Year: 2020

Business Operations Update – COVID-19

By now, we are all getting used to the strange new world that the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed on us. It’s not that long ago when we all suddenly found ourselves in a more uncertain world where toilet rolls became collectors’ items, going for one short walk each day was a concession and where you could be arrested or fined for meeting with your friends. It was a steep learning curve, but we all learned over time how COVID-19 could be transmitted, and what we could all do to reduce the risk of catching and becoming ill from the virus. Risk assessments became a hot topic and personal protective equipment made the news every day, both elements that are normal considerations for a business like ours but new territory for the vast majority of the general public.

However, people and businesses are inherently resourceful and businesses around the world quickly found new and often more efficient ways to work whilst maintaining the all-important social distancing requirements. As with many other businesses, Skype, ZOOM and Microsoft Teams became the new way to communicate with our colleagues, friends, clients and suppliers, and whilst these systems and technologies have existed in one form or another for quite some time, many of us hadn’t grasped the real potential of these tools to provide a highly effective mechanism for collaborative working and effective communication.

Even before the formal lockdown, PM PROjEN, our clients and sub-contract organisations were working hard to establish the protocols that would permit site based construction activities to continue where safe to do so. Inspiration for these protocols and procedures was gained from the Construction Leadership Council, who issued excellent guidance for the Construction Sector titled ‘Site Operating Procedures’, which supported the philosophy that COVID-19 was just one of many hazards to consider in the workplace and that established risk assessment and method statement philosophies were still applicable to this unusual and new hazard.

We would strongly recommend that anyone going through the process of returning to their workplace check out the following sources of valuable information and support :-

As England moves from the ‘Stay at Home’ message to the ‘Stay Alert’ message, the associated relaxation of the rules is gradually allowing people to leave their homes and tentatively enjoy some elements of normality. Given that restrictions are being eased, we have now taken the decision to execute a carefully managed and gradual return to our Daresbury Park office. Whilst the physical measures required to ensure that hygiene and social distancing measures can be applied in a practical and pragmatic fashion are well understood, it is important to recognise that COVID-19 will leave an indelible mark on so many aspects of our lives and it is vital that we don’t underestimate the stress and concern that this pandemic has imposed on many people.

In putting our ‘return to the office/workplace’ measures in place we must all take time to consider the mental health of our friends, colleagues, suppliers and clients alike. It has never been more important to take the time to ask how people are feeling and offer to help where you can. It is also important to be open with people on how you are feeling, because without an open dialogue then people could be left feeling that they cannot call on the help of others for fear of embarrassment. As a business we are lucky to have access to our own Employee Assistance Programme that gives direct support to our staff if and when required, nonetheless we recognise that not everyone has the luxury of this service and we would therefore recommended that anyone feeling anxious or worried should visit:-

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/coronavirus

This site contains a wealth of resources designed to help people during this difficult period.

Many of us have been through the most turbulent and uncertain times in our lives so far and however robust your mental constitution is, it is hard to think that anyone has come through the last few months without some impact on their mental health, even if that has only manifested itself as feelings of mild concern. Unfortunately, the expression ‘mental health’ still has negative connotations in a way that general or physical health issues don’t. So please do not be shy if you are feeling anxious or concerned, it is perfectly natural, the important thing is to seek help and guidance through resources like the one outlined above or by talking to a trusted friend or colleague.

Finally, here are a few poignant quotes associated with mental health:-

“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.”Glenn Close

“One small crack does not mean that you are broken, it means that you were put to the test and you didn’t fall apart.”Linda Poindexte

“You don’t have to be positive all the time. It’s perfectly okay to feel sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated, scared and anxious. Having feelings doesn’t make you a negative person. It makes you human.”Lori Deschene

Keep safe and well.

 

Health and Safety Review 2019

As we return to work, PM Group’s commitment to your safety and the safety of everyone we work with is paramount.

Whether you are a client, a trade partner or supplier, you can be assured our health and safety standards are world leading and they will be applied to every project.

Read more about our approach, how we performed in 2019 and our ambitions for the future, in our Health & Safety Annual Review. You can view and download a copy of the report below:-

Health Safety Annual Review 2019

Happy 70th Birthday Alan!

PM PROjEN would like to wish Alan McHugh a very Happy 70th Birthday. 

We thank you for your many years of service and we hope that you enjoy the birthday hamper of goodies that were sent to you.

Many happy returns from all at PM PROjEN.

 

COVID-19 – Operations Update

Following the Government’s announcement on Sunday as well as the publication of the Lockdown Recovery Plan, we wanted to provide an update regarding our office operations as well as distil / share our thoughts about how the office environment will evolve in line with emerging government guidelines.

We must be mindful that whilst some personnel will be eager to return to the office for a sense of normality, others will be anxious and worried about the potential risk to their health & well-being and that of their close family. Given this, businesses must do everything possible to support the health, safety and mental well-being of their employees throughout all stages of Lockdown easing.

For now, PM PROjEN continue to operate in the same way as we have since the Lockdown was first imposed. The vast majority of our workforce is working safely from home and will continue to do so until it is inherently safe to return to the office with robust social distancing measures in place. The exception to this is our Construction Managers who continue to work on critical projects whilst adhering to strict social distancing guidelines and other measures outlined in the Construction Leadership Council Site Operating Procedure (protecting your workforce during Coronavirus) https://www.constructionleadershipcouncil.co.uk/news/site-operating-procedures-version-3-published/

Like most businesses, we are starting to plan how we will reintroduce personnel into our offices. Unlike Construction sites, less guidance is currently available which adequately takes account of the vast variety of office configurations. However, the British Council for Offices have produced a briefing note (Thoughts on Office Design and Operation after COVID-19) which is a short but useful guide to some of the key aspects that need to be considered when re-configuring the office environment to take account of the impact of COVID-19.

We are acutely aware that many businesses are experiencing the same challenges in terms of creating a safe working environment for their personnel in the absence of detailed or specific external guidance. Through our website news we will continue to share information and guidance which we are finding useful in preparing our office re-opening plans.

In the meantime, we hope you continue to keep safe and well.

COVID-19 – Planning Our Return

Working from home has become the ‘new normal’ for the vast majority of the UK’s Engineering community. Recent events have been unprecedented and will remain etched on everyone’s consciousness for many years to come. So many changes have happened to so many lives in such an incredibly short time. It is easy to forget that it was as little ago as January this year when the virus was identified and named, and the first death due to COVID-19 was recorded in China. Due to the worldwide travel infrastructure, the virus has been brought from a small market in a previously unheard of town in China to virtually every country in the world, in what seems like, the blink of an eye.

Those who follow our weekly COVID-19 updates will know that we were fortunate to already be set up for executing projects from multiple locations, so the transition to home working for our business was not a dramatic transformation. Within hours, we had departed from our offices and 130+ people within the PM PROjEN business were connected to each other, our clients, sub-contractors and suppliers. Many of whom had also invested in remote working infrastructure allowing the vast majority of projects to proceed as normal. This is a testimony to the strength of human spirit married with the clever use of technology.

So now we have all settled into ‘working from home’, what happens next ? … a new transition. Shortly the UK government will announce it’s view on a roadmap designed to ease the lockdown measures and allow (without the risk of a uncontrollable rise in COVID-19 cases), businesses to reopen and people to regain a proportion of their personal freedom. Just as the government is planning what to do next, so are we. Over the next few weeks we will let you know the plans that we are putting in place in order to reintroduce personnel to our offices and increase the numbers of our personnel at our client’s construction sites. This subject is on the minds of many businesses at the moment and the return to work (place) does have its oven unique challenges. For those seeking help with this process we would recommend that they start by reading the Construction Leadership Councils (CLC) Site Operating Procedure (Version 3 at the time of publishing), which can be found at :-

https://www.constructionleadershipcouncil.co.uk/news/site-operating-procedures-version-3-published/

Whilst this document is construction focused, it deals very well with the whole ‘lifecycle’ of work, namely: travel, site/office entry/exit, provision and use of facilities, personal hygiene, team working and work planning. All of the core principles can be used to support you to prepare your procedures for returning to your place of work. In addition to this, other, sector specific guidance can be found here :-

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/social-distancing-in-the-workplace-during-coronavirus-covid-19-sector-guidance#construction

Whilst we all continue to modify our behaviours and working arrangements to comply with the latest guidance and start to contemplate the easing of certain restrictions and what they will mean to both our home and working life, it’s worthwhile taking a moment to remember some of the positives that we have observed whilst working at home, including :-

• People now take time to ask “how are you”, and “how is your family”
• ‘On line’ meetings have enhanced peoples meeting etiquette. Gaps are left for people to interject, the person speaking often stops and invites opinions/comments and screen sharing has
become a vital tool for ensuring a common understanding
• Working at home, on mass, really does work and even a forward-thinking business like ours has had its eyes opened to the reality that you can easily expand your office capacity by
combining home and office working.

Wider, (society) positive trends include :-

• A greater respect for the NHS and all the other key workers keeping us safe and fed
• An enhanced social responsibility including looking out for/running errands for neighbours
• A deeper appreciation for things we all took for granted.

We are acutely aware that this pandemic has touched so many lives in so many ways. So many have paid the ultimate sacrifice and leave people behind to cope with their loss. Others are facing financial hardship through loss of employment or the collapse of a business. Let’s hope that society holds on to some of the key lessons that we have learnt and that we all strive to make the post COVID-19 world a better place.

As a final thought…… it will take time, but scientists will solve this problem and engineers will design and build facilities that will produce the vaccines and treatments that will allow the world to recover… in the meantime, please all keep safe and well and do all you can to maintain a positive outlook.

Best regards,

All at PM PROjEN

COVID-19 – Working from Home

Since the UK government announced last Thursday their intention to maintain the current lockdown measures for at least a further 3 weeks, PM PROjEN personnel remain safely working from home. The exception being where strict social distancing measures can be applied and monitored such as on projects where vital construction activities are taking place.

To share an insight into what it’s like to work from home, we have launched a special feature on our website to showcase our ‘working from home’ photos. These portray the broad range of different home working environments and provide some much-needed humour during these uncertain times.

To view our picture gallery, simply visit our website; www.projen.co.uk and click on the ‘Business as Usual’ Banner text.

We would like to remind our clients and suppliers that we are here to help in any way possible and we hope that you are all managing to stay safe and well.

PM PROjEN Win Prestigious Enterprise Award

We are delighted to report that PM PROjEN are joint winners of the 2020 High Sheriff of Cheshire award for Enterprise.

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions the ceremony organisers had to arrange an ‘on line’ replacement for the usual awards ceremony which comprised of a twitter feed displaying the judges’ comments in relation to each award, followed by pre-recorded nominee videos and the announcement of the winner. Despite the unusual format for the ceremony, the on line version was a great success and was just as nerve-wracking for the shortlisted businesses.

Shane Pugh, Director of Business Development for PM PROjEN said:-

“We are delighted to win this prestigious award, it is always thrilling when someone else recognises the key elements that make your business special. Whilst we operate across the entire UK, it is great to be recognised as a significant business within our own region. We are extremely proud of what we have achieved so far as well as the new initiatives we are currently rolling out across the business. During these uncertain times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is a piece of very welcome news to help lift the spirits of all of our hard working people.”

Thank you to all our staff who have committed to growing and shaping the business that we have today and to further committing to supporting the evolution of the business as we all look forward to the day when we can put COVID-19 firmly behind us.

Keep safe and well.

PM PROjEN Awarded RoSPA Order of Distinction for Health and Safety

PM PROjEN are delighted to announce that we have received a prestigious award in recognition of our diligent approach to Health & Safety.

Organisations receiving a RoSPA Award are recognised as being world-leaders in health and safety practice. Every year, nearly 2,000 entrants vie to achieve the highest possible accolade in what is the UK’s longest-running H&S industry award scheme.

Subject to the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, it is currently planned for PM PROjEN to be presented with their award during a ceremony at ExCel, London on Tuesday 8th September 2020.

Lyndon Workman, PM PROjEN’s Health Safety & Environmental Manager said:

“PM PROjEN are thrilled to have been awarded their Fifth Order of Distinction, following 19 consecutive RoSPA Gold Awards. This is great news for the business, as it shows not only an independent recognition of our excellent performance in relation to Health and Safety, but also, during these testing times, an acknowledgement of our commitment to health and wellbeing as we ensure that we keep our personnel safe whilst homeworking. Unlike any other time in our lifetime, the current pandemic brings new challenges, challenges for the business and the country as a whole as we try to stay safe and abide by the advice of the UK government. As we fight and ultimately beat this horrible virus, I am confident that we will come out of this stronger and more resilient, ready for the challenges ahead, and in a strong position to help our clients move forward”

Julia Small, RoSPA’s head of qualifications, awards and events, said: “The RoSPA Awards scheme is the longest-running of its kind in the UK, but it receives entries from organisations around the world, making it one of the most sought-after global accolades in health and safety”.

“RoSPA wants every employee, wherever they are, to work safe in the knowledge that they will be going home unharmed and healthy at the end of every day. The RoSPA Award winners are vital to help achieve this goal, as by entering they are driving up standards and setting new benchmarks for organisations everywhere. Currently, around seven million people are directly impacted by the RoSPA Awards, but the scheme’s influence is even wider.”

The majority of awards are non-competitive and mark achievement at merit, bronze, silver and gold levels. Gold medals, president’s awards, orders of distinction and the Patron’s Award are presented to organisations sustaining the high standards of the gold level over consecutive years.

Keep safe and well.

PM PROjEN – Working from Home

Firstly, we hope that all of our personnel, clients, suppliers, sub-contractors, (and all of their families) had an enjoyable Easter break and that everyone is staying safe and healthy. It would appear that, despite some reasons to be optimistic, that UK businesses will continue to be subject to social distancing measures for several more weeks yet.

As you may already know, PM PROjEN and much of our Group business (PM Group), are working from home and we would like to thank our I.T. teams for their foresight in designing and implementing the robust I.T. systems that have supported us to work from home so successfully. It is easy to take the fact for granted that our business had to effectively decamp from our offices in an extremely short timescale and has been working effectively from our ‘home offices’ since 24th March. We are not alone of course, many businesses have risen to the challenge of demobilising from their offices and many thousands of employees have had to make the adjustment to working on their own and communicating with their clients, colleagues and suppliers via Skype and Zoom. UK businesses should be proud of what they have achieved in this respect and we are pleased to be amongst the many businesses that continue to service their client’s requirements despite the imposed restrictions.

Clearly some businesses will suffer through the restrictions and our hearts go out to the those that are struggling to weather this storm and to the people whose lives will be affected either directly by the virus or due to the effect on their business/employer. We are doing all that we can to support our suppliers through these challenging times by continuing to place orders and paying their invoices in a timely manner.

We hope that this message finds you all well, keep safe.

COVID-19, Business Operations update

We want to keep all of our clients, suppliers and interested third parties informed of how our business operations continue to function during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rest assured, the Health & Safety of our personnel, clients, suppliers and stakeholders is our number one priority and we are successfully continuing to support our clients to deliver critical projects. In this regard, we remain fully operational and open for business whilst the vast majority of our personnel work safely from home.

At the inception of all new projects and in addition to existing live projects, we are integrating a dedicated COVID-19 communication plan as part of the overall Assignment Execution Plan which details both how and when we will interface with our clients to ensure the safe and efficient delivery of projects.

As a business, we are fully set up for remote working and we have access to a wide range of collaboration / teleconferencing software including Skype for Business and Zoom. Where possible we will try to accommodate any client specific requirements.

PM PROjEN remain committed to working collaboratively with our clients in order to actively support their Project and Engineering requirements.

If you have any queries or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.