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After George Osborne announced that the National Minimum Wage was going to be replaced with the National Living Wage from next April, I recognised that if we were going to continue to have a successful business, some creative thinking was required.
Our brainwave was to invest in some Segway boards to make everything move much quicker. I needed to undertake a test of this idea and thought that I should make a video of the trial and maybe post it on Facebook. We are fortunate to have Jim Holland, a student taking an A-Level in animation, on our team and he took on the filming and editing of the video. Benny Hill was responsible for the music.
Our test proved very effective. There was improved efficiency of restocking; cleaning times were cut drastically and we saw less customer queues. The downsides, however, were increased absenteeism of some of my senior employees due to numerous cuts and bruises (mitigated by increased sales of plasters and bandages!), not to mention the increased insurance premiums and impromptu appearance of the Stig to set a lap record (speed restrictions now put in place around “Jacob’s Creek Corner” and “Post Office Pit Stop lane”).
Making the video was a lot of fun and no one was injured during the shoot, but there is a serious point to the exercise: to afford the £9-an-hour NLW in 2020 we need to improve our store efficiency. By involving all our team in this little project (and some of our customers), I was making the point that all the Sherston Post Office team need to be part of the solution.
Posting the video on Facebook has raised our profile as over 5,000 people have viewed it. The great thing is the number of customers who have told me they liked it. I am now thinking about producing a video to promote Christmas at our store.