National Grid creates key worker “village” in Covid-19 response
Village includes sleep pods for the network’s most indispensable staff
14th April 2020 by Jane Gray
Critical staff at National Grid will now be able to use a new key worker “village” in the event of further lockdowns in the coronavirus crisis.
The facility, located in the midlands, includes an array of sleeping pods and is designed to ensure the network’s most critical functions – including its control rooms – would be able to continue if tighter controls on people’s movement come into force to try and contain the spread of coronavirus. It will also minimize the risk of critical staff falling ill themselves.
Over the Easter bank holiday a team of 18 National Grid employees volunteered to test the facility as they worked. Once complete, the village will be able to be home to 68 team members.
According to National Grid, the pods have been carefully developed to create a welcoming environment for the team, with freshly ironed bed linen, a comfort hamper including photo frames to house pictures of their loved ones, snacks and chocolates, and “Griddles” the National Grid teddy bear to keep them company.
Sara Habib, National Grid’s head of workplace services said the network has a “critical role” to play keeping power and gas supplies flowing throughout “challenging times”.
She added: “Our control rooms are the beating heart of our networks, so we’ve been working hard to ensure our teams have everything they need to get the job done, and that they and their loved ones are kept safe.
“It’s been a great effort by the site team to get the sleep pods ready for the Easter weekend, which means we can keep teams separate and minimise the risk of people falling ill.”
Other measures taken by National Grid to ensure the resilience of its operations during the current pandemic include creating fully operational back-up locations for control centres and additional training for their engineers so they can do multiple roles.
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