As part of our Keeping us Connected campaign, we hear how asset health teams at Anglian Water speedily adapted their working practices and even reduced their activity backlog.

Rick Bunn, who heads up the asset health team, was nominated for recognition by Anglian’s head of water supply, Jim Foster, for overseeing changes to how the water supply function teams worked during the lockdown.

Bunn coordinated with the wider business to change the work scheduling practices and made sure the supply teams could carry on their vital work to operate and maintain assets for delivering water to 4.5 million customers. He organised how to reduce travel across Anglian’s operating area and make sure social distancing was followed.

All activities were reviewed and prioritised to focus on the most important planned and reactive work.

Work zones were introduced to limit how much people had to move around and teams were given more control over their own workloads to make sure prioritised tasks were completed with minimum contact.

While ensuring social distancing was in place, the staff stayed connected using more social media and video calling to maintain mental well-being out in the field.

Bunn said: “The main priority is the safety of our teams, we accepted that these changes could potentially risk a reduction in some productivity and drive some inefficiency due to the work zones being implemented. What we’ve found over the last six weeks has been quite the opposite, with all the changes implemented, completion of routine activities has increased, we’ve seen a significant reduction in any backlog – up to 50 per cent in some work types. However, the most important feedback has been from our teams themselves who have taken these changes in their stride and have really made this current way of working a big success.”

The company said the new ways of working were embraced across all teams and the ownership of workload has enhanced staff morale. By reducing travel time and prioritising tasks and limiting others, backlogs were reduced across the water supply teams.

Foster said: “Although this could appear to be an exercise in ‘tweaking’ our working practices, a huge amount of effort has gone on in the background by Rick and other teams to make this happen.  Not only has it been instrumental in keeping our employees safe and well, but it has also driven down work backlogs and improved morale in the field teams at this very difficult time.”

Keeping Us Connected is a new series from Utility Week in which we highlight the achievements of employees across the utilities sector in getting the UK through lockdown. To nominate a member of your team for recognition, please email jameswallin@fav-house.com.