October Update. As with many industries, we have struggled with the lack of applicants for vacancies. We are still considerably understaffed. We are working through our hedge cuts (some customers have hedges that take several days), but there will be delays and we apologise for this. We also had a little blip with fuel shortages – although this mostly impacted ride-on and flail work. We still are not taking on additional work/new gardens and we have been unable to visit some ad hoc customers. Much less than ideal and 2021 has been considerably more challenging than 2020. One day we’ll be able to enjoy being Employee-owned and not have viruses, a broken job market or fuel shortages to deal with.
July Update. From an operational point of view, the summer of 2021 appears to be our toughest period yet. We have several unfilled vacancies and are operating with the fewest number of staff for several years. Add some spring-like weather (but with summer temperatures!) and the guys are under enormous pressure in the gardens. We’ve not been taking on any additional work and some occasional ad hoc jobs we may be unfortunately be unable to address this year. As we approach contracted hedge-cutting and other seasonal demands, we are expecting some less than ideal delays and disruption due to the staff shortage. This is beyond our control and we apologise for any inconvenience, the autumn will likely be more disrupted if the job situation doesn’t improve. We are not taking on any additional work so that we can prioritise our existing customers.
April Update. All permanent staff are working. We are struggling to find additional staff and seasonal helpers; this will limit the amount of project work and new customers we can take on. We are grateful to have remained busy throughout the disruption and that none of our staff have had the virus. Lateral flow tests are available to staff. Some staff have received vaccinations. We have, however, had periods where staff need time to await test results and the such. We are therefore running on a skeleton staff at times and service levels may not be quite what we would hope.
We continue to take steps in response to the threat of the Coronavirus in order to protect our staff, families, clients and wider community; something we take very seriously.
It should be noted, that we work outdoors and usually only have minimal day-to-day client interaction. We have also added some additional measures to further remove contact. As such, we will continue with maintenance visits until we are advised otherwise.
These unfortunate circumstances coincide with a time when we are seeing lots of activity and growth in gardens and are very busy. We will be under some pressure to ensure we keep up our standards of service. We will have to limit the amount of additional work we undertake.
We will follow government advice on isolating any staff from work that have symptoms of persistent cough and/or fever. Staff who are particularly concerned or have family members in at-risk groups may be able to work alone.
We kindly ask all customers to cease all on-site contact with our staff. Please direct any requests via WhatsApp (<Click that) or email firstname.lastname@example.org Messages can then be forwarded instantly to the staff in your garden. Please do not call the WhatsApp number or the office for messages to be passed on unless in an emergency. We can likely facilitate a phone call with staff in your garden if desired.
We thank many of you for providing the teams with a hot or cold drink whilst they work in your gardens, however, in the current climate I ask that even these gratefully-received gestures are put on hold.
We will postpone jobs that require access in or through clients’ homes.
Wherever possible, teams will travel separately to jobs. Not so great for the environment in the short-term, but safety first!
As the situation is ever-evolving, things are likely to change fast. We will do our best to keep up our service levels.
Please do understand that due to potential staff shortages we may have to work on skeleton staff at some stage in order to protect others. Days and times of visits are likely to vary. We keep an accurate record of all visit lengths; if, for any reason, your visit is shorter than expected to ensure we can get through our maintenance rounds, we will make up this time as soon as possible.
Beyond our service delivery, many of us have school-age children and have now been presented with challenging childcare arrangements.
We also ask all our customers to be considerate in settling any invoices as soon as they can to ensure we can keep all our staff wages and business costs covered in these uncertain times.
No staff will attend HQ unless absolutely necessary. Only one additional member of staff is permitted in buildings at any given time. Staff will travel independently to jobs or collect their working partner from home if additional strict measures are adhered to. There is no communal time at HQ under any circumstances. Anyone visiting HQ is required to wash their hands immediately on arrival and again before leaving.
Hands-free dryers have been installed in all toilet and kitchen locations at HQ. Single-use and latex gloves are available to all staff for touching surfaces/doors/gates.
Additional measures are likely and we will update this page from time to time.
Last Update: 13/10/21