COVID-19 – BLG Head Office: Working together to protect and support colleagues across the Group

Bibby Line Group // 17th April 2020

  • Head office working together to support subsidiaries
  • BLG Exec and Board take a voluntary pay cut
  • CEO offers thanks to all teams through videos

It was clear from day one that COVID-19 was different. And, from day one the immediate reaction and focus of the BLG head office team has been to protect and support not only colleagues at Walker House, but also to support subsidiaries as best we can, through a time of great uncertainty and unprecedented change.


Quick response

BLG was quick to react to the unfolding crisis and we set up our Group Emergency Response Team in early March within Walker House.

Working with the Walker House building manager and representatives from BML, BFS and BDL who are also tenants, we used scenario planning to anticipate and plan challenges to business continuity.

Precautionary measures including distributing hand sanitizer to every colleague, setting up wall sanitizer pumps, providing the latest guidance, and carrying out extra cleaning in social areas helped reduce the chance of outbreak.


Supporting subsidiaries

The BLG Board also moved quickly to set up a reporting network to understand how COVID-19 was affecting the Group, including the impact on colleagues, customers and cashflow.

Each business provides a weekly update which is measured against our downside business plan to track the ongoing impact on sales , costs and cash flow.

This includes increased reporting weekly on any new or suspected cases of the virus within the Group.

 HR leaders calls across the Group have also been set up to assess impact and share approaches. Likewise communications teams are keeping in touch to share knowledge and best practice.

We’ve also been linking into the CBI and collating news and views from each business who have had direct links with government ministers and sharing this across the other subsidiaries.

The finance teams have been sharing updates and best practice on accessing Government funding schemes.


Supporting colleagues

All colleagues were supported to start working from home from the 17th March, and all teams now work together using Zoom, MS Teams as well as more established channels and software.

Our CEO John Cresswell hosts weekly Zoom huddles to keep us all up to date on business performance and share plans. John also does a regular video update for head office colleagues and also for the rest of Group, which you can see here.

Every morning we hold an 11am coffee break where all colleagues (plus children, pets, partners) are invited to catch-up. 

We also provided HO colleagues with a ‘working from home infographic’ as a framework for how we can all support each other’s mental health:


Bridging to the future

As with many businesses, BLG has reviewed ways to protect our long term future by reducing cost wherever possible. This hasn’t been easy, but the reaction of those affected has been really positive, and we thank them for their pragmatism and support.

In addition to furloughing colleagues the BLG Board has taken a voluntary pay cut for the three months to June.

Each business is now turning its attention to lessons learned through the crisis , and how we should think about how we return to  a ‘new normal’ when the economy starts to rebuild. We are assessing these plans in June.

John Cresswell, BLG CEO was keen to pass on his thanks to the team:

“I want to say a huge thank you to all colleagues at head office. We are living through an extraordinary time, and I really appreciate everyone’s work and commitment at speed to not only to set-up working remotely, but also to adapting to new and unprecedented ways of working with positivity and spirt. I know there has been a lot of hard work by a lot people.

“Also I want to add how proud I am of how our all BLG businesses are responding to the global pandemic crisis, which put more simply means I am hugely proud of how you and all colleagues have responded to the challenges each of us faces, providing support to each other through these difficult times.

“I know we have many key workers across the Group and you in particular have everyone’s heartfelt thanks for the contributions you are making to keep the country moving.”

Take a look at video updates from John here.


Read more about our companies response to COVID-19

Costcutter Supermarkets Group

Bibby Distribution

Bibby Marine

Bibby Financial Services



Wood you believe it? Bibby colleagues take part in special ‘Plank-off’ fundraiser

4th April 2022

Throughout March, colleagues from around Bibby Line Group took part in an exercise challenge with…

Bibby Line Group colleagues respond to help Ukrainian families

10th March 2022

As colleagues across Bibby Line Group, we pride ourselves on living our values, especially ‘Do…

Get Involved: Two New GSB Central Events!

10th March 2022

Register Interest in either event: Download posters here: Beach clean Dragonboat Team Racing

BFS Supports Customers with Central London Office

28th February 2022

Our colleagues at BFS have always put their customers at the heart of their decision…

BFS appoints Helen Norris as Chief People & Organisation Officer

28th February 2022

Helen joins BFS from the British Business Bank, where she spent more than three years…

Skip to content