In 2020, along with the rest of the country, Aptus Utilities had to adapt to an unparalleled situation in contending with the Coronavirus pandemic.
We also celebrated a decade in business – but when the anniversary came on 30th March the company was in enforced shutdown due to the closure of all construction sites.
Despite the challenges, the company successfully negotiated the full shutdown and restart of operations during March-April. Following an initial quarter (April-June) loss, the business bounced back to report a year to-date profit in July and has since performed at close to pre-COVID levels.
Whilst adapting to the pandemic and developing new ways of working the company achieved some notable successes. Highlights include the opening of our Yorkshire depot in Normanton, the continuing handover of Clancy contracts, and the addition of new clients and contracts to our existing portfolio. We are also delighted to welcome new members to our team across all regions.
In November, we were honoured to be shortlisted in the Subcontractor/Services Provider of the Year category at the prestigious Housebuilder Awards. 2020 also saw Aptus included in the London Stock Exchange Group report ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’, which marks an impressive third appearance for the company.
New tools for employees
This year new tools were launched to support our home-workers and other members of the workforce. These include an employee-only website forum and a private Facebook group, which was set up to help colleagues stay in touch and interact during the initial lockdown.
These have strengthened communications and have been useful in helping to convey the messages of our Health & Wellbeing Campaign, which launched in the spring of 2020. The campaign addresses topics such as stress awareness and mental health and highlights the free support and resources available through the company and our healthcare providers.
We also introduced Employee Feedback Surveys as part of our process for monitoring and evaluation. This gives team members an opportunity to have a say on what is working and areas that can be improved within the business. We will be taking a similar proactive approach to customer service by issuing a client survey early in the New Year. This will help us to respond to clients’ needs and further enhance and refine our business and service offer.
Aptus in the ‘virtual’ community
Autumn saw the launch of Aptus Utilities’ annual School Road Safety Campaign. This year we delivered the presentation virtually to nine schools, along with a donation of 1,884 hi-visibility tops. The tops bear the motto: ‘Bright Sparks Get Seen In The Dark’. We hope this inspires the children to wear the reflective tops and make sure that they are seen and safe on dark winter days.
Winter gave us an opportunity to come together virtually or in a socially distanced capacity, to do some fundraising. In November, a team took part in My Poppy Run to raise money for the Royal British Legion. It also encouraged staff to stay active during the second lockdown. The team, with the support of colleagues, families and friends raised a tremendous £2,660 which goes towards funding the charity’s work supporting the Armed Forces community.
During December we enjoyed some festive fun and more fundraising through our Christmas card competition and Christmas Jumper Day. It was great to see the young family members of so many employees get involved with creating designs for the official Aptus Utilities Christmas card and see staff members across our regions embrace the festive spirit by donning their festive woollens. Together the activities raised £250 for Save The Children.
Aptus’ annual awards show goes on!
The Christmas party is a highly anticipated event in the Aptus calendar and it was disappointing that this couldn’t take place. Instead, Aptus delivered gifts to staff and made a donation to the Trussell Trust to support their work providing emergency food and support to people in financial crisis.
The company’s annual awards normally take centre stage at the Christmas party and the Aptus leadership team felt it was important to celebrate and showcase the efforts of employees throughout the business in 2020. Awards presented in seven categories included: Best Contribution to Business Performance, Best Representation of the Core Values, Mentor of the Year, Trainee of the Year, Extra Mile award, and Rising Star award. An additional special award was presented to recognise an overall team performance during the year.
Looking ahead in 2021
A third national lockdown is not the start we might have hoped for, but we will continue to do our utmost to support our partners in construction. The forecast for the coming months is extremely positive at Aptus and we remain hopeful of a buoyant housing market into the New Year and beyond.
Midlands and Yorkshire expansion continues to be a priority, and the ongoing recruitment of operational staff will ensure we can meet targeted growth and increased workload in these regions.
Apprenticeships will also be key as we look to take on more business administration apprentices across our offices. This January we welcome three new apprentices to our team including our first Midlands-based apprentice. We also look forward to launching our fourth Craft Apprenticeship Scheme later in the year. This will ensure we continue to grow our workforce by training operatives in our bespoke multi utility and jointing programmes.