Home but not alone

Like many organisations, McCarthy & Stone had to make the difficult decision of furloughing a percentage of their staff during the lockdown.

Although much of the organisation is busier than ever with frontline staff working around the clock to support their 18,000 homeowners, some of the operational teams’ roles have been paused while focus is given to ensure their homeowners and staff safety.

What’s been particularly warming is the senior management’s want to show their gratitude and support for their staff, whether they’re working or on furlough. Reaching out to them all, communicating the plans and direction for the business and saying ‘thank you’ has been a priority, in the hope to keep staff connected and still very much a part of the McCarthy & Stone community during this time.

In a bid to do just this, we have been working in partnership with their HR and communications team to come up with and produce a handful of initiatives from doorstep treats to support guides. Over 1,000 boxes of Percy’s Biscuits were branded with an intimate ‘thank you note’ and sent to their keyworkers within weeks of the lockdown. It gave them the pick-me-up they needed, reminding them that they’re not alone in what was a particularly worrying and unprecedented time.

As these (by no surprise) were such a delight, the following month, keyworkers received a beautifully packaged parcel of homemade brownies to enjoy. Organised and coordinated by the Lolly team, all whilst we too, continued to work from home. The feedback for these sweet-treats has been amazing, and really did make a difference to those working so hard through this all – proof is in the pudding, that little things really do go a long way!

Supporting their furloughed staff has been just as important as saying thank you to the keyworkers. More than half of the furloughed team members have been volunteering at their local developments, helping with food shopping, collecting medication and keeping in touch with homeowners.

Recognising that being furloughed can bring feelings of worry and uncertainty, we were asked by their communications team to produce an uplifting booklet filled with all the help, advice and support they may need. Using a collection of stylish and cool illustrations with calming tones, it felt warming, welcoming and inclusive. The content included a personal letter from John, their CEO, support for physical and mental health during this time, tips for looking after yourself, and good news from across the developments.

As well as helping McCarthy & Stone to keep in touch with all their staff at this time, we have assisted John with his monthly updates for staff, homeowners and the general public. Usually filmed and directed on location by Lolly, we instead have helped him set up a remote recording studio from home, prior to editing the content back here in Dorset. With 18,000 homeowners falling within the ‘vulnerable’ category, it has been more important than ever to continue these digital updates, communicating and sharing the steps the company are/taken to protect, reassure and be there for their community at this time.