Over the next few days you will see our repairs and maintenance teams back at work in your area. We wanted to reassure you that we and all of our contractors are following the latest return to work advice from the Government and Public Health authorities.
The pages here contain Mears' approach to health, safety and returning to work during the pandemic. You can see helpful videos and links to risk assessments.
If you are a partner of Mears please feel free to link to these pages on your own website.
Government Guidance on working safely
Our Principles Behind Partnership For Safety
Safety of our colleagues is our number one priority. We have produced the following advice based on strict and clear government guidelines on maintaining social distancing and the use of PPE. Following a public call, we have established good procurement networks for all PPE.
During this crisis we received the Order of Distinction Award from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). This will be the 18th consecutive gold we have won and demonstrates how respected our health and safety colleagues are in our sector. Partners can have confidence that all approaches to Health and Safety have been drawn up by our own award- winning experts.
All organisations will have seen a huge change in how we communicate across workstreams. From the start our aim was to ensure that all colleagues had timely, informative and up to date information cascaded down to them. As your Partners in Safety we will support you in communicating to residents, colleagues, stakeholders and the local community so everyone is clear that work is restarting or refocusing with safety as our number one starting point.
Communications should also focus on wellbeing. People will be very anxious about plans to slowly emerge from lockdown. We should use this time to check in with residents and colleagues and do our part to explain how we will support them and provide confidence that everything we do will have their safety and wellbeing at heart.
Service to our communities
Every Thursday our nation applauds our NHS and Care workers. Most people now recognise the importance of all staff who are helping people in one way or another during this difficult time, either in the front line or supporting those in the front line.
We are seeing stories day in and day out that make us so proud. A giving and positive culture isn’t something which can be created – it needs a special type of people and we in the social housing sector have them in bucketloads. Let’s not forget to say thank you to our colleagues – those who have been working to complete essential works and those who are returning from furlough who have stood by us during this crisis.
Their work is essential to our communities.
Backing Britain’s effort
Together, as Partners in Safety, we will do our part to help the UK’s recovery. In our early talks with Government we immediately offered the services of our company to help the national effort. We felt that this was the right thing to do and we hope you agree.
All companies in the sector talk about social value but it’s really never been more important to get this right. Despite these difficult times we at Mears have found an outpouring of community feeling and initiative from our colleagues and residents. Your organisation does more to foster this feeling than most – so together let’s harness it and be Partners in Social Value as well.
We have been getting requests for help from around the country and we have so many examples now of staff helping locally in support of their communities.
As a national provider and a company who works closely with central and local government, we are ready to do what is needed of us.
Building resilient communities
We are lucky - Mears is a strong business. Our way of working, built over more than 25 years, has led to a culture of safety, ethical behaviour and giving back to the communities in which we work. We are grateful to our valued clients who have done their bit in supporting us to carry on doing these things.
We all have an opportunity to do things differently after this crisis is over. As partners in the social housing sector we have a real ability to affect change for the better. Let’s talk about how we can make one another – alongside our communities – more resilient for the future.
We are working night and day to ensure that we do the right things now and we hope that the energy and direction our colleagues have shown will mean that we can get back to our vital work with a renewed vigour but also with new ideas. We have also found many new and innovative ways of working – necessity is after all, the mother of all invention.
Going above and beyond for our workforce
We have always tried to do things differently at Mears. We want to be a workplace that brings people on and stands by them when things are tough. At the start of the pandemic we immediately agreed to pay sick pay from day 1, which went against Government guidelines that stated that it should be paid from day 4. That was just the beginning.
We took an early decision to create the Mears hardship fund which has a ring-fenced budget for colleagues to apply to. For those who have been furloughed we have removed the Government cap of £2,500 (which would have affected anyone earning over £30k p.a.) and are supporting our lowest paid by paying 100% to those earning under £20k p.a.
We created a central Covid management group to receive and process new guidance from the Government and to ensure that the guidance was quickly turned into new policy for Mears and communicated and understood, amongst our workforce.
We are trying to address the wellbeing of all our staff through regular communication and signposting them to services that can help them. Mears have a huge package of commitments, including training over 1000 members of staff on how to support people’s mental health and wellbeing, and we have seen the organic growth of our #mearsamazingpeople awards in which colleagues have nominated one another for services going above and beyond business as usual.
So together, let’s stand by our principles, stand by the health, safety and wellbeing of our communities and stand by each other and become Partners in Safety.