Part two of our investigation looks at how our lovely team coped with the Coronavirus lockdown. Anyone who follows us on social media will be familiar with Shelley & Sarah. Our in-house jesters and general morale-boosters in every scenario. I called Shelley & Sarah for a chat about how they’ve coped, and the answer seems to be ‘very well’.
Both Shelley & Sarah said that they’ve actually had a ‘lovely time’ during the lockdown. Both grateful for the continuation of their work to help maintain a precious sense of normality in an otherwise ‘bonkers situation’.
For a period of time it was only Shelley, Sarah and Al in the factory. The skeleton team called for all hands-on-deck. Shelley and Sarah were thrown into the deep end, learning how to run the entire factory with less than half of the regular team. Sarah told me that this ‘kept it really interesting, it was an amazing opportunity to see and do new things. We also worked lots of hours which kept us busy. It was a welcome relief really, to forget what was going on outside, a nice, secure bubble if you like.’
The ladies went on to say that Head Chocolatier Al has helped them to feel exceptionally safe at work. With no end to the supply of disinfectant, masks, wipes, hand sanitiser and staggered start and finish times for the whole team, they both maintained that there really wasn’t any more that Al could have done as an employer.
‘There was never any pressure on us to stay on if we felt unsafe or uneasy, never any shortage of the equipment we needed to keep clean and safe and he’s just done an outstanding job really, looking after our welfare and he’s taken communicating with us really seriously throughout.’
As the team tentatively grew back to its previous numbers, the factory was restructured to ensure that each team member had their own zone to adhere to social distancing measures. Shelley and Sarah have both said that this communicative, small team has blossomed under exceptional circumstances. The silver lining in this case is that the camaraderie is better than ever, having really nurtured working relationships in an otherwise very uncertain period of time.
It was really lovely to hear of Shelley & Sarah’s overwhelmingly positive experience of working through the lockdown, and I wondered if they were being polite until they added:
‘It’s just nice to know that we’re doing something worthwhile, something rewarding. When we know that people receive the chocolate we’ve made, it’s brilliant, we feel amazing. Even in these bizarre times, our chocolate is bringing joy to people. It’s lovely to be a part of that.’
Sarah hand made her first ever batch of honeycomb during the lockdown, as pictured by Al in the featured image.