Well, it has been nearly a year since we decided to send the team home at Quad Fuels and all work remotely – and what a year this has been. It has not been easy. The thoughts at the forefront of our mind were to keep the industrial wheels turning and ensure the customer service did not suffer.
In the beginning…
At first, the phone system did not lend itself to have all 5 sales members answering it. We could only forward each callers number to one mobile. So, that is where Josh and Andrea took the lead and farmed the calls through to the other three team members. There were over 190 inbound calls a day on average to just two phones!
“Prices of oil were falling through the floor to the lowest we had seen in decades.”
We were in the middle of a pandemic. Prices of oil were falling through the floor to the lowest we had seen in decades. Customers were ringing to place orders and fill their tanks to the gunnels, as this opportunity would never be repeated again for a while. The fuel industry was on its knees. In the end, the price dropped so low that it was less than 20 pence per litre for heating oil. Great news for the consumers.
You can imagine the phone was ringing off the hook. The best we could do was take down the numbers and call them back. Time flew by as we were so busy, but we kept going until a new phone system was sought which would enable us all to take a turn. Sue went through two phones in the end, with new batteries, new charge ports and new cables!
Our Delivery Drivers Were Frontline Keyworkers
The drivers were frontline as keyworkers, working tirelessly to get the orders out on time and taking that daily risk out there with the customers whilst out on the road. Customers were all home at this point, whilst lockdown became the new norm. Seeing another human being for some people was a novelty, but all they could do was wave at them from the window.
We all had our own struggles staying at home…
When you work from home, some people have the impression that this is an easy way of living, being in your own environment. What they don’t realise is, you are trying to get a job done. With everyone in the home in the same boat, it’s even more stressful. Add to this homeschooling, being a parent, carer, teacher, nana and provider – all in one. Spinning plates and huge responsibility springs to mind! To be back in the office and have the kids back at school is all we hoped for. Weeks turned to months, seasons passed and still the pandemic was only getting worse.
“Why even get out of your pyjamas or even put makeup on?”
The plus side was what we could wear, at least. Who cared, why even get out of your pyjamas or even put makeup on? As long as you were ready and eager for that first-morning phone call at 8 am and you put a smile on your face.
During this year, we have had a whole year of birthday’s missed, special occasions where we would normally have a special treat in the office, or go out together or even a take out from Dominos or KFC.
We try to keep each other’s spirits up over email whilst working in a space not really suitable as an office. Sue even tried to rearrange her furniture for a change, but found she had blocked herself in her own doorway when the wardrobe got wedged – she had to call her brother for help to rescue her!
Josh even stretched to trying four different houses at one stage, between his families and two rented properties. Finally, during the lockdown, he has bought a house he can call his own with his partner Mollie. Not long now to new adventures.
Nesta has been working in her spare room combating the cold and trying to get the lighting, heat and temperature right for her solid day on call. Her only release is once a week, which was on a Wednesday. Add to this looking after her elderly, vulnerable parents. She never alters in her high spirits no matter what the day brings, which we love her for.
Yasmin has been juggling looking after her two small children, a one-year-old and a six-year-old. At one stage, little girl Baby P smashed up Yasmin’s laptop beyond repair. She had heard her mum on the phone so much, she decided to sign herself up as the newest member of the team, taking over her mum on answering the phones. Really cute!
Lastly, Andrea has been working between the workplace and home and has found the year a long, never-ending, tiring exercise. She has been covering for the team who would normally share their roles daily. Working 13 hours a day has become the norm for Andrea and she is looking forward to light mornings, shorter days and being able to spend time with her family. They have taken a back step since last year. Trying to get her daughter Lauren to do homeschooling under her own devices is the hardest. This year she will be going to high school and you can see the cracks appearing as the kids miss their school friends and interaction. We just want everything to get back to some form of normality soon.
“We have been making sure that all the Covid centres in the delivery area have been supplied with fuel…”
That said the customers have been very understanding of the situation and everyone has been supportive and loyal and we give thanks to all of them. We have been making sure that all the Covid centres in the delivery area have been supplied with fuel each week to keep going with their generators and will continue to support them for as long as necessary.
We give thanks to all keyworkers and NHS staff who have been looking after us and help keep us well and get better.
Thank you once again, we will all meet up one day soon in the near future. All the best from the Quad Fuels staff, directors and drivers. ☺