Steve Webber is at the helm of our EPS East operations, an 860 people strong team, 830 of them based on site. For some difficult to imagine, for Steve part of everyday work. Add the global Covid-19 pandemic and the challenge becomes ever more complicated
“I thought this would last three weeks at the most,” Steve says.
Steve and his team first noticed a significant increase in the number of meetings – now virtual – which took away from their time to complete actions and operational tasks. But it has also helped them stay motivated and committed. “I really miss my white board – it is a great tool to capture and have the team challenging any plan or strategy,” Steve says.
Steve is assured that everyone in his team adapted well. “It is impossible for me to recognise anyone individually as we have all played an equally important role to keep our performance and delivery up,” he added.
Looking after each other
Ensuring the wellbeing of the colleagues on site has been paramount for Steve’s team: “The guys have gone beyond expectations to ensure we look after each other and service our clients.”
They have been securing ports for supply runs offshore and working closely with embassies and airlines to ensure they have the first available seats to mobilise and rotate their colleagues on site. “Having our teams stuck in various locations with no means of rotation changes due to country lockdowns has meant an exceptionally challenging situation to deal with.”
The relentless communication between the onshore and offshore staff has been of great value at both ends: “It is relieving to receive or make a call and know the teams are safe and we are doing everything possible to manage their welfare.”
Having our teams stuck in various locations with no means of rotation changes due to country lockdowns has meant an exceptionally challenging situation to deal with.
Adjusting to new ways of working
“Physical distancing will greatly impact office spaces - I dread to think of the wait for the lifts with a maximum capacity of four people at once!”
Prior to the pandemic, Steve used to spend most of his time travelling to meet clients and customers or to conduct audits and town halls in other offices and sites. “I am sure this will change. Due to the inconvenience anticipated in travelling, we will see further enhancement in communication tools and digital tools to allow remote support for our technical teams at site,” he adds.
On a personal note…
In January, Steve’s wife had to return to the UK for a minor treatment. Unluckily, the morning she was due to return, the UAE government announced the closing of airports and blocked entry to residents.
“My wife was informed at check-in that she could not travel. She has been stuck in the UK for the last five months with no approval to return.”
My wife was informed at check-in that she could not travel. She has been stuck in the UK for the last five months with no approval to return.
His daughter and granddaughter were also planning to spend her first birthday in the UAE. For obvious reasons, their plans got cancelled.
“It is difficult not to see family, but I am happy and grateful knowing they are safe. Travel will be difficult in the immediate future, but we are all looking at options to meet as soon as possible,” says Steve.
As for the personal benefit of remote working, Steve sees the bright side. The most stressful part of his day – the commute between Dubai and Sharjah – is put on hold, at least for now.
Steve’s lockdown in a sentence
“A journey through the unknown – things change so rapidly that it is difficult to plan from one day to the next.“