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EXCLUSIVE: Ableworld boss praises team spirit as retailer works through lockdown

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Speaking on Episode 2 of AMP Live, Ableworld’s managing director Mike Williams discussed how his team’s spirit has played an important role in allowing the business to continue serving those in need.

Commenting on how the furlough scheme has been managed, Williams explained that with 45% of staff unfortunately having to be placed on the job retention scheme, those that are still working every day have done a great job.

He said: “The staff that are working are in great spirits. I’m sure there’s an odd occasion where they come to work and they think they’d prefer to be at home like some of the others but they’ve had a great team spirit.

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“They’ve enjoyed helping and getting out and because we’ve got less staff at the moment, you are working closer together so the team spirit has been fantastic. We are still keeping in touch with those on furlough and we’ve brought a couple back but in the main it depends on the business when we bring everybody back.”

On a wider level, Ableworld has done what it can to operate as normal within the guidelines.

On this, Williams went on: “We are open, head office is open, our stores are all open. It depends on the customers. There have been a couple of customers say no, I don’t want you in my home at the moment which is fair enough, we can sort it out later. Others have been over the moon that we are still open.

“I suppose the biggest problem has been the customers that won’t social distance. We get some engineers or the guys going to do stairlifts and the customers are still coming up and are very close so it is more our staff who are having to ask the customers to stand back a little bit.”

He continued: “Some consultations have still gone ahead with the use of PPE and keeping their distance but it depends on the serious of the need for the equipment. We can’t ignore the people who are out there in need just because of the virus, people are still suffering and I think that is the most important thing. It would have been easier from a business point of view to just furlough everybody and close our doors but that is not what we are about.

“People have been very grateful too that we are still there, whether it be for incontinence pads or anything else. Let’s not kid ourselves, for 20 years Ableworld has been proud that we’ve increased our turnover, normally by double figures, increased our profits virtually every year, but it’s no big deal that this year we will not be increasing our profits and we will not be increasing our turnover, that’s the reality.

“We would have also lost a little bit more money by staying open than if we had have closed down but it is so important that we are there to help, especially with the trade and business that we are in.”

See the interview in full here:

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Alex Douglas

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