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People & Team


Meet the family-run care home business going the extra mile to support staff

Lucy Craig, owner of Craig Healthcare
Lucy Craig is doing all she can to support her staff through uncertain times

Lucy Craig is taking remarkable steps to support staff and reduce the stress they face as the impact of coronavirus continues to grow.

Every business still afloat needs a great team behind it as it battles through the coming weeks and months – a fact not lost on Lucy Craig, owner of Craig Healthcare.

Craig runs two care homes in the North East of England and is pulling out all the stops to make life for the 200 carers who work there as easy as she can.

The first thing she has done is struck a deal with a local trade supplier – Tyneside Foodservice – which will allow employees to buy groceries at a discount. “They’ve given us an amazing price,” said Lucy, “and I will be making a contribution towards what the staff have to pay as well, so it will be a negligible cost to them.”

The reason for doing this, she commented, is to provide a “layer of comfort” for the staff and their families. “They are working flat out,” Lucy explained. “We don’t know what’s coming our way, and what I don’t want is for them to be stressing about whether they can get to the supermarket or whether the supermarket has got the things they need.”

As well as this, Lucy is providing private taxis to any employees who are struggling to get in because of disruptions to public transport. “Nothing’s running quite the same,” she added. “We’ve got shifts covering 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and I don’t want people thinking, ‘I can’t get in because I’m on late nights’. I just don’t want them to have that worry.”

Financial help when needed

The third thing that Lucy is doing to support staff is offering full salaries – as opposed to statutory sick pay – if they fall ill as a result of the virus coming into one of the care homes.

“My staff are so amazing and loving, so I don’t want to punish them financially for a period of sickness that can’t be avoided if it happens,” she said. “These are unusual and uncertain times, so I need to provide as much reassurance as I can and show them that I support them all the way.”

The steps she has put in place are just the beginning, added Lucy – a second-generation care home owner. “There will be other things that I will be able to do as time goes on,” she said. “I’ve asked my managers to come up with ideas about what I can do – this is just the start.”

At times like this, she asserted, we’ve all got to support each other. “I have a team of people who are dedicated – morning, noon and night. The positive energy that we’re all creating and maintaining as we face up to this will be the thing that gets us through it.”

Lucy’s top three coronavirus tips

  1. Show empathy
    No matter what course of action you decide to take, act with empathy and compassion. Be attentive. This will get you a lot further than a cold, non-emotive approach.
  2. Embrace teamwork
    You’re faced with leading your business through unprecedented times where the working environment is constantly changing and confusion and uncertainty are high. You need to ensure your team is regularly communicated with – quickly and effectively. Empower employees to help you; encourage them to discover and put in place solutions to challenges they face based on a common, agreed purpose.
  3. Communicate honestly and openly
    Everyone is going through a pandemic, there’s no getting away from it. Frequent, open communications will help to keep people in the loop as well as manage expectations.

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