Changing the way we work – how life at J&C has changed this year

In the 80s and 90s, Jones & Cane was clearly ahead of the game. We were working from home before it became a hashtag. I say we, but I mean Bryn and Eileen. I was a small child well-trained in answering the phone with “Good morning, Jones & Cane” whilst customers wondered exactly how young that secretary was…

As the business grew, so did stocks, staff needs and space requirements and so we moved into the first of our units in Rackheath. We expanded like so many businesses, and added units to our premises. Ours are still all in use, but that doesn’t seem to be the picture everywhere else, as our TV screens are filled with images of abandoned office buildings as employees set up desks in the spare room.

Finding ways to work around lockdown

And things have definitely changed for us too. Whilst our warehousing remains full and in use, we’ve had to change things in our offices (read our blog post here to see how). We’ve had to find solutions to working remotely as some of us shield, and in case some of us have to isolate. As a small business, everyone’s job is a biggish cog in a pretty small machine and so we’ve had to really think about these changes.

Luckily, IT was the solution to a fair few problems. We’re very lucky to have S2 Computers who helped us set up home working so that we could keep things ticking over. We changed some processes and talked to each other over the phone as much as we could – so as we approach potential future lockdowns or shielding we’re in a good position to work this way again. (See photo for J&C’s North Norfolk branch / Sophie’s spare room!)

Balancing safety and business

Other problems weren’t quite as easy – when physical goods need to be transferred from us to someone else, there’s always going to be logisitics to consider. (Please note we have asked S2 Computers if they’ve made any progress on perhaps inventing Potato Sack Teleportation Devices. No word as yet.) However we found a system that worked with contactless handovers and payments. Our usual couriers remained helpful and effiecient, and we managed to keep a van on the road for socially distanced deliveries. We’re currently working on the assumption we will have to implement this again, and stocking up accordingly. We want our customers to feel safe and our staff to feel that no unnecessary risks are being taken, and so we continue to work on keeping our distance and making all possible working environments compliant with rules and as pleasant as possible to work in.

What’s next?

Obviously we’re all aware that changes may be coming soon, as covid cases rise and everyone worries about a second national lockdown. We have our fingers crossed for Norfolk remaining as safe as it has been, meaning we’re unlikely to go into a local lockdown. If more restrictions are put in place that affect us as a business, we’re planning (at the moment) to attempt to remain open. We’re part of the supply chain for food retailers and demand in the first lockdown has shown us that customers will still need us. Therefore we have various options which include reduced opening times, contactless collections and slightly reduced delivery schedules – meaning that when staff may need to shield or isolate, we can run almost as normal on a smaller workforce. Our customers have been understanding of our need to change things over the last six months and we hope that staying open will make up for the minor inconveniences this will bring.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do give us a call on 01603 722264, or drop us an email at enquiries@jonesandcane.co.uk.