October in a different form. The details will be given over the coming days and weeks and we will keep a close eye on this.
The extra time will hopefully give the UK a chance to get more on top of this virus and possibly get back to a more normal lifestyle and housing market.
As you know we are uncertain when we will be able to return to work and are waiting for Scottish Government guidance on this. The safety of you, our subbies, our suppliers and the public are our number one priority at this time. With most of you on Furlough we can’t speak to you directly however we do want to hear from you. England announced a return to work for some sectors and this has led to a lot of confusion. Issues such as child care, transport, vulnerable people, facilities at work, social distance practices have not been fully explained yet.
As your employer, it is not possible for me to come out with a policy that can explain to you, in detail, as an individual, what you must do in every situation. A document covering every possible personal family and work situation would be unworkable. It is for this reason that I want to consult with you on three questions so I can understand what issues affect you directly.
- What you are concerned about?
- Are ready to come back to work?
- What do you want me to do that will reassure you that it is okay to come back?
When you do come back, we are going to want to know that what we have done to make the workplace safe actually works for you and your job. There will be a continuing open dialogue. We want you to tell us if something looks wrong or isn’t practical. There will also be a responsibility on you to look after yourself, be aware, be hygienic and keep your distance. Don’t do something that doesn’t feel right. We are on your side, the workplace is going to be different, there will be changes to make it as safe as possible. We are determined to make it the place where you want to come to work.
Please can you contact your Group Director with any answers you have to the questions above by Friday 22nd May. Site based employees should contact their Managing Director.
Springfield Central & Walker – Peter.Matthews@springfield.co.uk
Springfield North – Dave@springfield.co.uk
Springfield Partnerships – Tom@springfield.co.uk
Dawn Homes - MEgan@dawn-homes.co.uk
Finance & IT - Michelle.Motion@springfield.co.uk
Engineering - Alasdair.Mackie@springfield.co.uk
Design - Mark.Hamilton@springfield.co.uk
Commercial - Ewan.MacLeod@springfield.co.uk
SHEQ - Brian.Rees@springfield.co.uk
Marketing - Jane@springfield.co.uk
Glassgreen - Ian@glassgreen.co.uk
Legal - Andrew.Todd@springfield.co.uk
Thanks for your help with this, together we will get through this.
07.05.2020 - COVID-19 Action Plan Update 22
Another week down. We are getting there.
Sandra O’May is back and working with Brian Rees and the MDs to make sure that we will be ready to get back to work. We need to make sure that you can work in an environment that allows you to keep your distance and keep clean.
Lots of changes will be required but I am absolutely certain we can adapt and get going again. Number 1 priority will be the health of you and your family, then we will look at getting our customers into the homes they have been patiently waiting for.
A lot happens in a short time just now so I know I will be tuning in on Sunday to see what Boris says and then watching closely either side of this to see how Scotland follows or leads!
Looking like it will be two to three weeks so again I would remind you that you can take holidays to supplement your pay if this will help.
Take care in the meantime and please get in touch if we can help you with anything.
01.05.2020 - COVID-19 Action Plan Update 21
It feels a bit like groundhog day today!
I hope you and your families are all well and with another week behind us we are another week closer to getting back.
We are watching closely the work the industry is doing to prepare us for a return. This will obviously be when the Govt deems it right. We will be coming back to a very different situation but one that is far better than sitting at home.
Soon we will be asking some of you to come back to help us get the sites ready. We are going to need space, facilities, simple procedures and resources to give us an environment where we can clean our hands regularly and work whilst keeping our distances. Our customers are waiting for the great houses we provide and we will be ready when allowed.
We have decided that May the 8th will be a mandatory holiday and remind you that if you are on furlough, you can top up your pay by taking holidays just now.
Have a good weekend and as always please get in touch if there is anything we can help you with.
28.04.2020 - COVID-19 Action Plan Update 20
Further information regarding my communication yesterday about holidays and Furlough.
We have had it confirmed that holidays can be taken during Furlough. If you decide to take your holidays this will be at your normal pay so this might be a good way of increasing your income.
Previously we cancelled all holidays during furlough as we did not know how they would affect your Furlough status. All previously booked holidays after June will remain in place.
Should you wish to take holidays in Furlough please contact HR. We can apply these holidays to any remaining April pay or going forward. We are going to have to limit this to a maximum of two weeks. We will be happy to take an email or phone call.
27.04.2020 - COVID-19 Action Plan Update 19
Hope you are all well and safe, day by day, week by week, we are getting through this.
Good news! We have agreed an extension to our bank facilities with Bank of Scotland. This additional funding has been secured to cover us should we have an extended shutdown.
In theory we could continue for 12 months as we are and still be in a good position to restart. Obviously this is a highly unlikely situation and I really hope that it will be safe for us to return in some form in a matter of weeks.
We have also heard that it might be possible for you to claim holidays in Furlough and this will allow us to pay you your normal pay (not the furlough amount). We are looking into this and will get back to you tomorrow. Fingers crossed that this is as good as it sounds.
That’s it for now, see you soon.
23.04.2020 - COVID-19 Action Plan Update 18
I sincerely hope you and your families are keeping safe and well. Putting a positive spin on things, that is us a week closer to ending the lockdown and getting back to work!
It’s pretty obvious that we will not be returning to normal anytime soon and it’s really important that when we do return, we do so in as safe and protective manner as we can. We are making plans for us to return and one thing that will help plan a staged comeback will be to know our employees availability for work.
We won’t be starting our sites, kit factory and offices on day one of return at full capacity. We need to implement a number of new working practices and it is common sense that we do this slowly at first.
This therefore means that we will not be having every employee return to work immediately as it will not be safe to do so and we won’t have enough work. To help us decide on who best to ask back to work it would be helpful for us to know if you have circumstances that make it difficult for you to perform your duties. We have asked for all high risk employees to contact us and we are now asking all employees who will find returning to work in the next few weeks difficult. This could be because of personal health, child care or logistical issues.
If when coming back we are able to decide in a manner that works best for everyone then this is definitely the best way forward. I should make it clear that those not returning to work would remain on furlough until we require you back to work.
In the meantime I just want to repeat that I hope you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy and I look forward to seeing you soon.
PS – should you have any queries, please contact HR on the phone numbers below:
15.04.2020 - COVID-19 Action Plan Update 17
I hope you are all keeping well and safe and getting through these difficult frustrating times.
Three weeks ago the Govt announced a lockdown and we had to take the severe action of offering Furlough instead of redundancy. Whilst there has not been an official announcement from Govt, it is safe to assume that it is unlikely that we will be coming back to work in the immediate future, Furlough will therefore continue for the time being.
We are however making plans for a return and speak weekly to discuss how this might happen. Spain, Italy and Denmark are all relaxing the restrictions to some extent. We are watching closely and speaking with Govt so that we are up to date with actions that we need to consider. What is clear is that things will not be “normal” when we return and we will need to do things differently. I can assure you that we will leave no stone unturned in making sure that we do all we can to ensure our workplaces are as safe as possible.
It would be helpful for us to know if any of you received the “shielded patients” letter from the NHS. If you did, please contact HR by email so that we can help you continue to be protected.
As always I remind you that we are here to help and if there is anything that we need to clarify or if you are facing hardship please contact HR and we will do what we can.
Take Care and I will see you soon.
06.04.2020 - COVID-19 Action Plan Update 16
Good afternoon All
Hopefully everyone is well and doing their bit to ensure that we keep this awful virus spread down. It doesn’t feel like there are many positives out there but I’m pleased to be able to start this week with some good news from our Customer Surveys.
Springfield, Dawn and Walker have each just been awarded the In House Gold Award for Customer Satisfaction over the last year – that means over 95% of our customers would recommend to friends and family the homes that you design, build, sell and then look after.
Springfield and Dawn also received Outstanding Achievement Awards for the positivity of the word of mouth recommendations they receive from customers.
Excellent achievements, and recognition of the effort that everyone at the Group put in to looking after our customers over the last 12 months. Happy customers say good things about us - and they’ve been saying some great stuff to In House, the company that carries out our customer surveys.
Getting to the point of handing over keys to a customer takes time, often years, and it takes many different skills and disciplines. In true Group fashion we all pull together to give our customers what they want – a great house, a nice place to live and excellent customer service.
Reputation will be more important than ever when we get back to normal working – the investment we all make in doing a good job is clearly standing us in good stead for when that time comes.
See you all soon
03.04.2020 - COVID-19 Action Plan Update 15
I hope everyone is keeping well in these extremely challenging times. As difficult as this is, just remember that you doing nothing is saving lives and reducing the strain on our NHS.
Again I thank all of you for the sacrifices you are making and in return for this we are doing all we can to ensure you have a job to return to when we are through this.
Time is passing slowly but this is another week closer to the end of the shutdown.
The Govt is still issuing advice with regards to Furlough and we hope to be in a position later next week where we will be able to give you more information.
Hang on in there, stay safe, stay active and I look forward to seeing you soon.
PS - We are aware that royal mail is taking longer than normal to deliver letters in some areas. As such, the HR team are calling you to obtain your personal email address (if we don’t already have this information) to communicate with you directly.
26.03.2020 - COVID-19 Action Plan Update 14
This will be the last daily update for a while. From now I will update you when I need to communicate something with you.
We are very much in hibernation mode now and the main thing we all need to do is stay at home and reduce the spread. The actions we have taken will help save lives, a very sobering thought!
Over the next couple of days we will be sending letters with regards to Furlough pay. All we know at present is that it will be either 80% of your basic pay or a maximum of £2,500 per month. Once on Furlough you are effectively on a leave of absence and this is an alternative to redundancy. We advise that Holidays cannot be taken in this period although if it is a prolonged period this may change. All pre-booked holidays are therefore effectively cancelled.
Regardless of what advice comes out we have decided to continue with the Employer contributions to your Pension at the same amount as before. We are assuming all employee contributions will cease however if you want us to continue with these then please contact HR or payroll. I am unsure of exactly how this will work but you have my commitment that it will.
In normal circumstances I would never give out financial advice but in this case things are different. I would advise all you who are seeing a reduction in income to look into whether you can take a mortgage holiday, delay car finance payments, delay loan repayments, delay credit card payments. Ask for a reduction on Sky etc. anything is up for grabs.
Most importantly I end with another reminder that the best thing you can do over the next few weeks is stay safe and stay away from others.
25.03.2020 - COVID-19 Action Plan Update 13
I have had a couple of questions following the last update. Someone had thought that we were announcing redundancies.
I clarify as follows:
We are offering employees to go onto Government Job retention scheme known as Furloughing. This is instead of redundancy or lay-offs which would have been the previous choices open to us.
This scheme can be referred to here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance- to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-employees
We want to retain all staff (you) so when we start up again we can continue with our business. Once we have further details we will communicate these with you.
25.03.2020 - COVID-19 Action Plan Update 12
Yesterday was undoubtedly the most difficult day we have had as a business. Yesterday was almost probably one of the most difficult days that you as an individual has had. Yesterday was probably one of the most difficult days for our partners such as the Sub-contractors and Suppliers. For those customers who were expecting to move in over the coming weeks this was also very difficult.
The way all of you has dealt this though has been tremendous. I’m proud to work with a company and people that understand the seriousness of the situation we are facing. People will die from this virus and we all can help in keeping these numbers down. In 3 weeks or longer we will be able to start up again and take off from where we were. Our lives will return to normal. For those that suffer from the virus this is not a given.......
For site staff, factory workers, fencers we have decided today Mar 25th to put you on Furlough instead of Redundancies or lay offs.
For the office staff we will have told you who will be going on Furlough instead of Redundancy from next Wednesday (you have been paid to 31st March).
We don’t know what happens with holidays and a lot of other issues. Please bear with us while we wait for further information. We will share it with you as soon as we have it. You will receive a letter this week confirming your status and options. We intend to use our website and direct text/email service to communicate with you all going forward. I would urge anyone who has not been receiving these daily emails or text messages to get in touch with HR as soon as possible.
Thank you for your commitment to the company. Really look forward to seeing you soon.
24.03.2020 - COVID-19 Action Plan Update 11
Following Nicola Sturgeons advice we will be closing all sites, sales offices, kit factory and offices today. I am aware that Michael Gove has given conflicting advice.
We know what the right thing is to do and we will do it. We want to help save lives we want to be on the right side of history.
Today we are asking site managers to come in and make the sites safe and secure. This may take some labour but this work is essential and should be done. If we can hand over a house that is complete then we will but if we can’t then we can’t.
We are basically pressing the pause button and we will be ready to press play again when it is right.
Given the lateness of the announcement we have had next to no time to prepare for this.
We will be contacting each of you before the week is out to explain the “Furlough” situation and some of you may be required to continue working to ensure that we can pay employees, subbies and suppliers and communicate with customers etc.
I really apologise for the lack of clarity at this point but thank you for your understanding and patience.
We will get through this and be ready to start up again in an orderly manner. Take care, we are saving lives by taking these actions.
23.03.2020 - COVID-19 Action Plan Update 10
We have probably all by now heard that Nicola Sturgeon has announced that building sites should close down.
We are doing our best to find out exactly what this means.
Further guidance is required as to when, what construction sites and how long we will get to make sure they are closed down safely.
Keep working and assume that we are working to complete Friday handovers.
Take care and thanks
23.03.2020 - COVID-19 Action Plan Update 9
Following the update from Innes, we are keen to provide you further clarification on what you can do in the following circumstances:
High Risk Employees – those that receive a letter this week from the NHS regarding shielding and telling you to self-isolate for 12 weeks;
Vulnerable Employees – those that the government advise are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus;
Self-Isolation – those that are displaying symptoms or a member of their household is;
Childcare issues – those employees that have to look after children due to the school closures.
High Risk Employees
There are some clinical conditions which put people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19. If you are in this category, the NHS will directly contact you this week to tell you to self-isolate for 12 weeks.
These individuals include:
People who have received an organ transplant and remain on ongoing immunosuppression medication;
People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radiotherapy;
People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia who are at any stage of treatment;
People with severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma (requiring hospital admissions or courses of steroid tablets);
People with sever diseases of body systems, such as severe kidney disease (dialysis).
If you receive contact or a letter from the NHS, please self-isolate and call HR as soon as possible.
If you can work from home, then you must do so;
You will be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from your first day of absence for up to 28 weeks;
You can take accrued holidays during this time to provide you with additional pay;
Mortgage companies are allowing people to take 3 month mortgage payment holidays to help you through this time;
Universal credit may also be available for those on SSP. Please see visit for further information https://www.gov.uk/how-to-claim-universal-credit.
We will look at cases of hardship on an individual basis.
The government is advising those who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.
This group includes those who are:
Aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions);
Under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (i.e. anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds);
o Chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis;
o Chronic heart disease, such as heart failure;
o Chronic kidney disease, such as hepatitis;
o Chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy;
o Problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed;
o A weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy;
o Being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above); Those who are pregnant.
If you can work from home, then you should do so;
If you continue to work, ensure that you follow the social distancing rules stringently;
If you choose to self-isolate, you will receive SSP for the first 14 days. If you continue to self- isolate after this period, you will require a sick note from your GP in order to receive SSP thereafter.
Self-Isolation (7 -14 days)
The government advice is clear here, if you any of the following symptoms, you must stay at home and self-isolate for 7 days if you live alone:
A high temperature;
A new, continuous cough;
If you live with others, those other people must also self-isolate but for a period of 14 days.
If someone you live with has any symptoms they should self-isolate for 7 days and you and any others in the house should self-isolate for 14 days.
You cannot just choose to self-isolate without meeting any of the above criteria. If you require any further clarification, please speak to HR.
If you can work from home, then you should do so;
If you can’t work from home, you will receive SSP for the period of self-isolation.
We understand that with the school closures, some employees will need to help with childcare. As this is time of for dependents and not sickness absence, SSP is NOT payable in this situation.
Unpaid leave is available;
You can use accrued holidays to provide you with pay during this time;
Again, look at the mortgage holidays available to all and if you are entitled to universal credit assistance during this time.
We hope this helps clarify the current situation.
If you have any questions, please call Central belt HR on 01324 555 536 or North HR on 01343 552 550.
We will continue to update you as we receive further information
23.03.2020 - COVID-19 Action Plan Update 8
A lot happens in a very short time. These are difficult times but we need to do our bit to ensure that we reduce the spread, protect our employees, subcontractors and suppliers, and keep our build going for our customers.
A lot more detail has been issued over the weekend and I will try and summarise it. As always, please contact HR if any of this is unclear or if you have circumstances that are not covered.
We need to ensure that we work in a manner that supports social distancing. Health and Safety, HR and Marketing will be increasing their focus in this area to ensure that procedures to protect all the above are clearly communicated and followed. If we as an industry can demonstrate that we can work within the guidelines then we will be able to continue working.
There are a number of different categories that each of you may be in, some may be unclear, speak to HR if in doubt.
1.5m people will be receiving a letter this week to inform you if you are high risk. HR will follow up with a list identifying what is included in high risk. If you are in this category then you need to stay home for 12 weeks. Your family do not need to self-isolate. This means that if someone in your family is High Risk then you do not have to self-isolate. If you can work from home then you should do so. If you do not receive a letter then contact your doctor. Play it safe.
Govt advice is that you should socially distance. We are setting it up so that you can work on site, factory and in the office safely and if you can work from home then you should do so.
If you or your family members have a cough or fever then self isolate for 7 days if alone or the first person to show symptoms, 14 days if a family member shows first. If you can work from home then you should do so.
If you have to care for your children then you can’t come to work. If you can work from home then you should do so.
These are extraordinary circumstances and the Govt has stepped in to support business with a range of subsidies. I will try and cover these by category. Please contact HR if this is not clear.
If there are cases of hardship please contact us and we will try and help.
There are a number of measures that the Govt has put in place. If you can work from home and there is work for you then pay will be as normal. If you can’t work from home then it will be Statuatory Sick Pay. Holidays should be taken in this 12 week period to support your pay. There will be options to delay credit card payments and finance leases etc, you should explore these. If you have a member of your family and they are high risk and you do not want to come to work then we won’t force you. This will be treated as unpaid leave, please contact us for any cases of hardship.
Govt advice is that you should socially distance. Stay 2m away from other people. This is inconvenient but we should be able to continue working on our sites, factory and in our offices. If you have special circumstances please contact HR. If you can work from home then you should do so. The advice as at today, is you can choose to self-isolate for 14 days and receive SSP, however if you intend to continue to self-isolate after this 14 day period, a sick note will be required from your GP.
If you can work from home and there is work to be done then you will be paid. If you cannot work from home then this will be SSP.
If you can work from home and there is work to be done then you will be paid. If you cannot work from home then this is treated as unpaid leave. Holidays should be taken in this 12 week period to support your pay. There will be options to delay credit card payments and finance leases etc, you should explore these. Please contact us for any cases of hardship.
As things stand we have missived properties that we need to build and large affordable contracts. Providing we keep social distancing then we are able to keep working. If we get to a point that there is not productive work to be done then we have the option to offer Furlough pay instead of redundancy. This is 80% of normal pay up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. We are waiting to see the details as to how this scheme will work and what the rules are.
Our objective is to keep our sites running safely with Social Distancing. We have customers that depend on us and a business that needs to operate under these challenging conditions. We want to ensure that everyone will have a job to come back to at the end of this. I thank everyone that is going the extra yard to make sure we get through this. We have a great workforce and I also thank all of you for your loyalty. We are here for cases of hardship, contact us, we will do our best to help.
Take care everyone
20.03.2020 - COVID-19 Action Plan Update 7
As details are coming out tonight we are still unclear as to exactly who will be able to get the 80% or £2,500 per month. It was said at the briefing that it was for all people affected by the Corona Virus.
On looking at some of the press reports we are not sure if this is only for people who would be laid off or if it is for people unable to work through ill health, vulnerability or childcare.
We are still waiting for the Govt Corona Virus official guidance.
I am really sorry about this uncertainty and will do my best to update you as soon as we understand more fully what this means.
20.03.2020 - COVID-19 Action Plan Update 6
The Corona Virus briefing has just been given and the actions are as follows:
All staff who are unable to work from home will be entitled to 80% of their normal pay up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.
This covers all COVID 19 related situations i.e. illnesses since March 1st, absences, vulnerable people from next week and parents from next week.
This is through to May 31st and can be extended.
In addition to this the three month mortgage holiday is available for anyone who is unable to work in the 12 week period from Monday.
We will need to get a fuller understanding of this next week. This is my best interpretation of what I have just heard from the Governments press conference.
If there are any amounts to be backdated we will sort next week in advance of March payday. Not sure how payroll will manage but I’m sure they will!! (Thanks)
This is an unprecedented situation and these are unprecedented actions. I really hope these will allay some of your financial fears over the coming months.
We will continue to be here to listen to any hardships and help where possible.
20.03.2020 - COVID-19 Action Plan Update 5
Last night I watched the briefing and I picked up something that Boris said very clearly. When asked about a lockdown in London he answered “I will not stop people from working”. Now I understand the dangers of believing politicians but for now we have to take him at his word.
There is great uncertainty over payments for staff who are going to adhere to the advice for vulnerable people and also for parents with kids in school, we want to help support you. The Government is going to make an Employment and Wages Subsidy announcement today. Already they have said for vulnerable people there will be a 3 month Mortgage holiday and they have also changed SSP rules.
We will update you later in the day when we understand the implications of the Employment and Wages Subsidy Announcement. If this is after working hours, please ensure you view our update at www.springfield.co.uk/covid19. If you have any immediate concerns or cases of hardship, please contact HR, we are here to help.
It is really important that we are all as flexible as we can be over the next few months and our goal will be to retain employment and help our staff as much as we can. People who can work at home and are in these categories should do so.
It was really pleasing to hear that good conversations were had with sites, subbies, councils and suppliers. We need to work together to get through this and I’m hearing great stories about how site and office are making adjustments to fit the business.
We got this!
19.03.2020 - COVID-19 Action Plan Update 4
I want to start today by reassuring you where we are as a business. We have a lot of good contracts with the Government building affordable houses. We have a large amount of missived and reserved houses out past our year end of May. We actually have a really busy healthy workload going out.
The Govt has said it will support good businesses if there are disruptions to their cashflow. We have good results to November and our projections to May are strong. Clearly we are having to adjust to a lot of things and I am proud with how all of you are adjusting. We have a great workforce and you will pull us through to the other side.
Rumours can be negative but they can also be positive. Please spread the word that we are up for this and have good solid business going forward.
Another thing I want to address is the social distancing that we are doing. Keeping movements between people and sites and offices and sales cabins is a sensible thing to do. We can still pass paperwork we just need to clean our hands before and after handling the paper. Remember wash your hands and don’t touch your face and keep a good distance from others. Use your phones and speak to each other. Trust me you can feel lonely at home, I’m only on day 2 and its tough. If this saves a life though it is worth it.
More announcements from the Govt, the most notable being the closure of schools for all non-key worker kids or vulnerable kids. We like everyone else are still waiting to hear from the Government what support will be available. For those that can work from home we will make adjustments, for those that can’t get in touch with HR.
Lots of good suggestions coming forward from all staff, please keep them coming. We got this!
18.03.2020 - COVID-19 Action Plan Update 3
The Government last night announced unprecedented measures to protect business and livelihoods. The £330Bn offer of loans will help ensure that companies get through this. Whilst I do not at this stage believe we will need to take these loans it is very reassuring to know that there is protection in place.
We are going to face some tough times ahead and this will involve sacrifices and gestures of good will from us all.
The Government announced that for vulnerable groups who are advised to take the 12 weeks off there will be a mortgage holiday for this period. They also said that there would be further updates on financial assistance later in the week. We are still assessing who is vulnerable and will be speaking to each of you direct. This is Govt advice at present however we may decide in very serious risk cases to insist that you do not come to work. This is not definitive though and until the Govt makes a firm statement we will listen and work with you direct.
Sales staff need to be extra vigilant and ensure hand sanitisers are used and pens are not shared etc. As long as the Govt advice is that we keep going on as “normal” then we will follow this advice.
Please speak to your managers if you have any concerns, we are here to help and want to keep you reassured that we are doing everything to protect your Health and wellbeing.
17.03.2020 - COVID-19 Action Plan Update 2
We are all obviously extremely concerned on many grounds about how this situation is progressing. The Group Directors will meet each morning to discuss the Prime Minister’s updates that are occurring each night.
I intend to update all staff daily on the actions we are taking to protect us all.
Working from Home
A clear instruction has been issued by the Govt that people should work from home where possible. IT are available to advise on laptops and how they work remotely.
You can also take your desktop home and plug it into your router, clearly IT will have to advise how that works. You will also be able to “remote desktop” into the network from your own home computer (if you have one). Best thing to do is trial this as soon as possible.
Your manager will discuss with you if this is suitable and it could be that you only come into the office a couple of times a week.
Reducing Movement between offices and sites.
Office people need to stay in one office and not move between them. Peter Matthews will be looking after Walker, Martin Egan -Dawn, Tom – Central partnerships, Dave – North, Me – Larbert.
Site people need to stay on site and sales need to stay in sale areas. Use the phone more, stay in contact.
The company needs to identify who is vulnerable and we need your help with this.
Please fill out the form sent today and we will discuss your personal situation. This is the most controversial area and we recognise this. For example chronic/severe asthma is a condition but asthma in itself is not. For people who care for, or are in constant proximity of, Vulnerable people speak to HR if you are concerned. We are awaiting advice from Govt today on what financial measures are being put in place to protect people.
Govt advice is that we should avoid all non-essential contact. To this end unless a customer has an emergency we should not be entering people’s homes. Further advice will be made specifically to the Aftersales teams.
Timesheet thumb Print
Wipes will be made available next to these and we should stagger the use of them. If neither of these are an option the Site manager will be able to manually update the records.
Our Private customers are also depending on us to give them the houses that they have arranged finance for. On the affordable side there is a massive demand for people to move into much needed housing.
This is a constantly changing environment and we really appreciate all of your efforts to get through this. Be kind to each other and keep communicating, we all need to help each other and I have complete faith that we will get through this.
Please, as always ensure that these updates are distributed and displayed for all our site employees to see. Again, this information will be made available on our website shortly.
16.03.2020 - COVID-19 Action Plan Update 1
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Group has been following government guidelines and advice. As the situation escalates and new advice and measures are put in place, we will continue to do what we can to minimize the risk to our employees, sub-contractors and customers and the spread of the virus in general.
It’s important that we adapt our working practices where we can. Below highlights some of the key measures that we as a Group must put in place with immediate effect. If you are in any doubt about any of the points please contact your manager.
Continue to wash hands thoroughly with soap for at least 20 seconds and often.
Always wash your hands when you get into work, before you leave and when you get home.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards.
Handshakes and other physical contact to be avoided where possible.
Try to remain at least 1 metre from people in the office, again where possible.
Make your own hot drinks.
All non-essential travel should be cancelled. All employees should remain in their place of work and avoid entering other Springfield premises. For example, unless there are exceptional circumstances, office employees should avoid sites and sales offices, and site employees should avoid main offices and entering sales premises.
Use of pool cars temporarily suspended.
Travel to events/awards/presentations/seminars etc. should be avoided.
Inductions in the Elgin office will be suspended for the time being.
Many employees travel to work together, particularly site employees. Please keep
windows down to allow fresh air circulate.
Review all internal meetings. Only business critical meetings should take place. Attendees should be 1 metre apart, windows open and duration should be no longer than 15 minutes.
Look at other means of communication, i.e. phone calls, skype calls, email, discussion papers etc.
Sandy and Innes’ annual team meetings are postponed until later in the year.
No employee recognition gatherings should take place at this time.
Meetings with external people should also only take place if absolutely necessary.
HR and others will not participate in external presentations/school visits etc. until the situation has improved.
We want to protect all employees, and we understand that additional measures may be required for those who may be vulnerable. We will ask employees to tell us, confidentially, if they have any underlying conditions or circumstance that would make them more vulnerable. You do not have to share anything if you don’t wish to but, where possible, we want to assess what preventative measures, if any, could be put in place to reduce these risk factors. A questionnaire will follow.
We will put on hold all non-business critical recruitment. Those with job offers can continue to start, however others will be held until the situation settles. If you require any urgent recruitment, please seek the approval of your Managing Director.
No work experience students or placements should be taken on at this time.
Where agency workers are required, the commercial department should seek full assurance from the agency that the worker does not have any symptoms, has not
travelled from an infected area and has not been in contact with anyone with the virus.
Communication with staff
It is Manager’s responsibility to ensure that any key communication reaches all employees.
Posters have been displayed on our office and sales office doors asking visitors not to enter if they have any symptoms of COVID-19.
Posters have also been displayed in canteens, toilets reminding employees how they can best protect themselves and others.
Aftersales & Sales Teams
All aftersales teams are already checking with customers that there is no potential or current self-isolation in place at the property. No employee, sub-contractor, supplier or anyone under our instruction should enter a property that is in self-isolation. In the event of an urgent issue at one of our properties that is in self isolation, the Aftersales team should contact NHBC or Premier in the first instance and as a matter of urgency.
We require an immediate review of our pre-handover and handover processes. To minimize potential exposure to the virus for our employees and customers these meetings with customers should be greatly reduced in time and a safe distance kept from customers. They should highlight the key information with full information provided by other means, i.e. information sheets, phone briefings etc. Customers need to feel more reassured than ever that their new home has been thoroughly cleaned.
Councils and housing associations clients should be notified by our Partnerships team of our inability to enter any properties where there is self-isolation in place.
Training / Screening
Non-essential site based and office training should be put on hold at this time. Some training has already been cancelled due to gatherings being actively avoided.
Those attending college/university should continue to do so as per guidelines, however please speak to your manager or education provider if you have any concerns.
CPD events should also be cancelled.
Occupational health screening will not take place in the office or across sites for the time being.
Our IT team are already making plans to keep our operations running as smoothly as possible should home working be required by some employees.
Managers should/have identified key personnel. Laptops will be considered for these employees if they do not already have one.
IT will also test desktop ability at home should the need arise, along with testing the impact on the terminal server should increase remote access be required.
As per the IT email last week, all employees should test to see if they can access emails and files from home and let IT and their Managers know of any issues as soon as possible.
Site Management should ensure that key communication reaches our employees.
Managers should stagger tea and lunch breaks for workers on their sites in order to ensure staff canteens are not overcrowded and encourage social distancing.
Site based employees travel between sites should be minimized as far as reasonably practical (i.e. scaffolders, fencers, civils etc.).
As on our sites, the office canteens should not be full of employees. Social distancing is encouraged and it is suggested that employees don’t eat at tables unless there is 1metre distance between each employee. People are free to eat at their desks or elsewhere.
Internal doors will be kept open to avoid the use of door handles and where door handles can be replaced with push pads, this will be looked into. Please dress appropriately for the inevitable cooler office environment.
We have already communicated that phones and IT equipment should not be shared, with the exception of reception where disinfectant wipes will be provided.
Dishes and cutlery must be washed in the dishwasher, or if unavailable, you must wash, dry and put away to avoid the spread of any germs or viruses. If this instruction is not followed, all crockery and cutlery will be removed and employees asked to bring their own. Please do not leave any dirty cups on desks/meeting rooms.
Please note, no babies or dogs should be present in offices or sites during this time.
Employees are encouraged to eat their breakfast at home.
Purchasing / supplies
Our purchasing team will continue to focus on keeping us equipped with essential supplies throughout this time.
There are clear shortages in some PPE, i.e. masks and other items such as hand wash and hand sanitizer.
Our purchasing department will continue to try and source these items and distribute appropriately.
Please continue to speak to your cleaners about extra cleaning that may be required.
Site facilities should be cleaned regularly. Please speak to your Construction Manager should you have any concerns about hygiene.
As soon as possible, our purchasing department will issues sites with disinfectant wipes for use at fingerprint TMS points, and hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer will also be distributed to our site offices, cabins, offices and sales offices as an extra precautionary measure as soon as it is available.
Current guidance is that if you display either a fever, persistent cough (without phlegm) or breathing difficulties, you should self-isolate for 7 days. In this event, please contact your Manager and HR should be informed as soon as possible by phone. You will be asked about your symptoms and your self-isolation period will be recorded.
We must stress that if you are told to self-isolate, this means isolation at your home, and ensuring that you do not leave your home for the period of time, unless medically told to do so.
Managers need to complete the return to work form with employees over the phone and prior to the employees return to work. HR will provide further guidance.
Potentially schools may close for a period at some point in the future to help delay the spread of the virus, or due to teacher shortages. We understand that some employees may need to look after their children if no other options are available.
Please note that this absence from work should again be reported to your Manager and HR informed as soon as possible.
This absence is not treated as sick leave and therefore SSP is not available. This leave is called time off for dependents. We do not have enough information yet about the potential length of school closures or if any government assistance will be available in terms of pay for such absence. We will await further information. In the meantime, employees should look at contingency plans open to them.
As discussed above, any absences must be reported and communicated as per company absence reporting procedures.
Managers should understand clearly the reason for the absence, i.e. self-isolation, time off for dependents, or sickness absence unrelated to COVID-19 so pay can be processed accordingly.
If you end up self-isolated due to COVID-19 and have holidays booked off at that time, we will be flexible and consider if these days can be taken at another time.
If there is a shutdown of the business for a period of time e.g. 2 weeks, we will ask all employees to utilise their holiday entitlement in this situation.
Return to work meetings and forms MUST be completed by phone the day before an employee returns from any absence. These forms should be completed fully detailing all relevant information to ensure the employee is safe to return to work and the form passed to HR. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak to a member of the HR team.
Similarly, if you are planning on travelling, please ensure that you speak to your manager as soon as possible about where you are travelling to and how this may affect any return to work.
I understand that these measures are new and will cause disruption, however we believe it is key to make these adjustments now.
Additionally, this is not a definitive list and further changes may be required going forward. We will remain transparent about the measures we put in place as we work together to protect our workforce and the business during this unprecedented time, and welcome any viable suggestions in addition to these points. Any suggestions, please speak to your manager about submitting these through our Ideas forum.
Chief Executive Officer