Louise Minier - Marketing Manager @ Garenne Group Ltd (Sept 2020)
Easter Saturday - two weeks into working from home and the phone rings, its my boss.
Having been super busy trying to research and understand the UK furlough scheme for one of our UK businesses, I wasn't really expecting any calls, especially on a Saturday but next thing I was agreeing to be Site Office Manager on the Nightingale site. So imagine, you are trying to organise an event that will have over 500 people attending over the next three weeks, they all need to be fed and watered at least 3 times a day and you have two days to organise it over the Bank Holiday weekend ......... not much of a challenge hey?
Through working at events over here I have a lot of contacts and called in favors everywhere but the generosity and understanding of people literally astounded me. We were fortunate to have the use of the Glass Church Hall as a site office, kindly offered by the Rector, PBS answered my emails on a Sunday and the printer was installed first thing Tuesday morning. IT equipment, chairs and stationary were shipped from my office up to the site, bacon butties were on the menu by Tuesday along with sandwich bags, soup and evening meals. Of course the most important thing - tea and coffee stations were up and running by Tuesday afternoon. However, with Covid, there were lots of things that we had to change and develop as the time went on and the site got busier. We had to stagger mealtimes, queueing became the norm, along with copious amounts of disposable cups and spoons. Along with sorting out food and the site office set up, I also had to ensure that all the drawings/plans were printed off first thing, that the site registers were updated and pretty much anything else that wasn't to do with the actual construction ended up on my desk to be sorted.
I soon settled into a routine of being in the office from 7am and leaving around 7pm including the weekends but by the second week I was able to leave after 5 hours which allowed me some time at home catching up on the work that was arising in my normal role.
So, what did I take away from this experience? I always knew the importance of teamwork but this experience really emphasized it. My networking came to the forefront as having a good relationship with everyone really helped. I was blown away by the kindness and generosity of people, we had people delivering all sorts of goodies - croissants from the Constable, Waitrose did a couple of deliveries to site, St Lawrence's church dropped of a box of biscuits and chocolates and we even had some individuals leaving us bits by the door. I ended up ordering food for the guys that were working through the night and Dominos and Robin Hood takeaway gave us massive discounts. I also feel that I was lucky to be able to get out of the house and physically involved with a project when the majority of people were only allowed out for two hours - whilst I enjoyed the initial two weeks, I think after a while of being at home along, I may have ended up going a little stir crazy. Instead, I got to go to work with the most amazing people, who even though they were working on a very tight schedule in difficult circumstances were all still smiling and hopefully my contribution helped with that a little.
The construction really helped with keeping a lot of business going - out of 89 businesses involved in the construction - 83 were local with another 500 people from Jersey being employed on the site.
I really hope that we never need to use the building but I would prefer to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.