The UK is starting to ease out of lockdown, but the road ahead for many businesses and high streets is likely to remain rocky.
Banbury is a circa 1500-year old market town, which has weathered many battles and downturns. One thing remains – the resolve of its business owners to change.
To recognise and promote the achievements of our town centre businesses flexing during these challenging times, we are launching a campaign called ‘Banbury Inspires’.
Through a series of personal stories, we will showcase the people of Banbury who refuse to be beaten, continue to evolve and who positively contribute to the wider community.
On 29 High Street, you will find Plus One Personnel – an award-winning recruitment agency serving Oxfordshire and Warwickshire. Traditionally, it brings people and jobs together.
We caught up with the founder and managing director, Stuart Moore, to find out how lockdown life is treating him and his business.
How long have you been in Banbury and tell us what is daily life like for you right now?
Plus One Personnel is celebrating fifteen years in business this year. We’ve been in Banbury since 2005 and opened our Leamington Spa branch in 2012.
Needless to say, we were planning for a very different year. However, I truly believe that with every challenge comes opportunity. At Plus One Personnel, we are focussing on making the digital recruitment process as easy as possible.
Personally, I have taken on more of a manager role than business owner right now. You could say I’ve become ‘one of the troops’ and I am enjoying it.
What have you found the single hardest thing to deal with in this situation?
Initially, it was all hands on deck while we adapted to working in a virtual world. That said, it didn’t take long and the team and I are enjoying our daily Zoom updates. Meeting online is proving to be a great way to keep in touch, support each other and collaborate.
Who are your typical customers and how have you adapted to serve them?
Our customers are employers and jobseekers. Before lockdown, we started to expand our digital journey, upgrading our website and making it easier to apply for jobs online. Since lockdown commenced, we have removed the need for job seekers to meet with us in person, by hosting online interviews and registrations.
We also meet with our clients via Zoom as many of them are also working remotely. This has worked really effectively and in many ways has been more efficient that our working practices before. However, I do miss sharing a coffee with someone face to face whilst discussing their needs.
The current situation has only intensified people’s desire for a simplified recruitment process. We have been focusing on adding value, upskilling applicants and reaching and engaging people through our social media channels.
What is your message to residents, shoppers and visitors of Banbury as we ease out of lockdown?
Be brave. We need to get back to business safely. Our high streets, local businesses and organisations need us, but we must remain mindful of others.
If people are unable to venture out or still feel uneasy to do so, then do check out the Banbury online marketplace ShopAppy.com. It’s a great initiative for people to be able to continue to support their favourite local businesses and retailers, or discover new ones!
Are you optimistic that as will emerge from this, it could be a chance to create a better Banbury?
Right now it is difficult to think about what our town centre will look like. Before lockdown, we saw a real desire for high streets and retail, in particular, to become more ‘experienced-based’. Businesses now need to think about how to offer a pleasant experience in a social distanced world. We don’t want people to be afraid to shop, visit or enjoy what Banbury has to offer.
Am I optimistic Banbury will prosper? Of course. It might not look the same, but we’re an incredibly innovative lot and I have no doubt the town will bounce back.
Thank you Stuart!
Bringing great employers and people together
If you are an employer looking to recruit or looking for a job in Oxfordshire or Warwickshire, visit: www.plusonepersonnel.co.uk
Alternatively, you can follow Plus One Personnel on Facebook or Twitter for news on appointments and recruitment tips, or connect with Stuart on LinkedIn.