Lockdown life at Russwood

Marketing Manager

2020 is a milestone year for Russwood as it marks 30 years in business, however plans to celebrate had to be put on hold when lockdown was announced in the UK on 23rd March and for the first time since 1990, Russwood downed tools and closed its doors.

Flooring Manager Naomi Russell's wee dog in the Russwood yard
Malcolm Russell enjoying a quieter pace of life in the Russwood yard

Russwood went from a staff of 55 to a skeleton staff of 11 virtually overnight, with most staff being placed on furlough leave. Vicky found herself working alone in what is normally a bustling office; Lorna set up camp in our Staff Accommodation and John, Naomi and Michael were spread between our Breakout Areas and Flooring Showroom. Meanwhile PJ, Claire, Fiona, Dave, David and Dom worked from home.

Zoom calls and Slack messages quickly became the new norm for meetings and speaking to each other. Initially the phones were a little quieter than normal for the sales teams however Dave, Michael and Naomi soon found there were too many calls to deal with themselves so gradually we have brought back Alaister, John Smith, Thea, Graham and Morgan, all working from home, to help deal with the volume of sales enquires.

With end of year accounts to prepare, March is already a busy time for our Finance department. On top of completing the accounts, Vicky also managed to take on some other roles including haulage, online shop orders and a whole host of other tasks – the most important of which was surely taking care of all the office plants! As you can see, she has done as grand a job with the plants as she has done holding the fort for the office team, well done Vicky!

For the marketing department, it was pretty much business as usual as they continued to work on an exciting project – the launch of our brand-new website. With a reduced team and a big workload, the launch was delayed slightly but with Danielle coming off furlough to assist Fiona, the team were able to successfully launch the new site on May 20th. We hope you like the new website – please let us know if you have any feedback.

Vicky and her lockdown plants
Vicky has replaced co-workers with plants – welcome to the jungle!

Ronnie prepping orders
Ronnie being kept busy with online shop orders.

We suspect our customers have been busy getting around to DIY projects closer to home during lockdown – our online shop has been busier than ever with sales of fixings, cleaning and maintenance products. In order to cope with the demand and much to his delight, we brought Ronnie back after just 3 weeks on furlough leave to help process and ship online orders.

At the beginning of May we were able to bring George, Paul, Andy, Nick, Derek and Niall back to work in our Production Facility. In accordance with government guidelines for social distancing and hygiene practices, the production team have been working on a backlog of orders for NHS projects which include Greenock Medical Centre, Tunbridge Medical Centre and local to us, Aviemore Community Hospital.

More recently with the construction industry starting to get back to work, we’ve been able to bring back Richard, Martin, Blair, Christian, Dougie, Scott, Bryan, Kenneth and Daniel to our Production Team and Judy joined Vicky in the office to look after haulage, meaning around half our staff are now back to work.

Vicky’s jungle wasn’t the only unusual sight at Russwood during lockdown. Our bike shed, designed in-house by Dom, became home to a family of Swallows who obviously appreciate good design! And the day it was announced that fishing was allowed to resume, fishing rods were spotted in almost every vehicle in the staff car park!

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our customers for their patience while we’ve adjusted to this new way of working. Although our office remains closed at this time, with a number of staff now working in our Production Facility (in line with current government guidelines for social distancing and hygiene practices), we are now able to process orders for collection and delivery. Lead times and deliveries are returning to more normal timescales and our online shop is open for orders as normal. If you would like to discuss a project please get in touch or visit our new website for information.

Russwood's bike shed
Russwood’s bike shed is now home to a family of Swallows

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