Workers on industrial bakery line

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People are at the heart of every bakery business. As the UK begins to think about what ‘normal’ looks like post lockdown, Julia Darvill, Puratos UK managing director, explains why now is the time to inject some enthusiasm into your team (and the business benefits it can offer).


Julia Darvill Puratos UK managing director

Julia Darvill, Puratos UK MD

“Looking after the wellbeing of my team is of the utmost importance to me. I firmly believe that a strong and healthy group of people, which feels happy, safe and united in its mission, will be best able to serve our purpose at Puratos and those of our customers.

The past year has presented challenges for employees and businesses and we’ve found new ways of working and become more creative to safeguard our teams’ health. With restrictions easing, however, now is the time for businesses to focus on filling their teams with confidence and enthusiasm and to ensure they can thrive.

Last year we introduced several initiatives to provide our team with the energy and support they need to do their jobs well. It was important to recognise that what works for one might not work for another and to offer options which cater for everyone. All initiatives were sustainable, and we’ll continue with many of them as restrictions loosen. From team building exercises to management techniques and reward schemes, they helped employees protect their health and wellbeing, stay productive and feel a sense of unity.

To ensure people continued to feel connected, wherever they were working, we offered remote coaching sessions, which will continue. This is something all businesses can and should do, as the human element in business cannot be under-estimated.

Now is the time for businesses to focus on filling their teams with confidence and enthusiasm and to ensure they can thrive

We introduced several wellness initiatives during lockdown that received a lot of enthusiasm from the team, so we plan to continue these too. They included free online ‘yogalates’ sessions, and wellness challenges. For example, when the second lockdown hit in November, we launched ‘Challenge 28’, where team members set a personal goal over the 28-day period that would give them a sense of achievement. We also encouraged the team to create new ‘Happy Habits’, appreciating the small things we can each do daily to keep us positive. Setting fun tasks in this way helped to ensure everyone felt supported to do something for themselves that benefits their wellness.

We also promote our internal reward scheme, which encourages employees to nominate each other as the monthly magic star. This is a great way to emphasise to colleagues both the importance of teamwork and the excellent work done by their peers.

Focus on filling your team with confidence and enthusiasm in the weeks and months to come and you will not only boost the success and productivity of your colleagues individually, but the business as a whole – paving the way for long term success.”