What a challenging start to the year it was for business across the world. Just when the nation thought we may have been heading into more optimistic times, the scientists measured a spike in infection rates, leading to another lockdown. At TensCare, we stayed true to our core values of Caring, Cooperation, and Encouragement when times were particularly tough. Managing Director – Neil Wright said to the team: “It is important we sustain the resilient business we have built by affording ourselves the time to be kind to ourselves”. It was evident that without the ability to go about what was once our everyday social activities, supporting teammates in times of suppression was a priority.
TensCare had a clear vision to be prepared. When colleagues visited China to attend product exhibitions towards the beginning of January 2020, members of the team gained an insight as to what the future held. Not only in terms of new technologies within the Healthcare sector but also as to what lay ahead for social restrictions around the world.
As a result, TensCare had tested working from home during the weeks running up to the national lockdown in the U.K – this preparation made the team feel secure which in itself allowed for a positive mindset to transcend the business. Despite the reminders of the fact that when lockdown comes; the distinction between being at home and work may become blurred – the ‘new workspace’ eventually intruded kitchens, bedrooms, and became part of the everyday routine. The message from TensCare’s Finance Director, Charlotte Smith was an example of exercising our core values: “Do not feel pressured to complete your work tasks in the usual way. If a home matter such as attending to children or walking the dog is easier (and safer) within normal working hours, then please do not feel guilty about leaving your workspace to do so.” As owners of the business, we allowed this flexibility, generosity, and patience for ourselves and each other.
To maintain the reputation as Europe’s leading electro-therapy manufacturer, it was important to stay focused but also take breaks from our workload. It was encouraged throughout the pandemic to create routines that separate work and personal lives, which worked wonders for TensCare. Walking, cooking, and reading were some of the activities that people used to punctuate their days – Karina Mier, Senior Export Manager at TensCare added “Ultimately, it benefitted our well-being as well as our productivity.” This diligent approach resulted in being awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade, which we were immensely proud of and a gigantic boost in team morale.
Working from Surrey – TensCare became Employee Owned in 2017 and has continued to operate with an employee-centred approach. During one of our “Members Sessions” – a place where we discuss new ideas to continuously develop our place of work, it was suggested that we start a company-wide health and wellness challenge to bring everyone together. The premise of the idea was very simple, “gather” in inter-departmental groups once a week and log the amount of time spent participating in activities that get you away from the computer screen. Teams then competed against each other, achieving “mindful miles” for every mile attributed to the individual. The challenge was set to “virtually travel together”, collectively achieving a total of 5,973 miles as a team to virtually travel from London to TensCare’s Shenzhen-based office.
This is how we will maintain being resilient and brilliant, #BetterTogether”
The quote above is from an email sent towards the end of February 2020. We didn’t realise then just how prophetic these words would prove to be, but despite the challenges, the growing TensCare family has managed to maintain contact with each other, our suppliers, and our customers. As a way of showing our appreciation for each other, care packages containing tasty treats were sent to all of the employees after achieving certain milestones such the first month of lockdown as well as EO Day 2020. But we also recognised that it hasn’t been celebrations all year round. The enormous scale of the crisis and the impact it had naturally caused a lot of fear and uncertainty. That is why we have offered a confidential helpline, where any of our team or their partners can access services such as mental health support and financial advice. We believe that together, we can care for each other and this of itself helps in keeping our physical and mental well-being which has allowed us to continuously strive for success.
The future is looking bright for TensCare. Inspired by a fellow EO company, we recently sent sunflower kits to all employees to add a splash of colour to homes. We set the challenge to grow our own and see who can take the most creative picture of their flowers. We hoped this would be a nice reminder to everyone at TensCare that we are flourishing the business together. This was another fantastic way of bringing people together who don’t have a direct connection in the business, we have found activities like this to be pivotal in creating a positive culture.
Similar to our approach with working from home, we are being very conservative when it comes to returning to office-based work. Team leaders within the business listened to comments about returning to the office and empathised with the anxiety that may come with working in a shared environment. Approaching situations like these, with such a multi-cultural team – has created a second family environment. This has never been so important with the majority of the TensCare workforce living many miles from their families and loved ones.