We understand that it has been a difficult year for everybody. During these challenging times, it’s inspirational to hear stories from across our network and how we are all continuing to be there for each other and our customers when it’s needed most.
So, we’d like to share Adele’s story, who lives and works in Melbourne.
The O’Brien® success wouldn’t be possible without the hard-working people who stand by our business and put our customers at the heart of everything they do, solving their problems with real care. Adele, our Melbourne Glazing Manager, is one of those people.
Having worked with O’Brien® 30 years ago, she recently re-joined our network as she was looking to get more involved with a committed and passionate team. But who knew there was going to be such a significant challenge, particularly for our Victorian community in 2020?
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic meant that the city of Melbourne took a pretty big hit. And with lockdown restrictions, businesses of all kinds and their employees have been widely affected.
We talked with Adele about the difficulties of this time to learn about what she is doing to lead her team forward, and the changes involved to continue caring for her customers.
What’s the biggest concern for Adele and her team during these times?
“Safety,” Adele said with certainty. “We aim to have a balance between being vigilant and remaining calm while still being approachable to clients to not cause panic. Yet, it is very tricky.”
“COVID-19 is something we’ve never faced before. It’s an uncertain time, and that can take a big toll on everybody including the physical and mental health of our employees.”
To accommodate for this, Adele ensures that all training and engagements are still being performed as a team to keep up morale and a sense of normalcy while following physical distancing measures.
“Communication really is the key,” Adele said. In maintaining a resilient team, Adele discussed the importance of communication – not only within her team but also with the staff, management and customers.
“As safety is always a top priority at O’Brien®, it’s important to avoid ambiguity and sugar-coating things. So long as everyone is communicating, we can all collaborate together.”
What operational changes have had to be made when working with customers?
Due to the circumstances surrounding Melbourne’s lockdown, Adele’s team members have shared responsibility for taking leave to match resource demand. However, this has also created an opportunity for everyone to take on extra responsibilities and learn new things.
“People may think that work should be a breeze now that volumes are down, but there’s a whole other set of tasks to do with only limited people to do them.
In fact, there’s extra cleaning, safety regimes and registrations that all have to be done. I’m sure I’m not alone in this when it comes to other businesses in Victoria.”
With the current conditions and people on lock-down at home, clients have been focusing on home improvements – this often involves glasswork.
While regular O’Brien® Glass services are restricted due to Government regulations, there is still a need for essential glass services that fall under the safety and security category.
“Our customers still need us, even during these uncertain times because if any glass gets shattered or broken with everyone home, it’s certainly a risk to safety. That has been our primary concern right now: being there for people in Melbourne who need us.”
Of course, in an emergency glass repair scenario, this involves our O’Brien® Glass professionals going to a client’s home.
“The reality is, we need to ask people about virus symptoms upfront. It’s part of the process of being vigilant for their safety and ours. Sure, it’s intrusive, but it’s important, and most people understand this.”
The staff at O’Brien® Glass Melbourne always make sure they empathise and manage the concerns of clients before entering into their homes.
Adele and her team have implemented additional hygiene steps to help keep staff and customers safe. For instance: when the team performs an installation, clients are not permitted to be present in the area because of physical distancing requirements.
Adele also explained that there is definitely a change in the tone of enquiries they get now.
“People are feeling very uncertain. They now call to ask if we’re still open or if we can still help them with our services. Again, I’m sure our business is not alone in this.”
“As long as the glasswork requested is essential and poses a safety or security concern, then we certainly can help. Otherwise, we’re having to postpone the work until after the Melbourne restrictions have been eased.”
How has O’Brien® supported the team?
“In times like these where you can no longer give someone a pat on the back or a handshake, it’s important that your team still feels that you understand the hardships they are going through and acknowledge their hard work.”
O’Brien® has been providing extra support and appreciation to the Melbourne team with our “Taking Care Of Your Own” program. This involves providing small gifts through our employees’ internal recognition platform, organising talks on mental health and opening up communication channels to be more approachable and willing to listen. There has been an increased use of Zoom to keep up communication, and a lot more access to the Senior Management Team to ensure staff and their families are being supported.
How will this pandemic affect Adele and the O’Brien® Glass team in the future?
“There will still be residual vigilance, even after the majority of COVID passes.”
Adele and her team have decided that we should always remain cautious and maintain some safety guidelines even after the pandemic.
“Practising excellent hygiene is a lesson the world has all learned from this.”
What is Adele looking forward to?
“Since this whole thing started, I haven’t shaken hands with anyone from my team, patted someone on the back or sat across the table and had a laugh with them.”
For a tactile person like Adele, she looks forward to getting back these kinds of interactions with her team as she believes these interactions are very important in building great culture and rapport that will then reflect on how they deliver in their work.
“I’m looking forward to a hug. That’s a very motivating thought if I’m honest!” she laughs.
“But right now, we’re all extremely focused on keeping our doors open, our customers happy and safe, and making the best out of the situation.”
In fact, the O’Brien® Melbourne Glazing team has reached a whopping 80 in their NPS (Net Promoter Score), which is their best score in 3 years!
“It’s interesting to see what change and adaption can do. I encourage everyone to think this way, despite the challenging times.”
Is there any advice Adele would give her fellow Victorians?
“Staying in touch is what will get us all through. Try not to remain isolated; the good thing is we don’t have to with all the digital technology we have today.”
For Adele, keeping your lines open for communication is crucial during this difficult time.
“We can all give someone a call just to vent, and vice versa. It’s not about giving solutions – by just being there and listening to one another, we can keep each other sane.”
“This pandemic has caused so much tragedy in the world, but at least there has been one benefit: people have all learned to hit pause on the rat race and take a step back to reflect on what really matters in life. That’s important.”
Our doors remain open at O’Brien® Glass in Victoria.
For any glass and glazing safety concerns and emergencies in Victoria, we are here for you to help keep you and your family safe.
Our call centre is open 24/7 to answer your questions and to help you get the service you need.
You can rest assured that all COVID-19 lockdown measures are strictly followed to protect both you and our team members.
You can be confident that with O’Brien® Glass, safety is our #1 priority.