BHSF’s foresight and adaptability means the health and wellbeing provider is still able to deliver outstanding service to its clients during this unprecedented time.

With the country on Covid-19 lockdown, businesses are being forced to find alternative ways of operating while hundreds of thousands of employees are juggling working remotely with home schooling.

And while these issues are equally as pertinent to BHSF and its staff, they were aware of the general pandemic risk for some time and so made a number of contingency plans that are now yielding benefit.

BHSF chief executive Ian Galer said: “I am immensely proud of the way this company has adapted over the past few weeks.

“Like many businesses around the world we have had to alter our ways of working and I am delighted with how we have done this so far.

“While we have obviously been unable to fulfil our face-to-face obligations from a health and medical perspective, thankfully many of our other services have moved online rather seamlessly.

“We are very fortunate to be able to call upon an experienced, skilled and forward-thinking staff group who have worked all hours to ensure our clients wouldn’t be impacted during this crisis, and that was absolutely crucial from our point of view.”

As Galer alluded to, businesses are now fully appreciating the importance and benefit of robust, reliable and adaptable IT systems which are allowing millions of employees across the globe to work from home – and it was in this area BHSF were best prepared to cope with the lockdown.

“We had all the basics in place,” said BHSF’s chief information officer Adrian Hope, “it was just about putting everything into action once the pandemic really took hold.

“For example, we had already started doing secure video conferencing for our occupational health patients but because of this pandemic we obviously had to do a lot more of them. So we simply bought more licenses and trained our clinicians how to use the system really quickly.

“As with many of our services the technology was already there, we just needed to increase the volume and show our clinicians and our clients how to use them, and thankfully everything appears to be working well.”

Luke Brown, head of operations, added: “In some cases it was about changing the mindset of the client and thankfully they have all bought into this new way of working.

“Our doctors and nurses deserve a lot of credit, too, because they have to ask different questions on a video consultation or over the phone than they would face-to-face, so their professionalism and adaptability has been vital.

“Of course we will still offer face-to-face consultations but a lot of our clients can now see how well these video and telephone consultations are working so it’s something we’d like to continue in the future.”

Unfortunately, many of BHSF’s community partners have been hit hard by the impact of the coronavirus and some are experiencing great difficulty in fund-raising, so they each received a £5,000 donation to help ease the burden.

“Hopefully the donation will make a difference to our partners – but our assistance doesn’t stop there,” said Shelley Rowley, BHSF’s chief transformation officer.

“We have organised an ‘Easter extravaganza’ as a further means of fund-raising. This has had to be moved online but it will involve competitions and quizzes etc. and we have agreed to cash-match any monies raised.

“We have many more events planned over the next three months so fingers crossed they have the desired impact.”

BHSF acknowledges this is a financially challenging time for many of its existing or potential clients. Many may need access to services like BHSF RISE, Occupational Health or BHSF Connect now more than ever but may feel their current cash flow precludes them from spending on services to help staff through the pandemic.

Chief commercial officer Brian Hall says this is something the business has recognised and has worked diligently to ensure companies who need access to BHSF services get it, regardless of the economic climate.

“We are prioritising the awareness of products that can specifically benefit employers and their employees alike in the current circumstances, and we are altering our payment schedules and shortening deployment times to help wherever we can.”

Meanwhile, BHSF staff are contracted to provide five volunteer days a year but their willingness to help during this pandemic has seen that number rocket.

Rowley explained: “Our employees have been making a real difference by volunteering for the NHS or helping out in their local communities.

“We’ve all got our own individual issues to deal with right now but our staff realise that we’re all in this together so they are doing what they can where they can until this crisis relents and that should be applauded.”