Facilities management is the silent workforce that keeps the world clean, secure, fed and maintained. This support hasn’t stopped during either of the National Lockdowns, all of our colleagues at Atalian Servest have continued to work on the frontline during these periods of enhanced risk. Equipped with PPE, our frontline colleagues, including cleaners, security guards, engineers and chefs have continued to go above and beyond every day to support our clients in challenging times.
We caught up with Jen Bates, Sector Managing Director, within our cleaning division on her experience on continuing to work on the front line. Jen’s #HappyHygieneOps teams have worked tirelessly and we have continued to be inspired by the images of everyone working hard to support the rest of the population.
Jen told us “Due to the increased demand of the Atalian Servest Hygiene offering, we have had to be both proactive and reactive in supporting our client sites that remained open, and those who were planning to re-open, we have taken all of the lessons learnt during the first lockdown to be even more agile and responsive as we look to move into the new tier system”.
Reflecting on this busy time, Jen said “Continuing to work during these lockdown periods has certainly been busy and stressful for myself and my team. The biggest challenge has been keeping up with Government guidelines to ensure all our colleagues were protected and safe; my concern was ensuring that any communications and announcements were accurate and correct.”
Jen also explained how she switches off after a stressful day, “Luckily, I am a keen runner, which certainly helped me. My stress levels were higher than usual, but I manage to run off any stress I was feeling. It helps me clear my head and think straight.”
The impact on mental health and well being has been well documented this year and MIND, one of our charities of the year, has reported that the pandemic is having a significant impact on people’s mental health, particularly on frontline workers. Supporting our colleague’s mental health is a commitment we don’t take lightly, we have various mental health first aiders across the business.
We asked Alan Ives, Security Account Manager, what being a mental health first aider really entails.
Alan told us, “I guess I am not the stereotypical mental health first aider, I am a 6’2” 18 stone man, but everyone I work with knows they can approach me at any time and I will actively listen. Being in a male-dominated environment can often be challenging; mental health isn’t something that is typically discussed which, is why I lead by example by starting and facilitating conversations.”
Alan went on to say, “I make a point of visiting my teams as often as possible, you can learn a lot about someone by just listening, never underestimate the power of being heard”.
We also asked Alan how his mental health has been affected during the pandemic, and what he did to switch off after work, “Within my division, I am always around people with a positive mindset and people who can problem-solve, being able to lean on each other during difficult times has helped me feel well supported and I have maintained a positive outlook.”
Alan continued, “I think it is important to empower our teams to make the correct decisions; by doing so, it allows us to step back. During all of this, I have made sure I do take that step back which has allowed me to spend time doing the things I love; going to the gym, cycling with my daughters and just having quality family time to unwind.”