Our people & our suppliers
BT plays a critical role at the heart of the UK, and we’re determined to help those people who need us most, including the most vulnerable in society. Our priorities are to help everyone stay connected and to keep our colleagues safe. We are doing everything we can to protect our colleagues and we’re following Government advice.
- All BT and Openreach colleagues who can perform their role from home are doing so.
- Those colleagues who are critical to our ongoing operations but who can’t perform their roles from home have been designated as Key Workers, as outlined by the Government, in recognition of the essential role they play in keeping our customers and the country connected.
- These include network teams, field engineers, 999 operators and customer call centre teams.
- We’ve increased cleaning in areas where these teams operate, and arranged for people to work at Government-recommended safe distances.
- We continue to review our approach to reflect changes in Government advice .
Openreach’s engineers and service teams play a critical role in keeping our customers connected. Our customers’ wellbeing, and that of our Openreach colleagues, are clearly top priorities for us. To find out more about Openreach’s policies around engineering visits and wellbeing, please visit:
Contact centre colleagues
Many of our contact centre colleagues perform critical functions for our customers that cannot be carried out from home.
As much as we can, we have enabled homeworking across BT’s operations. That includes more than 1,000 colleagues who would usually work in contact centres.
However, the technological capability to operate many of our complex contact centre systems remotely doesn’t exist.
We are only asking colleagues to come into work if they’re healthy and able to do so. If they aren’t, or they’re having to isolate, we’re continuing to pay them .
Our contact centre and engineering colleagues have been designated as Key Workers as outlined by Government so we can keep the country connected.
Ensuring that we can continue to help customers with queries, faults or upgrade requests is critical.
Designating our engineers – many of whom are in Openreach – our Emergency Service call centre teams and our customer contact centre teams as Key Workers means they can continue to come into work as normal, albeit with Government and Public Health England measures now in place
We’re not making outbound sales calls, but we do need to be on hand and ready to help our customers with things like service issues, speed upgrades to support home-working, or sending out new equipment .
We’re doing everything we can to protect our people at all of our sites:
- We have significantly increased cleaning services in our buildings;
- We are asking colleagues to remain vigilant and to protect themselves by strictly following personal hygiene measures both inside and outside our buildings. Soap and hand sanitiser gel are available at all of our sites;
- We are implementing social distancing within our call centres;
- Our people are being advised to eat at their desks or other quieter areas in the building if should they wish to do so – and we’re providing them with free meals to support them during this time .
Dealing with potential staff absence
We’ve implemented strong policies to protect our colleagues across the business. However, our scenario planning assumes a significant number of people may be absent from work due to illness or ‘knock-on’ impacts such as school closures, family care needs, or public transport concerns.
Should absence levels increase to the extent that continuity of service could be disrupted, we will prioritise 999 services, systems supporting our emergency services such as the NHS, the Emergency Services Network (ESN), critical national infrastructure and vulnerable customers.
We have a global supply chain and we’re working closely with our suppliers to make sure we’re jointly prepared for any impact from the outbreak on our business. We’re also working closely with our third-party resourcing suppliers to ensure we can maintain services but a local situation that affects our suppliers may impact our ability to maintain service.
Our procurement teams are monitoring over 700 critical suppliers, and most have activated their business continuity plans.
We’ve profiled our critical inventory and are actively working to maintain adequate stock levels to see us through this period of uncertainty.