Right across Britain, companies closed their doors on 23rd March without knowing when they’d be able to reopen. Coronavirus cases were beginning to surge out of control, and we all headed for the safety of our homes.
Well, most of us did. At Saltire, it was never as simple as just hunkering down and waiting for the situation to improve. Nor could we just shut down the contracts and jobs we were right in the middle of. Sites had to be made safe and vulnerable residents had to be taken care of, as we completed works before lockdown began.
Continuing to care for our customers
Not only that – at the heart of what we do is providing emergency cover to more than 80000 households right across Scotland and in the South West of England. Those customers rely on us to bring hot water and heat back to their homes if they have a central heating emergency. They could be families with new babies, elderly homeowners, or those who are shielding – or they might just be desperate for a hot shower and a cup of tea! No matter what the situation, the fact is they were all relying on us to continue our duty of care.
So we did. While a lot of our staff were necessarily furloughed or began to work from home, we kept a core team whose job it was to provide emergency repairs. This was a big deal: it seems quite distant now but in March we were equipping our engineers with full PPE and asking them to go into homes, sometimes where there was a Coronavirus patient, to restore their heating. While the nation rightly clapped for key workers on their doorsteps, we knew that our team was also on the frontline in their own important way.
And we’ve been there for our customers every day since. We’ve complied with ever-changing government legislation, and done everything for our customers that we were allowed to. We’ve taken every precaution possible when entering peoples’ homes and had thousands of conversations with worried and lonely customers.
And we’re almost there: it’s time for the country to start over.
As we look ahead to 2021, there’s a lot to feel good about. The building services sector is coming back strong: in fact, there was a 70% increase in the repair and maintenance sector in the last quarter – which means we’ve been busy!
We became part of the United Capital group back in May, and because we were still in lockdown at that point, we were able to take time to consider what that means for Saltire Facilities Management. United Capital is growing rapidly, and we now have a sister company in McGill based in Dundee, which is just as dedicated to quality, health and safety, and customer service as we are. With the safety and backing of the United Capital group our potential is set to grow. However, we’ll never change the one thing that makes Saltire really special, and that’s an absolute focus on taking care of our customers.
We did it during lockdown, we’re doing it today, and we’ll be doing it for decades to come.