Coronavirus and Retail

For those working in retail, this is an extremely challenging time.

We've been training retail staff to look after their mental health and personal safety for years. This page brings together the latest advice and guidance as well as video interviews with some of our retail clients.


How we are helping our retail clients...

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Tips for store workers 

Keep your distance

Maintaining  a safe working distance has alway been important, even more so now. 

listen and act

Everyone is on edge, LISTEN and WATCH for signs of potential aggression and ACT.

be human

Official beauracratic language will do nothing to calm people. Use real world 'HUMAN' talk.

C.r.m

 Calm upset people by listening first, Relate and empathise before you try Manage the problem.  

trust your instinct

If something doesnt feel right, don't ignore it. Listen to that little voice inside and do something.   

talk about worries

Don't keep your concerns bottled up inside, pretending to be strong. It's OK to be worried.

where do  you stand

Do you understand your work policies around sick pay and your contingency plans? Find out.

Get the right info

Refer to the experts rather than the arm chair keyboard worriers. NHS and GOV.UK.  

Risk assessment

Ask your employer for their RISK ASSESSMENT and understand measures to keep you safe.

get help

Being worried is natural, but if you are feeling overwhelmed or can't cope, GET HELP.   

Tips for delivery drivers

Risk assessment

Ask your employer for their RISK ASSESSMENT and understand measures to keep you safe.

know your route

Find out what you can about your journey, and potential risks to your health and safety.

share your location

Who knows where you are and how to get hold of you? Regularly check in with them.

trust your instinct

If something doesn't feel right, don't ignore it. Listen to that little voice inside and do something. 

scan for threat

Before you even get out your van, scan the area for potential risk. Is anyone hanging around?

Keep your distance

Stay back and to the side of front doors. Don't go into the porch, ask the customer to come out. 

clean your hands 

After every drop, clean your hands/change your gloves before touching anything in your van.   

where do  you stand

Do you understand your work policies around sick pay and your contingency plans? Find out.

Get the right info

Refer to the experts rather than the arm chair keyboard worriers. NHS and GOV.UK.  

talk about worries

Don't keep your concerns bottled up inside, pretending to be strong. It's OK to be worried.

Tips for retail organisations

Risk assessment

Conduct a detailed RISK ASSESSMENT and share guidance on how staff can reduce risk.

make a plan

Make sure people know what is expected of them and how to manage new ways of working

stay in touch

Maintain 'human' contact by encouraging the innovative ways your people are connecting. 

KeeP informed

Do staff understand policies around sick pay and your organisations contingency plans?

encourage info

Encourage accurate information and updates via reputable sources like NHS and GOV.UK.  

take a break

Encourage people to take  break from social media. It can be a source of serious stress. 

talk about worries

Fear, working from home, isolation, working hours and worklife balance whilst working from home.

signpost

If someone is finding it tough, don't wait, signpost EAP's and professional advice and support.

Get the latest legal updates from our friends at commercial law firm Freeths

Tips for family and friends of retail keyworkers

listen

Probably the most powerful thing you can for anyone, LISTEN and don't judge. Give them space.

talk

Not every conversation needs to be about the current situation. What did you talk about before? 

play time

Plan regular time together to unwind and have fun. Time away from 'doom and gloom' is essential.

stay in touch

Make sure YOU speak to your friends and family. Supporting someone else can take it's toll.  

be flexible

Try and accept there will be shift changes and long hours. What can you all  do to lessen the impact?

sync calendars

Understand what eachother is doing and when. Can save a lot of falling out! 

get the right info

Refer to the experts rather than the arm chair keyboard worriers. NHS and GOV.UK.  

encourage R&r

Encourage them to take care of themselves; rest, proper eating, limit alcohol and exercise. 

watch for changes

Keep an eye out for any changes in behaviour. They may not even realise they are struggling.

signpost

Being worried is natural, but if you are feeling overwhelmed or can't cope, GET HELP.   

How to diffuse conflict and aggression.

A simple approach to help calm volatile situations.


The Queue is an opportunity. Don't waste it!

Enhance the customer experience and reduce conflict 


Be Human, despite the face marks.

The PPE doesn't mean you can't talk to people


One of our friends share their story...

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Claire Kershaw

Health and Wellbeing Manager at Next


At a time when no-one seems to have any answers, Claire shares practical advice on how to support teams and look after yourself.    

General tips and guidance

Follow medical advice and employer guidance

Take notice of advice from those qualified to give it, and be mindful of who you listen to. 

don't panic: try to stay calm

 Overly stressed brains are more likely to be irrational,  over-react and make bad decisions.

keep 2m distance as a minimum

Maintaining  a safe working distance has alway been important, even more so now. 

behaviour is another form of communication

When people are afraid or worried, their behaviour will change. Look out for the signs.

Practical tips and guidance

 The way we think and feel has a huge impact on how we behave and the decisions we make. In these short video tutorials, we share tried and tested approaches to real world issues.  

'L.E.A.P.S' Model

A de-escalation tool from 'Verbal Judo', to help diffuse potential conflict.


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The 'Self Scan Tool'

Am I in the right state of mind?

A simple tool to check in with yourself.


55 secs

'Circle of Influence'

Learn how to focus on what you have the power to influence and change


58 secs

5 Ways to Wellbeing

What you can do to keep yourself in a good headspace at this time of worry. 


59 secs

What we've been up to in Retail...

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Delighted to be invited back to BBC radio talking about Conflict in Retail. Not so keen on the 07:10AM call on Father's day though! Sunday 21 June 2020

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A short interview on BBC radio morning show talking about Retail staff wellbeing and returning from lockdown.  Monday 8th June 2020

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Check out my article, published in 365Retail, where I share my thoughts 'How retailers must support the mental health of their workforce as we come out of lockdown'. 4th June 2020

Speaking about how to put wellbeing at the top of your leadership agenda.

This one's digital! Sharing the latest legal developments in managing mental ill health. 

Leading the discussion on 'keeping momentum going with workplace mental health'

Retail Exchange podcast: The impact of coronavirus on employee wellbeing 

Keynote: 'Improving resilience to enhance personal productivity and performance in retail'

Sharing our journey with Next on how we have helped embed mental health and wellbeing.

Guest speaker at Customer and People conferences about mental health and personal resilience . 

Guest speaker at Central retail engagement event about mental health awareness. 

Some light reading...

We are updating this page all the time, so make sure you drop back in soon. If you have any specific questions or areas you would like us to cover, please drop us a line. 

From all of us at Oakwood, take care and now more than ever, 

be kind to yourself and eachother.   

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CEO, Next

Terry was an excellent trainer and we came away with a much clearer picture of how mental health issues affect people at work. The training was engaging, accessible, informative, important and mind-broadening. Most of all, the training helped to dispel the stigma and fear of mental health - giving delegates the confidence to recognise some of the symptoms and a desire to do what we can to help people through periods of mental ill-health.

Lord Simon Wolfson CEO, Next
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Head of Health, Safety and Wellbeing, Next

Oakwood have helped Next to embark upon their journey to improve the way those who experience mental ill-health are recognised, heard and helped. From the development of corporate objectives and a Mental Wellbeing Charter to the creation and delivery of a comprehensive training programme and procedures, Oakwood have been incredibly supportive at every stage.

Andy Latham Head of Health, Safety and Wellbeing, Next
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Health, Safety and Wellbeing Advisor, Next

Terry and Oakwood have been working closely with us at Next over the last year to assist in the development of our Mental Health programme. They have delivered senior management Mental Health awareness training and have also worked with some key personnel within Next to develop their knowledge, confidence and delivery in the subject of Mental Health creating our own in house training resource.

Terry is so approachable and personable. He has been incredibly supportive to our team and has help us to set up a great platform on which to build.

Claire Kershaw Health, Safety and Wellbeing Advisor, Next
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