On 11 May 2020, the UK Government issued a 50 page document entitled, Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy which sets out the challenges ahead in the nation’s regeneration to normality.

The eight point plan explains clearly that this is not going to be a short term crisis and therefore we cannot afford to make any drastic changes to our current situation. This is the approach that I have directed the Incident Management Team (IMT) to adopt as the Group enters the regeneration phase of its journey through the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is no easy or quick solution to the situation Norse Group finds itself in and the control of the spread of the virus amongst our workforce remains our main focus, whilst at the same time, we plan to recover from its impact.

The safety and health of all our staff has remained paramount during the last few weeks and this continues to be the main focus for the Group as our understanding of the pandemic grows. We are keeping abreast of developments through continual review of COVID-19 guidance and existing health and safety law, but I am pleased to report that we are ready to implement our plans for the regeneration and normalisation phase of our business recovery.

With this in mind, during the coming weeks there will be a carefully planned, phased return to work for those currently working from home, or furloughed. The IMT has considered all social aspects of the regeneration phase. Schooling, child care and travel have been carefully discussed and remain at the core of our planning to ensure that anyone unable to return to work due to these issues are either kept working at home or furloughed.

Nothing will happen immediately. We need to carefully study the details of the Prime Minister’s plan and are acutely aware of the sensitivities a return to work may cause. But there will be strict and robust social distancing and hygiene measures in place before anything happens, to ensure staff safety.

A return to work video is being produced that staff will view prior to entering the workplace. It will take colleagues, step by step, through the added safety aspects in force under the ‘new normal’ restrictions as the Government eases lockdown measures, and the Norse Group aligns itself to it.

All decisions are being taken in complete adherence to guidance from Public Health England (PHE) and the Government so that front line service delivery can continue and expand with the correct control measures in place to protect staff, while providing enhanced operational capability.

Everyone should continue to follow the hygiene regimes introduced by the Government and follow self-isolation advice should you, or a member of your household, start to experience any COVID-19 symptoms. It is also important that we look after our own, our families’ and our colleagues’ mental health. Please continue to text and call friends and family.

To date, the United Kingdom has adapted with creativity and compassion to the demands COVID-19 has placed on us all. Norse now needs to prepare for an extended period of living with and managing the threat from the virus. This will continue to require everyone’s support and adherence.

The threat is a collective one; the responsibility to keep everyone safe is one everyone shares. If we are to begin to adjust the social restrictions, it will require everyone to act thoughtfully and responsibly.

As restrictions are lifted and everyone chooses to act cautiously and in line with the revised guidance, the rate of transmission will decline further, and the more restrictions will be lifted. This effort must, however, be a shared and a collective one. A small number of new outbreaks would cause the re-imposition of some restrictions. In judging when to adjust each restriction, the Government will be guided by the best possible evidence and science and we will act accordingly.

I hope this reassurance is helpful. The IMT remains fully committed to employee safety and wellbeing, both physically and mentally. The SHEQ and HR departments are available to answer questions colleagues may have regarding COVID-19, as well as routine enquiries.

Thank you in advance for the ongoing support during this period as we readjust to a new normal.

Stay Alert, Control the Virus and Save Lives.

Dean Wetteland
CEO Norse Group